THE STATE ALSO WILL NOW LIMIT MATERNITY WARD VISITORS TO NO MORE THAN TWO MINTS FROM THE WICKER BASKET ON THE LOBBY RECEPTION DESK

The state of Massachusetts has made an inexplicably bad decision, banning formula companies from providing new moms with free gift bags during their maternity hospital stays. Since the handouts - typically, diaper bags (perfect for nanny use) loaded with freebies like CDs, photo albums, and growth charts - also included samples of, and coupons for, baby formula, the state determined that they wrongly promoted formula-feeding over breastfeeding, which the state advocates for all newborns.

That's all well and good, but we still want our free diaper bags! Loathe as we are to raise the temperature of this debate, we may have to trot out the "Scrooge" label here.

"REMINDS ME OF SOMETHING JAMES USED TO SAY: I LIKE 'EM FAT, I LIKE 'EM PROUD ..."

Slate answers the musical question, Do giant babies grow up to be giant adults? They sure do, and smart ones, too.

NOT ONLY THAT, BUT SOMETIMES, WHEN WE'RE TRYING TO CROSS THE STREET WITH OUR STROLLER, MYSTERIOUS DROPS OF WATER WILL START FALLING DOWN ON US FROM THE SKY, ALMOST WITHOUT WARNING - AND WHEN IT'S ESPECIALLY COLD, HEAVY WHITE FLAKES CAN FALL FROM THE HEAVENS, SOMETIMES RIGHT ONTO OUR BABY'S FACE, DISTURBING HIS NAP! WHY CAN'T THE MAYOR MAKE IT STOP? DOESN'T HE REALIZE THAT THE GODS MUST BE ANGRY WITH HIM? HE MUST MAKE A SACRIFICE TO THE GODS SO THAT THE DROPS AND FLAKES WILL STOP!

According to the New York Times, the greatest problem faced by parents in the city is not the lack of quality public schools, the high cost of living, or even the lack of space inside apartments - it's that sometimes, when they try to cross the street with their strollers, they barely have enough time to get to the other side, and even when they do, they face the persistent threat of "uneven or rough pavement."

WE STILL LOVE BEING PHYSICAL WITH FELLOW AND TINY, JUST AS LONG AS THEY STAY - OFF- OUR - BACK! COME ON, GUYS, WE MEAN IT! GET OFF! OW!

In case you missed it, Linda Baker wrote a column for the Times a few weeks back about how she loves kissing and stroking her 10-year-old son and eight-year-old daughter, and how she resents mainstream society for telling her it's wrong:

Here's the reality. I love to be physical with my son, and with my 8-year-old daughter too. I've been stroking and kissing them since the day they were born. And now I'm supposed to stop? Cold turkey? What kind of puritanical culture do we live in?

The column has engendered a lot of response, much of it negative, plenty of it positive, but you can put us down with Baker's supporters. Unlike the folks who write most of the child-rearing guides, Baker is emotionally honest enough to acknowledge that of course she loves to be physical with her kids - it's fun, it's positive, it's emotionally satisfying. She's also keenly aware that the day will come sooner than later when her two children, who now can't keep their hands off her, will demand that she never touch them again. And - like us - she wants to delay the pangs of that day as long as possible:

"I am, I tell myself, an intelligent, compassionate and disciplined woman who also wants to remain physically affectionate with her growing children. Will I eventually have to sublimate that desire? Of course. I know the physical boundaries between me and my kids will never again be as permeable as they are today or were in the past.

Filial independence comes at a cost. One afternoon my son and I will be sitting in a bookstore cafe, I sipping my cappuccino and skimming the newspaper while he gulps hot chocolate and reads "The Catcher in the Rye."

I'll reach out to stroke his hair. "Mom," he'll say. "Please stop."

And stop I will. But on that day I will weep rivers of tears."

December 27, 2005 | Permalink | Subscribe to RSS

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