Tuesday, July 7

Sylvia Knows Best

Funny how things happen. This morning, I was reading an article on Time magazine's website about women processing (well, they call it "eating", but clearly that's just to get people to tune in, since we don't say that we "eat" our vitamins, and we're talking about capsules here) their babies' placentas for consumption (for the health benefits they apparently confer--duh, don't click if you don't want to read about it). Now before you run to the bathroom to throw up, let me just say that that's not what this post is about*. Breathe easy, my friend. The hard part is over.

And the rant is just beginning.

First, the backstory.

A few weeks back, around Father's Day, I happened upon an article on msnbc about how fathers who are stepping up to share or take primary responsibility for parenting feel invisible, about how they are ignored, especially when their wives are present, or made to feel like "babysitters" and not taken seriously. Fair enough. More power to 'em.

I began to read. I read the blog (great blog, btw) that the article referenced. I read the comments and the discussion on the topic on msnbc. And I left a comment, highlighting the one variable that seemed to be missing in the list of "why this happens"--namely, the numbers of fathers who perpetuate the division of responsibility, who find child care demeaning, who use the words "babysittting" in regard to their own participation, and even the significant, if minority, population that is blatantly advocating a return to so-called "traditional" values in which the father is the breadwinner and the mother is, well, the mother. What I was trying to say was that, as often happens, these men are barking up the wrong tree. If they want things to change in society and in how people regard them, their wives and the sympathetic supportive community of other stay-at-home dads are not where that sort of change is to be found. If they are looking to change the expectations of a patriarchal system, they need to go straight to the source: the men (the majority of men) who perpetuate this view, and they need to call the mainstream media on their gaffes whenever, wherever, every ever.

I know. Who am I to tell them what they "need" to do?

I'm me. This is my blog.

Backstory firmly in hand, we now return to the fount of knowledge and insight that is known as Time magazine.

Now, like any website worth its salt, there were links on the placenta article page to other things that might just be of interest to new moms or new dads, because after all, who else would read this article other than crunchy holistic kind of folks who can potentially really appreciate the inclusion of an article of this type in the mainstream media. Like me.

In this case...being that it's 2009 and all...two of the more prominent links were to iPhone apps for new moms and for dads. Ooh! I have (and love) an iPhone! I have (and love) a child! I have (and love) a career that involves gathering resources for parents as they navigate their way through the early days of parenthood! Ooh! I'm checking this out!

This is where it gets nasty. Grab the Tums. I'll wait.

You back? Great. Let's go.

First, let's talk the iPhone apps for Moms. The 10 of them. Or 7. Or 13. Or something. Girls aren't good at math anyway, right? Oh, I suppose I should explain, because I notice these things, and that's why I get paid the big bucks--to share them with you. Here we go. The link says: "See the top 10 iPhone applications for new moms". Yes. In red. When you get there, the title of the article is "Seven Iphone Apps for New Moms" (I mean, who's gonna notice the sudden disappearance of three apps when you can't even find your car keys?). And then, you read them. And each one of the seven pages highlighting apps (well, except for one of them, just to mix things up a little) discusses TWO apps. So actually, the article highlights 13 apps for new moms. I guess.

Now, you can look for yourself, but I don't want to take any chances, so here are the 13 apps that they highlight as best for new moms:

Babycam – makes cutesy noises so that your baby will smile for pictures (since s/he sure isn't going to smile for YOU.
Quad Camera – takes 4 pictures of your kid at once (make the most of every moment with your child, and you know how we moms love a bargain)
Scribble – drawing progam to “keep toddlers busy on long car rides” (I think giving your toddler your iphone is a dandy idea...it's important to keep technology well greased)
Bug Squash – where you tap the touch screen to smash bugs to get points (and get them started on violence against small helpless creatures as early as possible)
Nursing Tracker – anal retentive recordkeeping of nursing (because, as we all know, the more tense you are, the better it is for your milk supply)
Diaper Tracker – stats on when your baby’s diaper was changed (because if there's anything more fun than changing diapers, it's recording the qualities of every poop)
Lose it – to lose weight after birth –keeps track of food and exercise (obviously the first order of business)
I Fitness – exercise instructions (more of the same, blah, blah)
Big Oven – recipes (because, while you may not be pregnant anymore, you are still, with any luck, barefoot and in the kitchen)
4 Ingredients – recipes (in case the thousands of recipes in the aforementioned app aren't sufficient, and to give you another thing to browse through, now that you are a new parent and have scads of free time on your hands)
Asleep kids – lullabies for naptime (because research has shown that babies always prefer electronic music rather than a parent's voice, and besides, when your baby is napping, you don't need your iphone anyway, so just leave it in their crib! But don't forget to put it on airplane mode, because if a call comes in, there goes the lullaby!)
Whitenoise – whitenoise macine for naptime (because, again, you don't need your phone)
Toddler Cards – flash cards (because it's never too early to start poor parenting practices--and with this one, hey, you don't even need to hold the cards!)

That's thirteen. No. I don't have judgments at all. At All. Got that?

Ding! Ding! Ding-a-ling! (that's your cue to start salivating). This is where it gets good.

Not to be outdone, and recognizing that hey, this is the new millenium, and being a dad is a whole new thing, Time was kind enough to also review the "Ten Best iPhone Apps For Dad". No, no need to rush over there and read the article. I've taken the time to summarize them here for you. You're welcome. Here they are. The 10 best iPhone apps for dads. Yes, there are ten of them. On the link, on the article, and in actuality. 10. Because boys are good at math, remember?

Oobgolf – tracks golf scores and analyzes trends in scores
iHandyCarpenter – level, protractor, 3 other tools (set against a manly wood grain background)
Gas Cubby – to track gas mileage and vehicle upkeep
Grill Guide – digital ruler to measure the thickness of a steak (!) and check cooking times
Family Guy – clips from Family Guy show, which the description refers to as “TV’s most dysfunctional animated dad around”
Trapster – to avoid police speed traps
Hundred Pushups – exercise program
5800+ drink and cocktail recipes – speaks for itself
FanFinder – to find the closest sports bar
Things – a to do list organizer

No, there's no snide commentary next to these. They don't need it.

Many years back, there was a Sylvia cartoon (it was also the title of one of her books) that I really loved (I love most of them, but this one was choice). In the cartoon, Sylvia is, as ever, sitting and watching TV. The commentator on TV is saying "Over the past ten years, men have increased their participation in household tasks...by six minutes". And Sylvia, sage that she is, is saying "Mercy, it's the Revolution and I'm in my bathrobe.". I couldn't possibly say it any better.

Come to think of it, maybe the photo apps for new moms are a good idea. That way, when dad arrives at the sports bar from the golf course, right after he high-fives his buddies for so cleverly speeding and yet avoiding a ticket and just before he coaches the bartender on how to mix this cool new drink he found on his iPhone, he can view four pictures of his kids all at once. Given how busy he is grilling, doing carpentry, changing his oil, and exercising, it may be the only time he sees them (and before you lambast or correct me for implying that this is how dads spend their time, best you direct your comments direct to the source: letters@time.com).

Yeah. Things have changed.

*with the exception of sharing one choice quote. In the article, the "placenta lady" tells the new dad that these pills might even be good to save to help ease menopause (discomforts about which I can speak with some authority). His quote: "[she] did not understand that when Cassandra's looks fade in her 50s, there's no way I'm putting up with this crap". I'm cutting him a break and not raising holy hell as I know he's a humorous writer, and most of what he writes is said in jest (or in sarcasm or a similar handy tool). But somehow, this one line just didn't seem quite as funny as the rest (except to men, I would guess). Yeah, I know. Angry feminist. Deal with it.

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