Hollow Tree Ventures parenting humor
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Dear Medical Community

Dear Medical Community,

Before I begin, let me say that I fear this might come off as ungrateful, which is certainly not my intent. Through the years you have contributed greatly to the betterment of society.

You've been there to guide the world through dangerous epidemics, giving the General Population invaluable advice on how to stay healthy such as "wash your hands" and "don't rub faces with people who are oozing pus."

You are there to spoil our fun keep us healthy with reminders of all the foods that are going to kill us with their cholesterol and trans-fatty acids, just when we're about to be led astray by hearing news like pizza is a vegetable.

After only a few hundred years of it not working, you stopped using leeches to cure a fever; but, just to prove your determination and ingenuity, you found new ways to include disgusting insects in the amazing world of Medical Science. (Ed. note:  For the love of God, don't click on that link. Gross.)

And in light of this, I have always paid special attention to your suggestions and put them into practice in my daily life. Red wine is full of antioxidants? Great! Dark chocolate reduces blood pressure? Fantastic! You even invent words like "flavinoids" so we Civilian Dummies can tell right away when something is both delicious and sciencey. So sign me up! In fact, I'll go above and beyond what you recommend, just because I'm a suck-up like that and I want you to be proud. You say I should sip half a glass of Merlot and nibble on 80% Cacao every day? If you think that's good for me, I'll drink a whole bottle of Sangria and wolf down a box of Whitman's chocolates twice  a day. Aren't you impressed?

But I have to admit to a certain amount of disappointment lately, Medical Community. Since the recent-ish birth of my third baby, I've noticed that a lot of the advice you gave me 7-10 years ago when my other babies were babies is now considered COMPLETELY WRONG.

This has rocked the very foundation of everything I ever pretended to know about parenting; if I can't trust you, Medical Community, to tell me how to navigate the confusing world of child-rearing, who can I trust? Do you want me to go through Motherhood relying on pure instinct, like some kind of cave person?

Think I'm crazy? Before I get all worked up and give myself a case of The Vapors, allow me to give you a few examples of what I'm talking about.

1)  Eggs
I have a hard enough time keeping track of whether or not I'm supposed to eat eggs. Years ago you told me that casually brushing up against the egg cooler at the supermarket would cause me to die instantly of heart disease, but now athletes guzzle them raw for fun. However, I did know for certain that Maddie wasn't supposed to be eating them—remember the guilt trip you gave me when Baby Jake had a tiny bite from my cobb salad and he got a bump that the receptionist at the pediatrician's office said probably indicated the beginnings of an enduring food allergy? I wasn't going to let that happen again. Until...
PEDIATRICIAN (at Maddie's 9-month check-up):  She's eating solids, right? Any eggs?
ME (immediately recognizing this as a trick question to reveal Sub Par Parenting Skills): Oh no, she hasn't had any eggs yet!
PEDIATRICIAN (looking at me like I just waltzed in from the 1890s): It's generally agreed now that babies can have eggs before age one.
Well, excuse me! When did we decide this? Scientific evidence used to indicate that eggs would make our children suffer a lifelong inability to eat more eggs, but now apparently they've changed their minds? What else can Maddie eat that I don't know about? Should I be sharing my Sangria? These are all excellent questions I'll be sure to bring up at my next appointment. And speaking of food, I can't figure out...

"The joke's on you - I'm not eating
any of this, no matter WHAT you do."
2) The Order of Introducing Solids
The last time I checked, there was a method to the madness of giving a baby solid foods. It was done in a certain progression, and deviation from the Recommended Order of Food Introduction would result in Ruining Your Baby's Taste Buds Forever. This order was:
  • Baby Cereal (dry flakes that you turn into disgusting Baby Cereal Soup by adding breast milk or formula) - No baby will eat this smelly garbage, but you must mix up three batches a day and smear it on your baby's face to promote a Love of Food.
  • Mashed-Up Vegetables - Because the only thing better than Baby Cereal to get your infant interested in solid food is overcooked, pureed veggie paste.
  • Mashed-Up Fruit - This was never  to be introduced prior to vegetables, or else (I was told) the baby would get addicted to the sugary taste like a tiny little junky and never eat anything else, ever, except for maybe Twinkies.
  • Meat - Once you'd successfully navigated the prior three categories, it was time to offer your infant  things like medium-rare steak and whole sausages.
With my older two kids, I wasted countless hours keeping track of which foods they ate, ensuring I waited the proposed three days between new foods so that I'd know which was the culprit in the event the child developed an allergy or grew a second head.

Now, come to find out, IT DOESN'T MATTER! Medical Community, your once-rigid views on Feeding A Baby have become an unfamiliar landscape of chaos and apathy. Last night, Maddie ate part of a breadstick and about three pounds of colby-jack cheese for dinner. I hope you're happy.

3) Breastfeeding
While you still stick by your assertion that breastfeeding is the healthiest choice for mother and baby, you used to claim that one of the benefits for Mom was faster weight loss, as milk production burns roughly the same amount of energy as a Space Shuttle launch. This seemed to be true, as I quickly got right back down to my Fighting Weight after the births of my first two.

However, now I'm reading that breastfeeding may actually cause your body to hang on to 10 pounds or so, to support your baby's drinking habit.  Coincidentally, this has been true following my pregnancy with Maddie; I blame this on the Medical Community suddenly changing their story about the ease of weight loss, and do not find it in any way related to me being 10 years older now and not exercising at all this time.

4) Pacifiers
Years ago, pacifiers were frowned upon, considered a Necessary Evil at best. We mothers were warned that pacifiers would cause dental issues, nipple confusion, decreased appetite, ear infections, The Bends, rickets, and sleeping through the night. Constant availability of a pacifier was thought to encourage reliance on soothing devices later in life, such as cigarettes or collections of Precious Moments figurines.

I was lucky the first two times. Jake never showed any interest in pacifiers, and Zoe started sucking her thumb in utero; I wasn't able to pull the thumb out of her mouth and exchange it for a pacifier even if I'd wanted to (which, incidentally, I did).
"I'm taking this one to college with me."
These days, the Current Wisdom says pacifiers are fine—no dental problems, they might even help reduce SIDS. Emboldened by these new findings, and by the fact that her dad insisted on having a way to soothe his daughter (the male nipple being useless in this—and every other—regard), we started Maddie down the Pacifier Path. Now not only does she love the dumb thing, but she's extremely particular about which one we give her. Only two pacifiers, out of the eleventy billion in this house, will actually pacify her. And I lose them both. Every day.

You get my point, Medical Community.  I want to believe in you, but your fickle policies are making it difficult to take you seriously. Based on years of my own scientific study, I think I might be better off just doing whatever the heck I feel like doing. I will, however, continue my strict Sangria and Whitman's chocolate regimen - no sense in taking needless health risks.

I hope you enjoyed yourself while you were here - and I hope you come back! Please share inappropriate giggles with me on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, or subscribe via email so you don't miss a thing!


Tara R. said...

I am so glad my adult kids are old enough to make their own dietary decisions. I'm afraid that with all these changes, once my kids start birthing their own babies, any advice I could give will be dangerously outdated.

(visiting via Blog Commenters Club)

Corrin said...

Moor proof that I'm just going to wing it when I have kids. Seemed to have worked for my parents.

Andrea said...

Great post and SO True!

RobynHTV said...

Tara, don't let that stop you! During my pregnancies people couldn't help but inform me about dangers like wrapping the cord around my baby's neck by raising my arms over my head; now I get a lot of advice about forcing my kids to wear hats when it's 50 degrees out, or not letting them drink milk when they have a cold. Getting bad, outdated advice is a rite of passage every parent should be forced to endure!

RobynHTV said...

Corrin, that's what I'm talkin' about! My mom gave me the old Dr. Spock book she used as a reference when I was a baby, and it specifically advises pregnant women to have a smoke and a cocktail when they're stressed. We managed to survive that, and lawn darts, and polyester jumpers, so I'm not too terribly worried about the next generation.

SarahB said...

Hi-lar-i-ous! And so true! I was only 19 when I had my first one and my mom told me what to do. When my second and third came around I just did everything the same, as much as possible. Seemed to work out okay.

My kids ate so many orange fruits and veggies their noses turned orange. They all slept on their stomachs and lived. They had pacifiers - I was terrified of not being able to take the thumb away.

I did what worked and they survived!

Amanda said...

So true! The "rules" have definitely changed since my 12-year-old was born. I'm at it all over again with my toddler.

RobynHTV said...

I feel like Super Mom if I manage to find something that works; if I can manage to do it twice, I'm automatically elevated to Goddess Mom status!

RobynHTV said...

So you know where I'm coming from, Thoughts From Her! Luckily no one comes door to door enforcing the rules - I'd be in trouble!

mara said...

Wow. You took the words out of my mouth. I have three kids 5 years apart (the oldest is 17) and I can tell you that the recommended sleeping position changed 3 times from kid to kid. The medical community truly over thinks things sometimes.

Anonymous said...

I'm super impressed by the depth of your joke. It was so complex and properly set up! And holy majoly, lady, that belly at 7.5 months!

Please tell me that the Medical Community still considers what they eat over a couple of days and not just one day...because my kid lives off of goldfish. I cannot get the hang of dinners. The other meals are mostly fruit, too. My instinct says to give up and let her eat what she wants so she's not hungry! But the MC could have something to say about that theory, I'm just not sure.

RobynHTV said...

mara, I so wish that surprised me! We're so tough on ourselves as moms, sometimes I have to remind myself that even the "experts" don't know what they're doing. So any time I screw up, I console myself by assuming that whatever rule I broke is going to eventually thrown out anyway. It helps me sleep at night. :)

RobynHTV said...

Thanks, I'll Sleep - and that BELLY - you're telling me! I was getting more terrified by the day.
And thanks for the reminder about how their nutrition is averaged over a few days! I completely forgot about that, and I'm going to assume it's true because it makes me feel loads better!

Jennifer said...

This is really why we should just do whatever we want.

Once we found a pacifier my daughter liked I bought them by the gross to be sure I always had one available. I think there are still some behind the bed. She's 7.

Unknown said...

After reading this post I can so see myself turning into one of the Grandparents (way, way, way, way, way in the future) that ignores what the parents want for their kids and do what I want for their kids. I mean really...how is a person supposed to keep up? :)

RobynHTV said...

Jennifer - Where were you 9 months ago??? :) I wish I'd known to buy those pacis in bulk - it never occurred to me that she'd get so attached to one. stinking. kind!

RobynHTV said...

You're right, Kellyology! It'll be like me with the egg thing - just following the last set of rules I heard - and my poor kids will be bolting their doors to protect their offspring from my dangerous influence.

*lynne* said...

Haaha! I hear ya on these topics, as I am navigating the confusing world of motherhood right now (I have a 9 month old, with another due in July!). I took my times with the introduction of solid food, mainly because studies showed that babies introduced to solids too early had a higher chance of becoming obese, and seeing how mommy and daddy both struggle with their weight, I figured the kid should be helped to NOT go that same path. I'm sticking to the cereal -> veggie -> fruit -> meat path.

RobynHTV said...

*lynne* good luck! (And congrats on the new bundle - I saw him/her on your blog - best. ultrasound. photo. ever!). I love "meeting" a mom with a baby the same age as mine. :) I wish I could say I'm that careful about tracking what she eats... I was with my first, my second a little less so, and with poor Maddie - I wasn't joking about the bread stick and cheese for dinner! ::bad mom::

*lynne* said...

re ultrasound: I know, right??!! :)) At first i got a bit freaked out at the sight, to be honest, but soon after I was joking about the alien in my belly :)

Jane Anne said...

This was super fun to read... because all of us moms get it- or at least the ones that have multiple children. Of course, it also makes everything that my parents said make sense... "well, when you were a baby we gave our babies just a little bit of honey to soothe them." No!! Oh my word. I also shudder sometimes to think about how protective I am of my kids when as a kid I didn't wear a helmet riding my bike and I was allowed to roam all over the neighborhood without a cell phone. *sigh*
Thanks for the laugh. Love that pregnancy picture!

RobynHTV said...

Jane Anne - I know, it's scary sometimes how much things change and how fast. Gerry & I were just talking last night about how we'd disappear in the summer when we were kids and not come home until the sun set - it gives me hives just thinking about letting my kids do that!
Thanks for stopping by - so glad you were here!

Foursons said...

I don't know how any of my kids survived with all the "rules" that we were supposed to follow. Oh.my.word. Get it straight medical community, you're supposed to be SMART.

So glad you linked up with me today! I loved your letter and grinned through the whole thing!

RobynHTV said...

Foursons - no kidding, they ARE supposed to be smart. I bet the ones who make all the child rearing recommendations sit around at their meetings, smoking cigarettes and laughing, coming up with new rules just to mess with us (coming soon: remaining upside down throughout labor and delivery is healthiest for baby!).

momto8 said...

pretty funny really. so many things have changed since my first baby and my last baby!! the thing that really only ever matters is that you love your child and they know that you love them.
I am your newest follower..pls follow back if you can.

LOVE MELISSA:) said...

Perfect post. I couldn't agree more. The medical community does deem so many things wrong and as a first time mom you tend to adhere to the recommendations. Now, with my second, he takes pacifiers and eats everything. We never even did rice cereal. And you know what- he is absolutely perfect!

RobynHTV said...

momto8, I couldn't agree more! Thanks so much for following!

RobynHTV said...

Melissa, that's so true - they end up just perfect, even if we don't perfectly follow the experts' perfect advice, don't they?

Rachel said...

Perfectly said!

How on earth does stuff change so drastically - and sometimes only in the span of one gestation?

Still cracking up over the baby cereal part.

RobynHTV said...

Rachel - thanks! :) I wish I knew how it all changes so fast - and I also wish I knew how they manage to take something as bland as Rice Cereal and make it smell like dirt paste.

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