Today on Slate, I have an article up about the photos many of you longtime readers have already seen, of myself “celebrating” the baby’s hard-won nap or nighttime sleep by cheerfully (and tongue-in-cheekily) flipping her off. Some people think it’s very funny. (Thank you, those people!!!)

Oh god oh god oh god
Oh god oh god oh god

There has already also been quite the anger-response around the Internets. My favorite sub-oeuvre is definitely the innumerable men (MEN!!!!) who have haughtily informed me that if I didn’t know what it would take to parent, I shouldn’t have had a baby. Now, I realize there are single and stay-at-home dads out there, who spend 20-23 hours a day with their babies glommed onto them, reacting to the relentless stream of need need need need need with patience, compassion, humor and endless, boundless love. I do not think any of these dipshits Tweeting at me belong to that group, however, because if they were single or stay-at-home dads with high-need babies THEY WOULD NOT HAVE TIME to fuck with my shit on Twitter. So, mansplainers of the Internet, when you’ve regularly spent 2-5 hours walking and nursing and walk-nursing your baby until finally and mercifully she slips into slumber, COME TALK TO ME.

Anyone who actually reads the whole article can see that in my house, the middle finger isn’t a gesture of real hostility, but rather mock-hostility. Anyone who actually reads it can see quite clearly that I love my daughter ferociously, that I am endlessly and helplessly devoted to her, often to the detriment of all my other human relationships and definitely do the detriment of my work. I love my daughter so much that just looking at her–just thinking about her right now–makes me well up with tears, and (TMI alert) makes my milk let down.

My computer’s been broken for awhile (it’s fixed now!) so I haven’t been blogging at all, but I got a new one, so I should be back around here more again. The baby will be seven months old on Friday, and I’ll be incorporating the extent of the Baby Bird Backlash into her seven-month letter.

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18 thoughts on “Lord Of Your Choice Help Me

  1. Well, I’m sorry to hear that so many people are so flat-out satire-challenged. I expect the majority of the troglodytes who complained also thought you should always walk three steps behind your husband, and never speak except when spoken to.

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  2. Flashing “the bird” at a (FINALLY) sleeping baby is something that most moms probably do, but don’t admit to. Many lullabies have terrible phrases in them, it’s sort of a revenge, cathartic thing for mom at 2:00AM. Keep on keeping on! I’m sure you’ve found out by now that ‘advice ‘ comes from every direction.

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  3. I read your piece. I thought it was smart. I also think making your baby the centerpiece of your Internet joke is shortsighted. I believe that you have all this love for your baby — of course you do — and I get that you need release from the insanity and the exhaustion. But cataloging your hostility — your “mock” hostility — seems mean. To me. And anyway: is it really THAT funny? You’re doing something you “shouldnt” — big whoop. If my mom pulled some shit like that I’d think she was an immature asshole when she was that age. IMHO.

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    1. Trust me. If this is the worst thing my kid has to hate me about I’ll have done great. I’m an essayist and a memoirist. I write about my life as honestly as possible. She’s going to hate me for awhile.

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  4. I don’t always agree with what you write, but I do always immensely enjoy reading it ! You make me laugh–thank you. I’m sorry you’ve been experiencing such vitriol.

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  5. You may as well start practicing now. There’s nothing more satisfying than flipping the bird behind the back of a three year old who shit her pants at the train table in Barnes and Noble after you repeatedly asked if she had to go to the bathroom. (The response when you refuse to carry turd streaked hello kitty underwear in your purse? “Fine. I didn’t want them anyway.” FUCK YOU, KID. FUCK. YOU.) Unless of course you consider the satisfaction of doing it at the bottom of the stairs after sending a stark raving lunatic of an exhausted nine year old to his room as he tells you he wishes he could live at his friend’s house.
    FLIP ON, MY FRIEND.

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  6. I thought your article was brilliant and your bird-flipping gallery a perfect representation of the emotional vicissitudes of new parenthood – even without reading a word of your clearly baby-smitten prose, just looking at all the locations and positions in which that baby is happily conked out on your body I can’t believe anyone would doubt your love or her wellbeing for a second, and the fact that a harmless and facetious gesture that doesn’t hurt her at all can draw down such wrath upon you is, I think, just a sign that we need more such honesty in the public realm about the realities of motherhood. Good on you, long may you flip!!

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