Monday, June 25, 2012


Knock, knock. 

Who's there? 

Poopie! Hahaahaha! 

Yeah, honey (I shake my head, disapprovingly, like the prude I am), that's not funny. "Poop" is a disgusting, yucky word. 

Oh. Ok... Daddy? 

Yes, sweetie. 

Knock, knock. 

(Sigh. I put on my game face and a genuine smile.) Who's there? 

Poop, fart, pee. 

(Why the heck can't I STOP laughing? Oh Gawd, make me stop!!!! I'm five years old, dangit!!)

That's it. She's ruined for life. Let that be a lesson to us all. NEVER open the door for an innocent-sounding Candygram, unless you're absolutely sure there's really candy on the other end.

pics on Sodahead

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

When Testing Your Toddlers for Drugs Goes Wrong

We had a strict no-drugs policy at the JasDye household. Beginning from when she was old enough to recognize shapes, I trained my daughter to know the dangers of illicit drugs and how to avoid them.

We went through in-home "Baby Just Say No!" lectures and role playing seminars. I taught her about the dangers of the smack and the H and the X. I repeatedly told her, in no uncertain terms, that if one of her playmates offers her dope, that is no real playmate in the first place. "Just crawl away, honey. Just crawl away."

But then one day I decided that even the strongest rhetoric and fear tactics may not work. So I did what any loving, nurturing parent would hope to do in my situation. I started mandating random drug tests.

She passed the screenings for cocaine and PCP just fine. I was relieved at how this was going, even as she was crying from the needles (the urine samples were easy though. We just took her diapers and squeezed them into a tube). Anything to make our home a safe and happy place.

When the results came back from the marijuana test, however, we were stunned. She turned up positive. I thought it might have been the corrupting influence of our downstairs hipster neighbors. I wanted to believe that there was some logical explanation for my baby's lapse in judgment. Rather than just call the cops on her, I decided to confront her myself first.

One day, when she got up from her nap, I decided the time was right for a powwow. I had her sit down, and then told her the findings from the test. I asked her where she got the nerve to bring the wacky tobbacky into our sacred home. Her response was unexpected.

"I got it from YOU!"

And at the time, I didn't know what she meant because I never used nor bought weed myself. And also she couldn't quite talk yet.

But then recently this report was brought to my attention. Turns out that infants can get positive marijuana reports in their urine samples from baby shampoo and bathing products. Oops.

So, Jocelyn, if you're reading this, daddy's sorry for turning you in to the fuzz.

Prisoner 4100

On a serious note, some hospitals, according to the Yahoo story, perform drug tests on up to 40% of newborns, looking for trace amounts of drugs that may have leaked into the child during pregnancy. The study was done because they found a large amount of children were turning up positive for marijuana. And while I hope to God that nobody smokes anything while pregnant - or near a pregnant person - I also believe in justice and not ripping families apart. If the hospitals are going to do these tests, they are going to need to check for false negatives. If they find those tests to be too expensive, well, since when has expense ever stopped them before? But even beyond that, the idea of taking a child away from his or her parent(s) because of such use is harmful and negligent in itself. From the article:
To remove children from their home at birth because of a positive marijuana test is immediately and inexorably harmful, says Richard Wexler, executive director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform. "Even when the test is accurate, there is no evidence that smoking pot endangers children," he says, adding, "There is overwhelming evidence that needless foster care endangers children.”
Wexler explains that the odds of abuse and neglect are higher in foster care than they would be at home for the babies. “These infants are being taken from homes where there is no evidence of abuse, and placed in a situation where the odds of abuse are at least 1 in 4,” he says. "The odds of this kind of separation doing emotional damage are nearly 100%. Children risk enormous emotional trauma when they are torn from their mothers during a crucial period for infant-parent bonding.”
One study of infants who were exposed to cocaine in the womb found that their physical growth and development increased when they remained with their biological mothers, compared with being removed from the home because of maternal drug use. “For the foster children, being taken from their mothers was more toxic than the cocaine,” Wexler says.
You would think the people in charge of handing us our kids would be more responsible, no?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Longly Anticipatedly Book, Pedestrian Parenting, Is Now Finally Available!

Note: There have been some big and stupid formatting issues with the book that have made it impossible to read on various devices. That issue has been cleared up, I believe. So please, if you bought the book already, please get the new, revised version as it is available for free until Thursday, June 14th.
My newest book, Pedestrian Parenting, is finally available for download onto your Kindle or Kindle app accessible device. It is free this Wednesday and Thursday the 13th and 14th of June. If you have Amazon Prime, you can use that to purchase the book for free (though you only get one book a month. Fair warning that this book is only $2.99 starting Friday. But if you don't want to get The Hunger Games or 50 Shades to Lose Your Lover this month...). At under three bucks, I think you'll really enjoy it. Maximum valuety, and all that.
The recurrent theme in both this book about being a dad and in my book about being a teacher is this constant worry that I don't quite measure up, that I'm not just learning on the job, but on the ropes. It may be an inadequacy complex that I should really get looked at, but I also have a nagging feeling that it's very universally shared. If so, this book is dedicated to you. I started the germs of this latest book a few years ago, blogging various stories, collecting others, tweeting and facebooking several other little interactions. Through it all, I don't think a single sentence survived the knife, no piece looks like it did a couple months ago, no joke has quite the same set-up or take-down. But the skeleton was there, and is there. Every piece is still meandering, every story not quite complete - partially because life isn't complete and I never feel a burden to make everything have closure. Maybe that will irk some people, but I've always enjoyed the traveling as much as if not more than the destination itself. And maybe that's what this book is really about - the paths of parenting. Meandering and detouring and finding your way while purposefully getting lost. And since we're meandering anyway, here's a short selection.
When We Bring in the Big Dogs Parenting media is a funny business. Magazines, television episodes, and blogs shouldn’t be a go-to place for new parents to learn how to prepare for or raise children any more than WebMD should be a place to learn that one has congenital herpes. Television and reality meet to show us how boring the Kardashians are, or how many hot dogs a one hundred and fifty pound man can stuff down his pharynx - not to lecture us. It’s where we observe, point out, and ridicule how horrible other parents are, not where we come to feel remorse for our own failures and shortcomings. I do not come to this beacon of soft, beautiful light to feel any sympathy for the Basketball Wives or for Snookie’s pa. That defeats the whole purpose. But there you have it. Since most of the West no longer lives in multigenerational community, even diaper changing can be learned through such educational fare as “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” That’s not how I learned to change a diaper by the way.
Primarily, I hope you get a chance to enjoy and dig this book. And if you do, I would like to hear back from you. Perhaps you can even submit a review for Amazon. And if you don't, well, I'd still like to hear some feedback.