Heuristic.

Little kids sort of freak me out. That is not to imply that I have child related phobia, it’s simply that I’m never quite at ease when one is around due to the fact that they are 1.) small and 2.) ignorant of the notion of their own mortality. As I understand it, children don’t have a real sense of self until around age 21. Or I guess more appropriately, they have no sense of self as a distinct object careening around in a 3-dimensional space where objects are often hard and unyielding. Or sharp. Or fire. Not sure if I have the age right, and I’m certain it varies. If any parents or shrinks have some actual data they’d like to share, feel free to correct my heresies.

In any event, the defining attributes of children seem to be inquisitiveness and utter disregard for safety. As a result, their investigative methods are somewhat lacking in the necessary sophistication to ensure relatively safe experimentation. It essentially boils down to “Ah, look! An as yet unidentified object! I ought to put it in my mouth to determine its nature and origin.”

The point being here, that you have to pay attention to them. At all times. I’m bad at focusing on anything that is not aggressively demanding my attention2, so that is more than a little intimidating to me. It is also possible that an infant might make both better reasoned and less impulsive decisions than I do.

This attitude and its exploratory trial and error manifestation in and of itself is rather delightful to observe. When not distracted by an immediate need such as hunger or the need to be cleansed of its own feces, small children are almost exclusively preoccupied with figuring shit out. That’s pretty cool.

My sister had a kid this past October, and whenever I’m around him, I find myself fascinated by his fascination with that which I have long since considered mundane3. If not for the expense, mess, time consideration, pregnancy, labor and general responsibility, I would have a child of my own.

Of course I fully recognize that, absent those factors, I’m essentially left with a learning algorithm. Which is why I intend to craft my children of metal and light instead of settling for the product of our baser exertions45.

Right. So anyway, I’m looking for edutainment toys for my nephew – or at least something sort of science-themed. As opposed to plush, squeaky-themed toys, because those are for dogs. I ordered him a baby version of a Hoberman Sphere and was very pleased with myself. I went back to check on my order and found my money had been refunded, as they were out of stock. I griped about this in front actual parents, who were horrified because playing with one of these things is obviously a death sentence for a child. Again – it was in the infant section. They’re in stock again – I’m still going to order one because, well, there’s a picture of an infant playing with it on the site, and that seems to pretty solidly support my case.

I’ll hear other suggestions for toys if anyone has any. Obviously he’s a bit young for a chemistry set. Which is to say that I asked my sister, and she said no. Rendered terrified of an accusation of child endangerment, I’m basically just compiling a list of ideas now, which I will present to her for approval. And before anyone mentions it, it is also apparently “too soon” for a rock tumbler.

Oh, and since I’m discussing my sister’s kid, I will mention that she and baby-daddy tied the knot last weekend. Here’s the best picture taken that day:


Bitches don't even know.

Amber, from now on, it is inappropriate to refer to your friends as anything other than your crew.

Peace.

1Incidentally, I’ve also read that children do not develop a sense of other until around 5 or 7. For some reason that seems rather late to me, but it would explain why kids are kind of assholes.
2I have taken some pretty intense stimulants designed to forcibly wrangle my thoughts into some sort of manageable direction. I am, on occasion, uncomfortably energetic.
3Although to be fair, I was also pretty fascinated by watching my dog figure out how to eat a tortilla off of the kitchen floor.
4No offense intended to current parents. I’m certain your progeny are all the very essence of cherubic perfection, yet as individual and special as a snowflake crafted by the hand of a loving god.
5Have I been using superscripts correctly? I feel like they are supposed to go before the punctuation when used on the last word in a sentence, but it doesn’t look right for some reason.

Clearly I would like children to watch porn.

A couple weeks after I had already put this conversation out of my head, finding this article on Kotaku – Americans More Offended by Sex, Gay Kissing Than Severed Heads – made me ready to grumble about our culture’s fucked up value system again.

I really don’t get why we are, in general, way more ok with our kids seeing a violent act than a sex act. I watched a lot of war movies as a kid – my grandfather was a marine, so they were on a lot. He seemed to think that is was healthy for me to watch them. I also watched a lot of horror movies as a kid. I remember specifically a horror marathon I was watching with some friends. My grandmother was walking in and out of the room while we sat merrily enjoying the blood bath with nary a word of admonishment for what we were watching. Then she came in during a scene where there was a naked girl swimming in some dude’s water bed (he was dreaming). Holy crap, you could see boobs. As everyone knows, boobs are horrible things that will scar a young child for life. At this point we were told that we ought not be watching movies where we could see a lady’s dirty pillows, and it was time to change the movie.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but if I’m too young to see a naked person because it might have some kind of negative impact of my developing morals, then I probably shouldn’t have been watching wholesale slaughter performed by psychopaths/cops/soldiers either. So why does the former get a far sharper reaction than the latter?

One of my friends explained to me that sex was a selfish act, whereas people fight in wars based on love of country. That just doesn’t ring true for me. Sex is usually based on very positive things – love, pleasure, the instinct to continue the species. The majority of any kind of conflict, ranging from getting mugged to waging war tends to arise from one basic thought – “I want my way, and I’m willing to kill to see that I get it.” I want your land. I want your oil. I want your wallet. I want my ideological view to prevail over yours. It all boils down to the same thing.

And just so people don’t get confused, let me make it clear that I am not saying parents should let their kids see sex in movies. Neither am I complaining that they aren’t more restrictive about viewing violence. I’m simply trying to figure out why we think like we do. That seems to be a really difficult concept for some people to grasp . . .

Seriously? We’re letting people do this?

This baffles me, utterly:
Parents use religion to avoid vaccines.

Since links go away sometimes, here is the body of the article:

BOSTON –Sabrina Rahim doesn’t practice any particular faith, but she had no problem signing a letter declaring that because of her deeply held religious beliefs, her 4-year-old son should be exempt from the vaccinations required to enter preschool.

She is among a small but growing number of parents around the country who are claiming religious exemptions to avoid vaccinating their children when the real reason may be skepticism of the shots or concern they can cause other illnesses. Some of these parents say they are being forced to lie because of the way the vaccination laws are written in their states.

“It’s misleading,” Rahim admitted, but she said she fears that earlier vaccinations may be to blame for her son’s autism. “I find it very troubling, but for my son’s safety, I feel this is the only option we have.”

An Associated Press examination of states’ vaccination records and data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that many states are seeing increases in the rate of religious exemptions claimed for kindergartners.

“Do I think that religious exemptions have become the default? Absolutely,” said Dr. Paul Offit, head of infectious diseases at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia and one of the harshest critics of the anti-vaccine movement. He said the resistance to vaccines is “an irrational, fear-based decision.”

The number of exemptions is extremely small in percentage terms and represents just a few thousand of the 3.7 million children entering kindergarten in 2005, the most recent figure available.

But public health officials say it takes only a few people to cause an outbreak that can put large numbers of lives at risk.

“When you choose not to get a vaccine, you’re not just making a choice for yourself, you’re making a choice for the person sitting next to you,” said Dr. Lance Rodewald, director of the CDC’s Immunization Services Division.

All states have some requirement that youngsters be immunized against such childhood diseases as measles, mumps, chickenpox, diphtheria and whooping cough.

Twenty-eight states, including Florida, Massachusetts and New York, allow parents to opt out for medical or religious reasons only. Twenty other states, among them California, Pennsylvania, Texas and Ohio, also allow parents to cite personal or philosophical reasons. Mississippi and West Virginia allow exemptions for medical reasons only.

From 2003 to 2007, religious exemptions for kindergartners increased, in some cases doubled or tripled, in 20 of the 28 states that allow only medical or religious exemptions, the AP found. Religious exemptions decreased in three of these states — Nebraska, Wyoming, South Carolina — and were unchanged in five others.

The rate of exemption requests is also increasing

Ok, the article is long, so you just get the first page.

So, you might have a legitimate reason for not wanting to vaccinate your child. You might have done reseach, generated valid statistics and arrived at your doctor’s office with a coherent objection to injecting your child with whatever vaccine they’re scheduled to receive. And the doctor will proceed to vaccinate the kid. But the minute you say God told you not to vaccinate your children, they are suddenly violating your parental rights by trying to give the kids their jabs.

Well, they probably don’t say god actually told them not to do it, because that’s crazy talk. Still, if you tell them you believe that god wouldn’t want them to have the vaccine based on . . . hmm, turns out you don’t have to actually base it on any specific doctrine or belief. Just a general “this is not compatible with my beliefs” will suffice.

So, what other medical treatments can I deny my child. And on which mythologies can I base these decisions? I’m not entirely sure antibiotics are in line with the will of the almighty. I’m pretty sure pharmacy is basically witchcraft anyway.

Gosh this slope is slippery.

I do think it’s important to have clear guidelines to determine what medical decisions you make for your child ought to be governed by your religious beliefs – keeping the child’s physical safety as the highest priority. Oh wait, this is easier than I thought it would be – religious beliefs should have absolutely zero influence when deciding on a treatment plan.

Let me be clear here – I completely support everyone’s freedom to practice their religion as they see fit, so long as you’re not hurting anyone. As an adult, you have every right to cripple your own health as much as you like. Your child, on the other hand, has not made any decisions about their faith and should not be subjected to the consequences of faith based medical decisions. Especially when the decisions you are making arise from both an ignorance of medical science and the very general notion that a treatment might maybe go against something, somewhere in your holy tome.

Requiring that you kid gets vaccinated before going to school is not just a responsibility to your kid – it’s a responsibility you have to every other child your kid comes into contact with. There can’t be a loophole that allows parents to get around that for no good reason.

Parents: Please stop letting your kids shit on the floor.

Or at least on public floors. How you conduct your affairs within the walls of your own home is not really my concern.

Yesterday at the gym, I was heading into the shower and I noticed someone’s nude little offspring bolting from shower to shower. I stepped into the first open stall and noticed that the water was already running. Assuming that this was the one she had just been in and not wanting to get involved with her “turn the water on in all the showers” game, I started to head to another. Then I looked down and noticed the little pile of dookie on the floor.

I want to point out that this was a child who was clearly old enough to be out of diapers, so I can only assume this was crapping for entertainment rather than an accident.

I also want to point out that I’d like to be done running across stuff like this. I could happily live my life without running across another used condom on my lawn or pile of human feces on the floor of a public facility.

Children Approve of Transgenderism

While I was visiting the home of a friend of mine, his 8 year old daughter presented a portrait of me crafted by her own tiny hand.


Drawring

I realize that this pic might not look exactly like me, but please keep in mind that I did have dark hair at the time. I was pleased to an absurd degree by this – probably because she didn’t decide to draw anyone else, just me. I’m special. Not the rest of you, just me.

I cannot begin to stress the importance of my approval rating among the gradeschool set.

I noted that she surrounded me with symbols of happiness and affirmation, as if to say “I accept and love you exactly the way you are.” Of course, if you look closely, she has also given me an Adam’s apple, as if to say “I know you used to be a man.” I’m not sure if she’s trying to say that transsexuals are ok, or if that was a subtle solicitation of hush money to keep my secret. Believe me, if you knew the girl, you’d say it could go either way.

While I don’t typically approve of those who extort money from people living a secret alternative lifestyle, her saving grace is that she made me what is probably the coolest birthday card ever:


Front Inside Back

I’m either having a special adult party, or a special audit party. Either way, I doubt it’s child appropriate.

Meijer Stores Are Looking Out For Your Kids

Meijer Supercenters provide quality food, household and entertainment products. They also promote an atmosphere of community responsibility and pride.


While World War II Sniper does provide wholesome fun for children who may be too young to play the same games as their older siblings, I primarily think of it as edutainment. As much as children need to develop skills in reading and mathematics, so too do they need to know the proper way to take down their enemies from a distance.

And what parent wants their child wandering into a casino with insufficient knowledge of slot and table top games?


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