Re: New Parents

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4.5 adults available

It is difficult to overstate what a difference this sort of thing makes. Infants are actually much much easier than, say, preschool aged kids, but the sheer nonstop grind of 24 hours a day 7 days a week on call doing the same tasks over and over and over can be so mentally and emotionally exhausting.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 6:33 AM
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That's why there are so many fables out kids raised by wolves. Wishful thinking.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 6:37 AM
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4.5 adults available
Is that like some reboot of Two and a Half Men?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 6:41 AM
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Sarah Hrdy talks about this, in her Mothers and Others (a great book): her thesis is that the very real need to have seven or eight adults* per infant if we are going to raise an infant to adulthood is what caused the human race to become as successful as it has.

The demands of the infant required us to become more social animals, is her basic thesis. Those humans who couldn't make this leap got bred out of the gene pool. (Not ENOUGH of them, IMO, but still.)

*Or pre-adults. Hrdy points out that 8-11 year olds make perfect alloparents.


Posted by: delagar | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 7:42 AM
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I thought the difference between not having a dog and having a dog was bigger than the difference between having a dog and having a baby. Getting a dog was a change in kind, but once my life was switched over to caring for something that depended on me, having a kid was a change in degree.

For us, though, having a baby was so extremely much better than everything we had been doing before (dreading the death of a third baby, some health stuff) that it was cake. Baby care was just work, not sustained wrenching emotional labor.

I also followed my own advice to throw money and additional labor at the situation. I hired help two hours a day without knowing in advance why I needed it that day. My parents gave me house cleaning (and visited to hold the baby). We bought take-out. It worked great. Post-baby life was only draining a couple times.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 7:45 AM
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8-11 year olds make perfect alloparents.

They really do.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 7:46 AM
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6 is mine.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 7:47 AM
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I was really surprised how many times I was asked over the weekend whether I'm going to have more children now that Lee is out of the picture. I suspect that kind of request is specific to us and not what they'd say after any breakup, but who knows? I definitely don't have the network for a newborn, that's for sure, but that's one reason of many that I never even tried for a newborn.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 7:53 AM
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8-11 year olds make perfect alloparents.

Thirded. Ace, in particular, has a knack for bonding immediately with any 9 year old within a 100 yard radius. We show up at a park and immediately some kid is trailing her around and helping her up onto platforms and correcting her manners. That age group definitely think that parenting = manners.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 7:56 AM
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4: But aren't human infants so extra-demanding for mammals because higher brain size => need to bear earlier? Chicken-and-egg issue.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 7:56 AM
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4.5 adults available

The baby is being raised by the Somali Transitional Federal Government.

http://hiiraan.com/op4/2012/nov/26786/a_symbolical_break_with_the_somali_4_5_clan_power_sharing_formula.aspx


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 7:58 AM
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8-11 year olds make perfect alloparents.

Last night I read the chapter of All-of-a-Kind Family Downtown where the older girls are bathing the new baby and the 9-year-old has invited five of her friends (at a penny apiece!) to come watch. The little girls in the story and my listening audience were swooning at every little detail of cleaning and filling the tub and gently letting the baby splash and so on.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 8:00 AM
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I think I'm going to adopt "time to convene the Somali Transitional Government" as longhand for childcare help.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 8:00 AM
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5.1: You can give back the dog with far, far more ease.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 8:02 AM
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And then you can replace "tantrum" with "Black Hawk Down".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 8:02 AM
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But aren't human infants so extra-demanding for mammals because higher brain size => need to bear earlier? Chicken-and-egg issue.

Feedback loop - bigger brain means need to be born earlier, which means need more care, which means need to be more social, which means bigger brain...


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 8:04 AM
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I found the first summer with Hawaii incredibly tough and awful. I was entirely isolated and bored, and didn't feel like I qualified for help because I wasn't crunched for time. There was just endless hours spent with a baby.

(In contrast - yesterday Jammies took the big kids to a hockey game, and I stayed home for ~5 hours with Ace and Rascal, and it felt like some peaceful blissful state of tranquility.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 8:04 AM
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Hrdy points out that 8-11 year olds make perfect alloparents.

Well, mine wouldn't, but I'm certain others would.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 8:10 AM
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An reading the thread, it seems like my family is a rarity.

Yesterday Joey bonded well with a five-year-old boy. But I still wouldn't trust him alone with a burned out match.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 8:14 AM
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"You watch this lit match and, if you don't kill us all, then you can have a burned out one."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 8:15 AM
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16: One hears of many things described as "key to human intelligence" with an explanatory story, and it seems like most of all of them could fit into this feedback loop. Gathering more plants, hunting large animals in groups, making tools, cooking food, social lifestyle, etc. - perhaps the answer is in fact "all of the above", i.e., we started doing everything we could with intelligence and that all got tossed into the feedback loop.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 9:00 AM
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xelA is 2, and quite fascinated by babies. There's an 8 or 9 month old at his nursery that he thinks if the best thing ever. People at the nursery have started dropping hints about providing him with a brother or sister.

I find looking after xelA really quite hard work, because while he's entertaining as hell, he's also incredibly strong, stubborn, and 2-year-old-dumb. If I've done every bed time, and most mornings for a week , I start to get completely worn out by it.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 9:06 AM
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One hears of many things described as "key to human intelligence" with an explanatory story, and it seems like most of all of them could fit into this feedback loop.

It all started when our distant hominid ancestors started giving TED talks. Things really took off after that.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 9:16 AM
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21: I agree with the generic, multi-purpose feedback story, but it is odd that most of those practices are present in many animals without leading to, or requiring, increased intelligence. I kind of wonder* if fire wasn't the first really unique activity that really differentiated us. There's a certain amount of social cooperation and planning necessary to keep a fire alive. Foresight, altruism, coordination.
*As usual, I'm completely ignorant of the literature, and I'm sure what follows is equal parts banal and wrong.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 9:18 AM
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There's a certain amount of social cooperation and planning necessary to keep a fire alive. Foresight, altruism, coordination.

And a natural Darwinian consequence if you overdo it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 9:25 AM
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16.2 We should all look like Talosians by now.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 9:25 AM
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Re 17 and 22.2, the specific personality of the baby/toddler really can't be overstated. Hawaii was an ornery baby (and continues to be prickly.) Rascal and Ace are both (so far) incredibly easy-going. (I'm sure they'll fall off the 3 year old cliff like the other two, though.) Chasing after a madcap two year old is very different from making faces and reading with a more sedentary two year old.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 9:28 AM
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Fire gets you cooking, which is a huge increase in the amount of energy you can get from your food, which allows you to run a much bigger brain. But the big brain predates fire - IIRC meat-eating was a similarly important leap in food-energy intake.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 9:42 AM
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27: Apo's three-year-olds are assholes remains true but is also transferable to any other age.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 9:43 AM
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We should all look like Talosians by now.

Be the change.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 9:43 AM
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re: 27

Yeah, xelA is a fairly happy child, but he's determined, and doesn't really recognise that physical/safety limits should apply. I came into his nursery the other day to find him doing forward rolls over a 2 ft wall onto a pavement. Perfectly fine, he wasn't hurting himself, but you need to watch him like a hawk.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 9:44 AM
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Also, when doing the events in 31, he was dressed (hilariously) in a lilac and lime green ankle length princess dress.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 9:47 AM
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Ajay is right about meat consumption, from the literature I've read, though I haven't really kept up to date so if someone's come up with a new theory in the past couple of years I wouldn't know.

"What makes us human" is one of those somewhat unanswerable questions with a million assertions. People have claimed fire, tool use, language, and probably a bunch of other things I haven't kept track of.

Another element of our large brains + bipedalism and the need for narrow hips means that birth is extremely dangerous and not something the mother can do on her own. Mothers who survive generally need to be part of a social network where older women can help with birth and help the mother recover afterwards. It's been hypothesized that women live so long after menopause because older women would play a crucial role in the survival of the next two generations ("the grandmother hypothesis").

When I was 8-11 I loved babies, and because I had neighbors from countries where women marry very young and girls routinely raise their younger siblings, I did a bit of reasonably serious infant and toddler care (e.g. changing diapers, feeding, putting babies down for naps) in those years. I remember it was a big shock to go from feeding and rocking a colicky newborn to having MC white parents barely trust me to look at their babies.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 10:00 AM
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My newly acquired expertise suggests that the earliest use of fire is inherently difficult to pinpoint, and it possibly coincides with brain growth.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 10:18 AM
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Condolences to your friends having a hard time. My family also had a hard time and it was isolating, as we watched family after family around us have an obviously happier experience. It's not just kid personality but (parent personalities + kid personalities) that affect the outcomes.

I've decided this fall is the deadline for either conceiving another child or sterilization. We've got to call it sometime. The extant kid (4) wants a sibling and doesn't understand abstractions like "having babies kills the planet" or "your parents (and their marriage) are too fragile." Harry is pretty anti, but not 100%. I think it's fair to say that my ability to handle it, or not, is the decisive question. A similarly ambivalent close friend just went for it and miscarried, and isn't sure about trying again (AFAIK). My MIL sure would love another grandchild; I'm not sure the draining emotional labor of that relationship can get any more onerous for me than it is now. Do I want to find out the hard way?

Most of my thinking about this question seems to start with "So, assuming I become a saint..." But despite the long odds, is it wrong to aspire to saintliness? It seems to be widely considered wrong as an aspiration. Only because failure is assured? Because all the paths do harm and not good? This is probably a better debate than what I should do with my gonads.


Posted by: Bess Truman | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 11:09 AM
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Oh, Bess, all of that sounds tough. As heebie was saying above, you don't know what sort of child you'll have until it's too late, so it sounds like maybe knowing what would be too much for you might help you rule things out. Do you know how childcare would work and all the logistical things?

I'm a pretty firm believer that kids don't get to choose the makeup of their families, or else I'd have 75 babies and the big girls voting one another off the island on a regular basis (and then snuggling and making up immediately after.) So you can weigh the ways your 4-year-old's life could be improved and made more difficult by a hypothetical sibling, but she doesn't get a vote.

I would also maybe differentiate between saintliness (though it's not a personal aspiration) and martyrdom (which I'd prefer not to do) and I think a lot of conversations elide the two. But it's worth knowing about yourself how good you can stand to be without hating life, probably. And also I shouldn't be having this conversation.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 11:17 AM
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I think the general rule is to aspire to being a saint, but not aspire to acting like one. People who are saintly can safely do things or take on commitments that, in the hands of the non-saintly, would end in catastrophe. And while becoming saintly (or more saintly anyway) often involves acting that way it also involves acting not that way at all because of that and because of what it takes to shape your general inclinations away from what they are.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 11:18 AM
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Then again I didn't get the sibling-related-choices that I would have preferred when I was a kid and I might have been better off if I had, so who knows. It wasn't wanting another sibling, though, which probably makes a difference.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 11:19 AM
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My kid really wanted guinea pigs when she was four. Six months later she could not have cared less about them. And guinea pig live only nine years, plus you don't have to send them to college.

Four-year-olds don't know what they want, long-term, is all I'm saying here.


Posted by: delagar | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 11:33 AM
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Guinea pigs don't have to live even nine years.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 11:34 AM
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My 8 year old wants to bike to the market one mile away on vacation island. He and 10 year old brother did it fine on their own a few times already. Ok to let 8yo go on his own? This is a place where people hire kids as young as 11 as babysitters.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 11:38 AM
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I'm just saying, you may as well get rid of a pet as soon as the kid tires of it. Saves the expense of keeping it plus the meat is more tender.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 11:46 AM
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41: Sounds like a reasonable plan. Presumably your kids are good bikers and it sounds like they know their way around vacation island. You could make sure he knows a safety plan in case there's a problem but it doesn't sound outrageous to me.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 11:53 AM
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Experiment in progress. His brothers will be so upset if he doesn't make it, because they gave him money to get them candy.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 12:04 PM
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He made it, and chose a frozen Charleston Chew. I've taught him well.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 12:11 PM
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chose a frozen Charleston Chew

He may end up a rapper yet.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 12:18 PM
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45: Hurray!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 12:19 PM
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The kid doesn't get a vote, no, just consideration. 38 was me too, but my child self doesn't get a vote either, and these days my sibling and I talk daily.

Thorn, yes, I'd distinguish saintliness (joyful, life-affirming) from martyrdom (life-denying, joy optional). 37 is interesting. I suppose it's right, lacking examples. If saints are inimitable and not exemplary, then examples would go only so far anyway.


Posted by: Bess Truman | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 12:21 PM
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At least he didn't come back with a pouch of Red Man and a copy of Heavy Metal.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 12:22 PM
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I'm intrigued by 37 too. I aspire to normalcy and explicitly try to avoid saintly stuff, but I understand feeling like you want to be good enough to handle something. Bess, it sounds like you're trying to talk yourself into and out of this at the same time.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 12:52 PM
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The idea is mainly that what is joyful and life affirming for a saintly person, even within the range of what you see in actual human beings, might be life-denying and martyrish for a normal one. And it's generally not good to put yourself in the position of a martyr. What's important is to put yourself in a position where you can work on being better or more saintly, which can be a very different position than it might be for a genuinely (mostly)saintly person, assuming you aren't actually that person already.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 12:53 PM
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Or in trivialize-everything moral philosophy style* when you're deciding between buying ice cream in bulk, at a discount, in order to distribute it to the needy (of ice cream) or buying it piece by piece when the need arises the saintly person would probably go for the former, because that would mean more ice cream for everyone. But people who really like ice cream themselves are probably better off with the second option, which doesn't involve the near constant temptation of a freezer filled with ice cream that's really supposed to be for someone else.

*Look if you have to talk about serious moral issues a lot it's easier on everyone if you talk about the silliest versions of them because then everyone doesn't have to sit around feeling awkwardly pompous and/or utterly inadequate. Then once the problem is solved** you can turn it back to the issues that people really care about.
**Yes, it was a joke.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 12:58 PM
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Bess, it sounds like you're trying to talk yourself into and out of this at the same time.

More specifically, the informal decision to stop at one was made early and we've discarded baby stuff along the way. I'm revisiting that decision before rolling ahead and making it permanent. A reversal would be a fairly big deal in many, many ways. I guess I wouldn't describe it as likely. But I want to really consider it one last time. (Obviously a joint decision, but I'm speaking for myself here vis-a-vis the introspective part, which is where we are right now.)


Posted by: Bess Truman | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 1:01 PM
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Harry always was one for last minute reversals.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 1:25 PM
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shiv and I have done without day care for the Calabat for two years, which worked well when he napped twice a day, and went to glorious hell this past semester when I resumed presenting at conferences and he stopped sleeping. The deal was that shiv was going to be a full-time student and dad; reality and patriarchy means we split child-care roughly 50/50 while I do most of the chores.

Basically worked myself to exhaustion, and the Calabat starts preschool in the fall. If there's a #2, he may go to preschool while in utero if I can arrange it.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 2:52 PM
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Mrs. K-sky and I both idealize having 2 kids but reproducing right now seems like a super bad idea -- we're both hustling career changes and it was a struggle making it happen the first time. (Still got three embryos in a fridge in the South Bay though.) The foster route is on the table, tentatively. We have friends here who have fostered, including one (and potentially two) infants to adoption, and Thorn's example is inspiring.

In the meantime, she just goes around making comments about her fear of only children to grown ups who it turns out were only children. OOPSIE


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 4:17 PM
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53: Do you need to have things become irreversible? I know that two of my closest friends struggled with which kid was going to be their last. One had two boys, and the younger was a handful (healthy and energetic, not anything serious). They waited until he was about six, then took a final shot for a girl (no dice, Boy #3). I think she'd like to try a fourth time, but her husband says definitely not (he's a SAHD). The other wanted a big family, four kids, like how she grew up. She has two, both of whom were unplanned but much-loved and wanted. She had severe postpartum depression and now struggles with chronic illness. Her husband travels for work, and although they are near family, her mother is ill, which is more of a burden than a help. It's taken her a couple years to get used to the idea that there will be no more babies, and she's still sad about it and mad at herself for not being able to handle more, but she's getting better as her two grow up. I guess what I saw was that it was a long, tough decision for both, regardless of how tough or easy it was for them.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 4:48 PM
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Look if you have to talk about serious moral issues a lot it's easier on everyone if you talk about the silliest versions of them because then everyone doesn't have to sit around feeling awkwardly pompous and/or utterly inadequate. Then once the problem is solved** you can turn it back to the issues that people really care about.

Another approach.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 7:32 PM
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12: We just read that chapter!


Posted by: Penny | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 8:00 PM
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56: Arguably NYC is a worse place to foster-adopt than your county system, but it would be the only one. I think, like most here, you would have a lot to offer if you went down that path. But starting from stability is important if you can manage it. (I couldn't, but oh well.)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 8:23 PM
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59: All-of-a-Kind Family, hooray!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08-17-15 8:25 PM
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The only reason we don't already have a second is money. Friends keep telling us to go for it, but I don't think they appreciate just how precarious our financial situation is.*

* good jobs, but, you know, London. So, basically 4K GBP a month just to service the bills, and removing 75% of my wife's income for a year, and then adding in another 1K a month in childcare ...


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 2:25 AM
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Gah, ttaM, that's terrifying!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 4:07 AM
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62. Have you thought about moving to eg. Reading?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 4:08 AM
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re: 64

Wouldn't really make a massive difference. We'd save a few hundred a month in rent, and spent half of that in increased travel costs. Plus, just the cost of moving would probably wipe out a year or so of the saving.

xelA's nursery costs will drop next year, which will put us back to having a bit of spare income for savings or to pay down the (smallish, relative to joint income) amount of debt we have. So it's not endless misery ahead, but if we were to go down to basically just my income for a year, even removing childcare costs, it's not really possible short of a substantial payrise for me.*

* not entirely unlikely, I'm pretty underpaid at the moment, and a promotion or a move elsewhere is probably something that should happen in the next year.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 4:19 AM
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University pay scales were pretty much frozen here since the recession started. I'm hoping that will unfreeze before my current position ends. But I got to sell out a bit and that's a big help. More people should try it.

Not that I was able to sell out enough that I could live in London.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 4:40 AM
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Which may be why so much of my time is spent working with Europeans. Or maybe they just like me.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 4:56 AM
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Have you thought about moving to eg. Reading?Nebraska?
Or find a relative and tell them you're starting a juice company. Where you need an infant to make the juice.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 5:23 AM
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I'm going to Nebraska right now.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 5:25 AM
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Speaking on behalf of my continent, we think you're an all right sort of chap.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 5:25 AM
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ttaM, is the mostly-unpaid parental leave for your wife the norm there? I get two months at full pay, which is anomalously way high for the US, but it's more that having three times the children for 1/3 your cost that makes things doable.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 5:41 AM
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There's statutory maternity pay, which is the absolute minimum. That's £139 per week, but you pay tax and national insurance on that, so the net amount is less.

Lots of employers, especially in the university and public sector, offer much better maternity terms, so for friends who work in that sector, being on maternity leave isn't really a financial hit at all, especially if they are saving a bit on existing childcare by taking their other children out of daycare, or reducing their daycare commitment.

So, where I work, for example, someone would receive full pay for 6 months, then statutory maternity pay for 3 months. So, if my wife worked where I work, and we took xelA out of nursery, or reduced his hours, we could conceivably be _up_ financially, over a 9 month maternity leave period.

N.B. that 4K GBP cost includes existing childcare bills, rent, utility bills, travel costs, car insurance, local tax, etc. Everything, basically.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 5:56 AM
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The obvious solution is for you to lie to your employer and say you're pregnant.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 6:17 AM
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I can do a paternity leave swap, and go on 'maternity' but I think it'd be Statutory only, as they require that your partner has taken 6 months before you do.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 6:35 AM
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74 is wrong, actually. It turns out I could take a few months at full pay.

As per discontinuous example 2, here:

https://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/personnel/during/family/spl/


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 6:38 AM
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I'm not trying to talk you into anything! I was just curious how it worked.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 6:40 AM
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"The internet's decided we should have another baby."


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 6:55 AM
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70: Thanks. I should add the most of the people I work with are continental in the traditional sense.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 7:06 AM
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77- and they've offered to help in any way necessary IYKWIM


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 7:23 AM
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Parenthood means way more time watching Garfield cartoon reruns in an airport than I had expected. I think watching Garfield in Midway is most of what I've done in Chicago in the last five years.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 7:40 AM
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Sounds like an ordeal you can't enter voluntarily, in any real, informed sense...


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 7:59 AM
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79: The Unfogged Global Babysitting Army?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 8:07 AM
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82 sounds similar to the cartoon of Ada Lovelace* being raised by wolves mathematicians in order to suppress her Dangerous Byronic Tendencies.
http://sydneypadua.com/2dgoggles/lovelace-the-origin-2/

*which you have all seen already, but just in case anyone missed it here it is again


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 8:38 AM
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84

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HELP!

I'm trying to book flights from Manchester, UK to Jacksonville, FLA. The best bet seems to be via Philadelphia with a 1 hour 50 minute layover. I will require wheelchair assistance at all three airports. Assuming that American Airlines can make this happen, will I have to go through immigration at Philadelphia and if so, will I have time to make my onward flight?

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Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 8:39 AM
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Seems tight, but I'm very cautious about missing flights. I hate airport anxiety.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 8:41 AM
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That's a very generous connection time aside from immigration. I have no idea about how that is worked into the schedule.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 8:46 AM
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I guess that's a yes to having to do immigration. Won't have bags of course, just hand luggage.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 8:47 AM
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88

Who is making you go to Jacksonville?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 8:49 AM
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86. If it wasn't for my concerns about immigration I'd have booked by now. I rang their "Customer Service" number, but it's in Mumbai and she probably has no idea how US immigration works.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 8:49 AM
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88. My brother in law who lives there.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 8:50 AM
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Typically you do go through immigration at your first stop in the country, not your final destination, right? Since your final destination might be a domestic airport without C&I facilities.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 8:53 AM
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Some international airports have US customs in them (i.e. Halifax, NS does) so you pass customs before you enter the US. Super handy.

That said, 1.5 hours as a connection time with limited mobility, regardless of customs? I'd look for something longer.


Posted by: hydrobatidae | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 8:56 AM
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That seems very tight. And with going through immigration far too tight. With just 1 hour and 50 minutes to make the connecting flight I'd be shitting bricks even without having wheelchair assistance.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 8:57 AM
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I have no idea how U.S. immigration works but the one time I used it I was on a flight from Heathrow to Chicago. We webt through customs in New York on a stop that was not listed. That was a while ago. I was flying TWA.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 9:00 AM
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That seems fairly reasonable, to be honest. If it starts to look tight then, in my experience, they will put you to the front of the queue if you tell them you have a connecting flight to catch.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 9:01 AM
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What time is the final flight? Missing a 10 pm to Jacksonville is a bigger problem than a 10 am one.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 9:10 AM
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As nervous as it would make me in those circumstances I think ajay is far more likely to have the best read on this situation having been there and done that more than a few times I believe.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 9:15 AM
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In case anyone is wondering, the McDonald's in Midway airport is cheaper than the one in the New York toll road service plaza. Cheaper by a lot.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 9:16 AM
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I think it's tight but not impossibly tight (given that collecting and rechecking bags isn't a factor; and that if you need wheelchair assistance they'll generally golf-cart you any significant distances which will save you some time). But immigration delays are totally unpredictable, and I wouldn't expect any reliable info from the airline--they have no way of knowing how many of those stupid automated immigration kiosks are going to be broken that day.

If I were you I'd look to see what other connection options there were if I missed the flight--if there's another flight a few hours later, go for it; if missing your connection means you'll be stuck overnight, maybe consider other options.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 9:17 AM
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Wheelchair assistance cuts to the front of the line at Immigration. An hour and fifty minutes should be plenty of time.


Posted by: d'Herblay | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 9:18 AM
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Anyway, my dad now has assistance going through airports and he hasn't complained about it causing him delays.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 9:18 AM
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Plus if you have wheelchair assistance that may mean you get to ride on one of those wee electric carts, which is an added bonus because you feel like you're in the villain's underground headquarters in a James Bond film.
And, more seriously, you'll have an airport employee to act as your dragoman and make sure you get to your flight on time. I'd actually be less worried in that situation than I would be if I were self-propelled.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 9:18 AM
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Pwned by everyone. Probably because they are in wheelchairs.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 9:19 AM
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96. PHL-JAX flight is at 15:40. I don't know what the procedure would be if we missed it through not our fault. Also have to take into account the return flight, which gives us the same time in PHL but the transatlantic leg leave at 20:50.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 9:20 AM
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Yes. Self-propelled but unable to run can be a problem. I I've caught a flight only by making a twenty minute run across OHare. Stupid F terminal.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 9:21 AM
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104: If it wasn't your fault and the ticket is purchased all at once from the same airline or group, it's their business to get you on another flight. But this can involve considerable sitting around if there are no more flights that day.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 9:23 AM
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102.2 Dragoman's are in the other thread.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 9:24 AM
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104: You don't need to worry much about the layover time when exiting the US. Look at PHL-JAX flights on American. If you miss one, they put you on the next one with an available seat. If there are others later that day, you should be fine. If there aren't, you'll be staying the night in Philly on your own dime (because they aren't responsible for delays at Customs).


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 9:43 AM
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Don't dress like Santa Claus. They throw batteries at him in Philadelphia.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 9:49 AM
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Or a robot hitchhiker either for that matter.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 10:30 AM
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Also be very careful about how you order cheesesteak.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 10:40 AM
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I'm sorry I didn't see this thread yesterday when it was more active. We've been trying to decide whether to have a second child or stay at one. I'm starting to lean towards only having one child.

Having the first baby nearly destroyed my career. I am exceedingly lucky that I was able to depend on my connections to secure a job that was a better fit for the working mom gig than the awful law firm I was previously at. I worry that a second kid would cause my to completely destroy my career. Also, our house really isn't big enough for two kids and my husband would love to scale back in 10 years and that wouldn't be possible if we had to fund a second college education. Also, some of the things I've read here and elsewhere about the constant bickering between siblings sounds terrible.

The main reason I always wanted two kids was that I grew up a terribly strange only child that preferred adult company to child company. But I'm hoping that we're doing sufficient work to mitigate that issue. We moved to a block filled with children, we're 100x more social than my parents were, and we emphasize manners and social graces.

Please someone tell me that you raised only one kid and that that kid had a good childhood with lots of friends!


Posted by: LizSpigot | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 11:34 AM
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Ours is functionally an only child, as my stepkids were teenagers when he was born. He has lots of friends, is social and happy, but is also a bit of an oddball (all that music and dance plus he's obsessed with languages), so a widely beloved oddball. I think the oddballness has much more to do with the family and his own nature than the onlyness.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 1:13 PM
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In the meantime, she just goes around making comments about her fear of only children to grown ups who it turns out were only children. OOPSIE

Ha! As an only child who is additionally a parent of an only child, I've often had the opportunity to be on the affronted end of this exchange. (I am actually never affronted in practice unless the person is really horribly horribly egregious on the subject to a degree I feel confident Mrs. K-sky would never be.)


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-18-15 6:40 PM
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