Diaperless Babies

Talking about mothering practices, especially for a woman who doesn’t have children, is pretty fraught. But I want to say one thing about this whole “My kid never wears a diaper” thing: It never ceases to amaze me how much easier it is for women these days to raise children than it was for, say, women of my grandmother’s era and how much more weirdly complicated these trend-pieces encourage us to make it.

I don’t give two shits (ha ha) if you want to potty-train your kid from the get-go, like these folks, though I am a little bemused/grossed out at the thought of just encouraging your kid to shit outside in an urban area. But my “bullshit” meter goes off when such child-rearing practices are framed as “rediscovering an ancient practice used in other cultures” because are they ancient or used in other cultures? Why are ancient child-rearing practices best? And are these ancient practices really practiced in a house, where food prep goes on?

But the part I find weirdest is this idea that parents do it to “be more in tune with what their kids’ needs are.”

I don’t think this is an unambiguous good. I mean, it probably doesn’t matter one way or another when the kid is a baby, if you want to be all up in its business and know the precise moment it shits (though, having had quite a few babies in my life, I’m perplexed how one could avoid knowing that a baby has shit for longer than a couple of minutes anyway), but I’m not sure that a parent’s–or let’s be honest, a mother’s–sole role is to meet her kids’ needs. Often, especially as they get older, it’s part of a parent’s job to equip his or her children to articulate and meet their own needs.

Sometimes, the Professor will tell me stories of her students piping up in class with a “Well, my mom says…” or complaining when she points out they’re not using inclusive language with a “But my dad say that’s okay because…” And these aren’t freshmen in their first couple of weeks of classes. These are ostensible grown-ups who think what Mom & Dad says should carry heavy social weight with people who don’t even know them.

I don’t think that’s good for kids. And I think they’ve been done a disservice by their parents.

But I also don’t think that it’s good for parents to feel some pressure to be so constantly paying such close attention to their children that they’re willing to follow their children around with bowls to catch their poop. I mean, yes, you’re a parent and yes, that is the most important thing in your life. But the fact of the matter is that your attention is going to slip. The kid is going to bang her head or eat the cat food out of the bowl. You can’t be there every second to make sure nothing bad or unpleasant happens.

But, in a way, this seems to me like the Alli-method of child-rearing, where you’re forced into “right” behavior for fear of otherwise having to deal with some weird, gross poop issue.

Otherwise, wouldn’t the advice be to move someplace warm where you can get an acre or so and let your kid go diaper-free outside where the whole rest of nature poops and it’s no big deal? I suspect that’s never the advice, though, because it’s not actually about what’s “best” for the child, but about a kind of performative parenthood that demonstrates that the people doing it really care about their children unlike the people who don’t/can’t.

My Own Stories

Things are afoot. I feel like I have thirteen non-shitty short stories–“Bone,” “Frank,” “How Will You Meet People if You Never Leave the House” and “The Witch’s Friend” are published in some form or another. “Sarah Clark” is supposed to be published any day now. But the contract reverts right to me at the end of the year, so, if publication doesn’t happen, I can try again.

I’ve got two stories I’ve submitted someplace and I’m just waiting to hear. I think both are probably definite “no”s but I’ve decided to start getting turned down by bigger markets these days. So, that will be okay.

I’ve got a story I feel is pretty ready to go. I’m just working up the guts to send it out. I want to let it sit and then have one more good look at it.

Then I’ve got three stories that are probably in the stage right before that. I feel like they’re done, but I also feel like they might need another going over.

I completely gutted a story I had had out on submission and reworked it. Took out big chunks, added other big chunks, changed the identity of a major character. It’s better, a lot better, but it’s still probably got some work left to do on it.

And then there’s “Allendale.” I should say up front that I think I’d like to pull my short stories together and publish them, or try, anyway, which is why I’ve been thinking about how many there might be that don’t suck and how to get them out there and get them published individually.

“Allendale” isn’t ever going on the market. It is what it is and what it is is a straight-up rip-off of Lovecraft. I love the story. It’s incredibly important to me. But I’m not going to pass off something that is more Lovecraft’s than mine as mine. It just doesn’t sit right. But I have a nagging thought in the back of my head about this story–what if that’s your uncle who wrote it? Your uncle who’s sitting in prison for killing his uncle? And what if you recognize it as being a Lovecraft story? And yet, also a truth about your family?

So, now I’m considering whether there’s a way to run those two stories side by side. I might have to experiment with footnotes. Anyway, this would just be for fun, as obviously, it couldn’t go to markets that couldn’t handle the design aspects, even if they wanted it. But it could go in a collection, and I think that might be fun.

And then, I’ll have to insert corrections into Project X and then I think I can turn back to the Allens and the Overtons.



Hemlock Grove, Finally

It isn’t consistently great. It is consistently good. This is more than you can say for True Blood or Twilight, who it clearly envisions as its competition. Famke Jannsen’s character finally did get sufficiently evil at the end, but I could have used some more of that all along.

I wish they’d have let Peter and Shelly fall in love. I mean, I know the hot dude is supposed to get the hot chick, and I totally saw why the hot chick dug him. I just thought he had more chemistry with Shelly.

I don’t know what to make of the obvious fact that both Peter and Roman watch “The Wire.” Maybe it’s not obvious. I felt like it was pretty obvious.

And I was surprised by how much I liked Dr. Price, who seemed somewhat flat in the book, but in the show–I think it’s somehow the actor–he feels less like a psychopath (a little) and more like a single-minded fool whose majorly losing his way.

It’s also shockingly less gruesome over all than the most gruesome parts would lead you to imagine. I don’t know if it was a nod to their budget or what, but there were quite a few times when I thought, oh, this is going to be gross and we never saw it–they cut away.

So, I think, if you like True Blood but wish it were a little better, you’ll like Hemlock Grove. I enjoyed it, a lot, but I don’t know that I’ll be telling The Butcher that he has to see it. If it’s your thing, it’s really going to be your thing. Otherwise, probably not.