Teach a Child


During the weekend, while doing my normal weekly cleaning (usually a running affair lasting 4 hours and starting at around 9 am, involving dusting, vacuuming and making wet-areas (kitchen and bathrooms) sanitary, yes a little easier now that I’ve been keeping things more … organized) I listened to Tunnel in the Sky.

I learned my Heinlein upside down as most juveniles either weren’t published in Portuguese by the time I got married, or didn’t fall into my hands. So I’d read Podkayne and Space suit but none of the others.  Think of it, though, I had a treasure trove of Heinleins to explore in my twenties.

Anyway, Tunnel in the Sky, for those who haven’t read it (look to the people on either side of you.  If they haven’t read it, throw them out.  [Yes, I’m joking, it’s from The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, also Heinlein.]) is a book about space gates.  At some point, when I have time I must analyze it, because I’d always assumed the gate and its apparatus was on Earth, but I realized yesterday the gates were on the moon and Earth and the other planets are merely terminus points.  I’m fairly sure people reading it when it was published were mostly jarred — in the opening — by all the “world gates” and the fact that it made Arizona a suburb of NYC.

This is also, of course, because Heinlein was positing a massively overpopulated world.  It was what “everybody knows” in his day and age, and if he had posited OUR world he’d probably have been laughed out of the field.

But for me as I was listening to it, and more so for younger people who grew up here, I think, the most shocking thing as I was reading it was when the main character is watching the space gates, that a little girl from a wagon-train ready to go out to colonize, strays.  When she’s tracked down by a red cross employee, and brought back to her family (who would otherwise probably leave without her, because they had invested their entire savings on equipment and fees, and the gate would only be open minutes.  Also, given the premises of this book, they probably had other kids and would have more.) her mom takes her up, ups her skirt and paddles her.

I’m sure for many people today that’s the moment they stop reading.

For decades now, we’ve been bombarded with “never hurt a child, never ever ever” and “spanking them only teaches them to be violent.”

Actually so far as we’re seeing, not spanking just teaches them to be savages… but that’s neither here nor there.

This theory of “present supremacy” in which our ancestors, in the long, long history of the race (note to inevitable idiot: the HUMAN race) are all inferior to us, in sensibility and yeah, sense to and intelligence and every other quality that makes us human, is not only unproven, it’s preposterous.  Judging by achievements, alone, we’re the spoiled and lazy scions of a rich family, living off our ancestors accumulated wealth.  It’s not only ridiculous for us to assume superiority over our ancestors, it’s unseemly and it should stop.

And yes I know it’s the fruits of “popular Darwinism” (Note not the original theory which posited “higher” forms as being more adapted to life not, somehow, morally superior) and Marxism (according to whose believers the future comes with an arrow pointing in the direction they want to go, which is why the people who long for the conditions and political structure of the 1930s call themselves progressives.  Go figure.)

But in no other application is it as stupid as in child discipline.

Let me point out here that I’m not and have never been a proponent of the “beat them to the ground” philosophy.  “Minimum force necessary” is the imperative here.  RES for instance says he could discipline daughter with boring lectures.  We couldn’t do that.  From he time older son could argue with us, that lecture would have become untenable.  Or he’d take from it the stupidest thing possible, and apply that.  His brother, OTOH, would listen to us with an angelic smile, and completely ignore it.

Even with our two children, the discipline was completely different.  #1 son was bullheaded from birth (I swear) and even as an infant the “distract him with another object” never worked.  You had to physically remove him from the area (kicking and screaming) or lightly swat his hands (to stop him from eating dead flies on the windowsill of the house we were renting.  The windows were large enough and faced south and there were always dead flies on the sill.  He liked them.  He insisted they were raisins.  Ew.)

As he got older, sometimes you needed to swat his butt JUST to get his attention.  (This is the same kid who forced us to do diaper changes en-passant.  As in, as he ran babbling past us, we’d smell something, grab him, take him to changing table, change him, return him to the floor, and he’d return to running around the coffee table as though we hadn’t stopped him.  I THINK if I understood his game at the time, he was playing at being an ambulance.  You see, we lived on a main street and #1 son’s first heroes were cars and trucks.)

#2 son had a completely different temperament.  He smiled a lot, and sat a lot building fantastic things (I still have a duck mecha made of legos, with special oggles and weapons built in to both hands, which is amazing since he was using house/and/car lego sets.)  Sometimes he built whole cities, then played long involved stories with his lego people (Before that with the waffle blocks and egg people from little tykes) long before he could speak.

To discipline him the way we disciplined his brother (swat to the behind, or very light hand swats) would be totally uneeded and also cruel.  And you could distract him with an object.  I.e. “Get away from the heater, honey, here’s your Winnie the Pooh doll.”  And he WOULD stop and come to you.  I often say that if I’d had #2 son first, #1 son would have been a horrible surprise.

The only time force was needed with #2 son was to prevent him killing his brother who outweighed him by double at any given time before 10, or to drag him away from machinery.  (He once set the room-wide automatic rack in a garment store in Portugal spinning.  He closed the doors at the grocery store when we’d turned our backs for ten seconds.  If it had a button or gears, he was on it.)  So he got maybe five swats in his entire childhood all when it was a life-threatening “I want to impress that upon you” moment.

If we’d raised #1 the same way, he’d have — by now — set fire to some major city or worse.

Mind you, not only are they both decent human beings, but both of them, from the age of five or so on needed no real punishment.  (Oh, okay, sometimes we took younger son’s computer cord away for a day or two, but that wasn’t even really punishment, as the fact he’d become obsessed with certain games and do nothing else, and sometimes needed a re-direct to know there was still a real world and things he must do in it.)  Also, complete strangers would call us to tell us how wonderful our sons’ and their manners were, from elementary school on.

Now, up to about age five there were the occasional swats, and I won’t deny that was partly because we were doing the raising solo (sometimes just me, for long periods, because Dan was a programmer which meant month-long jags of 18 hour days weren’t unusual in the nineties)  and there was absolutely no way to pass them off to a grandmother for a few hours.  I suspect if we had we’d have spanked less, as I’d have had help and not needed to make them “trained and low maintenance” by the time they outweighed me (for Robert that was around 10.  I was smaller then, too.  Hypothyroidism hadn’t set in.)  There was this idea I had to train them so I could trust them out of sight, no matter what the public opinion of swats-on-the-behind was.

Mind you, being still me and Weird Libertarian MomTM, from the time they could reason and bargain, we went to paid incentives.  This horrified my SIL who is a teacher, and who said the kids should have to do some things just because they were part of the family, and they should get an allowance just to teach them to “handle money.”

But two things I can’t abide: money for nothing, and being forced to have onerous (several hours a week is that, for a kid) obligations you didn’t sign up for.  No, I’m not preaching you have to do this.  This was me and my personal moral scruples.  So, from the time older son was 5, I’d tell him what he could do and the price.  (Dusting a floor of the house was $5 I think.  He didn’t do it very well, mind you, and sometimes I had to re-do, but there was a minimum satisfaction before I paid, after inspection.) By the time younger was 8 and older 12, I had a big blackboard in the kitchen.  These were years I was writing 5 to 6 books a year (many of them work for hire or ghost writing and incredibly badly paid, but you know, kids needed shoes.  At the rate of three pairs a year at that time.)  I simply had no time for housekeeping.  Cooking took long enough (though sometimes older son did that.)  So on the board went everything, from bathroom cleaning, to collecting, shelving and alphabetizing the scattered books. Which is how they both ended up with substantial-ish bank accounts by their early teens.

BUT you can’t coerce cooperation from a tiny, non-verbal child, and you can’t entice it with some children.  And the world is full of danger for children, even in our society (Oldest-son-by-adoption, (fandom adoption, mind, as an adult) calls the years before 3 “the happy suicidal years” when referring to my practice grandkids.)

If you’re not going to be driven insane, and make them incredibly dependent on you, you CAN’T just not train them.  (It has other consequences too, later on, because humans are great apes, creatures of the band and hierarchy.  Growing up with neither hierarchy nor structure makes for very dysfunctional apes.  And humans.)  Particularly if you are, as so many of us are now, a single person coping with one or more kids, with no nearby help.  You must establish a structure. And when they’re really tiny “I can’t scream all night, because it makes my parents ill” doesn’t work.  What works is “Ow, I scream I get swat and then ignored.  Not good idea.  That’s a rule, I guess.”

Now, imagine the world as it was for your grandparents and before.  Or the world of Heinlein’s pioneers, who would be in an untamed world, with some unknown dangers, even after initial exploration.

Those people who think that the past was an idyllic place with fewer dangers need their heads examined.

There were as many dangers from people as there are now — rare, but even the village had its psychos, and the parent who doesn’t teach his kids about stranger danger is known as an ex-parent one way or another — even if less publicized.  (Less investigated too.  I can only imagine how much easier it would be to get away with kidnap and murder of children in the age where “go ten miles away it’s another world.”  I mean, think about it.  Timmy doesn’t come home from gathering wood, you might do a search, but you don’t find him, and you assume he was eaten by a wild beast (which is true in a way) and go on with life.  There is a reason for stories like Ansel and Gretel, you know.)  But there were other dangers too.  Only people who never grew up on a farm (much less a farm of past centuries, with the livestock in CLOSE UP proximity) can think of it as a safe and idyllic place.  Even without machinery, a cow can step on you, a horse can kick you, you can fall in the washing tank, you can fall in the cesspit and drown, you can eat some substance that poisons you, etc. (I had kids within five years of me in the village either succumb to all of those, or get very ill.)

Heck, I didn’t precisely grow up on a farm (though we grew most produce we used) but I remember the day I ran out the front door and almost INTO a pig that had escaped its pen and wasn’t a nice person.  The swat on the butt stopped me, before I ran TOWARDS him, and the injunction to never run out the door without looking first prevented other run ins with escaped livestock in the future.  Same with my one attempt to run across the street without looking.  (A car came down our street once every ten minutes, but as it happened, I almost ran under the wheels of one.)  For that matter ox carts can run you down too.  (Long story and not my fault.  I had to crouch down, though, because the driver was so close the wall he’d have decapitated me otherwise.  I still don’t know if it was because he was a shockingly bad driver, or he hated kids.  I was out alone at that time, at about 11.)

In an environment even more dangerous for children than ours (almost all of them, historically) and in which people have more children (which we’re going to have to do here, real soon, if the human race is to survive) than one or two, relatively harsh, immediate discipline is the only way to give your kids half a chance of survival (unless of course, you have one of the rare “easy kids” like number 2 son, who btw, from about ten on made up for it with his ability to slide out from under.  He was the son who says “Sure, I’ll do it” then ignore it in the parable of the vineyard.  Not anymore, but that was a difficult one to combat).

Yes, we all heard Victorians went overboard and tortured their children, or spanked them continuously, but frankly, lately, I’ve come to doubt anything popular culture says the Victorians did.  I’m sure there were evil abusive parents.  There are those in every century. What I’m not convinced of is that there were more of those then than now.  And, in general, children grew up with more structure.

The paddling scene in Tunnel in the Sky shocked me, though, because I don’t even think you could publish that now (in fact I wonder if newer editions have it!) But it made perfect sense, both from the culture of when it was written and for the world building.

Only barbarians and children believe that their opinions and ideas of how to live apply to every world and time, no matter how different.

I often call our crop of leftists “unspanked babies” not because I believe you should spank a baby, but because they were never spanked (and by this understand I can also mean “given any discipline or structure” because some kids don’t NEED or respond well to even mild physical punishment, and I’m not someone who believes one size fits all, in the infinite variety of humanity) and therefore remain babies in adult bodies.

I remember when older son was being terrorized by a fourth grader, when he was in kindergarten (the depths of stupidity were astounding there, since son was bigger than the fourth grader.)  The kid kept following my kid around the playground and pushing him, and throwing sticks at him.  I stood in front of the fourth grader and told him, very firmly “No.”  He looked shocked. I said “No, you don’t get to do that.  Because he’s going to get mad and push you, and you’ll get hurt.  Stop that.  That’s being a bad boy.”

The expression on his face told me that he’d never ever ever heard no.  Never had his impulses curbed.  Which explained why at ten, his main form of entertainment was bullying younger kids.  It’s an instinctive behavior, but one that doesn’t make you functional in the adult world.

In fact, refusing to discipline and set boundaries for kids creates amoral adrift people who don’t know what to make of themselves.  Humans are creatures of the band.  We need a hierarchy.  We need to know where we stand in that hierarchy, and we need rules.

The alternative is to create people who think they’re at the top of the heap, since they can do whatever they want, and who react with unspeakable violence and evil when told they can’t have what they want, because that’s how apes keep their position on top of the hill.

I’m sure I don’t need to give examples.

Do your children and those children in your purvey a favor: train them in the rules and structure needed to succeed in the world.

A child who has been raised with no discipline and no frustrations is an unhappy animal, who makes lives around him miserable. The only way to curb him, as an adult, is extreme violence and fear.  And it’s, in most cases, too late to make him or her functional.

And who, in sufficient numbers, can destroy civilizations.

439 thoughts on “Teach a Child

  1. Yes, we all heard Victorians went overboard and tortured their children, or spanked them continuously, but frankly, lately, I’ve come to doubt anything popular culture says the Victorians did.

    To the tune of “we know you REALLY do it, but we can’t find any evidence, so we’ll fake it up and declare that to be evidence”?

    1. Gee, where could we have heard THAT tune before? 🙂

      I’m with Sarah on the the Victorians, and also on the Puritans, BTW: I’ve heard enough actual quotes from Jonathan Edwards sermons (he talked about God’s love WAY more than he talked about hell), and from other Puritan authors on things like marriage and the importance of what they called “conjugal love” to a good marriage, to know that the popular culture’s view of the Puritans as fun-hating scolds is… let’s just say “quite distorted” and leave it at that. Sure, there were SOME aspects of Puritan culture that could be misread as fun-hating, but what they really were saying was that having fun isn’t necessarily the most important thing in life, and following God was even more important.

      But as I don’t have good primary sources available to me right now to quote from, I’ll stop there with what I’m confident in, lest I outpace my actual knowledge and end up saying something that turns out to be wrong.

      1. Back when Mark Shea* was sane, he identified a pattern:
        group 1: you shouldn’t do that, it will cause A, B and C bad results.
        group 2: you just say that because you’re fun-hating poopie heads.
        *do thing*
        *A, B and C bad results happen*
        group 2: HOW WERE WE TO KNOW?!?!?

        * if you don’t know him, don’t bother. Your blood pressure will thank me.

        1. I had a roommate who used to be Protestant/Evangelical and converted to Roman Catholicism, about ten years ago or so, who IIRC used to mention Mark Shea as one of the people he read a lot who let him know it’s okay to swim the Tiber. I hadn’t heard anything about Shea jumping off the deep end of some idea or other, but it happened to the guy with the blog called… let’s see, I believe this is the one we shouldn’t name because he Googles the name… “small verdant sports equipment”, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it happened to someone else. Or perhaps Shea went the “racialist” route. Either way, I’ll heed your warning and won’t seek him out. After all, I already avoid reading quite a few people because anger at something I can’t change does me no good at all. So I’ll just add one more name to the list of people to avoid reading; these days when so many are jumping off the “racial separation” deep end, it’s not a real short list.

          1. I stopped reading Mr. Shea a while ago but I don’t believe he has subscribed to any theories of (as I call it) determinative ethnoculturalism; rather, the past few years have seen an always ardent anti-gun position harden into complete rigidity on the topic.

            This in itself would not be such a problem if it had not (to the best of my observation and reported hearing, which may, it should be noted, be incomplete or inaccurate) been accompanied by the kind of Bulveristic assume-the-worst-motive-possible explanations for disagreement which characterize the worst SJWs I’ve read. I don’t fault someone for finding themselves in this mental position — it’s extremely hard to avoid after any sustained period of antagonistic Internet discourse — but it does make one’s content extremely unpleasant to read for thin-skinned sorts like myself.

            If you can avoid that particular topic, or refrain from getting into arguments, and limit your reading to explanations of Church theology on other topics, Mark Shea has a lot of extremely useful and worthwhile content to read, especially in his archives.

            1. I gave up Shea after he posted an attempt to equate left and right reactions to something by just plain lying about the right. I said this was almost slanderous (an understatement). He said if I accuse him of that, he would ban me.

              He didn’t get the chance.

              1. I honestly can’t remember why I stopped reading him for enjoyment*– but I remember when it stopped being about “better things to do” and into “he’s got issues, man.”

                Caught him lying about simple history to bolster his argument about torture, via someone citing him. (Functionally defined as “anything he doesn’t think is appropriate treatment.”)

                * I vaguely remember it was some hysterics aimed at me for pointing out a fact or three he didn’t like, but that might be a false memory since it’s pretty much what he did to everyone who left/got banned.

          2. Yep, and Andrew Sullivan is an example, too.

            He went the “pox on both their houses” route, and then because the sides were not actually equivalent, he had to keep digging deeper and deeper– the standard one lie spawns four more thing. *sad*

          3. Or perhaps Shea went the “racialist” route.

            That is the Left’s greatest success. They have built a culture where more and more people are doing so because it is more and more a practical and logical choice. The problem isn’t necessarily people believe it but when more and more institutions play the “count the noses” game it becomes self-harm to not demand your nose be among the kind counted.

            And that’s before we get to the social trust destruction inherent in such systems of which I think the “assume the worst” mentality is as much symptom as cause. The more you separate groups so they don’t mix the harder it is to make the mental leap to assume their good will.

          4. The person who founded Small Verdant Sports Equipment didn’t go off the deep end so much as return to the deep end. His blog started before 9/11 and I read it because he made interesting tech posts. The political stuff then looked much like the political stuff now. Then 9/11 happened, and his politics seemed to change. After a couple of years, he was getting a little squishy, and then in 2004 RaTHergate happened. He was a vital part of uncovering that in time for it to do good.

            There’s a thing that happens to people who are used to the spotlight. When the spotlight moves on most people miss it. Some people miss it so much that they’ll do anything to get it back (like the D-list comedienne with a severed Trump head.) Others just stew in their own juices and resent that people seem to have forgotten what they did. It appeared to me that’s what happened with the creator of Small Verdant Sports Equipment. The more bitter over the loss of the spotlight he became, the more he moved in the direction of where he had been before 9/11 shocked him into advocating for things that the old (and new) him rejected. By the time I gave up on visiting the site unless I saw a link to it and decided to wander over he was pretty much like he was before 9/11, but with a larger ego.

            1. That explains quite a lot, actually. I had wondered how a person does a political 180° like that, and the answer appears to have been much more sensible than I thought. E.g., the answer was “by experiencing something like 9-11”, as opposed to “by sliding gradually”. Though it didn’t stick, of course.

              But that thing about getting used to the spotlight and missing it? That is why I think it’s so vital for people to love the truth, and seek out the truth no matter what it does to your cherished beliefs. If your beliefs are found to be in conflict with the truth, you simply MUST be prepared to abandon those beliefs you’ve found to be false. Which involves holding your precious ego as less important than the truth, and so many people aren’t willing to do that. Which is why when I find people who are willing to do that — to change their opinion once they realize the truth is the opposite of what they thought, and hold on to the truth even when all the emotional rewards lie back in the area of their former (false) beliefs — I hang on to them as friends the best I can. Because THOSE are the friends that “stick closer than a brother”, as the Bible talks about.

              1. a) Yeah, these kids on the news are going to have a tough row to hoe in their later years. Normally you get that sort of fame and attention by developing a skill and seeking it out intentionally. So by the time you have national attention you may have developed a foundation and also the skill to manage the effects of attention. If you have a personality that can become dependent, and get the fame without having the ability to cope with it, problems ensue.

                b) I’ve recently discovered that some of my responses to attention are not what I’d thought they were. So I do in fact have to manage a desire for attention, and need to make some adjustments.

                1. No, no, you’re all wrong! Those kids are enjoying the same unimpeachable moral authority as Cindy Sheehan.

                    1. While I abhor her choices…it’d take a much harder heart than mine to not feel bad at how she’s been used.

                      Kind of like those poor kids making fools of themselves. They’re wrong, and threats, but dang it hurts to see people so obviously used.

                      Writers, take note: that is one way to make it so a villain is sympathetic, without having to make them “wronged so right.” Make them used.

                    2. Given her history as a leftist activist prior to her being used I chalked it up to karma more than anything. Even if she hadn’t directly been part of something similar earlier she had aided and abetted.

                    3. Her blatant exploitation by the Left and the MSM (But I Repeat Myself) did as much as anything to move me from indifference to hatred of both institutions. I did not blame her but rather those who sought to weaponize a mother’s anguish (even though misdirected) to further their political purposes. It was even more grotesque than their exploitation of our American dead and wounded in Vietnam, whose deaths and injuries the Left fricking cheered even as they cried their crocodile tears.

                    4. No, not Cindy Who.

                      And please to use her whole name: Cindy Lou Who.

                      No relation to the Whos Horton heard.

                    5. As far as I’ve seen, yes, those are the same Whos. At least, the animated version of Horton Hears a Who (which was done about the same time as the animated Grinch, but not nearly so entertaining) has the Whos joined by a suspiciously greeny-yellow fellow in a few of the shots.

                    6. nuh uh! these kids started their own grass roots movement, they aren’t being used!

                      (Seems like every ‘grass roots’ movement on the left is AstroTurf these days. Usually funded by the same person or persons.)

                    7. Well of course they are astroturf funded by the same people…those damn American peasants don’t know how to behave and which betters to champion. That’s why they need to replace us with better (ie, willing to follow leftists) peasant who will do the right spontaneous two minute hate.

            2. I remember Sports Equipment. It was one of the first places I went to when I learned about the then-magical world of the Blogosphere.

              The magic has faded somewhat.

              1. Tis “The Blog That Shall Not Be Named ™ ” because he goes all google and looks himself up . . . you think Cramps is a pain? chuckles now can make one wish for the glens greenwaldian for sanity. I never bothered to get banned. Just walked away.
                but pre-9/11 he was a constant degrader of “Shrub”
                Heh, I been on the intertubes so long, I was once in agreement with he of the ovoid often and argued incessantly with Lee Stranahan
                I’ve not change position much at all, and now I’d clue-by-four the bicycling clown and many times have agreed with, and defended Lee. Though I’ve not connected with Lee much lately so i don’t know where he lurks on things.

                1. Yup. Not sure what happened to the poor fellow, but he certainly blew the fuses mentally.

    2. I love that this is the same group who insisted that certain ancient cultures couldn’t POSSIBLY have been sacrificing babies to their gods, and that those mass burial sites of infants were for…I dunno, stillborn or aborted(???!) children?

      Even though all the archaeological evidence said nope, this was sacrificed infants, because those people did horrible things, as people sometimes do.

      1. Still born and “infant mortality” is the way I heard it– they meant SIDS type, but you know how my dark humor runs with THAT line.

      2. Because they were not Roman or Greek, and thus never, never did unkind things. *pious nod*

        Like the people who say the Aztecs got a bad rap, and then deny that the archaeologists keep finding skulls and skull-racks. Lots, and lots, and lots of skulls…

        If you are doing something that makes even the Romans go “Aiee! Burn them with FIRE!!!” it must be pretty dang icky.

        1. If all you have on, say, Carthage is the speeches that their Roman enemies gave, in which they claimed that the Carthaginians sacrifice children to their evil gods… well, you might reasonably decide to not take their enemies’ word for it and assume that this was wartime propaganda.

          But once you start finding the evidence of child sacrifice, you start to realize that Cato the Elder was entirely right to end his every speech with “Carthago delenda est.”

        2. Or rather, you should start to realize it if you’re the kind of person who cares about the truth (like I mentioned in my 6:29 PM comment).

      3. Victorians are white westerners who had mostly male leadership.

        Ancient cultures were all matriarchal (just ask your local feminist) and non-white and non-western.

        Therefore we know the former were evil abusers and the later were peace loving hippies that the former exploited and destroyed.

        Man, I should get a job teachings “Foo Studies”.

          1. I believe you have to pass the Foo Bar before you can become a practicing Foo. Mind you, the amateurs out there are pretty darn good at it.

        1. Ancient cultures were all matriarchal (just ask your local feminist) and non-white and non-western.

          You just HAD to go and mention that recent Ancestry DNA commercial, didin’y you? Now I’m gonna have to go to bed nauseous. 😛

          1. They did a matriarchy commercial? The only one I’ve seen is where the guy finds out he’s .002% Viking, and it was awesome and confusing. But cute. Particularly the one kid with the leaf blower.

          2. Actually, I don’t know said commerical (commercials require watching network or cable TV). But my first wife did become a member of a feminist coven not long before our split and, yeah, all ancient cultures were matriarchal which is really superior but patriarchal cultures destroyed them. Of course, if they were superior I’m not sure how they were destroyed so thoroughly but there you go.

            1. Of course, if all “ancient cultures were matriarchal”, then where did the “patriarchal cultures” come from? 👿

              Of course, it is a valid point about “how superior those matriarchal cultures were if they were defeated by patriarchal cultures”. 👿 👿

    3. I knew my grandparents (born 1895 and 1896), and their stories of their childhood did NOT confirm those horrifying abuse accusations.
      Moreover, their own children spoke of almost never being physically chastised. My mother swore she was never spanked in her life.
      So, if they DID experience abusive child-rearing, they didn’t pass it along.

  2. I learned my Heinlein upside down …  Think of it, though, I had a treasure trove of Heinleins to explore in my twenties.

    I can think of it.   I  entered my twenties with all but one of Heinlein’s books yet to be read.

    My first encounter with Heinlein was in my first year at Middle School.  I would not really recommend starting with Stranger in a Strange Land at that age.  It is what I did and it nearly became my last.  

    Fortunately the situation was later remedied.  The Spouse was rereading The Moon is a Harsh Mistress during a trip north to drop off a younger sibling at school and visit my parents.  I was driving and we were stuck in a traffic jam outside of York, PA.  The Spouse flipped back to the beginning of the book and began to read out loud.  SIGH!

    1. That sounds familiar, actually. ☺ 7th-grade me borrowed Stranger in a Strange Land from a friend’s house – and actually enjoyed it, on one level, but was very confused on another. Had no interest in reading more until spouse (in combination with our lovely host’s writings) convinced me to pick up The Cat Who Walked through Walls. Now I’ve got a bunch on my shelf waiting to be read.

      1. I read a couple of the translated to Finnish ones – Beyond this Horizon and Podkayne – and was not impressed. Then I read Red Planet in English and was quite impressed. Took me a while to find most of his older stuff here, they were reprinted and copies would be sold in a couple of Finnish bookstores in Helsinki, but never that many at a time, so I would visit often and always bought the new – new to the store, that is, Heinleins besides some others.

        The older books are better, especially his juveniles, but I liked some which were published in the 80’s. And I seem to be one of the few people who actually really likes Number of the Beast. Okay, the ending kind of falls apart, but the beginning is great. And I really really want a Gay Deceiver. Wouldn’t have minded a Zebadiah either. 😀 Or now when I’m older, a Kajake. If there had never been a Deety or a Hilda, of course.

          1. That was actually the first Heinlein novel I read, mostly due to references to it I’d seen in a fanfic, of all things. Despite some of the scorn some heap upon that particular novel, I enjoyed it enough to pick up much of Heinlein’s work.

        1. I don’t actually remember what the first Heinlein book I read was. I do remember that it was in college, because I had never picked one up myself, and was lent one by a friend.

        2. I like Beyond This Horizon, but am kind of meh on Podkayne. I liked Number of the Beast until near the end. It felt like he decided to tie it in to his other stories and just threw a bunch of crossover stuff into it.

          1. The end does kind of fall apart. Or is missing. It looks as if he forgot the plot – them being chased by the black hats – at some point and there is no real resolution to that, it just turns into a travelogue through all the universes and characters meeting characters.

        3. Number of the Beast is the book that inspired me to go back and read the John Carter books and such! I loved it if for nothing more than that.

      2. I started with the juveniles (how unusual; actually doing things in normal order. 🙂 ) In high school, my brother’s BIL gifted me with his old Heinlein paperbacks, complete through Stranger.(This would have been 1967.) That lead me down the path.

        In the early 70s, I wanted a computer that I could have a conversation with. I’ll pass on that now; too many hearing issues.

        1. For my 10th birthday, my grandma gave me a $50 gift card to the local bookstore. I was overwhelmed for choice, so my mom took a look at the shelf, picked out every Heinlein juvenile that she didn’t have on hand, and then gave the ones she *did* have on hand to me to complete the line. I actually didn’t read most of the adult ones until I was an adult, and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress wasn’t handed over to me until I was a teen.

    2. I can also understand learning Heinlein “upside down”. The first of RAH’s books I ran into was a copy of Starship Troopers in 6th grade. I spent $.75 of my hard earned (paper route) money and it was mine. It was awesome but I could find nothing else. This is circa 1972-1973 the local bookstore (note singular) had almost NO science fiction at all and none by RAH. The Carter Hull Public library had one volume by RAH but it was in the adult section which I could not peruse until 7th grade.
      Well 7th grade finally came around and I dumped my child card and upgraded to an adult one (green vs sort of pale peach). I made a bee line for H in the fiction section and found it post haste. Like CACS I had found Stranger in a Strange Land. I started and after maybe 20 pages set it down and backed away carefully. The ONLY reason it didn’t get thrown against the wall (traditional treatment for a lousy book) was that it was a library book and not mine to abuse. Pretty much that put me off RAH until late 7th grade when a used bookstore showed up. Trade 2 books and a dime for any other book. So I gathered all my Scholastic book club “treasures” and started trading in. And that store had many of RAH’s short story
      collections, Juveniles and others like Moon is a Harsh Mistress. So I read them in an order similar to our Hostess and CACS.

  3. Since I’ve started minding my sister’s two kids about ten years ago, I came to conclusion that how parents handle their three year old’s temper tantrums can tell you a lot about that kid’s character and what they are like as they grow up. Some parents indulge temper tantrums by trying to fix whatever the kid is whinging about while other parents laugh at temper tantrum and tell kid to ‘suck it up, buttercup’. First group of kids end up narcissistic while second group has learned it’s not all about them.

    Many years ago now I read something that said America’s black community hit their children more often, and much harder, than any other ethnic group in US. Psychologist said she thought a lot of them ended up with PTSD and that was a likely explanation for why black teen boys were significantly more violent than any other ethnic group of teens.

    1. Oh good, I am not as bad as I thought I was. Squire has taken to stamping his feet when he doesn’t get his way. My response has been, “Stamp harder, I can barely hear you.” Then I go right on ignoring his tantrum. :p

      1. Temper tantrums mostly occur when kid perceives an injustice and it is good to teach the Squire that life is not always fair but you have to get on with it.

        1. Eh, do it wrong and you will convince the child that YOU are not fair.

          And what’s more, the child will be right.

    2. We used to grade our kids’ tantrums. There was even a Russian judge. If it continued past that, I’d throw myself on the floor and show them how it should be done. That part always stopped it.

      1. My dad did something similar (without actually going so far as to throw himself on the floor). By the time he was done, whoever was crying/screaming was usually either laughing or trying to pretend they didn’t know this embarrassing adult.

        1. Embarrassing your child with your behaviour is one of the most effective tools in the parental bag of tricks.

          1. Oh, yes. When kid was headed for HS, you know the era when kids start cutting class. Told him 1st time he was caught, & he would be caught, mom or dad were going to class with him for a week. Second time, in PJ’s, robe, & me, hair curlers (would have had to buy some, but …). He quipped back, “you both work”. “Fine. Grandma said she’ll help!” Kid stared at us appalled. Never cut classes, per his teachers he was one of the most prompt & respectful students. It was critical that we’d always followed through in the past. Starting in HS he might have tested us.

            Then too, we also told him that we did not believe in the zero tolerance policy. He was never to start a fight, no matter the reason or provocation, but he was allowed to finish (or attempt), he was also allowed to walk away, his choice. But, we would back either way & fight or deal with the consequences.

            1. On the zero tolerance nonsense, a policy which denies the right of self-defense, Instapundit noted a flash of sanity:

              SOME COMMON SENSE: Georgia Supreme Court: schools can’t expel for fighting in self-defense.

              Posted at 12:51 pm by Glenn Reynolds

      1. I do trust you Mrs Hoyt, I agree with what you have written.

        Sociology article I read just said that black community in inner cities have a “beat them to the ground” parenting style in effort to make their kids respect authority more and away from police. Many of black kids raised in ghettos have been smacked more often in two or three months than kids from all other major ethnic groups experience in lifetime.

        And I like that idea of grading tantrums, I wish I would have thought of that.

        1. Probably a lot of them do. Being raised by single mothers… see what my poor grandmother who reproached herself to the end of her life for spanking the boys too hard said. She was alone with them. Grandad visited once per baptism, and when he left she was pregnant again. When the one girl was born (fourth) he didn’t visit. For various reasons mostly monetary (they wrote to each other every day for the rest of the time he was away) he didn’t come home again till daughter was a teen.
          She was TERRIFIED of those boys (Which I get because my sons were my height by 10 and take after that side of the family) so she thought she spanked too much. (They didn’t even think so!)
          So, in a culture of mostly single mothers, spanking is probably too hard.

        2. I strongly suspect that the greater problem of spanking is not that it “teaches children violence” but that it inures them to violence. That may or may not be PTSD — it seems likely that, if you stretch the definition sufficiently, everything is attributable to PTSD (I, myself, have never entirely gotten over the trauma of my mother nearly crushing my skull simply to force me out of my nice comfortable womb … although I allow there is much more to read out here, so I have resigned myself.)

          The most interesting thing about PTSD as explanation is how it is that some folks are able to overcome it. There was some discussion abut a decade ago about making our kids more resilient but it seems largely to have died out. Because why would we want tough, resilient people when we could have hothouse flowers?

          1. Oh, the “resilient” thing still comes up– the thing is, when it’s something they wanna do, any harm to the kids is “making them resilient.”
            When it’s something you want to do, or stop them from doing, it’ll cause PTSD.

            Oh, latest interesting thing–did you know PTSD makes you a drug user, a drug dealer, and totally not responsible for any illegal actions, and retroactively makes you not responsible for not “realizing” that signing up for military service didn’t make you a citizen?

            It’s totally true! Latest guy being deported says so! (Came here legally. Eligible for citizenship since 1994. Signed up about the same time I did, did to hitches in Afghanistan– oddly lacking in any details there, so I suspect it’s not helpful to his story– before being caught smoking pot on base. Ditched all medical appointments after the prelim PTSD.)

              1. Curse it, RES, now I’m hearing the “it’s a floor wax, it’s a dessert topping!” thing in my head, but military themed— “it’s floor wax, it’s desert topping, it’s a full PT kit that will shine your medals!”

            1. Oh, latest interesting thing–did you know PTSD makes you a drug user, a drug dealer, and totally not responsible for any illegal actions, and retroactively makes you not responsible for not “realizing” that signing up for military service didn’t make you a citizen?

              Hmm… I wonder if I should tell my friend who has PSTD and works for DHS that?

              1. Probably get roughly the reaction I had, especially when said twit doubled-down by demanding I have “empathy.”

                ….the timeline the drug dealer was in was roughly the same as my own, for what it’s worth.

            2. Oh fer pities sake. I do believe that military service *helps* if you’re applying for citizenship but you have to actually apply for citizenship.

              1. It doesn’t pass the smell test, frankly.

                A superior being able to write that he got one of his guys through all the citizenship hoops? That is a really big, low-effort attaboy.

                For that matter, there’s a lot of paperwork where you have to put your citizenship– wanna tell me this guy screwed it up for at least seven years and nobody noticed?

                Balloon juice.

                I can think of only one reason– this isn’t to be conflated with “there’s only one reason,” it’s an admission that my imagination has limits– that someone would avoid citizenship like that. Mexico will not deport any of their citizens unless the death penalty has been taken off of the table. That’s one of the reasons that we’ve got major issues wiping out drug gang violence. It would also explain how he got pot on base (usual routes you’d smoke it off base, at the place you got it) and how he hooked up with a “childhood friend” who was a major dealer so fast.

                1. wanna tell me this guy screwed it up for at least seven years and nobody noticed?

                  Sadly, tales of government bureaucratic incompetency are too credible. Witness all of the ignored warnings regarding the “paperwork” failure that enabled the shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, the recently revealed possible cause of FBI failure to spot the danger signals in re: Orlando’s Pulse nightclub shooting, nor the top to bottom failures of government related to the recent school shooting in Broward county.

                  Or even this item in today’s news:

                  FBI miscommunication resulted in delay in accessing San Bernardino shooters iPhone: Report
                  Poor communication within an FBI division led to a delay in how the bureau worked to access the iPhone belonging to the alleged shooter in the December 2015 San Bernardino terror attack.

                  The revelation is part of a Justice Department inspector general report released Tuesday, which also finds that top FBI officials were truthful when telling Congress that the bureau could not unlock the phone belonging to Syed Rizwan Farook.

                  The probe was launched after a former senior FBI official expressed concern that the FBI’s Operational Technology Division, or OTD, may have had the ability to access data stored on the phone, but did not use them.

                  That would have made then-FBI Director James Comey’s testimony to Congress in February and March 2016 — that the FBI needed help from Apple to access data on the iPhone — inaccurate.

                  The FBI eventually paid a third-party firm to unlock the iPhone in late March after Apple fought back against a court order ordering the company to unlock the device.

                  1. All those involved more work, and possible danger– while hitting a soldier for inaccurate citizenship claims is safe, easy and gets you atta-boys.

              2. And your impression is correct; some of the folks I know who got it via the Navy mentioned that it was easier than getting their taxes done, especially right after 9/11.

    3. Psychologist said she thought a lot of them ended up with PTSD and that was a likely explanation for why black teen boys were significantly more violent than any other ethnic group of teens.

      Because the fact that somewhere over 70% of them grow up without a father figure could not possibly have any effect.

      1. Actually, the two together go hand in hand. It seems to me that the single mother often winds up letting things go until they overwhelm her ability to ignore, and then she goes overboard.

        1. Theodore Dalrymple notes this teaches the child that “punishment” turns on the whims of those in power, not his own acts.

    4. Girl child threw ONE temper tantrum in public when she was… 3 maybe?

      Threw herself down on the floor of Target and commenced.

      Wife and I just kept walking.

      She’s hitting puberty now so things are a bit…touchy.

      1. I did the walking away too when kid pulled tantrum in store, when it was a true tantrum. Well to be sure I ran & hid around the corner where I could see him, but he couldn’t see me. To by standers’ “I refuse to get into an argument with a toddler & lose. Because there is no winning an argument with a toddler.” Hey always worked with the dog. Worked with the kid too. “Where is mommy?” When he calmed down. Let him know you can’t pay attention if you are melting down. Tantrums will not work.

    1. Works for good neighbors too. Which reminds me, I need to schedule a surveyor to do my back line so I can put up a fence before I intentionally drop a tree on my neighbor’s house.

      I’m a nice guy normally, until you violate one or more of the 10 commandments, or the Bill of Rights, with me as your target.

    2. I remember reading somewhere that an experiment was done with small children – I think 4-6 year old range – where they were allowed to play in a park, but firmly told not to go beyond the park’s fenced boundary.

      The children’s parents were in the park, but allowed their kids to play as they wished (and only intervened if someone looked to get seriously hurt) and apparently the children 1) didn’t try to get beyond the boundary but 2) explored the hell out of their park. Climbed trees, played in bushes… played.

      Apparently, being told ‘you can do whatever you want in this area’ gave them a firm idea of what they couldn’t do, and the ‘can’t do’ wasn’t interesting enough to tempt disobedience and the kids felt ‘safer to explore’ with the boundaries in place.

        1. Yeah. Rumpus rooms are good for that. “Here. Play. If any toys break, bring ’em out and let us know how it happened, but if you broke them on purpose you won’t get a new one.”

          Son is much, much more careful with his belongings than his peers, who think nothing of smashing tablet computers if they’re mad, and getting upset if they do not get replaced immediately.

        1. WTF? I was sure I had typed that so it would appear as:

          New movement puts more risk into kids playtime
          ‘Junk’ or ‘adventure playgrounds’ make play more challenging and the hopes of building more resilient adults; Ellison Barber reports.

          It remains two minutes, fifty seconds.

          From Wednesday’s FNC’s Special Report with Brett Baier.

        2. *grin* I let my kids play in the dirt and climb the trees in our yard back in the Philippines, play with the chickens, run around barefoot. (We were careful to make sure there were no sharp broken glasses or stones.)

          There were always the laundry wash basins to fill with water and let them splash in for a bath afterward. Or a handy hose. Didn’t hurt them any and they loved it.

          1. One of my friends (who does medical research work) has horses. As she puts it, “A little horseshit in a kid’s diet once in a while helps build their immune system.”

    1. No. The nurses got very upset at him, when they had sensors on him while I was hospitalized for high blood pressure, because he never stayed in place very long. He also pedaled day and night.

            1. That was put up before 1900 and nobody’s made the obvious response? I am ashamed of Huns Assembled.

              He‘s Thor? How do you think his mother feels?”

      1. Eldest kicked the monitor wrapped around my belly during labor, and then wriggled off the wires they put on top of her head while she was inside of me. The senior nurse said “Clearly she is fine, let’s not stress her out further.”

  4. Oldest-son-by-adoption, (fandom adoption, mind, as an adult) calls the years before 3 “the happy suicidal years” when referring to my practice grandkids.

    I took to calling it the ‘innocently suicidal years’ as the child has no idea of the possible consequences of his actions.  Even if he can parrot back to you that ‘he could get seriously hurt or killed if he did x-y-z‘ he (hopefully) has no real comprehension of what that entails.  

    When small The Daughter earned the nick-name ‘My little tornado.’ During this time We child proofed the house, purchased a harness and leash and kept a wary eye open at all times.  We also worked steadily on house and world proofing The Daughter as well, because we didn’t want that aspect of the stage of development to go on one more day than it had to, it was exhausting.

    1. Older son SWORE that getting killed wasn’t permanent, when he was little (he didn’t use the term, but he said something to the effect that he [or his brother, when I said he could have killed him] would respawn). To this day, I’m not sure if he was serious.

      1. He also swore to me for years that Godzilla was real, despite all attempts to convince him otherwise. Now he claims he was joking. He LOOKS like Thor, but sometimes…

        1. Just so long as you don’t begin to notice any resemblance to Loki in his brother, you really seem far too nice to be Odin. 😉

  5. I grew up reading “Starship Troopers.” And with a steady dose of the belt applied to my own backside.

    I’ve become a believer in the philosophy of Apply Discipline At Every Excuse. Mostly because if the kids are raised with strict discipline when they are young, their teenage “rebellions” won’t be very destructive. Which means they won’t be paying for a major screw-up the rest of their lives.

    1. When my eldest was a kid, he would climb up into strangers’ laps to look at their devices. I’d tell him No and they’d say “It’s okay.” I usually replied with, It’s going to take years to break him of this habit, so if I don’t start now, it’s going to no longer be cute when he’s still doing it.

      They’d look very thoughtful after that.

      Note: He still has issues about this, at almost 10, but he’s also ASD, so at least there’s a reason. I tell him to stop and why, but I don’t get annoyed about it.

      1. we have the most well behaved kids

        Before you get too puffed up over it, consider briefly how low a bar that might well be.

        Beats heck out of being considered the worst behaved.

  6. Saw a funny t-shirt recently that read “Mother of Boys: Easier to deal with than girls, but harder to keep alive.”

    I’ve known some girls that fit into that category too, though…

    1. I had a T-shirt that said “My life hasn’t been the same since I joined the MOB” and in tiny letters under the big ones Mother of Boys. It got lots of laughs and sympathetic nods.
      I was one of those girls, AND I joined the whine, sulk and shriek brigade on top of it as a teen. My poor parents.

      1. Me, I was abnormally well behaved in most areas. BUT, I was also incredibly verbose, starting at 8 months of age. And therefore creepy when very small, and difficult to deal with once I started arguing…

        I think the parents were lucky that I was interested in novels, and not, say, chemistry experiments…

        On the other hand, my mother informed me when the younger siblings were hitting puberty that I had been false advertising.

          1. A friend of mine had three boys and confessed that she was very judgy toward other homeschooling mothers until she started trying to teach the third one to read.

            We think that everything is “parenting” these days, because few people have enough children to know better.

            1. I think it was back in the late Nineties or early Oughts that the convenient wisdom had concluded that nature played a far greater role than nurture; it is amazing to see how much that has flipped.

              One would have to be very cynical to suggest that the “nature” side of the argument lost because it wholly lacked reasons for folk to pay child psychologists, buy parenting how-to books and attend to mommy blogs.

              It is amazing to consider how extremely liberal, in their day, were the authors of that song.

              1. Sondheim (did the lyrics for Bernstein in “West Side Story”) was pretty much a world class cynic. Occasionally, he’d be straight up, but the world-weariness of “Send in the Clowns” was more his style. I refuse to listen to “Sweeney Todd” more than once, so I can’t comment on those songs. I did hear that “Assassins” cleared the theater with the local rep group did it in San Jose. They were down to 7 attendees by the end, according to the couple in the front row who thought it’d be embarrassing to walk out. They were shocked when they turned around.

                On the gripping hand, I do like his “Comedy Tonight” song. (Well, I also like “Krupke” and anything by Tom Lehrer.)

                1. Heh. Sondheim peaked with the delightfully cynical A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum and has been swirling downward since (and I like Sweeney, mostly because it could have been written by Brecht & Weill … a couple of men who could have granted Sondheim lessons in cynicism.)

                  But cynicism alone is not entertaining. It requires a suitable framing, otherwise it is merely message fic. For Forum he had the sense to choose a good book, letting Burt Shevelove & Larry Gelbart steal it from the ancient Roman playwright Plautus.

            2. #hellyeah

              We’ve been very lucky with our kids as far as reading goes, but man is it funny to hear big sermons from folks whose only child experience seems to be their singleton….

            3. “because few people have enough children to know better.”
              I see this all the time in people who have few (or none). My non-parent sibs were always telling me how to raise my 5 kids.
              Best cure is to put them in charge of a Sunday school class or some girl/cub scouts and show them the degree of diversity in personality styles.

            4. To me, that’s a big argument for having larger families – you realize that you were the same parent, but that the kid was different – from birth.
              It also humbles you to realize how little your input matters, compared to the large part that is their inherent pre-disposition.

              1. younger son is functionally my dad. Could be worse. I might have had to raise mom or mom’s brother. BUT yeah, even things you wouldn’t think possible, like his preference in women.

          2. We only had one (not by choice). Two parents to one child … poor kid.

            OTOH I’ve had parents who have muttered “if second/third one had been first, he’d (or she) would have been an only.”

            1. My mom has actually said that. I was the perfect baby (slept through the night from day one, never fussed, housebroken at 10 months) … my younger sister was the Baby From Hell (largely due to colic; not coincidentally this was about the time baby formula became mostly soy-based).

            2. IIRC My sister has privately said that if her last kid had been the first that he’d been the last.

              Note, He has finished college and moved out. 😉

        1. Sib hit puberty, driving, and discovered the opposite sex while I was in college. After Mom vented over the phone one evening, she said, “I don’t understand. You never did anything like this.”
          TXRed: “Mom, Sib is the normal one.”
          MomREd: [weary sigh] “That’s right. I keep trying to forget.”

        2. I think the parents were lucky that I was interested in novels, and not, say, chemistry experiments…

          That reminds me. I think our Easter entertainment will be me reading out loud Lawdog’s stories about his childhood in Africa, and their chemistry sets…

  7. Or, if they decide to overthrow a civilization, at least they will have thought it through, first, and considered what the consequences might be.

    1. Those who do the overthrowing are never the ones who thought it through. The ones who have thought it over use the ones who haven’t as shock troops and then liquidate them after they cease being useful.

      See France, Russia, China, and Cambodia for examples.

      1. From everything I’ve read, Vietnam should also be considered, as the North Vietnamese were sending Viet Cong to prison and “re-education” camps with the same ruthlessness as they did survivors of the South Vietnamese military.

        1. One of the byproducts (features?) of the Tet Offensive was near total elimination of the Viet Cong as an effective force, IIRC.

          1. Indeed, but there were still thousands of survivors afterwards, and as I understand it, most of them who ultimately survived were either used up or tossed in camps by the North Vietnamese.

            1. of course, look what kinda people they were, they certainly needed re-ed! ***removes tongue from cheek***
              Once knew a survivor of the camps. He had an auto repair shop in Morgan City.

              1. OTOH, it would have to eat some of them. Revolutions tend to attract not only those who are willing to do violence to make revolution, but those who are willing to make revolution to do violence — and the second group will prevent its accomplishing anything unless stopped.

                1. There are some on our side who will be in my sights come the revolution if I’ve ammo remaining once the true enemy is eliminated.

                  And some allies in whose sights I will likely stand.

                2. Revolutions have to eat their own because they are done by people willing to engage in revolution. Once you have replaced the prior rulers with yourselves the last thing you want is people willing to remove you running around.

                  1. Part of it. The other part is that you want the revolution to bring about something, not dissolve into endless messy revolution. People who want the something can go home and be good. People who want the violence. . .

        2. As Solzhenitsyn pointed out, they overthrew a government once, they could do it again.

        3. I was unaware of that which is why I omitted them. Having dealt with too many Communist apologists I make sure I have things I can readily point to (not that I expect such types here but habits).

        1. The difference in the USA is they did not overthrow a civilization but changed who ran it. Yes, the nobility went away but it was already declining in raw power in the century leading up to our revolution, parliamentary supremacy having been cemented by either the Glorious Revolution (most accounting) or the Civil War (a valid argument as well).

          In fact, the whole point of our revolution was not overthrown of English civilization but restoration of it. The colonist argued that they were being denied their rights as Englishmen and were instead subjected to raw Regal authority. The most radical change you could argue they were making was the removal of any hereditary sources of authority in favor of viewing the various declarations of right the inherent possession of all men.

          1. And as a practical, nuts-and-bolts matter, the changes to the government was largely just a matter of replacing royally-appointed governors with ones elected by the populace or legislature, and having the newly-assembled Continental Congress assume the powers Parliament and the king had held. Some of the states made more extensive changes, and some of the most rabid pro-British elements did get purged, but I think what I wrote, that’s a fairly good summation.

          2. Nod, but only one of the colonies had “hereditary sources of authority”.

            IIRC The Pennsylvania Charter have given a high level of control to the Penn family (descendants of William Penn) and while IIRC most of them lived in England, they were causing problems for the Pennsylvania elected colonial government. Ben Franklin spent a good deal of time in England lobbying Parliament to remove the power of the Penn family over Pennsylvania.

            1. I was referring less to authority here in North America and more the fact the nobility still have a partial veto in the House of Lords as well as the King not being as constrained as we are used to post-Victoria.

              Our “House of Lords” is not hereditary attempts by the Kennedy, Nunn, and Taft families (and others I’m sure) to make it otherwise.

          3. Dr. Benjamin Franklin: Please Mr. Dickinson, but must you start banging? How is a man to sleep?
            [laughter from Congress]

            John Dickinson: Forgive me, Dr. Franklin, but must YOU start speaking? How is a man to stay awake?
            [More laughter]

            John Dickinson: We’ll promise to be quiet – I’m sure everyone prefers that you remained asleep.

            Dr. Benjamin Franklin: If I’m to hear myself called an Englishman, sir, I assure you I prefer I’d remained asleep.

            John Dickinson: What’s so terrible about being called an Englishman? The English don’t seem to mind.

            Dr. Benjamin Franklin: Nor would I, were I given the full rights of an Englishman. But to call me one without those rights is like calling an ox a bull. He’s thankful for the honor, but he’d much rather have restored what’s rightfully his.

            John Dickinson: When did you first notice they were missing, sir?

  8. Only people who never grew up on a farm (much less a farm of past centuries, with the livestock in CLOSE UP proximity) can think of it as a safe and idyllic place.

    Until we moved into center city Philadelphia shortly after my tenth birthday we had lived (with the exception of a period on a military base when I was two) in various levels of metropolitan suburbs.  

    I spent the summer following my senior year of high school caring for two boys (one just 9 and the other about to turn 11) as a mother’s helper in eastern Tennessee farm country.   The father worked at Alcoa Aluminum and the mother was working on her Phd. at UT, Knoxville, so they were often gone.  They were living in a rented house on one of the six farms held by a local family.  

    I think the last vestige of any dream of rural idylls came the morning I was awoken at first light by the boys excitedly declaring the news that a neighbor’s horse was in the vegetable garden.  This was not the stuff of Thurber’s Unicorn in the garden.  It fell entirely to me to manage the situation.

    1. My cousin got his thumb pulled off. My other cousin got crushed and killed under a tractor. My classmate died at 19 when a bale of hay fell on him. Another neighbor as a young man, suffocated in a grain silo. His father was gored by their bull but recovered. The neighbor once caught a glove in a grain auger that proceeded to rip every bit of clothing off his body and cut him severely all over his body, but that was mostly embarrassing. It wasn’t that unusual to see farmers with a hook for a hand or fingers missing.

      1. I’ve never entirely recovered from the shock of reading, a front page* story in the NY Times a couple decades ago, defending Latin American sweat shops on the grounds that a) in those countries those kids would not have been in school after Fourth Grade any way because that was a luxury only wealthy nations could afford and b) the alternative was farming, compared to which sweat shops making t-shirts for Ms Kathy Lee Gifford was an OSHA-approved paradise of safety.

        *admittedly, below the fold

        1. Something can be *better* than the alternatives, and that’s probably reason enough to favor it. But that doesn’t mean it’s not miserable.

          Still, I’d go for “better” on my misery index any day.

      2. Thankfully I never experienced anything really damaging, although I heard stories and saw some of the scars.

        The nastiest I dealt with was the day the boys went after their dog into the one of the cuts where the owner of the farm composted the manure from his cattle barns. They were thoroughly and repeatedly scrubbed down and hosed off in the yard before being sent in to take a bath.

        1. When I laid in flower beds, with liberal amounts of compost from our pile, mom made me wash in the clothes tank before coming in. Fortunately it was summer…

          1. It was summer when the boys got into the cut. That had its up side and its down. It was better for the washing down outside, but the stench of the manure was entirely too … ugh.

      3. 7th grade art teacher lost all but her thumb on one hand to a potato picker when she was iirc a tween, and a classmate in Machine Shop lost arm just below the elbow to a flywheel on a hay bailer (zerk fitting caught his gauntlet glove and spun the arm off), and a frienemy of my dad as a kid got lucky and the square shaft of the lumber mill that grabbed him just bruised him while spinning him around until Grandpa shut it down.
        Pa yelled at him to back off but the fool just kept walking up and bumping his chest (he was wearing a heavy coat) against the spinning shaft. All the kids were happy that he was then banned from ever coming on to the farm again and they didn’t have to put up with him anymore.

        1. Oddly, I’ve worked with more women who got injured on the job than men. Two of them lost fingers in machinery – one lost two fingers in a press brake and one lost three or four fingers and part of her hand when the mold closed on the injection molding machine closed with her hand between them.

          1. last body bit lost at a different department at work was a girl. Was not supposed to be able to be done. Was “only” the very end of a finger.

      4. My grandpa got his fingers permanently curled in because of massive rope burn. My mom lost a foot to a hay mower. Same grandpa lost toes to a hay mower and they were sown back on with regular thread by his grandmother in her living room. One relative died after being thrown by a horse. A cousin got a pithfork through the foot.

        1. I’ve been stepped on by horses. It doesn’t matter if they’re shod or not.
          Been thrown by ponies several times riding bareback.
          Do not ever let pigs get to you if you want to live. It’d be safer wrestling a rabid grizzly bare in your birthday suit.

  9. One parents’ training class that I attended used the funnel analogy. When the kids are very little, you give them very little freedom, just like the narrowest part of a funnel. This goes on for several years, with very little change in the amount of freedom they’re allowed: you tell them what they’re going to eat today, you tell them when they’re going to go to bed, and you tell them when they’re going to get in the car and go to Aunt Betty’s house with you, yes, even though Aunt Betty’s house is boring and doesn’t have any video games, now get in the car right now.

    But then comes a point in time when they can start to understand concepts like cause and effect: “If you tip your chair back like that, you’re going to fall over backwards and hit your head and it will hurt. So don’t do that.” At that point they’ve reached the part of the funnel where it starts to widen out a little from its narrowest point, and you give them some freedom. (And you start to change the consequences for disobedience. Before, it was straightforward physical punishment: you take the cookie when I said no, you get a spanking. But now it can be “Okay, today you’re not acting mature enough to earn your video-game time, so it’s going to be taken away from you for the rest of the day. Tomorrow if you’re acting more mature, you’ll get the game back.”) And slowly, as they get older and start to become more capable of making good decisions, the funnel gets wider and wider and you allow them broad latitude, with fewer conditions where they have to ask your permission first. And then you get to the teenage years, and your role towards them shifts from authority to mentor. (Who can still fall back into the authority role if needed, but the more mature they become, the less often the authority role is necessary, at least if all is going well).

    Where most people do it wrong, the speaker said, is that they start out being WAY too permissive with their 3- and 4-year-olds. The kids are asked their opinion about everything (“Do you want chocolate, or vanilla?” and even worse, “Do you want to go to school today?” which is a false question, because the choice isn’t really being offered, and you should NOT do that to your kids because you’re teaching them that you lie), and they are allowed far too much latitude to be picky eaters and so on. Then when the kids suddenly start to hit puberty and notice the opposite sex, the parents panic and slam on the restrictions, trying to shove them down into the tight part of the funnel so they won’t end up pregnant / getting someone else pregnant, or doing drugs, or whatever. And what do you get when you give a kid wide latitude and never restricting their freedom, and then suddenly try to clamp down just when they’re starting to want to define themselves as their own people separate from their parents? If you answered “A recipe for 100% guaranteed teenage rebellion every time,” congratulations, you’re smart enough not to make this atrocious mistake. But far too many people make it, and the results can be seen every day in a high school Near You™.

    As my wife and I get ready for our baby to be born in early-ish May, I’ve been thinking about that a lot. My job isn’t to be my kids’ friend (not for the first twenty years or so, at least), my job is to be the authority who teaches them right from wrong. And that means I’ll have to punish them as often as they deserve it. But if I do my job right in the early years, then I’ll be able to start relaxing the funnel as they start to be able to understand cause & effect.

    1. And I should add that for the first N months (I’d like to ask the other parents in the room what they think the value of N should generally be, though of course every child is different) of a baby’s life, you don’t punish the baby at all. Because when they cry and keep you awake all night, they’re not doing it out of disobedience, they’re doing it because they have actual needs. But at some point you transition to the point where they can understand “Don’t do that or you’ll get spanked”, and at that point you do need to start enforcing discipline. I’m just wondering how you know when they’re reaching that point. At an early age, you can tell the kid “Don’t put that in your mouth” and they’ll do it anyway, because they don’t understand your words yet. But at a later point, you can tell the kid “Don’t touch that thing” and they’ll stop, look right at you, and reach out and deliberately touch the thing. THAT one, you have to jump on and immediately punish, because they’re testing the boundaries — and it’s by far the best thing for them, in the long run, to know that the boundaries are as fixed and unchanging as the laws of the Medes and the Persians.

      But what I don’t yet know is, how do you know when you’re transitioning from the one stage (don’t punish the baby because they’re not yet capable of obeying) to the other stage (punish the toddler because they certainly know they did wrong). Once you’re firmly ensconced in the toddler stage, it’s quite obvious, of course. But at what point do you transition? When does the kid start to be able to choose to obey or disobey, and is it around the same time that they start to be able to understand what you say (even if they can’t speak back yet)? Or is there a certain period of time when they can understand words, but don’t yet have the concept of “I should do what Daddy says”?

      1. The biggest punishment for tinies is NOT to pick them up when they cry all night. (Robert wanted to PLAY.)
        No, when Robert had his vaccines at 6 months of age, it was the first time he’d been hurt AT ALL and the look of betrayal!
        The “light smack on hand” started when he was a year and a half, and wanted to eat dead flies.

      2. The family pediatricians (two in the family) say six to seven months is when you shift to “Check on baby, if OK, ignore baby.” Not totally ignore, but slowly get the child used to the idea that wailing because she wants company is counter productive. Likewise with nursing. If the baby nurses from need, great. If the baby nurses past the empty light coming on, he wants company, not food.

        1. I am not advocating it, but preventing or mitigating the “I want company” wail is one of the arguments for actually keeping the baby by your bedside, or in bed with you.

          1. I never understood how we can expect to never let an infant or toddler out of our sight during the day (and everyone would think we were awful if we did) but expecting them to be alone in a separate room all night.

            It’s illogical.

              1. Ours had his own bedroom once he transitioned from small bassinet to full crib (wouldn’t fit in our room). But he often ended up in bed with us. Especially after night terrors.

                Last time that happened he was 10. It was after a full day of funerals & memorials for his playmate & cousin, who was murdered as a pedestrian walking alongside a rural road by a hit & run driver in front of her older brother & two classmates. So, yes, when the nightmares started, dad & I put up with the whirling derby, that night (that kid could NOT sleep in one position from the time he could roll over on his own, at least at 10 he was too big to do the top spin – head where feet were & back).

                1. Hell, sometimes when they were both teens, they’d come in to talk to me, and ended up asleep, one in Dan’s place and one at my feet, until Dan came to bed (usually 2 to 3 h after me) and chased them out.

                  1. Well he always had “minky” (my Blanket), through HS. Technically he still has it, the scraps were poured into a baggy; after awhile I never washed it, it would have dissolved. This was a kid who had 5 nice quilts & afghans. One got loved to death & beyond.

                2. Heck, us adult children STILL go hang out at the end of mom and dad’s bed when home.

                  I have an ‘unofficially adopted’ (he joined the family when he was twenty) older brother for whom this was a revelation (he was outlawed from virtually all interactions with his mother and stepfather, because stepfather didn’t like/want children O.O ). He *loved* being able to come in after “bedtime” to talk to my parents–and he got a lot of education and sorting of life problems that way.

                3. I was reading a book about an architect who had a client couple who planned to have two children and so wanted two bedrooms for them. Intentionally put on the other side of the building from the master bedroom.

                  She did manage to persuade them to include a room for a different purpose that she secretly intended to be convertable to a nursery.

                  1. Kids bedroom was across the hall. His room had room for crib & twin. Half the time I’d get up & check on him & end up sleeping the remainder of the night in there.

                  2. Sarah Susanka. Good books. She does have one big blind spot that is regionally induced, however, when she talks about how you always put the big windows on the south side. (And similar cold-climate design elements.) Well, in Minnesota, that’s true. In California and the Southwest, you put the big windows on the north.

            1. Also logistically inefficient. When one is the mother, and the source of food it is far less disturbing to get the baby from his or her bassinet, for everyone involved. Pop baby on boob, feed til full, change nappy if needed, put back in bassinet – often without getting out of bed entirely.

              The eldest two children slept in the parental bedroom until at least age 3, sharing the bed until at least then, before graduating to their own little bed.

          2. Those of us my parents had as infants (me, first adopted/next youngest brother, and baby brother) slept in the same room as parents for at least the first several months. Baby brother, it was the first five years…but that was for safety reasons, because the youngest of the adopted kids, well…Youngest adopted brother had Serious Issues. Wasn’t his fault, but he was a danger to himself and everyone around him, especially someone smaller and weaker than he. So baby brother did not sleep alone for the first five years, and mom and dad slept in shifts…

            But that aside, having the baby in the same room also mitigates the whole “I must get up and see if the kid is breathing” desire that I’ve noticed most parents of my acquaintance (and myself, with baby brother, as I was old enough to be his mother) seem to have…

            Even so, next youngest brother did get moved to his own room at about a year and a half or so, and we all learned the difference between “crying because needs something” and “crying because wants attention”, and to ignore accordingly.

      3. When does the kid start to be able to choose to obey or disobey
        Oh, it can start very early. The day my son not only deliberately disobeyed me, but hatched a PLAN Of Deception to do so, he was still crawling. And I know it was a plot because he kept looking at me to check whether I had caught on or not. (Fortunately, Dad is a calculating son-of-a-gun and Son didn’t quite get the concept of peripheral vision yet.)

        1. Sounds like a story I’d enjoy hearing, if you want to take the time to tell it more fully.

          1. Heh. It was a Sunday afternoon, nice warm sun coming in the big living room window. I was sitting in my recliner by the window, reading the newspaper, Son playing on the floor just by the recliner (and just past the edge of the newspaper).
            I had some LPs stacked (vertically) over on the other side of the fireplace, next to the bookcase. Son had been told they were off-limits, and had his hand swatted lightly for occasionally trying to play with them. (But, I’ll admit they were tempting, what with great big bold colors on them, and such.) Said stack was a good 12 feet away.

            Son’s toys were scattered across the living room. He was playing happily just by me, but I caught him eyeing the records across the room. Then he started checking me out. His gaze went – I assume he thought surreptitiously – back and forth a few times. After several minutes of playing by me, he eyed me carefully, then crawled to another set of toys. He played there for a few minutes, then moved to another set.

            Mind you, these toys were NOT in a line from the recliner to the records. The kid actually zig-zagged across the room. But, inexorably, inevitably toward the LPs.
            And, each time he would check me out and check out his goal, trying to avoid discovery, before making his move.

            By the time he was at the toys adjacent to the LPs it was all I could do not to laugh. I had studiously continued my perusal of the paper, turning to look out the window once or twice. It must have been 4 or 5 stops he made. (Once out of my direct view, as he ended up behind the paper; I moved slightly to make sure he couldn’t get into anything he shouldn’t in that corner of the room.)

            Having arrived, he played for a few moments, checking my attentiveness now and then. He gave one final look at me, then reached out slowly to touch the stack…..
            And Dad’s voice floated from across the room, from behind the paper, “Don’t touch those. You know you can’t play with those.”

            He froze. Thus began the idea that Dad knows ALL.

            1. By the time son was in Boy Scouts (age 10) he was sure mom & dad were telepathic/psychic as we knew what he was up to before he did. Other scouts called him “stick-in-mud”, he’d just shrug & say, “okay, but you know they (leaders) already know; because, you know, they just do”, sure enough we’d be waiting. On graduation, from HS, took pity on them. “Guys, you haven’t been parents, we’ve been kids, you know when the dinosaurs roamed. & some, being male, were little boys & young men, once upon a time, you know, before there was dirt. Of coarse we knew & know what you’re going to get into, we invented it.”

              1. I worked for a number of years doing high school photography. There was one ID session in which the student helper behind me was trying to make the guy in front of me laugh, so (without looking), I pointed behind me, straight at him, and said, “Ignore him.” He’d been making faces quietly, so he thought I was a witch or something. The truth was that the cameras had a big screen on the back that was nicely reflective.

                And another time I freaked a guy out when we were setting up one of those big numbers, you know, where all the students form a shape, and he was refusing to stand up and join the group. I—largely pregnant at the time—walked over, pulled him to his feet, and told him to join the group. He was very meek thereafter, and I didn’t even hint that once I’d started pulling, he’d tucked his feet under himself and did 85% of the lift.

            2. Haha! That reminds me of youngest brother, who loved to tip out our VHS cassettes one by one from the shelf. He wasn’t supposed to do it, he got his (diapered and thus padded) little butt swatted a few times when he persisted, but he ‘stopped’ after a while, veering off when caught by someone older.

              Then one day, he surreptitiously crawled over, when his nanny and my mum were preoccupied, and Dad was absorbed in the newspaper and coffee.

              Clunk. Crash. Dad looks up.

              Gets camera. Catches the cheeky, toothless grin youngest gives him as Dad walks up to him from the side.

              Dad: “He’s testing gravity to make sure it still works!”

            3. Not (obviously) a tale of early disobedience, but one of parental omniscience – When my brother and sister were under 10 years old, my mother would watch them in the windows in the kitchen and if they started to get into trouble, she would tell them to stop [whatever they were doing] without turning around, telling them that she had eyes in the back of her head. They believed her.

              1. Moms and School Teachers have eyes in the back of their heads and my mother was a school teacher. 😉

                1. My boys were never stealthy. I used to track them in the grocery store by ear, and could tell when they had stopped to get into something, and would tell them to “leave that alone” or whatever sounded appropriate. They never commented on it, but the frequency of such things went down over time (slowly, those boys are STUBBORN. I’m sure they get it from their mother. 🙂 ).

      4. It depends on the kid. I’d say, though, that “choose not to obey” and whatnot assumes that they have a choice over their little choices. There doesn’t start out being any “stop” between conceiving and action and taking the action and I’d say that’s the case until about three (when they’re actively trying to die, most of the time), and they don’t get good at it until at least four or five which… was also about the age when my kids stopped getting swatted. Before that they had to obey a “stop” or “come here” or “don’t” or whatever or get a swat but I didn’t expect them to behave when I wasn’t looking until about five, and at five they tended to be able to remember instructions and understand most simple explanations.

        Explanations can also be a trap, though, if your 7 year old decides that they only have to do what you say if they agree with you, and that tends to go like, “Get down, you could fall”… “No, I won’t.”

        1. The most adorable age is when they don’t realize you can hear them in the next room. I’d hear them planning to disobey sometimes. It was adorable and hilarious, and then I had to go in and stop them. 😀

        2. My son heard the story of his first stitches many times:
          He was rocking on his chair. I told him, “Stop that – you’ll fall and hurt yourself”.
          He answered, “No, I wo-” and chair upended, causing his head to hit the iron radiator.
          His dad was getting ready for work, came out with a towel in his hand, slapped it on the back of his head, and said, “Get the girls dressed, and meet me in the ER.” (Where, fortunately, he worked, just next door).
          We made a lot of trips to Daddy’s office in those days.

      5. Every kid is different. But we generally could tell between crying for attention just because, I need something, & night terrors – which started after 12 months, trust me, hopefully you will skip this phase; it is NOT Fun: your heart will absolutely stop, you are up & running before you are awake, every single incident, someone/thing is murdering your kid. Seemed like it went on forever, but, lasted less than a year.

        We were diligent about meeting the latter two 100%. Attention, was “there is a proper place for this & 2 AM is NOT it”. Being an only child he got plenty of attention & for the most part, dark was when those big people leave me alone unless I need help. YMMV, good luck.

        1. You’re supposed to outgrow night terrors. According to my college roommates and my husband, I never quite did. (It’s at least decreased in frequency.)

          1. Kid did thank g*d. Too young to have any knowledge what was happening. From our end, every incident, even when we knew what was going on, scary as H*LL. The 2000 incident, you have never seen two exhausted adults move so fast … never, ever, want to hear someone scream like that, let alone a kid; let alone my kid. Night. Terrors. Are. Not. Fun.

      6. At some point after they recognize cause and effect.

        We had one that understood at six months that she was doing something she oughtn’t; we had one that at 10 months was blissfully clueless.

        “Time out” for about two minutes is pretty harsh to a crawler/toddler; if they do something that hurts, try a ceremonial tap/flick of the ear. It only has to be obnoxious.

        Oh! A trick I use is scooping up a toddler and smacking my own hand, over their behind– the noise and minor vibration tends to do a good job of startling them. (Can really spook folks nearby, though. I’ve also slapped my own face to get a loud enough sound when I knew folks around would be twits.)


        None of our kids left the parental room before they were a year old– it saves a lot of wear and tear on the “aaaah, what if they stop breathing?!?!” sprints to the baby’s room. (Might be partly my family. Mom swears I spent my first six months with her hand on my chest if I was sleeping.)

        It might not be related, but we also never had the issue where there is nothing wrong, the baby just CRIES. ALL. NIGHT.

        A couple of times I did grab a pillow and go to the living room, so he could fall asleep on my chest and poor Elf could sleep.

        1. Had the ‘growing pains’ crying; Vincent had bad fevers and would cry in pain and inconsolable misery when he had teeth coming in, and oh, he was a sad little cherub. My kids also stayed in the parental room; and then when they were three, would leave on their own steam in the middle of the night to either cuddle up to my mom, or my dad, or another relative (daughter was especially close to her uncles, who doted on her as if she were the most precious jewel in the world.) Vincent stayed in my room, but he got his own little bed so he could sprawl and not fall out of my bed – the first time he did he landed on the wooden floor with a great scary thud – but he slept while I panicked. Hurray for baby fat?

          Brandon had a spate of growing shortly after he came home where he was visibly changing, so I reckoned it was aching bones – he’d be soothed a little, if I massaged his limbs and back, but I couldn’t stop doing that for long periods of time, and the nurse confirmed that it was likely his ‘catch up growing’. The week before he died he had a very obvious growth spurt and was miserable most nights, which was why the night before he died I was up all night, cradling him in my lap as he slept peacefully for the first time in a while after a good day. It was to let him and Rhys sleep (and okay, I had a very strong mommy moment of just enjoying watching him sleep, seeing how cute he looked… before I knew it it was 4 am and then later…)

          I still remember how happy I felt, holding him and enjoying that baby scent.

          1. Speaking of Brandon– I saw something very awesome the other day, at the doctor’s office.

            A big box, very nicely decorated.

            Peeked over the edge… it’s part of an anti-SIDS program, which also helps out the extremely poor by giving the baby a bed with a clean mattress and baby care products.

            Big hand lettered sign on the side explained that it was a safe, comforting place for the baby to sleep.


            1. Ran across that whole baby box thing a couple years ago now and read up on it. Was something done in Norway (scandinavian country at least) and they were trying to market it as the whole new thing to help with infant mortality and transplant the concept into third world countries. Trouble is aside from the box of starter stuff and using it as a bassinette, it only worked out well if there was a health system behind it with regular check ups and everything else. With out the whole backbone behind the parents it’s nothing much then a bare bones starter kit and when the stuff runs out that’s it.
              Sorry, just being a little cynical is all.

              1. Oh, I agree it’s not going to magically stop SIDS, but I remember that Brandon had a sleep-box, and they got a little guff for it.

                At least in our area, there are a decent number of baby support networks for the stuff angle, but a bed for the baby tends to be beyond them.

                This also pulls the teeth of various busy-bodies who like to refuse to let a kid out of foster care unless there’s a $300 baby bed waiting for them.

              2. TBH, a bassinet-shaped basket did the job for looooooooooooooooooots of families in the Philippines. Vincent had a cord one that we would hang outside from the mango tree, and could bring inside – it worked a treat for the baby who hated getting hot and was easily overheated. It stopped being used once he could crawl – and he had outgrown it by then. (I’m currently looking at the photo of him sleeping in it)

                I’m well aware – and so is Foxfier – that the box + stuff doesn’t magically ‘stop SIDS’. Having the health system or the box didn’t help keep Brandon alive, mind – and he had regular health checks, and home nurse visits and my midwife visited – had lots of health support for the baby. He died while sleeping in the box, sleeping in the recommended sleeping position (on his back, etc), was well fed, healthy and growing bigger by the day. It was a big shock not just for me, but also the medical folks who were looking after his health because there simply wasn’t anything wrong. Yeah, he was particularly ‘at risk’ of SIDS because he was premature and male, but other than that, there was no indications. So, even with a proper baby box/baby bed and proper health care, SIDS may still happen. The only thing I didn’t have at home was one of those baby oxygen-level and heart rate monitor things they have at the hospital. (Things like the Owlet, Snuza, Angelcare, etc) Might get one when I am expecting the next one. And even with all these things, it may not stop SIDS, short of perhaps keeping a baby in the NICU until they’re 1 year of age. (And they still don’t know what causes SIDS. They have some idea of what might be one or two of the causes, but…)

                For us the baby box was an easily movable baby sleeping/carrying thing. I could pop him onto a desk in Aff’s room so I could shower or cook and Brandon would ‘watch’ whatever Aff was watching at the time – House MD, Star Trek DS9, etc; and it was easy for Aff to glance over (frequently) to check on him. (Brandon was too tiny to put in one of the baby slings comfortably.) There was also the fact that Brandon refused – ABSOLUTELY REFUSED – to stay asleep in a crib. We observed in the NICU that he liked to have ‘visible limits’ and a big wide open space like the crib was unsettling, even when he was asleep.

                1. And even with all these things, it may not stop SIDS, short of perhaps keeping a baby in the NICU until they’re 1 year of age.

                  “We have no freaking clue” deaths happen in the NICU, too. They usually describe the exact reason they pin it on– say, heart failure, specifically “his heart stopped, we can’t tell why”– but it happens.

                  IIRC, he knows SIDS isn’t magically stopped. Was probably trying to avoid the usual magical thinking of all things with kids being controllable/preventable, all SIDS is because someone DID something wrong.

                  When it’s just what we use to describe dying for no apparent reason when you’re X years old.

                  1. Yeh; they couldn’t find a reason for Damien passing away during labor either. My own personal suspicion, based on how the placenta looked (there was a yellowish-white blob in the middle) was there was a partial abruption that didn’t result in bleeding, so the placenta healed up, didn’t kill me or the baby, but functioned at a lesser capacity. For all intents and purposes, he went to sleep in my womb, and his heart gradually stopped beating.

                    Does knowing any of that stop me from going “I should’ve gone to the hospital earlier” and any similar self-recriminations? Hell no. Ditto the “I shouldn’t have slept” when Brandon died. Logic doesn’t come into regret.

                    Logic says “There is nothing you could’ve done, and you did everything correct.”

                  2. we knew a family who had had SIDS with an older kid, and had those monitors.
                    Shadow, when you need it, if it can’t be financed, perhaps we can buy it here and send it? I bet Amazon has it, even if it’s not supposed to.
                    With the machine, this family managed to get three boys through infancy. When the alarm went, they’d all jump and go deal. Sometimes just TOUCHING the bay is enough to startle the breathing again. BUT they also had first aid for babies training.

                    1. Which monitors were they using, I’m curious? I would love to know! I’ve been doing some research and of course the reviews are mixed (the Owlet looks closest to the thing they kept taped to Brandon’s foot while he was in the NICU, but Rhys notes that ALL of our boys have routinely removed baby gloves and little sockies, that we might need to tape the ‘sock’ down too hehe.) The mixed reviews go with various baby temperaments and habits of course. Apparently Owlet ships to Australia now. On talks about the Owlet Rhys thinks we’ll probably buy two.

                      As for your lovely offer, I will certainly let you know! Thank you!

                    2. “panicky little bundle of anxiety”? Totally understandable.

                      I went and read all of the description, plus some of the Q&A to be sure, but that confirmed what I expected: The hard surface needs to be underneath the sensor disks, to give them a non-shifting surface to rest against. It’s needed because if the disks sit on a soft surface, it will lower the sensitivity.

                      So, since a standard crib usually has a board that goes under the mattress to keep the mattress from deforming around the slats, it it would be fine without any additional base, but if you have a bassinet with a soft lining under the mattress, you need to put a rigid layer under it.

                2. Daughtorial Unit slept just fine in spacious crib in parents’ bedroom, curling up in one corner while her big brother the Maine Coon took the opposite diagonal. He even helped her learn to walk, pacing alongside while she kept one hand on his shoulder.

                  His mother, OTOH, sniffed disdainfully over our failure to litter train the child and often made slighting comments about our parenting skills and how slow our kitten was proving to be.

                  1. Idiot Cat lets the baby grab hold of his back, then stands up and tries to walk away. Dragging a delighted child with him.

                    His brother looks utterly disgusted… unless someone is sick. Then he’ll look disgusted if someone is watching…and sit next to them, purring as loudly as he can.
                    As far as he’s concerned, crying is sick. Does it to adults, too. 🙂

            2. A baby box! Oh I have to tell Rhys. I’m really happy they’re becoming a popular thing now. They have a company here in Australia who does them.

              The first time I read about baby boxes, it was about a project put in by the Finnish government in the late 1930s, and how it helped bring down infant mortality rates in Finland. I remembered it when I (rushed) making a temporary box-bassinet for Brandon, who greatly disliked his crib (it was too big, I guess he felt vulnerable?) and the box was closer to the size of his plastic (?) hospital bassinet. Granted I didn’t have the lovely mattress (the first one was made of folded up towels) but Brandon… liked the box. He didn’t seem overwhelmed by the space around him any more and he could see over the edge of the box and out into the rest of the room. Aff laughed of course, because baby in a box, but since said baby liked it, we prepared a slightly larger one, reinforced the bottom and sides with tape, and folded up a winter baby blanket to make a firm mattress, and I had the home-made flat baby pillow (I make one for all my kids, from carefully folded old but clean shirts) that I presented to the nurse at her next home visit to inspect. She thought it was brilliant, since the box kept him safe and let him see his surroundings (and me!), was portable so I could take him from room to room and said that the makeshift mattress was firm enough while cushioning the baby (I was testing the firmness against the crib mattress) and since the pillow was really low and firm, and most importantly, not fluffy, it was also okay (and Brandon was a side sleeper; without the pillow he REALLY looked uncomfortable. Yeah, he would roll onto his side in his sleep; I would put him back on his back, and he’d roll right back over, grumpy noises and all.)

              I also showed her the article on the Finnish baby box and she said that it was such a clever idea, and it is a shame it’s not a more common thing here.

      7. I am definitely at (possibly past) the point where I need to stem the “look at Mommy and put feet on table/throw something on floor” thing. Need to figure out a good consequence for this one.

      8. Watch the kid. Most of them it’s before they turn one. Certainly well before the time they can say ‘No’ they know what it means.

        A baby is basically a bunch of selfishness wrapped up in cute. Everything is about the baby. They haven’t got any concept of other persons, danger, anything. (Don’t get me wrong, I adore babies. I have a three-year-old snuggling on my lap.) As they start to become aware of the rest of the world is when they need to be taught that they should do what Daddy says.

        If you practice with baby, somewhere around nine months to one year seems to be around when they can learn things like ‘No squirming to be set down when I’m holding you.’ This seems almost odd looking at a newborn, but if you’re holding a two-year-old one-armed trying to manage a lock with the other hand, and the two-year-old throws himself backwards because he wants to get down, your two-year-old probably just landed on his head. Two comes awfully fast.

        1. I haven’t managed to teach mine not to squirm, but we do stop the “throw yourself backwards” thing by letting them scare themselves silly throwing themselves backwards when we CAN stop them from falling.

          This may not work if your baby thinks that’s awesome, though.

          1. There’s a youtube series of videos of various fathers saving their kids from what could’ve been some rather painful hurt. One of them was the dad who caught their baby from the throw themselves backward, flipped out of his arm, and that same arm snapped down to grab the baby by the leg. Yikes.

            Me, I solved that by holding them like a sack of potatoes under my arm once squirming started.

        2. I did NOT anticipate the “throw yourself backward” technique! From the fact that Foxfier mentioned it too, I take it it’s something a lot of kids do. Thanks for the advance warning so I’ll be prepared!

          1. You get in the habit of keeping a hand behind their head for neck support when they’re tiny, anyways, so you catch the early ones.

          2. Oh, criminy yes. My oldest was so large, fast, and strong, he nearly landed on his head a couple of times. And he thought that hanging upside down by his knees was just hilarious.

            1. In my experience (biiiig gap between me and next-younger sibs, esp the youngest), babies also like being tossed in the air, propped up on parental (or adult-sized sibling)’s feet to “fly”, or–if one is strong enough to do it–held up with a hand planted on the tummy.

              I am of the opinion it stimulates the adrenal rush in a constructive and largely safe manner. Also makes for some strong baby/toddler abdominal and back muscles! 😀

              1. *has the giggles*

                Oh, it can depend on who is doing it, too.

                The Chief is delighted when daddy does it, unless he wants a cuddle– but MOMMY DOES NOT MAKE CHIEF FLY!!! It is behavior up with which he will NOT put!

                Note, totally not complaining, my shoulders are delighted.

                1. I wonder if it’s something to do with the fact that Daddy can get more air…? I strongly suspect that was the case in my household.

                  (And Dad was also the one who used to lurk in ambush for unwary kids to walk by. At least until he made the mistake of putting us older ones into martial arts…then startling the teenagers became a Bad Idea.)

                  1. Mommies are for comforting cuddles, Daddies are for adventure. You cannot be fully cossetted by one who also endangers you, so mommies no get to play reindeer games. Same principle renders daddies more latitude to tease.

              2. I read an article, a long time ago now, that concluded that being tossed in the air, for babies, equated to riding a roller coaster for adults, and that the wild laughter is because of the release of the fear they get on the upswing. It made sense in the analysis, too, not just because the motion is similar – they had apparently watched video of a number of babies doing this and concluded that they were showing a fear response while actually in the air, then decided that the rush of relief once they were safe again was the cause.

                Or maybe they were just justifying the research money they spent. I dunno. 🙂

          3. I used an Ergo for all three kids, but the middle one was out of it a lot sooner because she insisted on leaning way back and that’s too much mommy backstrain for kids who were already on the large side. (You know how some kids are supposed to double their weight in the first six months? I thought that was exaggeration until my third kid. But they all did it and more by nine months—and they started out in the “are you sure you didn’t have gestational diabetes?” size.)

          4. Oh God yes, so many do it at the worst possible times.

            …Not a parent. Much older sib who often ended up wrassling the squirmy youngers. Heck, all I had to do was read “throw yourself backwards” and I had flashbacks.

      9. Two pieces of advice for first-time parents that I’ve never heard anyone else impart:

        1. The first two weeks or thereabouts is a black hole. You’re going to be completely at a loss, out of sleep, whatever. You’ll find your balance, but this is the adjustment period. So don’t freak out about it.

        2. Stock your fridge and pantry with high-calorie instant-fix food. Your wife is going to be ravenous unpredictably and with no chance to do any fixing. With my first kid, it was high-calorie yogurt from Trader Joe’s. Protein bars are another good choice. Whatever it is, have it there, have it ready to go the moment she needs it, and don’t raid her stash. Heck, stash protein bars right next to where she can comfortably sit.

    2. We did about the same thing you outline. Younger son didn’t react well to eating a lot of things, and after a while we would just do the “you have to try everything, but you can eat only what you want to continue eating.” Which means he lived on eggs and chicken. HOWEVER as we later found out, he had/has sensory issues. As those mitigated, he became more human. Other than that, we pretty much followed this.
      It works. We’ve become, strangely and unexpectedly, our kids’ friends. We didn’t expect it, but it’s a blessing.

      1. Growing up had a cousin who wouldn’t eat. Then it was obviously her being deliberately disobedient. Turns out she had a physical disability & she couldn’t swallow most food correctly. Didn’t take surgery to correct, but special exercises & some foods she still can’t eat.

        With son, doctor said, kid will eat if he is hungry. That said, there are certain foods his dad won’t touch, there are different foods (liver) I won’t touch. Those foods are not fixed, ever. So, when kid wouldn’t eat something after first bite, fine, it was his tummy. When he got to the “food can’t touch” phase, well, mom never got out of it, so … dad made his comments & rolled his eyes, but never went any further. Food issues is one we skipped with the kid; me I have them in spades. FWIW, kid is NOT into sweets, period … where did I go wrong?

        1. Sigh. Corelle makes plates with divisions. My inlaws gave them to Dan and I as a joke, because Dan didn’t like his food touching. Little did they know, I didn’t either. SO. We still don’t like our food touching. Neither did the kids. We all used those divided plates for years. The current ones are large enough food also doesn’t touch. 😀
          Yeah, with Marsh it was “don’t want food, go hungry” but I drew the line at making him eggs for every meal (my mom did when we visited or she visited.)
          Turns out it’s not unusual for sensory-issues kids to not like anything but almost tastless food. So, eggs, and boiled chicken. Yeah. When he got old enough to fix it for himself, he ate that for YEARS. Now he still doesn’t like hot. (I don’t either.) BUT he makes his food savory enough and eats pretty much everything.

          1. I will look for some of those plates. I won’t eat food that’s mixed together either.

            I wouldn’t mind using several saucers, if I could find any that didn’t have a cup indent in the middle.

                1. Inherited a Corelle set with ALL the plates and plate-like dishes – Large 10in plates, Regular 8.5in, Small 6.5in, and saucers.

                  Also has serving bowls, cereal/soup bowls, and sauce bowls, plus coffee cups.

                  They have held up very well for being nearly 50 years old. Only lost a couple of plates and coffee cups.

            1. Me Too! I hate food that is mixed together! That’s why my food of preference is hamburgers, where the meat doesn’t touch the bread or the veggies.

              I like Chinese food, too, where you can’t tell if the food is touching.

            1. My first Christmas with in-laws, we’d been married exactly 9 days. Nieces, were 6 & 8. One or both, complained that their food had been put on their plate touching; obvious words were spoken by parents & grandparents. Obviously being an adult, I served my own plate. When MIL asked, because I couldn’t load the plate without something touching, if I was getting enough, I answered “yes. I’ll get some of the other stuff later, I don’t care to have food touching.” I thought my new husband, his brother & brother’s wife, not the girls parents, were going to die trying not to laugh. Girls stopped the growing tantrum.

              Never did eat any cranberries, yuck. If you are going back for seconds because your food can’t touch they forget what you didn’t have the first time, like cranberries, green jello & cottage cheese, cream corn, … That said. Turkey, ham, potatoes, dressing, & gravy over all three, are not separate foods …

                1. The way I had it explained to me by someone who’d spent many years in China is: the cook (or chef if you’re in a fancy restaurant) spent a lot of time on each of these dishes, getting the mix of spices right to complement that particular dish’s main flavor. If you mix two different dishes together, you’ll spoil all his/her hard work, because the taste he/she tried to produce is not the taste you’ll be getting. To truly appreciate the cook’s work, each dish should be eaten separately, or at the very least, as separate bites (and drinking water in between so each dish’s taste is fresh in the mouth).

                  I’m pretty sure that was China, at least. But France is much the same way — which is why French meals in fancy places are served one course at a time, and wine is served to “reset” your taste buds between courses. Also, in France, the sauce is an inherent part of the dish, and you’re expected to mop up the plate with your bread to get the full flavor of the sauce.

                  1. I’ll tolerage gravy on certain foods, but anything “sauced” usually won’t get eaten. Either it makes the food soggy or the sauce is (almost always) based on milk, cheese, or some other poison that I can’t eat.

                    1. How’s your body tolerate gluten? Most of the sauces I make (because family doesn’t like most dairy-based sauces, except for homemade alfredo – but I LIKE country gravy, dangit! It’s just not worth making just for myself most times) only use flour, no milk (they often use cooking wine, though).

        2. I heard this the other day, I think in considering Audible’s edition of Bill Bryson’s book on the English language; I had to [search engine] t confirm:

          From the Smithsonian website:

          Humans are the only mammal that cannot breathe and swallow at the same time, and we are the only species that can choke on its own food. The reason? The lowering of the voice box in our throats (during infancy) enables us to create the enormous range of sounds used in producing language; but this lowering of the voice box comes at a big cost in adulthood.


    3. Yes. This. Big time. Maintain discipline when they’re young, and you can loosen the leash as they grow older without risk.

      1. Yep. As I said, by the time they were both over 5 Libertarian Mommy kicked in. Things that were to my benefit, I paid for. The rest we negotiated. Being horrors in public remained non negotiable.
        BUT boy, was there a lot of “what do you expect to gain by this behavior?”

    4. My rule for giving them choices:
      it’s something where either way is the same for me. So if there are two open ice creams in the fridge, I’ll ask which they want; if I’ve already got a carton out, they are getting that kind.

      Well, I fib slightly; I adore Costco’s chocolate cake. My husband likes the vanilla. So the kids get to pick their own.
      ….so far every single one has gone vanilla. /cry

    5. “And what do you get when you give a kid wide latitude and never restricting their freedom, and then suddenly try to clamp down just when they’re starting to want to define themselves as their own people separate from their parents? If you answered “A recipe for 100% guaranteed teenage rebellion every time,” congratulations,..”

      My best friend’s mom did this. Not the major latitude and freedom from lack of discipline but major latitude and freedom from having responsibilities very early on and being expected to take care of younger siblings for whole weekends when she was about 12 and her folks were out of town. Understand that my friend wasn’t wild, ever. But she got a job and a car and started having her own life and her mom went absolutely nuts, sure that she was going to do something stupid and started trying to crack down on her independence by threatening to take her car away and threatening to keep her from getting the trust fund her dad had been paying into since the divorce (I explained that I was sure she couldn’t touch it, as that was the whole point of having it!) The end result was her mom having to beg her not to move away from home on her 18th birthday but stay until after graduation. She still moved out the moment she could… just after graduation. (Her mom got over it and they became close, but what did she think was going to happen?)

      Me? I’ve got three twenty-something’s in the house. 😛

      1. “Me? I’ve got three twenty-something’s in the house.”

        I’ve only got one. But he was away for college & had his own apartment where he paid for rent, utilities, etc. Now that he has gradated & has a job: Rent alone is 1/2 net pay. Basic Utilities would be another 1/4. That doesn’t count “extras” like cable, phone, food, …

        This means a (at this point) random roommate.

        So, his housemates, because he’s working he pays for his 1/3 of the expenses, does his share of the house chores & maintenance, plus they don’t resent his elderly cat & its younger feline “siblings”. Just because we happen to be his parents. Okay, his housemates are also, us, his parents.

  10. [I] The windows were large enough and faced south and there were always dead flies on the sill. He liked them. He insisted they were raisins.[/I]

    Dad would occasionally talk about he stopped eating his great aunt’s raisin bread when he realized she could no longer see well enough to tell raisins from flies.

    1. I always joke that I don’t like raisins in baked goods ’cause it’s like biting into a bug, but…::shudders::

      On that note, though, thanks to our dogs and kitties, I’ve started calling flies ‘sky-raisins’ because that’s sure how the critters seem to view them…

      1. Raisings I can usually put up with. But cookies, brownies, or bread with nuts inside, no. No hard things inside soft things.

        1. Well, I mostly don’t like nuts, anyway, so definitely not in baked goods, though I find I can sometimes tolerate nuts in banana nut bread, if they cook up soft enough. Pecans are good for this, in my opinion. And I do dearly love pecan pie.

          1. My son had braces, or appliance, between ages 6 to 14; during which he couldn’t have nuts. He won’t touch nuts to this day except in No Bake Cookies (we use crunchy peanut butter).

  11. I’m sure there were evil abusive parents. There are those in every century.
    The expression on his face told me that he’d never ever ever heard no. Never had his impulses curbed.
    Yes, and most of the evil abusive ones in our “century” have never told their children “no”.

          1. We can’t stop it. But we can sure work on not letting society endorse those extremes of horrible parenting.

        1. Point of fact: we were talking about the overly strict image of the Victorians and later the Puritans.

          Reading the story, the culture of the parents in question does not seem to belong to either of those traditions. Oddly, they do appear to belong to a tradition whose treatment of women and children is verboten among the very people damning the Victorians and Puritans (while being what they think the Puritans were themselves).

          So, yes, can happen in any group but I would argue some cultures are more predisposed to it and they are not the cultures moderns tend to blame the most.

    1. ummmmm *waving hand I do know what abusive and excessive means (referring to physical abuse) from experience *clearing throat

      A child that comes from that environment as an adult with their own children often becomes too permissive or too abusive. I can happily say that my nieces and nephews had a better childhood than I did.

  12. you can’t entice it with some children.

    Indeed you cannot. That is how you get Hannibal Lecters.

  13. I will say only that smacking the kid is useful only in those situations where the kid is going to -die- if you don’t get his/her attention. Such as wandering off two minutes before permanent translation to another planet. Fully justified.

    Other than that, its a really bad idea and you shouldn’t do it. If nothing else, remember that the kid will be picking your old folks home. Important safety tip.

    If you kid is regularly doing stuff where they’re going to -die-, for real, you should probably think about that a bit.

    1. Depends on the kid. Robert holds no animosity against us for smacking his bottom (and trust me, it hurt us more than it hurt him. Buns of steel.) You HAD to smack him to get his attention, and while what he might be doing was not life-endangering, the habit of not listening to us EVER would eventually kill him.
      ALL great apes spank. There’s a reason for it. Some kids don’t need it, and I wouldn’t have realized some kids do, if all I had was younger son. Don’t make dogmatic rules. Do what the kid calls for.
      I don’t hold it against my parents for smacking me when I was too young to understand reasons. My dad didn’t hold it against grandma for spanking him and trust me, she held it against herself because his dad was in Brazil, she was a single mother most of the time (he came home when he retired, but the kids were grown) and she said she spanked out of fear (three boys.)
      BUT he didn’t hold it against her. This is imagination of the moderns. That’s not how it works. What Robin said, the funnel, as you loosen your relationship, as you turn from spanking into reasoning, kids forget the before except — from me — you do retain a sort of primitive awe about the people who COULD spank you when you were really little. So the idea of raising a hand against a parent is LITERALLY impossible. That’s the only difference. Makes it easier when the kids are enormous teens, but other than that, meh.

      1. I often babysat a friend’s two boys, and had permission to discipline them as I saw fit. #1 was an angel; need merely suggest what you wanted, or that there might be punishment if he disobeyed, and he was all happy joy to behave. #2 made up for #1; if he’d decided to disobey, he had to actually feel the belt before he’d believe you meant it. (Your mere hand did not suffice.) But after the first good swat, all I had to do was touch the belt and he was all Sir Yes Sir — because he knew I wasn’t bluffing.

        #2 had a habit of ignoring mom when she called (as you might guess, mom’s inconsistency was part of the problem). One day I was in the ditch behind their house when she called the boys, and #2 ran the opposite direction… toward the ditch. I came up out of the ditch like the wrath of G0d, and he flipped around and hitailed it for mom. And ever after, whenever she called, he came running. 😀

        1. Well, that’s what I meant to answer to phantom, but now wordpress won’t let me. Sure, straying while waiting to immigrate through a world gate warrants spanking, but here’s the thing, I’m sure that kid had been told “You stay in or around the wagon.” If you only spank in major things and ignore the times they disobey you blatantly you’re requiring the kid to be psychic. Kids by nature don’t know when a major thing is going to happen. They have to have been swatted for disobeying you before, if you EXPECT them to stay in line in important situations.
          When we walked in busy streets the kids stayed by us, not because afraid of traffic (we once took their friend same age as younger and he tried to launch himself at traffic, at 3) but because we’d say “you stay on the sidewalk” and they knew that in other situations, they stepped off the sidewalk, they got a swat on bottom.
          You can’t expect kids to know when a situation is life threatening. You prepare them for it by training them to know that “Disobey mom and dad on a direct order, get swatted.”
          Now, if it’s just a “suggestion” like “Hey, try to stay around here” that’s not a swatting offense to disobey. But “Stay on sidewalk or else” is.
          And if the kid knows mom or dad will swat, they’ll obey even without knowing the danger.
          For instance, the only houseproofing we ever did was three locks on front door, because of oldest’s streaking tendencies. They didn’t touch outlets, for instance, because we told them not to. They didn’t get under cabinets, because we told them not to. By the time they might have done that, consciously, they didn’t even remember being swatted (it had been at least months) but we’d trained the “do what mom and dad say” association in brain.

          1. Interestingly, it’s to some extent the same method used (well, used to be used) in basic training: break down the self, replace with learned behavior to obey every order, THEN teach them about good and bad orders.

            Teach the child to obey parents because that’s what they’re supposed to do, THEN explain as they get older why things are the way they are.
            It keeps them safe while they grow to the point you can explain things.

            1. That’s what we did. Not that we were perfect.
              I wish we’ hadn’t curbed older’s aggression so thoroughly. He now turns it inward by habit. BUT he was three feet 3 inches at three. And BUILT. (Somewhat fat, but mostly muscular.) He tore down a door while upset at me. Ripped it from the hinges. In a victorian.

              1. O.0 A whole DOOR! I am so thankful that my mini giant (he was 37 inches back in November) is not aggressive like that. Mind you I have to watch how I place knives in the kitchen sink.

                1. He also threw a chair at my then very pregnant belly. And he called 9/11 on me because I didn’t let him lick the cake beater. And he hit Dan with a metal toy train. etc. 3 was FUN. BUT he’s so calm and not aggressive at all now.

          2. For instance, the only houseproofing we ever did was three locks on front door, because of oldest’s streaking tendencies.

            Yeah, next-youngest brother was the streaker. But we lived out in the country, when he was at streaking age, at the end of a cul-de-sac, so although he DID manage to escape the house a few times the worst he was going to encounter, most of the time, was bugs.

            Though things got easier in terms of keeping him under control after we got the Pyrenees. They weren’t house dogs by any means, but if brother happened to be out in the pasture and our male dog (Beast, who was a good 150 lbs) decided that brother was being too risky and/or was tired of brother using Beast as a jungle gym, then the dog would very gently nudge him to the ground and plant a paw in the middle of his chest, pinning him until someone came and got him.

            It was a sight to behold…(Gentlest dogs on the planet, Pyrenees–at least where their designated people/animals are concerned. If you are perceived as A Threat, on the other hand…)

            1. We lived out in the middle of Colorado Springs, five blocks from center of downtown. he’d take all his clothes off, open front door and go running in the middle of traffic.

            2. We have a PomChi that is just now year old. Had her DNA done. What is the great-great-grandparent level, there is a Chihuahua / Great Pyrenees paring. Guess that’s why she keeps trying to herd the cats, not successfully, ever, but she tries.

                1. I WATCHED one of these. A friend had a boxer female which they bred and sold the puppies. It was the kids’ project. (My friend was a kid.)
                  So when the dog went into heat the entire yard got break-out/break-in proofed.
                  Neighbor across the street had a chihuahua who often escaped the yard and roamed around the house, crying.
                  My friend and I came out into the yard one fine spring morning, and chihuahua was ontop of the stone washing tank. Boxer was backed up to it and that little dog was going to town, with the MOST smug expression I’ve ever seen on an animal.
                  We were laughing too hard to get the bucket of water, and it might have been too late.
                  UGLIEST little dogs ever, but BRILLIANT. Think about it, dad had to not only figure the trick, but get the boxer to cooperate. I go in awe. There were brains there.

                  1. According to my vet & a couple of local dog trainers, Great Pyrenees, when in heat will do anything if there is a male available, including lay down. Vet has a Lab/Chihuahua combo, she calls her 100# Chihuahua. So, I have a 15# Great Pyrenees 🙂 when it is appropriate. Otherwise she is just a normal PomChi.

                    FYI. Got herded out of bed this morning (nose to back, no nipping, she knows better). Wasn’t moving fast enough. She is awfully proud of her new trick to get up on the bed on her own. It is only 4x’s taller than she is.

                    1. Watched my Doberman/Rottweiler/German Shepherd/Great Dane mix* lay down for some dog of what breed I don’t remember, but pretty small (nothing like the ones mentioned above, but still…), so yeah, that will happen.

                      You should have seen my German Shepherd/Collie mix squat down to reach the Beagle he got pups on, too. 🙂

                      * Stupid dog was spayed, too, but still ready for action.

        2. This reminds me of a WWII era Looney Tune in which Porky the Pig takes on baby-sitting for Rosie the Riveter. The full cartoon does not seem to be on the pronoun tube, but this gives a sample:

          Those familiar with it will recall the denouement when Momma reclaims babe and Porky complains that he’d tried going by the child psychology book she’d given him but it hadn’t worked. She replies that t always worked for her and proceeds to wallop the child’s butt with the book.

      2. Very definitely depends on the child. I know families who have the mother/grandmother who was a holy terror, and they needed that, AND they all know it. Tales of visiting “gram” and getting small skillets thrown at them when they piss her off, but they loved her dearly, because they knew she only did that when they were way out of bounds (these families have VERY hard-headed kids when they are young, and don’t respond at all to ordinary discipline).

        For myself, I was that kid that other kids hate to hear about – I didn’t make trouble, didn’t talk back, sat and listened to the elders rather than running around like a crazy kid, etc. Parents hardly had to raise their voice to get my attention and make me stop doing whatever I might be doing wrong. But some of the kids I grew up with… sheesh.

        1. Mom is a neat freak*. When we didn’t keep our rooms picked up & clean, not always, but often enough, she’d wade in & start throwing things at us. Did not matter what it was, or how hard or breakable or what was out, but put away that might be breakable. Learned really early, if had anything cared about it was put away in a protected spot — notice the out. Anything non-breakable, or didn’t care about could be left out not put away. She never learned.

          All three of us kids have broken this pattern. Kids bedroom cluttered, shut the door. As long as it is relatively clean with no dirty dishes, etc., no problem.

          Another learning experience we had was regarding fiances. Starting middle school, we were given a basic monthly allowance. They provided basic clothing, school cloths, & food at home, including lunch sack items. If we wanted cafeteria lunch or extra clothing, etc., we had to save for it, or get a job & worked for it. Worked for my sisters, they worked the fields during the summer. Me not so much. Would rather read & library was free. Lunches, if I didn’t get cold lunch made, went without, since grabbing an Apple on the way out wasn’t time consuming, didn’t go without often.

          To this day, should someone expect us to give them a monthly cloths budget, we would laugh at them. Maybe $200 to $300 a year per person? So that would be $50 to $100 per month for the entire family; & that is not every year. No, I do not make my cloths.

          * We, kids, get it. We helped mom clean out Grandparents house after they died (within 3 weeks of each other), small, extremely clutter, mold, dust, dead rats, mice, & snakes. Plus we’ve seen the cabins (smaller) where the lived in Montana when grandpa worked in the mines, until Mom was about 10 or 11. Guessing the apartments they were in, during WWII in Colorado weren’t much bigger, but at least had running water & power.

    2. There’s worse things to do. I’d far rather be spanked than grounded or have things that I love taken away.

      Parents who don’t spank aren’t always automatically fair or reasoned and finding non-physical ways to torture your kid for being naughty isn’t an improvement.

      A spanking has the very significant benefit of being there and over and done. Young children do *not* understand prolonged or delayed punishment.

      1. YES. I’d rather mom hit me than berated me, which she could do for DAYS. And I’ve seen the same with people who come up with creative ways not to spank.

        1. Mom seemed to do both the swat & berate. But she never grounded. She said if she grounded then she’d have to be there to enforce it, & she didn’t want to be grounded.

          OTOH when we were butting heads the worst, she sent me to her sister, who had a small ranch, for me to help out. Years later found out it was suppose to be some sort of punishment or timeout (well maybe for her). Me, one word … HORSES …

          1. She never grounded? What’s there to that — a little wire, a metal pole about 10 – 12 feet high …

            Sure, some will criticize but there are always those eager to be shocked.

            1. Oh, that’s the easy ground. Set up vertical properly and dig in the radials. That’s some work.

    3. There’s also a big difference between spanking and beating. My dad’s mother beat him (with a belt, and for things like not practicing the piano)–he only spanked us, and only when we’d done something truly egregious and/or dangerous. And even then, whether or not it worked depended on the kid and the situation: for example, as a toddler, I *hated* my car seat and seatbelts. Threw a fit about wearing them. Dad tried spanking me for it, but that didn’t make an impression. Then, when I was about three and a half/four years old, he stopped to assist the victims of a car crash–this was Utah, so *terrible* drivers. And it was a van full of kids, none of whom had been wearing their seatbelts. He took me with him while he directed folks to call for help, and then made sure the injured kids (no one died, but they were cut up pretty bad) were covered up with blankets, etc. It’s one of my earliest memories, and to this day I still have a vivid image of these bloody, shocked looking kids and dad tucking them under blankets. And I remember the smell–I think they must have gotten them into a nearby mechanic’s shop or something, because to me the smell of fear/pain is the same smell you get in a tire shop or a mechanic’s shop.

      Dad made a point of explaining to me that these kids hadn’t been wearing their seatbelts. I never again threw a fit about it. But there were other situations where a swat was what got my attention or impressed on me “This was a really, really bad idea.”

      Next younger brother, the mere *suggestion* that he might get a spanking was usually enough to make him knock whatever it was off. Three of the others, it wasn’t an option because they came from backgrounds of severe abuse and/or neglect, and so other solutions had to be found (which, sadly, mostly did not work). Youngest (unexpected baby) got swatted once in a great while to get his attention, but didn’t require that after about age four or five, because he could be reasoned with (or bribed)–like me, he was/is a weirdly well-behaved kid/young adult. Mom found him a relief as her last born, after the four between him and me.

      The way I see it, the problem with the (mostly left, but not all) folks pushing for that whole ‘never ever spank a child’ view have this weird idea that all kids are all the same. (Like all genders/races all think/act the same, right?)

      1. Neither of my kids needed much spanking after four/five. Exception was my hitting Robert on butt with shoe (because at that age hitting him with my hand would be weird) at fourteen when he came to the kitchen and started telling me how to cook. I mean, as in “I saw on youtube you’re doing all this wrong, and that’s why we’re fat” (I don’t remember what the particular fad was. No oil?) anyway, I chased him out of the kitchen with a shoe. I hit one and a half blows maybe. He was six one in height and built like a brick sh*thouse but that got my displeasure home to him (mostly the humiliation of little woman chasing you with a shoe, I think.) He never tried to one-up me again.

        1. What IS it with males and lecturing? The only time I’ve come close to murdering my father or brothers (especially baby brother) is when they start telling me how to do my business. Even when it’s something I know FAR MORE about than they do.

          I love them dearly, but for crying out loud…

            1. I have, I kid you not, seen a complaint about “gunsplaining,” which, it turns out, is a gun control advocate being lectured about things he is completely ignorant of.

          1. “If you’re such an expert, then you do it.”

            They do it well? “Good work. This is your job from now on.”
            They do it badly? “This is why the way I do it works/ This requires more practice and learning than just watching YouTube. Here let me show you.”

            I can just about guarantee they won’t try the lecture more than twice.

            1. Probably. But I’d been dealing with hormonal male for days, so shoe. 😀
              He actually did cook by that time, and his cooking is NOT markedly healthier than mine. Something to understand is that hormones make people do crazy things, and leave it at that.

              1. But I’d been dealing with hormonal male for days, so shoe.

                For some reason, the wording of this sentence has me completely helpless with the giggles.

          2. There is very little useful to be found on Twitter. But I am delighted by my newest discovery, a different take on $’splaining: “correctile dysfunction”.

      2. I had one that wouldn’t stay in the car seat, no matter how tightly I strapped him in I’d get on the freeway and look in the rearview mirror and there’d be the kid, laying across the back window.

        Same kid became known as puke-a-matic.

        I finally found a booster seat, even though he wasn’t officially big enough to sit in one, that didn’t have a big bar jiggling against his tummy. It was like magic. No more pukes or escapes. The whole time it had been about the front restraint on the car seat, that big padded thing bumping and making him sick.

        1. My sister was on I-5 south headed home, when the baby lost her bottle from the car seat, & started crying. Toddler got out of car seat, “I’ll get it mommy” before sister could get pulled over. Cop pulled in behind her as she stopped, no lights. When she opened the window, what the cop heard was “no, no, no, I’ll be good, don’t take mommy to jail”, repeat, screaming. Sister hadn’t said a word beyond “don’t get out of your seat” as she was pulling over. Yes, sister got a ticket, but she took the kids with her to court & the judge dropped it after hearing from her & the cop.

          1. What gets me is that people don’t believe you that you strapped them in. I’m like, you’ve no idea.

            1. Daddy had to have an “emergency stop” moment to get younger son to stop squirming out of the seat belt and jumping around (not too hard a stop, but it bounced him off the seat in front of him and scared the crap out of him).

    4. This reply is several days after the comment, but you’ll probably see the notification.

      Where did you get the idea that kids would resent having been spanked? Being beaten, yeah, that would cause some resentment. But spanked with a hand on a bare bottom, that stings but causes no lasting damage? That’s what my parents did when I was a little ‘un, and I’m very glad they did: it made me a much better adult.

      My dad explained to me once (when I was older and past the age for spankings) that he had a rule: never hit a child with an object (such as a belt or a switch), because you don’t feel the impact and you might accidentally hit them harder than you intended and cause injury. But your bare hand will sting exactly as much as the kid’s butt (or back of the hand, which is where I was swatted for minor infractions that didn’t deserve a full-fledged spanking), so you’ll know exactly how much pain you’re inflicting and you’ll know when it’s time to stop. (Unless the kid has some kind of sensory issues, in which case spanking might well be off the table, but I’m talking about the general case).

      He had another rule, which he never explained to me but which I figured out later on. Sometimes when I did something that deserved a spanking, he’d spank me right away. Other times he’d tell me, “You’re going to get a spanking,” but make me wait ten, twenty, or thirty minutes before he came and spanked me. I later figured out that those were probably the times when I had made him angry and he was waiting to calm down, because his other rule was “Never hit a child in anger”. When you’re calm and can think rationally about what level of punishment is deserved, then you can safely spank the child without running the risk of crossing over into physical abuse.

      Yes, some parents do engage in physical abuse, so if that’s most of the examples you’ve seen (or experienced — I don’t know your childhood history), I could see where you’d get the idea that spanking is a bad idea. But Sarah has given you one example (her eldest) of a kid who didn’t resent his parents spanking him, and I’m another example. My theory is that a kid who resents his parents spanking him was probably abused rather than spanked properly (where “properly” means “when Dad is calm and can be rational about calibrating the punishment to the crime”, among other things). But many kids are raised by parents who do administer physical discipline in a controlled way, and by and large those kids are going to be grateful to, rather than resentful of, their parents later in life.

  14. I heard about a child training method that was supposed to work extremely well and never involved any spanking or anything.

    What you did whenever your child wasn’t actively pleasing you, was shun or ignore them in such a way that it was clear that you were with-holding your love until they did what they could to please you.

    Yes, I’m “interpreting” that a little bit. I thought it was probably the most appalling thing I’d ever heard of, but I will admit that it probably worked exceptionally well to get your kids not only to obey, but to behave.

    1. So, psychological torture. Sounds like an excellent way to create a seathing heap of ticks and twitches.

      The thing about corporal punishment is that it’s short. Parents who don’t swat tend to jaw, and the jaw can go on for days.

    2. Sorry. No. Just no. One thing my kid should always know. We love him, no matter what. We love him so much that we have high expectations of behavior, & actions, regardless of attitude; even when we have to make corrections to his behavior or action.

      Granted given he is almost 29, we are past correcting. Because we did the correct job well before 21.

    3. And when suckling babe bites your nips you should mime crying and pained expressions. Because psychopaths are made, not born.

      1. THAT twat. Seriously. A flick of a finger on the nose, or lightly pinching the ear stopped it. Or screaming really loudly (which is mostly what I did). It was the startle/unpleasant effect that stopped it.

        1. I was amused by my Beginner Mommy Book (don’t remember the title): “When your child bites down, try to make a loud, startled noise.” “You have to TRY??”

          My husband got sadly accustomed to “domestic tranquility abruptly interrupted by OW DAMMIT KID!!” for a bit.

          1. My biters thought that was the joke!

            “I do this, mommy jumps and makes a funny noise!”

            Although the Chief can understand English. He’s following simple directions… and if you say “don’t you dare bite me,” he will look at you, bat those big blue eyes, snuggle up…and bite you.

            Well, bite me. I warn other folks away.

            1. I remember with Vincent, it was the first bit of milk letdown that hurt – except when he started to teeth. Mostly the same with Brandon. But I have this memory of Brandon, while still in the hospital, jerking awake when I was nursing him, and gently adjusting his head because he looked uncomfortable. Eyes snap open. Little fists plant on breast. LUNGE LIKE AN ORCA GOING FOR A SEAL ON SHORE- CHOMP! WITH THIN SHARP GUMS!!!

              Me: “OW!!!”
              Nurse: O_O did he just-
              Me: YES HE DID. *look down* That hurt, kiddo. *light flick on ear, barely a chiding tap*
              Brandon: *ignores everything but source of food, desperately and determinedly suckling*
              Nurse: *peers at him* Well, he’s definitely getting milk now…

              Eventually (days later) he … discovered that there was a face above the boob, and it fascinated him so much he stopped nursing and stared and studied my face for such a long time I was able to snap pictures of his assessing expression. Then he lowered his face back to the food source, curiosity satisfied.

              He’d bite me when I was too slow in figuring out he wanted food. Expression of disgust on infant face – priceless.

        2. After the noise of pain, I’d detach them and give them time without feeding. Turns out that if you’re hungry and you bite the bits that feed you, you get cut off—and THAT lesson sinks in quick.

      1. Check out Naruto for an illustration of this. Him coming out so well may be part of the fiction aspect.

    4. What you did whenever your child wasn’t actively pleasing you, was shun or ignore them in such a way that it was clear that you were with-holding your love until they did what they could to please you.

      I think I saw a movie about that style of parenting …

      Made it Ma, top of the world!

  15. Pics of the duckmecha please?

    Take the lesson you saw in the ten year old bully and apply it to some poor schmuck who made it to his majority without being told ‘no’ by someone who would make it stick. It isn’t a pretty picture. I think that’s how you get a Trayvon Martin (sp?); a young thug-wannabe who attacks when challenged because he (probably) didn’t think an adult non-thug would fight back.

    Oops. Think of it as evolution in action.

    Or read “Thrown Away” by Kipling (I think it’s in PLAIN TALES).


    A person who says that children should be allowed to ‘act naturally’ really needs to be sat down and made to watch a documentary on the social behavior of baboons. British comedian Bill Bailey did a good one about baboon troops in South Africa that makes you really appreciate how NICE it is to NOT have baboons living near you.

    1. Ran into that at work. Not the Martin extreme (no guns), but a 30-something having a tantrum at work because he was not consulted about a change to something from between when he didn’t work for the company (had worked for, quit, came back 24 months later). Was an entitled bully that I mostly ignored, until he went after someone else, on an item that was under my responsibility, that I had gotten sign off on from higher management (higher than either of us), & I did not work for or directly with said bully. Other than, yes, I stood up for the other person, in public, not my best moment. Didn’t swear, but did raise my voice (had to to get over his & get his attention, but still), don’t do well with confrontations, public or not.

      1. One of the few pieces of wisdom I have that I came up with myself and have never run into another expression of;

        In every job you have that involves interacting with more than a very few other humans, every single day you come in you will be dealing with at least one jerk.

        If you’re lucky, it won’t be you.

        In a healthy workplace, people take turns being today’s jerk, which keeps it tolerable. The worst situation is when it is always the same person.

        I had that ONCE. Retail job. The Jerk was the only member of the previous crew that had NOT been part of a smalltime drug ring; the current Manager would not have hired him, but couldn’t get his of him. Not only was he not a self-starter; if he ran through the chore list left for him he would become destructively bored and do things like try to chin himself of the fixtures (which were mostly particle board, and couldn’t take it).

        I figured out why he was the way he was when we met his Mother and Aunt at Christmas time. There is an old Southern family pattern, predating Women’s Lib, that involves the woman marrying (or co-habiting) with useless men, because it gives them a socially acceptable way to have a career. It’s obviously no longer a functional pattern, but it persists in families, and the women tend to destroy their sons. I recognized it because my Lady’s Mother came from such a family….and broke the pattern (which is why I like her, in spite of the fact that she has the maternal instincts of a brick and screwed royally with my Lady’s head in other ways).

        He had been told he was a useless fuckup for so long that he’d just stopped trying. He could have raised the dead and healed the lame and Mommy would still have castrated him on a daily basis.

        Understanding him did not make him one whit easier to live with, BTW.


        I’ve never run into an entitled little snowflake jerk, though I have heard stories. I think I may scare them off.

        1. “In every job you have that involves interacting with more than a very few other humans, every single day you come in you will be dealing with at least one jerk.

          If you’re lucky, it won’t be you.”
          Very profound.
          Some years ago I had a book called “Never Work for a Jerk” that told how to recognize, avoid, or (at worst) deal with persons of the jerk persuasion.

        2. I’ve never run into an entitled little snowflake jerk, though I have heard stories. I think I may scare them off.

          Part of why I have less sympathy* than I might for “snowflakes” is that I’ve noticed they tend to not act out unless they think it will work, although they are quite nasty when they find out they misjudged a target.

          Exactly like any other manipulative twit.

          * it gets hidden in my disgust for the people who decide to paint the last 35 years worth of young adults with the brush handed to them by CNN, especially when said person is fully aware that CNN lies.

  16. It strikes me that helicopter parenting is very much an artifact of extreme wealth in a society, poorer societies simply having no time for such foolishness. It is, dare we say, very much an exhibition of the dreaded “White Privilege.”

    As for spanking, nattering about “teaching children to be violent” is the sort of boobery which only the highly educated can give credence. Next they’ll be babbling about children having to be taught to be mean. Contrary to experts, barbarism is, has been and always will be the default state of human beings.

    1. Very true. To quote and apt bit of Mormon doctrine: “The natural man is an enemy to God…” (and, by extension, to anyone remotely civilized.)

    2. I really wish you were joking about all the people who believe that children have to be taught to be mean. :/

        1. Children aren’t innocent, but children are *transparent* and it kinda looks like innocence. *Clumsy* deception and hostility can be awfully cute, like the video I was watching yesterday of the baby leopard trying and failing to roar. (We were changing Kid’s diaper once; she screwed up her face, glared at her father, and muttered “hit!!!” and was just as pleased by her own daring as if she’d hauled off and whacked him.)

        2. Like I said above; such people really need to be made to watch a long documentary on baboon behavior. Or Chimpanzee. One of the social primates. But not gorillas. They have a great ability to ignore aggressive behavior in gorillas, for some reason.

          1. Early exposure to propaganda. Only takes a few rounds of Koko the signing gorilla, and her kittens, to make you go all gushy.
            (looking back, I am now pretty sure that they were lying when they said the kitten just “got sick.” I was suspicious at the time, but one of the things SAID it wasn’t anything the gorilla did…it was also one that just happened to only show clips where the sign language was in order, rather than random. Saying “me cat me me cat me give cat” is rather different than “cat me give,” with nicely dramatic pauses. Cat! Me! Give!)

            1. I was very interested in Koko some years ago. There was remarkably little solid information about her capacity, and even through the shine of their PR system, it seemed that her “sign language” was mostly the handlers’ interpretations, since Koko couldn’t reliably use the same sign for the same concept from day to day, or even during the same conversation.

              There might be more information online now, but from what I found at the time, Koko was about as smart as a dog. Maybe.

              “A sign means whatever I want it to mean, and if you get sniffy about consistency, I’ll rip your arms off.”

              1. I do remember how “give” looked an awful lot like “hand moving from out to in with any wrist position at all.”

              2. My guess for actual intelligence would be roughly pig level, maybe a bit lower– just a little smarter than dogs, less shocking if you find one with the ability for plotted out malice. (Yes, I’ve seen it in dogs. One of my dad’s dogs actually killed another of his dogs…by pushing him under a wagon.)

                1. Grammar (as in “give me cat” and “me give cat” have different meanings)?

                  Or did you literally mean ‘ugh, darn, I forgot the word”?

            2. Haven’t seen Koko, but I did hear about one psychologist who did a fascinating experiment. He and his wife had just had a son, and there was a baby chimp born about the same time. With his wife’s permission, he adopted the baby chimp and treated both his son and the chimp as if they were human, to see how much the chimp could absorb. The chimp (which was a female) learned quickly, a lot faster than the human baby — at first. But she eventually hit a cognitive wall and could progress no farther, whereas the human baby, of course, had no such limitation. I remember (but can find no article mentioning it, and the book is too long for a quick skim) that the level the chimp reached before stagnating was about the equivalent of a human 2-year-old cognitively (except for having no ability to talk) — and the chimp reached that level within months, but then stagnated there with no ability to progress further.

              The book about this experiment was called “The Ape and the Child” and was published in 1933. I’ve found a PDF at http://s-f-walker.org.uk/pubsebooks/pdfs/The-Ape-and-the-Child–Kelloggs.pdf which may well be out of copyright (at least in the UK, which is where that link is from), so you can probably read the primary source for yourself rather than relying on journalists to summarize it (and get lots of things wrong).

            3. Also found http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jan/22/science/la-sci-sundance-nim-chimpsky-20110122 which mentions a sixteen-word “sentence” in sign language: “Give orange me give eat orange me eat orange give me eat orange give me you.” Which pretty conclusively, to my mind at least, demonstrates that chimps don’t do grammar: the chimp was just repeating the same four concepts (give, orange, me, eat) over and over in whatever order occurred to him. And apparently that also proved it to the researcher — who had been trying to prove the opposite point (he thought that chimps could use grammar), so props to him for intellectual honesty.

            1. I’ll give them this much;from what I’ve seen in documentaries and zoos, gorillas are much less given to random agression than chimps…it’s just that if they DO agress on you, you break more.

              Chimps are mean.

    3. I didn’t learn about Blokhin in preschool. I didn’t learn about the great leap forward in Preschool. I didn’t learn about Hitler in preschool. I didn’t learn about Breen in preschool. But I learned things about evil that remain the foundation of my understanding of it.

  17. Something else on the parenting front that too many people forget and/or fail to realize: You can do everything “right” as a parent (you’re not going to, not really, because NO ONE is a perfect parent), but when all is said and done…your child might still choose to be an appalling twit. Because they’re a free-willed human being in their own right, and a parent can do all they can to instill virtue and so on, but in the end it’s still up to them whether or not they follow that.

    In the end, all one can do is hope that they’ve done the best job they can. I think much of the time it does pay off, and they’ll eventually apply those lessons the parent tried so hard to instill. But it doesn’t always, because in the end they make their own choices.

    The point is that we–whether parents ourselves or people who have children in our lives to act as mentor to–do the best we can, and not lose hope.

    1. e…your child might still choose to be an appalling twit

      Elf finds himself having to e-shout this at me rather frequently. -,-

      They’re good kids, but when they get the bit between their teeth…..

  18. Considering the man and the times, I suspect Heinlein would be dismayed but not surprised over that spanking scene causing outrage today. He didn’t have room in his juveniles for wasted scenes — one of the major changes in the publishing world, I think, has been the trend toward thick books; Moon used a scant three hundred pages for what would these day probably be four volumes of five hundred pages each — and likely recognized, if only subliminally, that swatting a child’s behind was increasingly frowned upon.

    Remember, he wrote that at about the time the Baby Boomers were reaching that reading level. OTOH, I was of that generation, if a trifle lagging, and recall getting my behind warmed on numerous occasions (to no noticeable effect beyond encouraging discretion.)

    1. Yeah (born in 1952). Dad had anger issues, but the swatting I most recall was triggered by me nearly going headfirst down a hole he dug by the foundation. Not sure if the fall would have killed me, but it would have done a world of hurt. The object lesson was applied with a belt, the one and only time I got that.

      And, I never pulled such a dumb stunt again. At least, not quite. 🙂

      1. My dad swatted me TWICE in my whole growing up time. But D*mn it, he had the more in sorrow than in anger down pat, so all he had to do was say “Now, honey, is that what you wanted to do?” and I’d start sobbing and apologizing. Eh. Some people have it.

  19. I remember when older son was being terrorized by a fourth grader, when he was in kindergarten (the depths of stupidity were astounding there, since son was bigger than the fourth grader.) The kid kept following my kid around the playground and pushing him, and throwing sticks at him. I stood in front of the fourth grader and told him, very firmly “No.” He looked shocked. I said “No, you don’t get to do that. Because he’s going to get mad and push you, and you’ll get hurt. Stop that. That’s being a bad boy.”

    The expression on his face told me that he’d never ever ever heard no. Never had his impulses curbed. Which explained why at ten, his main form of entertainment was bullying younger kids.

    I’ve met people who I find myself thinking “This person needed someone to beat him / her as a kid and teach them properly.” These people keep getting younger and younger.

      1. Well, and I’m sorry, but what the hell were those other four boys exposed to at home? Kids can be evil little horrors, but they don’t just magically know about sodomy, etc…

        And every one of those school officials/teachers needs to be prosecuted. “handled appropriately” my ass. >.<

        1. Might’ve been sex ed.

          In fairness to the teacher, the Principal seems more active in the cover up.

          Probably was learned from being abused. The psychological blackmail aspects of isolating their victim seem a little too sophisticated for the four to have worked out from first principles or from practicing on other victims. Though one wonders about their prior history together. /I do not want to know./

          National and perhaps state (I know nothing about Michigan DoE at the time) departments of education may have contributed to the environment that made that handling seem desirable or necessary.

          Could the four have been immigrants from a society with a more permissive attitude towards sexual abuse?

        2. There was definitely *something* going on with those kids–they’re FIVE, for crying out loud. And that had to be learned behavior, almost certainly (and heartbreakingly) from older, practiced predators. (Although it could also have come from exposure to pornography as well…but I would consider that just as abusive, frankly.)

          I don’t entirely disagree with the sex ed thing–I recall reading a case some years back where a group of six year olds essentially gang-raped a little girl, and when interrogated about it, it ended up boiling down to “but that’s what the video talked about!” Possibly/probably there were other issues going on there as well, but I have no idea. My takeaway from it, though, was that for cryin’ out loud, early elementary school is NOT the time to start sex ed. Particularly not something that was clearly explicit and wildly age-inappropriate. (And when one considers the fact that some schools think that sex-ed should include instructions regarding masturbation, and that they’re doing this as young as five or six…is it any wonder there are problems?)

          I believe that kids asking questions–like, say, where do babies come from–should be answered truthfully. But also age appropriately. Explaining how babies are made, using correct terms, is fine. Other stuff…yeah, not to small children, for crying out loud. And if they appear to know more than they should about such things, then somebody needs to be investigating for abuse… 😦

          1. That’s one of the things my kids have no issue with– yesterday the Princess wanted to know what the (not yet here) baby looks like, so we spent half an hour looking at videos, getting out a measuring stick, all that kind of stuff.

            Schools have an issue with it because, well, the kids are at school– not a lot of chances to meet pregnant ladies.

            I think Little Critter had a cute book on it, though….

            1. I vaguely recall such a book…

              I just asked my mother. I was about seven. She gave me a correct explanation, using age-appropriate terminology (for me, anyway–I was reading at a high school senior level by then). I remember the conversation because we were on vacation. My response was a thoughtful “Huh.” Followed by “Gross.”

              But I knew. And when sex-ed started in fifth grade or so, I was not shocked by any of it. (And as we lived in Oklahoma, and it was 1990, sex ed was ‘biology, mechanics, anatomy,’ and as we got older ‘this is how to maybe avoid pregnancy and/or disease, but it’s not a guarantee’. Nothing ‘extra’ such as masturbation or sexual preferences. Which, in my opinion, is what sex ed SHOULD be limited to. Everything else is up to the individual to either figure out.)

          2. I was mostly wondering, what kind of parent gives five-year-olds cameras or phones, and what kind of school lets them have them in class?

            1. Lots of parents these days use ipads and such to occupy the kids. But my read of the article is that those were school devices, to be used as part of the curriculum.

      2. Oh dear God. They covered it up. Spanking? Those people need shooting as aiders and abetters of child abuse and pornography.

        How close is that place to Dearborn? Because I have a vibe that it’s similar to the Rotherham and that other British incident.

        1. Opposite sides of the lower peninsula. Grandeville is a suburb of Grand Rapids (#2 city in state), which metropolitan area has about a quarter of the population of Detroit (#1 city in state). Dearborn is #8 city in state, and in the Detroit area. Per the map, looks like three or four counties between them.

      3. Some of the threatening behaviours described reminded me rather starkly of some of the stuff described by bacha bazi.

        I know of a kid (age 10 range) who had an immigrant boy screaming at her for giving out Christmas cards, working himself up, from the description, to hit her, for the ‘cultural insult.’ She tried to stab him with a pair of scissors; she was the one suspended.

        This kind of behaviour is learned. Most likely, those ‘four boys’ were exposed to such, and it was considered ‘acceptable behaviour.’

    1. I’ve met people who I find myself thinking “This person needed someone to beat him / her as a kid and teach them properly.”
      I keep meeting ones where I say “This person needs someone to beat them NOW to teach them properly.” But maybe that’s just me.

  20. Where I work, I’ve witnessed some truly astonishing kid meltdowns. I feel very embarrassed for their parents.

    1. It’s worst when they’re usually great and then one day they just can’t cope for nothing and you KNOW that everyone thinks it’s normal and you’re a bad parent. :/

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