Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Moms are always right

What is it about becoming a mother than means that suddenly you know everything about everything, and you are always right?

Because somehow this seems to be a magical process that happens to many women. They squeeze a baby out of their body and suddenly they become an expert on many things that they weren't an expert on just months previously. (And as I understand it, if the baby is squeezed specifically out of your vagina, that adds even more expertise.)

About a year ago, I wrote a post on Mothers in Medicine how at times, I am just a giant ball of stress, notably during the process of picking my kids up and getting them home. I wrote:

"I don't like stress. Stress stresses me out. While I adore my kids more than anything, it would be so nice to be able to take one shower without someone busting in on me and asking when I'll be done. It would be nice to spend a whole day in bed getting to do whatever I want to do. Something like that feels selfish, even decadent, to me now."

The responses, in general, were pretty supportive. But naturally, moms know best. So I got a couple that weren't quite as supportive with some "helpful advice." Such as, "Can't you use a bit of discipline? It sounds like she's spoiled."

Actually, I think my daughter being upset because every single day for the last two years, I've had a snack for her on the way home and this time I've failed to provide one is a pretty reasonable response for a small child. But thanks for that helpful advice, mama.

But my absolute favorite was this one: "Just an FYI, the baby shouldn't be wearing a coat at all in the car seat. You can't get it tight enough with the coat on."

CLEARLY, when you're stressed to the breaking point, the answer is to take all your kids' coats off in the freezing snow before buckling them in. That is something that obviously every mother does and it's not totally insane at all. Great, helpful advice that I was obviously just asking for. Thanks, mama.

Recently, a woman was publicly criticizing me online for my response to that particular comment to that post. She wrote:

"...She wrote about how difficult it was to buckle her daughter into the carseat because the daughter’s winter coat was so huge. Someone pointed out that it’s unsafe to buckle a carseat over a jacket and she’d solve her problem and keep her daughter safe by taking the jacket off.

She went ballistic.

I then posted a comment about how the carseat info was correct and I was shocked she responded with such vitriol. My comment was deleted."


First, for the record, I'm not a moderator for Mothers in Medicine, so I can't delete comments there and I'm innocent of that offense (it likely had links in it that got it filtered as spam). Second, I didn't write about "how difficult it was to buckle [my] daughter into the carseat because the daughter’s winter coat was so huge." I wrote about how my life is stressful. But certain mothers felt that they knew best and just had to weigh in, no matter how obnoxious it made them sound. No, I wasn't nice in my response. But I just freaking warned everyone in my post that I was really stressed out. If someone puts up a sign saying there are lions behind this door, you probably shouldn't open the door and tell the lions they're buckling their kids in wrong.

When I pointed out to this women how her comment made me feel, her response was, "I understand having a rotten day. But, please don't let your rotten day put your children in danger."

Because clearly, it's not about being right. It's that she was just sooooo worried about my poor little kids. People who give unwanted advice to other parents are really just compassionate souls worried about the poor kids.

Not that it's anyone's business, but my daughter has a compressible jacket that's "carseat safe." I told her this and she kindly retracted her comments and announced to the website where she'd been bashing me, "She assures me that her children are safe in special car seat safe jackets."

And everyone was so relieved. Because now Fizzy's kids are safe. Which is what everyone was just terrified about. Shit, they probably couldn't even sleep at night. It wasn't about being right at all. Or else nobody commented or cared.

I'm a mom so that means I apparently know everything. So here's some really wise advice:

Do not give other mothers unwanted advice about their kids just because you think you know better than they do. Ever. That's right, ever. They are doing a good job raising their kids. Your advice isn't going to do anything except raise their blood pressure.

84 comments:

  1. Can I just say something, as a (childless) follower of your blog? I really don't understand why you are sometimes surprised or offended by the comments to your post. You are publically blogging to the world at large. Meaning you are publically blogging to unknown people, many of whom (1) don't have the best reading comprehension skills, and/or (2) sit around reading blogs, just dying to feel important and write something provocative, and/or (3) honestly feel that their position is correct (whether it is or not is another question), and/or (4) are not mind readers, so if parts of your post can be read in more than one way, therefore being subject to interpretation, they might actually read it in a way that you did not intend.

    Just saying.

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    1. I'm never surprised, no.

      As for being offended, when someone calls you names and attacks you personally, it's hard not to be at least a little offended. This is why several bloggers restrict anonymous commenting, but I haven't done that.

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    2. No one should call anyone names, I agree. But again, if you put an opinion out there, there will be those who take the opposite view, and may feel as strongly about that opposite view as you do yours, so... I don't understand why you get upset. And you have said offensive things before, like suggesting that people who don't have kids are being selfish (I would directly link to that comment you made, but you removed that entire post). That sure as hell feels like a personal attack on me and other childless people. So why wouldn't people have the right to be upset about that? Because that is one of the meanest things I have ever seen you say.

      (And I have never understood that "selfish" comment, regardless of who has made it, because as a childless woman, I seem to pay an awful lot for other people's right to have kids. Like my school taxes are just as high as yours, and I work all the holidays for you guys, etc.).

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    3. I put that post back up. I just took it down because it was on reddit and I wanted it off there.

      Anyway, the only reason I made the comment about not having kids being selfish is because someone was yelling at me that having kids was a selfish choice. So I was just trying to point out that there was an equally valid argument that *not* having kids is selfish. I certainly didn't write a whole post about it.

      I don't genuinely feel that people are selfish for not having kids and I'm sorry if you were offended (although now you see what I mean). I am just sick of people arguing that it's selfish to have kids.

      When people are cordial, I am always cordial back. When I seem to "get upset" is when people start in with the juvenile name-calling. I know you don't have kids, but you have to be able to see that someone telling me that my kid is spoiled is offensive.

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    4. Well Fizzy, it was indeed offensive because you disparaged an entire class of people just because you were mad at one of them. And by saying those things, you reinforce the beliefs of all of those out there who take the same view. But, whatever. Enjoy your Christmas and New Year with your family, because yesterday, I once again learned that I will be working Christmas AND New Years because... well, no explanation is needed, is there?



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    5. Dude, it's pretty obvious that you're angrier than I am here. How can you bash me for getting offended when you're clearly extremely offended, and not even by something I wrote directly to you?

      Look at that long list of negative things people wrote about being a parent. Do you honestly blame me for snapping a bit?

      One of the points I was trying to make in the myriad of comments and posts was that single people end up covering for parents regardless of whether there's a policy in place, so if the system doesn't change in some way to recognize this, you're going to end up working those days for free.

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    6. Your comment was about all of us non-parents, even if wasn't specifically directed to me. So I have every right to offended by it. No matter how you try to justify your "preference" theory, you are saying that childless people have fewer rights than parents. Because we have tried to explain that most childless people never get holidays off, and while you somewhat acknowledge that it may be true, you still insist that parents should get preference. And I and many others think that's wrong, especially when you then suggest that we are the ones being selfish. You are arguing preference, and I am just asking for equal rights.

      And you can be as offended by me as I sometimes am of you. My original point is that you shouldn't complain about the comments you get if you put yourself out on the web with a public blog. If you don't want to hear from the rest of us, then just make your blog private and that way you can be sure to shut out the people who might take issue with some of the things you say.

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    7. Maybe I enjoy reposting offensive comments and publicly responding to them. Do you begrudge me that?

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    8. It's your post, you should do what you want. I only ask that you consider the possibility that some of what you say might be offensive or upsetting to the average reader, and perhaps that is what prompts the responses you get that you don't like. Yeah, some batshit crazies will take the most benign statement you say and make a big deal about it, and I'm not talking about that. Hell, if I say the sky is blue, I have family members who will automatically say, no, it's yellow, just to be contrarian. But certain topics you cover will naturally prompt some average people to take an opposing view, because some topics unquestionably allow for more than one perspective. And if you say something inflammatory, you will probably get some flaming responses in return. Even in those cases where you genuinely didn't MEAN for it to be inflammatory (we have all been there before), or you simply chose your words poorly in that post (we are also all guilty of that from time to time).

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    9. I'd be pretty dumb if I didn't consider that :)

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    10. I have four kids and find your view on parents vs non-parents offensive. Can't imagine how non-parents must take it.

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    11. Which particular view is that, Anon?

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    12. I'm not the above anon, but from what I've gathered from your posts, it seems as though you believe that parents should be continually prioritized in all things above non-parents.

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    13. Nope. I think that more flexible jobs should be available for parents who need it (at an adjusted salary) so they're not constantly imposing on others. Sorry if that offends you.

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    14. So, what if childless people wanted one of those "flexible jobs" so that they could care for an aging parent, or even just travel/hang around/whatever according to their own desires? They shouldn't have that opportunity?

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    15. I said dozens of times in the comments that they should.

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    16. But you also imply that people with children should get preference for these jobs. So...how does this go again?

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    17. Huh? I never said that. I just said that 9 to 5 jobs should exist in medicine for anyone who need that kind of schedule. There are plenty of young physicians who are $500K in debt who would be happy to work holidays or weekends for extra money.

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    18. But in most of your posts where you give examples of parents who impose on non-parents for schedule adjustments it's for reasons that fall within the 9 to 5 time-frame (sick kid, daycare closed, school holiday etc.) I respectfully disagree and think that the main problem IS the 9 to 5 time - outside those hours you're more likely to have a spouse/friend/parent/teenage neighbour free to call upon to help out. Maybe as parents we should just work the night shift :)

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  2. I've really enjoyed this blog for over a year now. But recently, it seems like the vast majority of posts are about how frustrated you are with other people on the internet. It's ok to rant about things once in a while, but it seems to have taken over the blog! I miss the funny cartoons and stories from med school/residency!

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    1. The majority of posts are still cartoons and funny stories. Look at the last 10 posts. How could you say you miss it when I just posted a cartoon yesterday and there was a funny story on Sunday? If you don't like these posts, skip them.

      If people truly don't want me to write any rants, then they need to stop replying to those posts in massive numbers. You know you're just encouraging me by doing that.

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    2. "Maybe I enjoy reposting offensive comments and publicly responding to them."
      Your words. You enjoy the drama. You're kind of like a troll on your own blog.

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    3. Anonymous (3:59) and Dr. Fizzy (4:22), in the last month's posting there have been 6 non-medically related 'whining' post, 5 medically related 'whining' posts, and 9 medically related 'funny' posts. There were also 2 uncategorized posts (1 book appeal, 1 reading list suggestion appeal). So....there are still funny posts, but it appears that the number of posts not about amusing incidents in medicine has increased recently. (Yeah, yeah, I know, 'whining' is probably not the best word to use and not scientifically accurate without specific parameters....the dates for those posts are 19, 16, 15, 12, 11, 9, 8, 7, 5, 2, and 1 December and the dates for the 'funny' posts are 18, 17, 16, 14, 13, 10, 6, 4, and 3 December).
      Jasmine

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    4. Jasmine: I think you are unfairly categorizing some of those posts as whining. For example, I thought the story about the patient who wouldn't stop knitting was pretty funny. And I don't talking about Elf on the Shelf and asking for opinions on that counts as whining either. And I don't think the post I made about how people need to not take my weekly whines so seriously ought to count either. I could argue about several more of those, actually. You have a high threshold.

      Here's more stats for you: My Saturday Whine got 45 comments and my funny post about psychiatrists got 6. My Elavil post got 50% as many hits as I Love My Job. People say to stop making these posts, but they're not demonstrating that they don't want to see them.

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    5. Wow. Someone actually took the time to go back to the previous entries just to count how many cartoon posts and whines you wrote. Way to go, Fizzy. Just wow.

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    6. I know, seriously. My husband said, "Are you sure that's a woman and not a man with Asperger's?"

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  3. Have you seen the stfuparents blog post on the car seat brigade? Amusing to see the excessive input that car seat people feel required to dole out.

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    1. YOU HAVEN'T SEEN STFU Parents?????

      Fizzy, you must go look. It's freaking hilarious.

      Personally, I experienced no such epiphany (i.e. that I am always right) when I gave birth. It was probably because I had a c-section, but *I* think it's because I've ALWAYS known I was right. ;-)

      I have received advice from other parents from time to time. In fact, a lot of it has been helpful. Not all of it though. Recently, for instance, I was chastised for feeding my daughter cooked mushrooms because they were deemed to be (apparently) a choking hazard. I decided that particular advice could be safely ignored.

      I find it bizarre that someone would dedicate an entire blog post to railing about your use of a coat in your daughter's carseat. That just sounds bizarre to me. On the other hand, I'm sure plenty of people think what I write about is odd too. (And yes, if someone wrote something nasty about me, it would hurt my feelings even if it is "just" the internet.)

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    2. Will check it out :)

      Sometimes moms *ask* for advice, and that's totally different. If you say on your blog, tell me what to feed my kid, then that's one thing. But if you're writing a general post about things you enjoy feeding your kid and someone writes, "No, you're doing it wrong," then that's obnoxious.

      That woman didn't write an entire blog post railing about my coat use. Actually, what she did was much worse, but I don't want to get into it here.

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    3. Can you post a link? I only recently got into that blog and can't seem to find that post.

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    4. Sorry I can't link from phone. It was also on mommyish

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  4. The older I get (I'm a Mom too) the more I realize I don't know a darn thing. If the kids are alive at the end of the day I consider it a success. When I quit trying to be super Mom (not saying you are trying) things got so much easier.

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    1. Just having a second kid is eye-opening, because you realize all the things that worked on the first kid somehow don't do a thing for the second. It makes you realize that all kids are different and you're an idiot for thinking you can manage anyone's kids better than they can.

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  5. Two thoughts:

    1) This isn't restricted to parents. There's a large contingency of nitwits on the InterWebs who think it's their job to find some little nit in every post or article on the 'net and pick the crap outta that little nit.

    2) Anonymous Trolls are Anonymous Trolls. It's easy to say nasty things when you can hide behind anonymity. Remember to take every anonymous comment not with a grain of salt, but with a whole salt lick.

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    1. Absolutely right about number 1. Although it shocked me when I became a mother how particularly judgmental this community was, more than anything I'd ever experienced before. And I've dealt with pre-meds :)

      And right about number 2 as well. I definitely lose respect for people who don't bother to attach an identity of any kind to themselves when they say mean things. You should at least take responsibility for your words.

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  6. Yes, Moose. With a moniker of "Moose" and a photo that, even if it really is you, only serves to confirm you are one of 6 billion plus humans on this earth, I can TOTALLY figure out who you are. Not.
    And I've seen enough of you own flame comments on the web to know that your emotions can get the best of you, too. But that's good, because it again confirms you are a human.

    Signed,
    One of the myriad "idjits" you love to attack on the web.

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    1. I don't know what Moose has or hasn't done, but I do think that when people attach *some* sort of identity to their comments, it tempers what they say. Some bloggers, like OMDG, don't allow Anonymous comments at all because I think they tend to be too trolly. So there's obviously something about being entirely anonymous that causes certain people to get really mean.

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    2. I think it depends on what website you are on! Have you seen some of the comments people make on NYTimes, and LA Times, etc? All under their supposed full names? Some even go so far as to log in with their Facebook IDs and it's always something like "Joe Blow, accountant at XYZ Company." Geez Louise!

      But more to the point, unless you are posting under your full name, and even then the name has to be kind of unique (because there are probably thousands of John Smiths in the world), you are essentially blogging anonymously.

      Fizzy, you HAVE to be "anonymous," right? At least, in order to blog about some of your stuff, or wouldn't you potentially run afoul of HIPAA?

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    3. As long as you don't give any identifying information about the patients, HIPAA isn't violated. I take extra precautions in that I am anonymous, I don't write about any patient I've seen in the last three years, and I change any remotely identifying details.

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    4. Question: how can you expect others to "own their words" and not post anonymously, when you yourself hide behind a persona you create for yourself? Also, this is the internet. If you're going to get all wound up about stuff people say, enough to write blog posts about how much it grinds your gears that other anonymous internet people got on your case about something else you posted...well, maybe you shouldn't put your opinions out on a public blog for all to see. Just share them privately, within circles of people that agree with you on everything.

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    5. Why don't you repost your question with some sort of non-anonymous identity, linked to a blog or something about yourself, and I'll reply.

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    6. Ok, background info on me cause you're curious: I'm a CNA in the Midwest, with no children. Which is about as much information as you have provided in the "About" section here on your blog. If you'd like, I can set up a new blog stating as much, because I don't have one now. Does that give you enough information to reply to me? Or shall we continue to skirt the valid point I have supplied? :)

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    7. In answer to your question, it doesn't bother me that much. As I said in a recent post, just because I write a blog post about something, that doesn't mean I'm lying awake, tossing and turning over it.

      If you had a blog, you might realize that when people comment completely anonymously, they are much ruder and more likely to be a troll than when they attach any sort of identity to themself. Look at the comments to this post... how many of the vicious ones are from people who wrote anonymously? All of them. If I wanted to get rid of the rude comments, I wouldn't have to make my blog private... only get rid of anonymous commenting. Which I do sometimes consider.

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    8. Holy crap, you anonymous judgmental jerk, first of all, you prove my point.

      Second of all, I'm trying to save up for a LEGAL name change to be called Moose.

      You don't get to tell me what my name is. That's between me and the government.

      As for the picture, it's a picture of ME, taken at Napenthe, at Big Sur, in 2000.

      Go take a flying anonymous leap.

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    9. Moose, I think the above Anon wants your full address, a copy of your birth certificate, license plate number and social security number. Either that or he/she wants to take you out on a date.

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  7. I have to post anonymously because my computer at work does not allow me to have any other identity; after all, I should be working. (The real reason is that our browser is too old to support anything but the basics - it's the government). However, I always add my name at the end so that I am not totally anonymous.

    What I really wanted to say is that so far as your children are concerned, you will be right all the time .. until they are about 10 y.o. (for girls). Then, you will never be right. You won't be right again until their mid-twenties or so. You get used to it after a while, much like you get used to any other pain. :)

    I don't understand why people feel the need to criticize you so vehemently. Usually, the criticism comes out of left field to me because I have interpreted the offending post much differently than they did. Regardless, it is YOUR blog and it expresses YOUR thoughts and feelings, which might be different from mine, but are no less valid. In fact, I was a little hurt and surprised by your Weekly Whine about I Love My Job. I do love my job and I wish everyone loved theirs as much as I love mine. The work is interesting, valuable, provides a public service, and I am good at it. It wasn't until the second reading that I realized you weren't complaining about people liking what they do; you were complaining about people talking about liking what they do. Big difference. I am glad I didn't respond until I re-read it. (I am still heard to say on occasion, I Love My Job, but I think twice now).

    I believe I come at the children/no children discussion from two experiences. I had children later in life so I was a childless hospital nurse for nearly 20 years. Yes, I worked holidays so others could have them off, but I was never resentful about it. What was I going to do with a random Thursday off and no family around? Patients were stuck in the ICU anyway and they didn't want to be there. Later, when I had children, I still offered to work holidays (generally in the evening or night) because it was all right with me. My problem was day care issues and, yes, this is where the paths of "childless" and "with children" diverge. When the day care calls and says that you have to get your feverish, vomiting child immediately - what do you do? When day care says that they will be closed from before Christmas until after the New Year - yeah, it's a problem. I had to go on permanent nights for a sleep-deprived couple of years in order to cope. Eventually, we were able to get live-in au pairs, but not everyone has either of these options.

    We can disagree without being disagreeable and can offer suggestions without accusations of wrong-doing or wrong-thinking. Our opinions are our own and really, no one is going to change deeply held beliefs by reading a blog. If you strongly disagree with Fizzy (or any other blogger) stop reading and get your own blog. Tricia

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    1. Very well said.

      It is very frustrating to me when people misread my posts and respond with anger to something I wasn't even saying. But I can understand it because I've done it myself many times. You start reading, see something you really don't like, and then you just can't focus on the rest of the post. I've made a few comments that I realized when I calmed down were very dumb, because I hadn't fully read what I was responding to.

      Wherever you (the general you) are on the holiday childcare debate, my general point is that this is a issue that's a problem for both people with children AND without children, and that we need to come up with a solution better than just, "You need to work it out." Several people said that I don't listen to anyone's arguments and always just insisted I was right, but on the contrary, I've read everything that everyone had to say, and it's made me look at the issue much differently.

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    2. Also, I should add that my 6 year old already thinks she knows more than me. And sometimes she's right. But not about wearing flip-flops to the movies. She found out I was right about that one.

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    3. Ewww ...
      Tricia

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  8. Really? Strapping your kids into a car seat with a coat is dangerous? Is there really really evidence for that? I just re-read the AAP recommendations for car safety and I don't see a single mention of coats, pro or con.
    Some people just want to open their big mouths and half the things they say are airborne toxic events.
    Dr. Alice

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    1. I mentioned this on Facebook and a few people said they never put coats on their kids on the trip to the car so they could avoid this danger. Actually, that's what the person in this post said. But those people all admitted they live in more temperate climates. It's practically child abuse to take your kid out in the snow with no coat.

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    2. I hadn't heard of this supposed "danger" either. I would imagine the risk of hypothermia might be more imminent in certain parts of the country.

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    3. We take coats off, but leave thin jackets on. We live in Texas now, but lived in Boston for years, and took coats off there too. We'd just warm up the car first, wear coats out to the car and take them off right as they got in, so there wasn't really time for the kids to get cold. When we couldn't warm up the car first, we still took the coats off, and put them on backwards after the kids were buckled in. We had a small car that heated up quickly, so no one was cold for long.

      If you can get the straps buckled over the coat without making the straps looser than they are without the coat, I don't see what the problem would be. My mother in law failed to take off my youngest son's coat once, and I was astonished at how loose she had to make the straps to get them over his coat. The next time I buckled him in without the coat, the straps were so loose I could have buckled two kids in there.

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    4. I think if the risk were so great, we'd hear of more children being harmed by coats in carseats. I mean, we hear constantly of the harms of not breastfeeding and that's not even harmful.

      If someone saw me with my kids out in the snow without coats on them, they could rightfully report me for neglect or something.

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    5. As long as the straps are snug over the coat, I fail to see what the problem is. So what that the straps are loose when you later put the child in the seat without the coat. Tighten them! It's like saying that as your child grows they are less secure in the car seat because you have to loosen the straps in order to fit him in the seat.

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    7. When I read things like this, I wonder how my girls ever survived childhood with me as a mother. I even had them sleep on their stomachs as infants to prevent aspiration! After the day that my daughter 'burped up' and face-planted in it, I started propping them on their sides. Who knew then that back sleeping was best?

      During my sleep-deprived years, we did a lot of car seat juggling because we had only two car seats - with two children and two cars. I took the seats out to my car one day, put one seat (empty) and my purse on top of the car and attached the other seat in the car. I then took off for work. I made it all the way to the main road before the car seat and my purse launched themselves off the roof. Apparently, the guy behind me had been honking feverishly, but I was oblivious. When the "flight of the paraphenalia" started, he about had an MI on the spot thinking that there was a child in the car seat. He actually picked the stuff up and followed me until he caught me to give me back my belongings.

      What I discovered, though, is that I was so stressed and so tired, I could have put one of the kids up there ... it was scary. TCG

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    8. Apologies for the delete and repost - I couldn't figure out how to just edit to add what I wanted to say.

      The concern with the straps being so loose without the coat is that the coat, if of the puffy variety, will not stay puffy in an accident, and the extra space means the straps aren't going to do the job of holding the kid in as well. So if the kid is wearing polar fleece, or a wool peacoat, the straps can go over the coat, as those materials don't compress much. A coat stuffed with down or whatever other material they use to be puffy insullation can compress.

      To me, the extra effort of taking the coats off for the minute it takes to put the kid in the car, then putting it back on backwards, was not burdensome enough to turn me off of doing it. Your milage may vary.

      As for not hearing of the accidents, I don't think that tells us much. I've never read a news story, blog post, or parenting forum post about an actual child who choked on grapes, but I still cut the damn things in half until I can trust my kids to chew them up properly.

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    9. Jennifer: I actually have heard several stories about kids choking on grapes. One particularly sad one about how the older kid gave the baby a grape in the back seat of the car and the mother was on the highway and couldn't pull over fast enough to save the baby. Pediatricians always warn about choking hazards, but never heard any of them mention the coat thing. I suspect if it ever happens, it's one of those freak things that's about as common as winning the lottery.

      Anon: That's why you have to pick your battles in terms of doing what's safe. Because if you're a mom on the brink of leaving your baby on top of a moving car (actually, I read a news story about a mom who did that, but the baby was OK), then adding more stress to your life isn't going to keep your kids safer.

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    10. I don't doubt that kids do choke on grapes - that was my point. I'm sure kids do choke on grapes with some regularity. But it doesn't make the news, blogs, etc. Becuase people tend to think that parents know that grapes are a choking hazard, and you should cut them up.

      On the pediatrician thing, again, milage varies. We've had four, and the only one who never said anything about it was the one we saw in Beaumont, Texas, where it rarely gets cold enough to need a coat. The pediatrician in Boston mentioned it every single well baby visit from September to March. Our current pediatrician in Dallas doesn't mention it at every winter time visit (it was 77 degrees yesterday, so again, it isn't an issue often), but did mention it last fall when my daughter was born, in the context of making sure any blankets went over the straps, not under.

      I don't think your position is unreasonable. But neither do I think parents who do choose to take the coats off are being "totally insane," as you put it.

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    11. "But neither do I think parents who do choose to take the coats off are being "totally insane," as you put it."

      Far be it from me to tell any women they're raising their kids wrong :)

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    12. Since this is a medicine-based blog, I would point out again that I don't know of any evidence that it is a dangerous practice. Of course I get the theory behind the suggestion, but I need evidence before I add another recommendation to a long list of anticipatory guidance measures. If you start dumping more and more responsibilities into parents' laps, you get a diminishing rate of return.
      -Dr. Alice

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    13. I don't think it's evidence-based but the car seat manufacturers do all their safety ratings and tests based on a baby/child wearing thin clothing and no additional pillows etc between the baby and seat. So we don't know that it is dangerous but don't know that it's not either. My son is still in his bucket seat so I bring the whole shebang inside and throw a blanket on top. I don't have a plan for when he's bigger but we're in boston and it's too cold here to just take him outside in thin clothing.

      Fizzy-people are jerks. When you're a parent (especially with >1 child) you basically have to do your best at any given time. This means there will always be some idiot busy body chiming in on how you could do better especially since you have a blog. It's not like you fessed up to putting gin in their formula.
      Sophia

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    14. Jennifer, did you have an attached garage or park your car close to the house when you lived in Boston?
      Where I live the temperature can become close to zero degrees, wind chill can become negative and it is so cold it can be painful upon contact. I couldn't imagine walking/running to the car in that cold now and can't imagine it would be easy if you have to run and carry small children since they can't run that fast (especially if there are several children). It also doesn't be feasible for parents who live in apartments where the car is far away.
      (I don't mean to offend you with this post I am just wondering how you did it.)

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    15. Yeah, my daughter complains with her coat on *within the car* that she's freezing, if I still have the door open while I'm buckling her sister in. No coat would just be cruel.

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    16. We did not have an attached garage, but did have a driveway. If we were leaving from the house, we would warm the car up first. The kids would have their coats on as we left the house, walk to the car, and then take their coats off to climb into their carseats. Buckle the kid in, and then either drape the coat over them or put their arms in backwards. Repeat process with second kid. So total time out of coat is the time it takes to get buckled in. My kids are fairly cooperative in getting strapped in, and I'd estimate coat-less time as less than 30 seconds.

      If we were out running errands and couldn't warm up the car first, we did the same process, we just tried to be quicker about it. Start the car so the heat starts, coats on until ready to load into the car seat, then off quickly, strapped in quickly, coats back on backwards.

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    17. Did you do this when you had at least one kid who is unable to remove or put on their own coat? Because just taking off or putting on a coat can be a process. And the buckles always take forever to snap.

      Also, if a woman told you that she was stressed out, would you suggest to her that she start doing that? :)

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    18. We did it with my oldest son from 18 months (when we moved to Boston) to 5 years old, and my youngest from birth to 2 years. Then we moved back to Texas, where it isn't an issue. My long term solution to all cold-weather related problems is to move somewhere winter doesn't exist. ;) I never found buckling kids into the seat to be difficult, I find unbuckling to be a pain in the ass - I can rarely get the release button to work on the first try. I tell my older son (now almost 7) that I find it ridiculous that he can't buckle his one seatbelt in the time I get the 4 year old and 1 year old buckled in their harness seats, but maybe I just have mad seatbelt buckling skillz. ;p

      As for saying anything, it would depend on how the topic came up. Mom just venting, no. And I wouldn't bring it up as a "OMG you are being soooo dangerous!!!" unless it involved my own kid, but if another mom asked if I found it frustrating to buckle the seat over a coat, I would mention that we chose to take the coat off. And obviously here, where people were asking if there was a real danger, and if anyone in real life actually takes coats off, I don't see a problem in responding that yes, I did, and what I understand the potential risk to be.

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    19. As long as the kids are not wearing spacesuits in the carseat I think they should be okay. I think children will die faster from hypothermia than from any jacket-carseat accident. Just saying!

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  9. My kids are grown now, but I recall that EVERYTHING was dangerous when they were growing up.
    Son's karate classes at the "Y?" VIOLENCE!
    Gee, everything his instructors told him (yes I was one of those moms who was in the waiting room, obesrving) was that karate was for self-defense and the best way to win a fight was NOT TO START ONE. As a kid with Asperger's, he had enough trouble. He liked karate and it gave him an outlet. He used his KIAYAHS (the sound karate learners make while doing a routine) to signal to teachers that three kids had him cornered, trying to beat him up. The teacher who investigated the noise was laughing whn she told me about it, because she realized what my son was doing -- using his BLOCKING sets to deflect blows without hurting his attackers.
    Smart kid.
    Daughter taking gymnastics/running track/wanting to take childcare classes at Voke school? OMG! SHE IS GOING TO BREAK HER NECK, GET ATTACKED WHILE TRAINING AND WILL NEVER AMOUNT TO ANYTHING.
    No, her neck is intact, she did not get attacked, and she is now a teacher.
    As a mom did I make mistakes? OF COURSE. About 2,300,739 a day. Do I feel guilty? Sure.
    Do I tell another mother she's "doing it wrong?"
    No. Not unless there is clear and PRESENT danger, like a tot trying to climb out of a shopping cart.
    And then what do you say?
    (addressing the child) "That's not a good idea. You should check w/ your Mom about that."

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    1. Yes, if a child is in clear and present danger, like you said, then it's okay to say something. Kid about to dive headfirst out of a shopping cart is clearly dangerous. If it's something where you need to cite internet articles to prove your case, then you keep your mouth shut :)

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  10. the only people I expected unsolicited advice from when my children were little were their grandparents and even though I didn't love getting it, I felt as though it was expected. I agree with you that there is nothing that stresses a stressed-out mom more than another parent whose criticizes their parenting style. If you aren't my mother-in-law or my pediatrician, keep it to yourself.

    Julie

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  11. I have to agree with you, Fizzy. There are countless "know-it-alls" on the Internet. Pick and choose your battles, I say. I spent an inordinate amount of time on one particular message forum a few years ago only to repeatedly bang my head against my computer wondering why the hell I bothered. It's not worth it.

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  12. I don't get it. Why do all these people whine about Fizzy's posts and comments? If you think they are too negative then STOP reading her blog! Geez! As easy as that. Who cares if she whines *too much*?! It's her blog, she can write whatever the hell she wants. And if you don't agree then move on to the next blog.

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    1. Well, if enough people stop reading, I might lose my Pepsi endorsement :)

      Oddly enough, every time I write a post that gets people worked up and angry, my average number of hits goes up.

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    2. You, lucky bitch! I thought you were just a skinny doctor who goes home every night and rolls in a bed of money! And now you're telling me you're a soda model, as well?! Get out! LOL!

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  13. Oh, and sorry Fizzy, it's just easier to comment as Anon. I'm too lazy to sign-in. Anyway, just keep writing what you want. LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog. Especially the *whine* ones. You,bitch! How dare you? How could you possibly have anything to complain about? You are a skinny doctor who makes millions! LOL

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    1. Thanks! I seem to get alternating complaints from people who hate those posts and compliments from people who love them :)

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    2. I don't know what it is with people these days. I feel like they are always thirsty for some drama, that they literally sit around, browse the internet to find something to get upset about.

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  14. Fizzy, I have a situation. This is completely unrelated to your post but I need to know your input. I am in my mid-20s and I have a 15-month old son. I am married and have only been attracted to men my whole life. However, this all changed when I met my OB/GYN. I don't know what it is but I can't stop thinking about her. I don't even think I am a lesbian because I don't like other women or had any desire to be with one. But with her I don't know, it's just different. I always picture myself being with her. I just moved to a different city a few weeks ago but still drive 60 miles just to see her, when there are at least a hundred other OB/GYNs in my area. What do you think this is? I am so confused. This has been going on for more than a year now. And I am looking forward to my next Pap Smear because I know I would see her. Weird, huh? I know. Trust me, I feel like a freak, too. And this woman is half my age, even a few years older than my own mother. *sigh* Sorry, I don't mean to creep you out. Any advice?

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    1. Uh..... if you are my husband and teasing me, then.... well played.

      If not, I'd recommend you see a therapist. Good luck.

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  15. Fizzy, I love your blog and love your perspective of life. Thank you for sharing your point of view. I find it interesting that some people think that there is only one correct way to do something, and that their way is the only way. When I moved to Japan from the US years ago, it was interesting to see that in Japan there was only one correct way to use a kitchen knife, to peel an apple, and to bathe (this is besides the more obvious ones of knowing when you need to take your shoes off.)
    Anyway, hope you enjoy the holdays with your family. Nancy

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