August 31, 2017

Kickstart Our Baby: Baby ProjectFunder (A Kickstarter Parody)

This clever “Kickstart Our Baby” Kickstarter spoof features Beth and Robert Sweeney (played by Brigid Boyle and Steve Siddell) drumming up dollars to making a baby. Too funny, almost, except for that nagging notion that somebody has probably contemplated this. Really…

Kickstart Our Baby, v1.0

Kickstarter Logo

Kickstarter Logo

The tongue-in-cheek (yes, I feel a need to say that) “Kickstart Our Baby” video comes from The PIT New York City.

The PIT is dedicated to the instruction, performance, and development of original comedy. The PIT strives to entertain and educate the community about the comedic arts in a safe and nurturing environment. (The PIT)

Team Waterbirth (@WaterbirthPITtv), PIT TV’s in-house team, is behind “Baby Projectfunder”:

Coach: Jason Messina
Line Producer: Ryan Clark
Director/Editor: Joon Chung
Director: Brian Phares
Editor: Philip Maniaci
Editor: Madeline Smith
Writer: Susannah Bohlke
Writer: Cat Crow
(via PITtv – Waterbirth)

Kickstart Our Baby, v2.0

If you enjoyed PIT’s Baby Projectfunder spoof, then you’re in luck. Here’s another by another “Kickstart Our Baby” duo:

Just in case you’re feeling inspired to create your own “Kickstart Our Baby” fundraiser video, please note that these are parody videos. Kickstarter [probably] won’t let you raise dough to make a baby.

Barren in Iran

Leila (film)

Image via Wikipedia

I recently watched Leila, a mesmerizing Iranian film that debuted  by Persian film director Dariush Mehrjui. It chronicles the story of a young married couple (Leila and Reza) living in modern Teheran who can’t conceive a child.  More exactly, the couple learns that she, the wife cannot have a child. Trouble ensues.

In one of the earliest scenes the viewer meets the young man’s mother, who, while celebrating her daughter-in-law’s birthday announces that she can’t wait to meet the couple’s son (only they don’t have one).  This woman, so insistent that her only son have a child to carry on the family’s lineage (never mind her handful of daughters who might procreate) soon learns, that her wish won’t be possible.  The couple jumps through some fertility hoops to no avail, and the Reza consoles his wife by insisting to her that he really has had no interest in having children all along.  Leila seems to believe him, and they resolve to enjoy each others’ company without the distraction of children.

Then Reza’s mother intercedes.

Leila and Reza’s love is palpable. Their connection and mutual admiration seem strong. But their love and ties are harrowingly tested in a tug-of-war between their modern marriage and Islamic tradition, between their dreams and Reza’s mother’s dreams.  The film offers a glimpse into the complexities of living in contemporary Iran and the complexities of giving back to one’s parents.

Leila’s mother-in-law persistently, deceptively convinces her that Reza is desperate to have a child. She harasses Leila incessantly until Leila agrees to permit her husband to marry a second wife who can give him a child. Though adamantly opposed to the idea, Reza eventually yields to his mother’s desire and to the traditional Islamic expectations of him.

We watch the heart-wrenching process of selecting a new bride through Leila’s eyes. We witness and understand her anguish.  Ironically, it is Reza’s sisters and father who try to convince Leila to refuse the second marriage. (Ostensibly polygamy is legal in Iran provided previous wives agree.) Leila’s family is horrified when they discover Reza’s plan to remarry.

Leila’s doubt that Reza would be happy without a child and her decision to encourage a second marriage inevitably proves devastating to her union with Reza.  She signs her fate away to external factors and concludes: “God has not given me a child.  He has given me the gift of eternal patience and endurance.”  Her choices test the limits of that endurance (and the viewer’s).

I won’t spoil the plot, because the film is worth watching. We never really know why Leila consents to her insipid mother-in-law’s wishes. Does she hope this will make her a better Muslim and wife? Does she simply wish to please her new family? Does she too desperately desire a child even if impossible through her own DNA? Or does her self sacrificing decision reveal unconditional love for her husband?  Perhaps all of these factors are in play, but the film is so compelling precisely because we never learn the answer.

Open Letter to a Green Mama

A landfill in Poland

Image via Wikipedia

Dear Green Mama,

I just bought diapers. They are for your new baby. As a childfree woman this is an exceptional and eye-opening day for me. Thank you for taking the time to research the environmental impact of having a child and choosing to use cloth diapers instead of disposables. And thank you for educating me on the new technology of the old standard cloth diapers. Gone are safety pins and saggy rubber pants. Cloth diapers are now made of wool, bamboo, unbleached hemp, and cotton with snug waterproof covers in every color in the Crayola box. You also told me about the burden of disposable diapers on our landfills:

“An average child will go through several thousand diapers in his/her life. Since disposable diapers are discarded after a single use, usage of disposable diapers increases the burden on landfill sites, and increased environmental awareness has led to a growth in campaigns for parents to use reusable alternatives such as cloth or hybrid diapers. An estimated 27.4 billion disposable diapers are used each year in the US, resulting in a possible 3.4 million tons of used diapers adding to landfills each year.” (Source Wikipedia)

There has been much debate over landfill for disposable diapers vs. water usage for cloth diapers. Which is better for the environment? Bleached industrial cotton is terrible for the environment and so is using a washing machine and detergent. However, if you use a full load (pardon the pun) and green laundry products they are better both baby and the world.

Fact: The use of cloth diapers goes up in hard economic times. Parents will spend between $2,000 and $3,000 before potty training on each child vs. $300 for cloth, and the cloth diapers can be recycled and reused for additional children. (Or how about skipping that next child to save some money and the environment?)

But are the cloth diapers better for baby? Many experts believe that potty training is easier for kids with cloth diapers because they can actually feel when they are wet. The fabrics are also free of chemicals and are relatively easy to use.

Back to Green Mama. Thank you also for having a “green shower” free of wrapping paper, decorative paper bags, and plastic bows. Instead, presents will come in reusable baskets and “wrapping” will include cloth diapers with reusable bows. Just during the holidays alone wrapping paper makes up four million tons of waste. I love the idea of eliminating wrapping paper and using cloth instead of disposable. This is one idea that we can all make part of our routine. Just a suggestion, you may not want to wrap your gifts for the childfree in cloth diapers.

Dear WNKers, What do you buy your friend’s babies for gifts?

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More NYC women are saying no to having children

Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island, New Jersey
Image via Wikipedia

Whether they call themselves “childless,” “childfree,” “childless-by-choice” or even just “still on the fence,” a significant number of New York women in their 30s and 40s are taking a pass on motherhood.

via More NYC women are deciding not to have children – NYPOST.com.

What do you think WNKsters?

Does having a career in the big city mean you can’t have kids? Why are NYC women opting for childfreedom?

Kidding Around with Adam Mansbach

“You probably should not read it to your children.”

Go the F*ck to Sleep

With 284,000,000 search results on Google, a shout out in New York Magazine’s Approval Matrix, and the #1 spot on Amazon, Go the F*ck to Sleep is the talk of the publishing industry. And it doesn’t even come out until October!

Is this the beginning of a new trend in “kidding around” lit for parents? A few other irreverent series have made their way to bookshelves and gift stores in the past (see below). Why is this book getting so much attention? And why now? Are parents really so fed up? Or have we all recovered a sense of humor about parenting? Regardless, Go the F*ck to Sleep provides a brilliant burst of levity, and people are responding favorably.

I was introduced to Go the F*ck to Sleep when several of my friends sent the pdf version that has been circling email chains for the last few months. As a children’s book author and WNK blogger, they thought it was perfect for me. They also admitted the story reflects their own bedtime struggles.

In a recent “Today” show interview author Adam Mansbach said, “Despite the tremendous culture of parenting there’s a lot that doesn’t get talked about. Hopefully, the honesty of this book will open up the conversation. These are legitimate ways that we feel, and we should laugh about it, and be honest about these tribulations.”

As with most widely appealing humor, people seem to be laughing because the joke is on all of us, and is born from a seed of truth.

I found the book to be worthy of the response. It’s well written, and the viral contagion is as much a reflection of the authors talent and honesty as it is just plain good timing. People are obviously ready for a little break from Baby Einsteining, and humor, we are reminded, is always a good way to shine a light into some shadowed cracks and get people talking. And maybe if parents readily share simple daily struggles, fewer among us will feel alienated by perceived failings at a job that may be too often advertised as glorious and rewarding? Go the F*ck to Sleep is a breath of fresh, funny air, because we all know, it’s really not that easy.

Go the F*ck to Sleep by Adam Manbach from Akashic Books:

“Go the Fuck to Sleep is a bedtime book for parents who live in the real world, where a few snoozing kitties and cutesy rhymes don’t always send a toddler sailing blissfully off to dreamland. Profane, affectionate, and radically honest, California Book Award-winning author Adam Mansbach’s verses perfectly capture the familiar–and unspoken–tribulations of putting your little angel down for the night. In the process, they open up a conversation about parenting, granting us permission to admit our frustrations, and laugh at their absurdity. With illustrations by Ricardo Cortes, Go the Fuck to Sleep is beautiful, subversive, and pants-wettingly funny–a book for parents new, old, and expectant. You probably should not read it to your children.”

Three-Martini Family Vacation by Christie Mellor from Chronicle Books:

Three-Martini Family Vacation

“Chill the glasses! The author of the wildly successful Three-Martini Playdate is back with more irreverent and useful advice about life with children. Wickedly funny essays offer helpful advice on harnessing the energy of toddlers-gone-wild: on vacation, out to dinner, even just when grandmother stops by for a visit. Parents will relearn the art of traveling, socializing, and eating out like adults . . . sometimes with well-behaved children in tow. In dozens of short, kicky chapters like Cocktail Parties: Actually for Grown-ups…gently reminds parents that family vacations can truly be fun.”

Baby Be of Use Series by Lisa Brown from McSweeney’s:

Baby Be of Use

“With the Baby Be of Use Six-Book Bundle, you’ve got your domestic bases covered. Between naps and “turning over,” your baby can learn his or her way around banking, car repair, breakfast preparation, drink-mixing, wedding planning, and romantic matchmaking. Through basic shapes and colors, these board books teach your precious little angels to be useful at long last. And why shouldn’t they help a little around the house?”

Am I Selfish For Not Having Kids?

Prince Albert (later King George VI) and his w...

Prince Albert and his Wife Elizabeth with Their Labrador (Image via Wikipedia)

Despite my friend’s frequent reminders of “yet another woman over 40 who has successfully had a healthy baby” stories, I’m not the gambling type.

My friend thumbs through People magazine, identifying the aging celebrities touting their late-in-life offspring.“Look, 50 and a healthy baby,” she beams.

“That one had a surrogate,” I quip.

“Oh, right, she did. But she had twins at forty-two,” she’ll protest.

“And a staff of forty nannies and household servants, and tell me in ten years that she doesn’t get cancer from all those hormone injections,” I counter. She sighs and closes the magazine, failing to put me on the parent track.

The truth is, it isn’t really about my age. It’s a convenient excuse, but if I were in my twenties with all else being equal as it is now, I think I’d still make the same decision not to have children.

Early in my first marriage and in my twenties, before I got a dog I stopped every dog I passed on the streets of New York City.

“Oh, look at that one – soooo cute!  And a yellow lab and a chocolate lab.  I just looove labs.  Can I pet your dog?”  I would coo.

I finally got a yellow lab who became my pride and joy for fourteen years.  She outlasted my first marriage.  Everyone thought I was practicing to be a “real”  mom with her.  When she died she was succeeded not by a ‘real” baby but by an energetic male yellow lab instead.  As it turns out, I was practicing all along only to be a dog mom.  Sorry to disappoint, but I think I’ve done well with those skills.  Does this mean I don’t get to celebrate mother’s day?  Can I be a mom if my dependent happens to be canine?

The same impulse for babies, however, never emerged.  Passing strollers never merited a second glance from me.  That was a strong sign to me to avoid having a baby.

Okay, so not every happy parent started off ogling babies on the street.  Nonetheless, the fact is there is just so much I still want to do with my life that I don’t think even if I were twenty years younger I’d be able to accomplish all that I hope to do.

I’m not just talking about my career. We’re busy people, busy seeing friends and family, busy doing volunteer work, busy working, busy traveling, skiing, biking, hiking, kayaking, waterskiing or windsurfing, in short busy being involved in our community, and in our world.

So, then, why do so many people think I’m selfish for not having kids? Is it selfish to forgo children when you could perhaps raise one successfully, when you have no obvious major impediments to parenthood? Is it selfish for me to want to work on myself, to be the best person, citizen, sibling, wife, daughter that I can be? Could I work on myself and achieve the same goals if I had kids? Knowing me, probably not.

Some people would say it is self-centered to reproduce yourself.  The world is already overpopulated and there are already so many parent-less children who need a good home.  It’s a good point. We’ll have more thoughts on this topic later.  It’s in important one but since this piece is an introduction of one founder’s background and viewpoint, I will save that meaty conversation when I can interview multiple folks on the issue.

Frankly, the thought of disseminating my genes multiple times over just scares me.  I like who I am and I’m proud of my family and heritage, but, boy, I think one person like me in the world is really enough. I’m a handful all my own.

The way I see it, I can have an influence on a greater number of kids if I don’t have my own.

My hope is to be the adult who doesn’t treat them like a parent would, to be the person they can ask embarrassing questions, the person they can call in the middle of the night and say, “I need help. Please don’t tell my mom.” I want to be the person who takes them on safaris in Africa, fashion shows in Paris and hang-gliding in Bora Bora. That doesn’t seem selfish to me.

As my cousin’s 8 year old child said of me in the car once while I was driving a heap of kids down a dirt road in the country: “You can talk about it in front of her. She’s not a mom.” That made me feel good. They all nodded in agreement and spoke of a subject that would have been just too embarrassing or dangerous in front of their moms. It was an enlightening moment.

I recently became a CFES high school mentor in our local public school. I help juniors with the process of choosing, applying and gaining acceptance at the colleges of their choice. It’s a great program and if I had children when the majority of my friends did, I’d likely only be thinking about college preparation only for my own kids instead.

Let me be the mentor, friend, aunt, water ski and windsurfing coach to a number of kids.  Most children don’t have enough positive adult influence in their lives outside of their parents.  That’s where I enter.

Upcoming Posts:

  • Wednesday March 16: What I’ve learned From Hanging Out With Moms and Why are The Dads Having More Fun?
  • Friday March 18: Forging My Own Kid-less Path
  • Monday March 21: Dog Mom and über Aunt Will Travel
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Rip, Laugh, Repeat

It’s all in the timing. After sharing the “Why no kids? Wino kids” video as a tongue-in-cheek debut post on the WNK website and the WNK Facebook page I stumbled upon this baby humor gut-buster. Actually, it’s one of three similarly goofy videos of babies laughing at ripped paper. Not that funny you say? No? Did you laugh? Thought so.

Actually, it’s not that funny. Not three videos-worth, and yet I watched all three. From beginning to end. And I laughed during all three videos. Kids are funny, even when it’s inane-how-can-this-still-make-you-laugh humor. Parents love this stuff. Love it.

“Did I show you the video of my kid laughing at ripped paper? Oh, you’ve got to see it again. It’s sooo funny!”

But after a while it isn’t. Not so much. Unless you’re a parent, perhaps.

See, for those of us who’ve sidestepped the baby, the paper ripping and the video virus, our interest diminishes with each new photo, video, anecdote. I’m sorry. I’m being honest. Really, I’m not a curmudgeon. I want to like the video of your child’s funniest home video. I really do. But after a while… I don’t. The funny wears thin. I’d love to discuss the book you just read, the mountain you just climbed, the sculpture you just created out of mud and ideas. I yearn to laugh and smile and joke about your most recent adventure in Central America, your latest boardroom SNAFU, the chocolate souffle you accidentally prepared with salt instead of sugar. I miss shooting the breeze about politics, windsurfing, fly fishing, heirloom tomatoes…

Do you follow me? Kids are funny. Videos of funny kids doing funny things are funny. But sometimes I miss the old you, the one I enjoyed spending time with before everything was baby, baby, baby.

(Hat tip to Brett Valls for curating this quirky content and Jane Friedman for spreading the love!)

Why no kids? Wino kids!

Ever since we settled on Why No Kids as the name of our blog, I’ve been hearing “wino kids”… Ironic then that Johannes Nyholm‘s trailer for Las Palmas should cross my radar around the same time!

Why is this little video so perversely amusing? Is it the fact that junior shouldn’t be lubricating? Or the bizarre puppets who balance out the drunken antics of the protagonist?