Please spend more money on your baby.

Babies and their gear can get pretty expensive, so I think I’ll spend a few hundred more dollars on her. We’re flying to San Diego in a few months, and we bought Miri a seat and we’re bringing her car seat on board.

Since the FAA is not yet requiring that infants under two ride in their own seat, in a restrained in a safety device on airplanes, it is left up to parents to make that decision. And while I believe there eleventy-billion ways to parent and most of them are probably right, and how you parent your own child is your own business, there are few things I just can’t abide. This includes breakfast burritos, any Tom Hanks movies post-1998, and lap babies on airplanes. The FAA requires all children over two years old to have their own seat, and even warns against lap babies for infants under two, stating on its Child Safety website, “the safest place for your child on an airplane is in a government-approved safety restraint system (CRS) or device, not on your lap.  Your arms aren’t capable of holding your child securely, especially during unexpected turbulence.” An unrestrained infant becomes a deadly projectile in the event of turbulence or a crash. Just this past February, a United flight from Denver to Billings experienced such severe turbulence that an infant was thrown from its mother’s arms. In 1994 USAir flight 1016 landing at Charlotte experienced a microburst and crashed upon landing. Thirty-seven passengers died, two of them infants. The babies had been riding in their parents’ laps, were thrown upon impact, then died in the fire. Their parents walked off unscathed. Following this accident and the ensuing NTSB investigation, the Board recommended to the FAA that children under the age of two be restrained during takeoff, landing and during turbulence.  While the FAA conducted tests of child safety restraints, it has yet to do anything other than simply recommend their use. That was in 1995.

I used to think that since having kids was probably pretty hard, parents should take advantage of whatever perks they could. Kids eat free, drive in the carpool lane, board planes first, save money on an airplane seat as long as you can. But once I started reading about car seat safety, and then infant safety on planes, I realized that just because the FAA doesn’t require infants to be restrained, it doesn’t mean they are safe on your laps. I’m a safety freak in most things, so now that I know this I can’t take that risk with Miri.

My other reason for buying her a seat on the plane is that she is simply the squirmiest, squirrelliest, wiggliest baby. She is only still when she’s sleeping, and then only for a few moments at a time as she does crib gymnastics in her sleep. Trying to hold her on your lap is an exercise in futility. You will wind up with a Glasgow kiss, your hair pulled, your eyeballs poked, a black eye, and your eardrums ruptured from her frustrated shrieks. She is much happier sitting in her car seat, even if I have to hold my iPad in front of her and press repeat on Daniel Tiger ad finitum. Other passengers and their eardrums will thank me. So yeah, my motives are also quite selfish and for my own convenience, I do admit.

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Nice job, Mr. Herman.

I subscribe to a local list serv, “Ballard Moms” (okay, maybe it’s technically called “Ballard Parents”). It’s ostensibly a buy/sell/trade for our neighborhood, but the real reason I subscribe is purely entertainment. Of course the moms can’t help but post announcements (“I saw a pervert in the park!”) or lost and found (“There’s a blue rainboot in the gutter at the park!”) and sometimes there are real gems. This week there has been an ongoing saga of a missing bike, the mom who posted also posted updates (“Bike spotted! Thief looks like this:”) Then today, as a Mother’s Day offering to my snark, she posted this extraordinary saga of personal heroism, the bike is found! For your enjoyment, I’m presenting you with a little post I like to call, “Really? Was it worth it?” My favorite part is how they go home to get PeeWee’s helmet so he can ride the bike home. Its very rare that I take the side of Seattle cops, but I gotta say I’m with them in their lack of enthusiasm at responding to the repeated 911 calls.

[Reposted from Ballard Moms listserv. Names have been changed because people love to Google themselves. If this post bears any resemblance to your post or someone you know, it’s probably because it is you.]

Our bike is home. Thank you to Tootsie and Biff, total strangers who spotted our bike this afternoon, called me (from one of my numerous posts), locked it, called the cops and waited for us to arrive. When we got to the flea bag hotel off Aurora the bike was there, locked up (by the thief’s lock and Biff’s). The seat and battery were missing and the wheel lock was busted. The cargo box was full of some guy’s laundry. Then, the thief showed up. We knew him from his previous description. White guy, mid 30’s, bleach blond Mohawk. PeeWee confronted him telling him he stole our bike and the cops were on their way. The guy said he didn’t know what we were talking about. Biff, his wife and some others were in the vicinity. PeeWee tried to detain him, announced a citizen’s arrest, and the thief shoved and tried to punch PeeWee. PeeWee shoved back. I called 911 from the car with the kids and asked the police to respond again. PeeWee ducked out of the way. Finally, the guy ditched his backpack, PeeWee followed him. He ran off and jumped six lanes of traffic on Aurora at 45th with a mouth full of blood. Police showed up and the motel manager came down. We told him our story and the manager went into the guy’s room and came up with the seat/battery. Cops took statements but did not follow the guy. We clipped the thief’s lock and took the bike down to Biff and Tootie’s house a block away. We drove home to get PeeWee’s helmet to safely ride the bike home. On the way, we spotted the thief on the street. We followed him for five or six blocks and called 911 again. Watched him go into a gas station. Waited. 911 operator said that if we weren’t being threatened they wouldn’t send anyone. We went home got PeeWee’s helmet and went back with a half rack of beer for Biff and Tootsie. PeeWee got on the bike to ride it home. On the way, he was stopped by a concerned citizen who thought he was the thief. He arrived home safely. Upon inventory, the battery is trashed, there are scratches all over, the lock is broken and it was rode really hard. Still, we have it back, we got to confront the thief, and we’re all safe. A good end to the story. Thank you so much to all the people who reposted and retweeted our posts. We couldn’t have done it without you all. Profoundly grateful. Adrenaline is finally starting to abate. Cocktail in hand, one kid in bed and the other soon to follow. Life is good!

All snark aside, this couple violated one of my number one rules of parenting: Don’t bring your kids to street fights.

To help put this smug cyclophilia into perspective, I also recently learned from this listserv that there is an attorney in Ballard whose practice is solely dedicated to bicyclists who have been injured by cars. Not that being injured in a car accident isn’t a really sucky thing, but because of course the car is always at fault and cyclists love to play the maligned victim card every chance they get.

Things that Annoy Me

Don’t worry, I’m only listing a few things that annoy me this week. A full list of Things That Annoy Me would be quite the lengthy tome. I’ve either got to find time to do a lot more ranting, or maybe try to dial down the irritation filter. But what fun would that be?

How to Tell if You’re a Basic Bitch This video was extremely enlightening to me. I’ve often railed against the Borings…people with no edge, no sense of humor, and who are nauseatingly predictable with their interests and preferences (see: white people & running, white women and Sex & the City, Seattle-ites and hiking, etc.). I was delighted to find there is a category for these women. Because if there’s one thing I love, it’s labels and stereotypes, they are timesavers and make for efficient communication. Example, “Why don’t you like X’s girlfriend?” “Uhm, it’s hard to explain, but she’s so boring, and only talks about runnning/hiking/yoga, she has no sense of humor..” But now I can just say, “Because she’s a basic bitch.” Bazinga!

The World’s Toughest Job is in a Fish Cannery in Alaska Full disclosure, I didn’t even watch this whole video, I didn’t need to waste anymore time raising my annoyance level. But if there’s one thing that REALLY annoys me (worse than soup-slurping and slow drivers) it’s the need to announce just how HARD being a MOM is. I’m flummoxed as to why women need to keep flogging this dead horse. Part of my problem is semantics: it’s not a “job.” A job is something you have to actively attempt to get, you have to avoid being fired, and without it you’d likely starve or be homeless. Parenting is a lifestyle choice. It’s a lot harder to sound as smug when you are proclaiming that “being a mom is the hardest lifestyle choice there is.” And yes, parts of being a parent are hard, and challenging, and it is certainly quite different in many respects than other things I’ve done. It is definitely the most constant thing I’ve ever done. But I don’t really see the point of making sure everyone else knows that it’s difficult. Is there really a debate, a faction of people claiming “Motherhood is easy peasy?” But this is a slippery slope into the Mommy Wars and I’m trying to claim Conscientious Objector status in order to avoid those wars.

Babies in Sunglasses. There are some concepts that are pretty good on their own, but when joined together become amazing. Like chocolate and peanut butter, or Penn and Teller. There are other concepts that are pretty good on their own but when put together pretty much cancel out any redeeming qualities. Like breakfast burritos. I love breakfast, and I love burritos. But a breakfast burrito is neither breakfast nor a burrito, and has none of the wonderful qualities of either. I don’t even recognize the existence of a breakfast burrito because I cannot comprehend the need for its existence. Baby sunglasses are another example. Babies can be adorable and wonderful, and goodness knows I love sunglasses and cannot be apart from mine. However babies in sunglasses is so ridiculous that I can’t comprehend the point. Slap on a floppy sun hat, put up a sun shade, let your baby squint. Eat a hearty breakfast or have a burrito for lunch. Spare the poor baby. Unless of course you are an over-protective helicopter parent or you are taking an ironic photo of your baby in sunglasses and a fedora for a Blues Brothers party. Then carry on.

Phew, ranting over. I feel much better now, thank you for enabling this catharsis.