Wednesday, October 03, 2012

FMB: Friendship (1)

When I inevitably leave Cold City (just as it was getting good!  academia, you suck!) I am considering making a checklist for potential friends.  (Dr. S suggests that it should have just one item: "Are your children up to date on vaccinations per the CDC's schedule?")  This could weed out all the racist, illogical, unscientific moms!  Or it could end with me sitting sad and alone in my house.  Anyhow!

1) Do you make things?  Anything?  Dinner?  Jam?  Tote bags?  Drawings, writing, glitter glue art?

2) Do you use PubMed?
2a) Do you look things up?  Facts, that is?
2b) Do you use something other than Wikipedia for it?

3) Have you ever freaked out based on a single study reported in the media?
(As distinct from thinking about it and maybe not buying LA rice any more.)

4) Do you drink tap water?

5) Do your children go to public school?

6) Do you have a nanny?
6a) Do you have a job?*

7) Do you regularly see any quack 'medical' practitioners such as naturopaths, homeopaths, and the like?
7a) Do you believe that salt lamps produce negative ions?
7b) Have you ever eaten your own placenta?
7c) Do you think the body needs help, in the form of periodic weird diets, to 'cleanse' 'environmental toxins'? 
7d) True or false: Natural supplements are always good for you.

8a) Do you think vaccines cause autism?
8b) Do you think thimoseral causes autism?

9) Have your children had their shots?

Alternatively, I could put an ad in the local paper: "Housewife with fancy science PhD, Bernina sewing machine, large garden, DeWalt router seeks other bored yet interesting stay-at-home parents to hang out with.  Unvaccinated children need not apply."

Anyone else have probing questions to suggest?  Come on.  You know you want to.

* Some persons with a nanny but no job may still qualify.  :)


  1. You have a DeWalt router?! I think that was my favorite tool in shop class. Alas, I haven't discovered a need for one since high school.

    I consider myself an easy-going person, but there is a certain mom of my acquaintance that I just can't stand.

    1) Horrendously nasal voice. (I suppose she can't help it.)
    2) Frequent references to therapist, medical issues, and ex-husband (is remarried! Children are with current husband!)
    3) Has enrolled her 5-year-old and 2.5-year-old in gymnastics, swimming, music lessons, and soccer. Each. Child. Has. Too. Many. Things.
    4) Appears to create nothing, ever. You already have this as your issue number 1, for good reason.
    5) Sends child to school with organic everything. Because the school milk isn't good enough.

    I am able to enjoy the company of some mom-friends even if they don't fulfill certain criteria on your list, but I accept that they just aren't going to be "all-day friends". #1, 7, 8, and 9 are deal-breakers though.

    Full disclosure: I haven't used PubMed since grad school. I really should, too, since I need to research a certain Lymes Disease test and determine its false positives rate.

    1. s'okay, I know you don't think Wikipedia is a reliable source.

      (It's mostly the spouse's router. He made that nice bookcase in the living room with it!)

      Yeah, I was thinking of the list for, like, REAL friends, as opposed to mommy friends (people I am only friends with because we are both moms).

    2. Btw, glitter glue is inordinately fun.

  2. Can you do math?
    Do you exercise regularly?
    Have you ever competed (in anything)? [Bonus for winning..]
    How often do you visit the library?
    Do you vote?

    I could go on :).

    1. Math! Hah!

      I would not qualify on exercise until recently. Wee babies will do that to you... and I did compete in IM sports. We mostly lost. (That is, in fact, how I met my spouse: playing IM softball.) Perhaps I wouldn't be YOUR best friend. :)

  3. I totally passed your list until I got to the nanny part. Although now I do have a job. But maybe the whole having two newborns at the same time falls under your exception.

    I think the vaccination question may well cover it all.

    1. Twins or more give you an exemption. :) I also don't require ALL answers to be negative. Having a nanny AND a job, for example, is totally fine. Normal, even!

  4. Wow, you have a Bernina? When I worked in the fabric store that was always the sign of a serious sewer. Now I could totally have a Bernina of my own, and I bought a crappy Brother where the tension gets wonky when you get to the end of the bobbin, when you've got juuuuust enough thread to finish your project without stopping to load another bobbin but nooooooooo, it has to go all FULL OF LOOPS. 7c sure made me laugh. I'm glad you don't feel having an nanny is inherently evil. I'm extremely self-conscious about it. Especially considering my children totally don't go to public school.

    1. It's my precioussss. It's also a 50-year-old antique, all-mechanical, all-metal. And woman! Go get a decent sewing machine!

      You, too, have both a nanny and a JOB. I was thinking particularly of McMansion dwellers who have a nanny and no job, so they can go to midday Pilates uninterrupted.

  5. Ex-pat Courtney5:14 AM

    The problem with Dr. S's question is that it shuts out the former ex-pat moms whose kids are not vaccinated per the CDC schedule. My son was born in country A, moved to country B at age 2, and now at age 5 has moved to country C (none of these countries are the US). My daughter was born in country B and is now living in country C. None of these vaccination schedules are the same, nor are they the same as the US's, and trying to get this all figured out has caused an extraordinary amount of stress in my life this past week. I am not sure if I am relieved or worried that it is also causing our new pediatrician in our well-child clinic in socialist-ish country C some stress as well.

    Just wanted to throw that out there.

    My only addition to your list, as someone who has spent the last month trying out new playgroups here in new country C, is if you spend all your playgroup time discussing parenting, parenting books, etc. It would be really nice if I could just ask the question right away to weed out the riffraff. I am absolutely not interested in spending two hours a week with a parent who actually cares what baby books I've read and what my ideas on parenting are.

    1. Yes, dear, but *I* live in the US. :) And it's really a proxy for 'is my baby going to catch measles from your kid?'

      Love the parenting-books question. I don't read 'em, they give me hives.

  6. That's a pretty good list. For parents of autistic kids, the extra question after the vaccines/thimerasol ones is: How do you feel about Jenny McCarthy?

    Because it's a serious deal breaker if I have to listen to someone talk about all the toxins I should be chelating out of my son. Or how I'm a martyr because I'm not doing GFCF. Or whatever. If you feel the need to tell me how to parent my kid, I will definitely feel the need to tell you where to get OFF.

  7. Anonymous12:27 PM

    Whelp, I certainly don't answer all of those in what I imagine is the correct way. Though perhaps I imagine wrong! Anyway, I bet we'd have a whale of a good time discussing them.

    I have realized over the years that it's your first question, about making things -- and I include experiments -- that best predicts which people I will find too baffling to befriend. The other deal-breaker that comes to mind for me is, "are you going to attempt to shame me about food or my body?". HOMIE DO NOT PLAY THAT.

  8. Anonymous2:13 PM

    I may borrow this list.

  9. Hmmmmm... you left out have you self diagnosed yourself with a gluten allergy and do you regularly see a chiropractor to keep your immune system in order. Love this post. Thanks for linking it!

    On the plus side I think that we could be friends.

    1. Oh, YES and YES! (I have actually developed a gluten intolerance secondary to oral allergy syndrome but I swear a board-certified allergist/immunologist diagnosed me with it. I have an ICD-9 code and everything.)

      If only you, too, were moving to small-town Virginia with me...


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