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Ice cream, co-sleeping, and man-bashing

By Alice Bradley

Good news! Science has finally discovered the hidden benefits of ice cream. Eating high fat dairy products, scientists say, can boost your fertility. The health link is to full-fat dairy in general, not specifically to ice cream, but apparently it’s the most attention-grabbing choice of the high-fat dairy options, because every media outlet’s going with the ice cream headline. I guess no one wanted “A Wedge of Blue Cheese Will Get Your Lady Parts to Working.”
My favorite thing about this article—beyond the unsurprising idea that fat isn’t just there to kill you—is how afraid the experts are of this finding. Afraid that women, with their well-known absence of self-control around all things ice-creamy, will lose their minds and cram quarts of Haagen Dazs down their gullets until they expire. Or worse: get fat.
Here’s a sampling of the nervous quotes in the article:
“Even modest servings have this effect.”
Which means that immodest servings have an even BETTER effect. Yeah!
“If you’re going to do this, try to eliminate other high-saturated-fat foods from your diet.”
Nuh-uh. I’ll have a jumbo fries with that.
“This should not signal women to get buckets and buckets of ice cream.”
I’m gonna anyway. And it’s your fault.
“Fertility expert Celia Dominguez, MD… warns overweight women against gorging on ice cream.”
Too late, doctor-lady.
“Nobody needs to run off to eat Haagen-Dazs to get pregnant.”
We’ve been waiting for an excuse, ladies, have we not? And now we have it. Thanks, frightened experts!
And now, more breaking news from the Times: sometimes parents share beds with their kids!
This article concerns desperate, sleep-deprived parents who have given up fighting when their kid climbs into bed with them in the middle of the night. This doesn’t happen to me, but it sounds positively dreadful. I do not wish to judge the fatigue-addled adults who are doing the best they can under the circumstances; more than anything, what I want is peace and quiet and lovely sleep for all. I know that ever y kid is different, and you do what you can. We couldn’t co-sleep with my son because within minutes, he’d flip around and stick his big toe in my nostril. Sometimes I wish we could all curl up together. All of us except for that toe.
But it seems, at least from the article, that the subjects have explored every possible solution except sucking it up and putting the kid back in his bed. They’re consulting experts, they’re moving mattresses around, they’re curling up in toddler beds while their kid snoozes on their king-sized mattress, but they’re not willing to piss off their own kids. I had to laugh at what, according to this story, most of these parents consider an”extreme measure”: closing the kid’s bedroom door. (The experts recommend allowing the door to stay open if your child can stay in bed, but simply closing the door if he or she keeps popping into your room.)
Is, uh, closing the door cruel? Because my son never goes to sleep with his door open. This is partly because his bedroom is next to our ancient and decaying stairs, which let off shotgun-blast-like creaks as you walk up and down them. But also, I want it to be quiet and dark and for him to be asleeeeep. Because I am a heartless taskmaster who hates my child. I never stop learning about me!
In our last bit of news this week: men are angry. Angry that they’ve been belittled by advertisers. According to columnist and talk-show host Glenn Sacks, dads are invariably portrayed in commercials as “idiots.” While moms are all smart and stuff.
I have noted in the past that dads in commercials are portrayed as bumbling morons who have to research the Internet to figure out that their kid needs a glass of water. There’s no doubt that there’s some truth to this. And yet still I feel compelled to answer Glenn Sacks’ pity party with this: awww, izza widdle baby not wiking the mean ole commercials? Aw. Wuzza wuzza.
Cry me a river, Glenn Sacks. Yes, dads are sometimes portrayed as idiots, but join the idiot club. Women have a long, illustrious history of being dismissed and objectified by the media. The one arena we’re allowed any measure of competence in is motherhood, and that’s because advertisters know moms do the shopping. Before we become Doctor Moms, with our sensible haircuts and helpless families, we can usually be found cavorting around in bikinis or using our cleavage to get free drinks.Let us have this moment in the advertising sun, Glenn Sacks, then you can go back to being portrayed as Masters of the Universe while we fade into commercial oblivion after age 40—unless we’re selling arthritis medication or we’re Betty White. Deal?

Alice Bradley
About the Author

Alice Bradley

Alice Bradley was a regular contributor to Alpha Mom, writing about current events as they related to parenting. You can read about her daily life at her personal blog, Finslippy.


Alice Bradley was a regular contributor to Alpha Mom, writing about current events as they related to parenting. You can read about her daily life at her personal blog, Finslippy.

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  • braine

    March 2, 2007 at 12:39 pm

    Why have an either/or anyway? A truly revolutionary ad campaign would cast husbands and wives (and other domestic partners) as super-competent heros battling an array of inhuman forces out to get them — spills, financial disorder, un-fabulous wardrobes, non-glossy hair, insufficient storage space or acceleration in their vehicles — and triumphing against the darkness by dint of teamwork and ingenuity. Selling products while strengthening the bonds of matrimony. Hello Madison Avenue?

  • Lisa Milton

    March 2, 2007 at 2:06 pm

    What? Piss off the precious kids? This is a viable option? I guess the researchers hadn’t thought of that. Love it – thanks for the laugh.

  • Kathryn The Great

    March 2, 2007 at 2:23 pm

    Keeping your kid’s bedroom door open is a fire hazard. I shut both my kids’ doors on my way to bed.
    So, I’m either protecting them from fire or, you know, a mean, MEAN mommy.

  • Erika

    March 2, 2007 at 3:20 pm

    I know this is one of those touchy subjects, but I, for one, did piss my child off on numerous, if not several months, of trying to get him to sleep through the night in his own bed. He is very stubborn and loud. I realize I am the parent, but when I have to get up the next morning for work, sometimes it means I don’t kick him out of the bed when he gets in it. I say pick your battles, and this just isn’t one I want to fight.

  • Lisa

    March 2, 2007 at 3:33 pm

    Oooh… they would really have a fit about the child-proof doorknob thingy we have on our four-year-old’s door to keep him in there. I didn’t realize it was abusive to expect him to stay in there and sleep!

  • slouching mom

    March 2, 2007 at 4:28 pm

    My brain was unable to process anything after Haagen-Dazs.
    I am swooning at the memory of weekend evenings in eighth and ninth grades spent with my friends and gymnastics teammates, during which we each consumed our own pint of chocolate-chocolate chip, Haagen Dazs of course. Our own pints, I tell you! If I did that today, you’d have to send a carpenter to widen the doorway so I could leave my own house.

  • Alexa

    March 2, 2007 at 5:49 pm

    Sorry, I had a mouth full of ice cream. What I meant to say was “Well said, Alice!”

  • Sara

    March 2, 2007 at 5:56 pm

    We have a small house and my daughter’s door is always closed for sleeping. If she wants to come out for something, she can open the door herself, so I’m not sure what the problem is.
    Sleeping arrangements are so personal, it’s hard to say what the “better” way is. As a baby, we practiced a modified version of attachment parenting, and she spent some time in our bed, but I would never give up our bed to her, especially at almost-3. For us, the boundaries and rules are necessary to keep everyone happy.

  • jenB

    March 3, 2007 at 1:40 pm

    We actually duct taped Charlotte’s door last week. For several days in fact. We took it off and now she stays in her room. E-VIL! parents, I know.
    And Glen Sacks can suck my ball sack(s).

  • dorothy

    March 3, 2007 at 3:57 pm

    We have the same shotgun stairs. Also? I’m afraid she will fall down them in the night and break her neck, which would totally wake me up.

  • ozma

    March 4, 2007 at 12:12 am

    We are the people who sleep with our child. Those sad, pathetic folks you have read about.
    She has her own bed. Thank goodness it’s nice and big! I don’t know how we’d all fit in one of those toddler beds.
    My head is spinning. You mean, you can just make your kid do every single you want him/her to do? What is the secret to that? My experience is otherwise.
    Seriously. How?

  • Wendy

    March 4, 2007 at 11:35 am

    Poor Glenn Sacks. Poor men. You know, my husband thinks “clear the dinner table” means “put the unscraped plates in the sink and leave the room before wife notices the dirty silverware, half empty (half full) milk-cups, and bottle of salad dressing still on the table”. Yeah. And then there’s the fact that my four-year olds can manage to get their shoes in the shoe basket when the come inside, but their dad is somehow not able. Hmmm.

  • brandon

    March 4, 2007 at 4:30 pm

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. When I read this article, I was amazed that saying no wasn’t the obvious solution. I’ve barely gotten used to having another adult tossing and turning next to me all night long, let alone a child who sleeps horizontally.

  • alice


    March 4, 2007 at 7:32 pm

    Oh, Ozma, you’ve got good company, it seems. Hip, sexy company! If the NYT is any indication.
    Some kids grok the whole sleeping-alone thing, others REALLY DON’T. My kid’s a good sleeper, but he also eats no foods that aren’t beige. So there you have it.

  • Anonymous

    March 5, 2007 at 9:34 am

    I am simply too selfish in my need for sleep to allow my toddler into bed with us. She’s been in her own room since she was 4 weeks old and started sleeping through the night. I thank heavens every day that she sleeps like it’s her job, and have endless sympathy for parents whose kids don’t.

  • juliloquy

    March 5, 2007 at 1:25 pm

    I love your punchy tone in this piece. Yay Alice for bringing sassy back!

  • Stephanie

    March 5, 2007 at 3:32 pm

    PP – those of us co-sleeping are doing it also because we are too selfish in our need for sleep. If my baby had slept through the night at 4 WEEKS!!!!!! he would definitely be in his own bed. Instead, at 23 months, he still gets up 2 times a night. I would never get any sleep if I didn’t give in and let him win.
    I assume people in the co-sleeping/no co-sleeping debate all make their decision based on the same thing, which is whatever gets you some blessed sleep!!!
    Alice – fabulous entry!

  • Michele

    March 5, 2007 at 11:44 pm

    Oooh, we have one of the child proof doorknob thingies on the inside of our son’s door too!
    Everyone’s gotta decide what to do with their kids. But I have to say I did find that NYT article further evidence of the school of Letting Your Kids Run Your Life, which seems all too common these days. I have a friend who’s daughter is still nursing at almost 3–not like that’s bad in itself, but the daughter doesn’t really nurse, just insists on twiddling her ma’s nipples while she’s drinking out of a bottle. Which bothers my friend to no end but strangely enough, she hasn’t put a stop to it. And then there’s the mom with the 6 year old who said to her “I’ve already got my f-in shoes on” although he didn’t say f-in, he said something else…and she did nothing. Unfortunately, examples like this seem to abound in the group of intellectual parents I associate with…what happened to PUTTING YOUR FOOT DOWN?

  • Susan

    March 6, 2007 at 12:14 pm

    I read that NYT article. It’s not about not wanting to piss off the kids, it’s about DESPERATELY wanting to get some sleep. Our twelve year old sleeps on a mat on our floor. For years we barricaded her door, made up elaborate sleep-schedule charts where she would sleep with a different family member every night (her issue is she just doesn’t want to sleep alone). After struggling with her for years, we now feel like it’s cozy. Most of the world’s population sleeps in one room and it’s only our individualized nation that so values “privacy.” We don’t let her sleep in our bed, though, and never have. She kicks too much.

  • geminimama

    March 6, 2007 at 1:41 pm

    Why we so judgemental of each other? As if having the New York Times snear down its nose at its parenting choices, we have to automatically assume we have all the answers? What bugged me most about the article was the obsession with the type of beds (and by extension, how much they cost) the kids were not sleeping in. Sorry…just a little bored with the dramas of the too-much-monied. Yeah, getting a bad night’s sleep sucks, spoken as a person who has two 21-month-olds squeezing her out of bed at night, but if you have the $400/hour to pay the sleep therapists, then I guess you should just suck it up and stop whining to me…I got bigger fish to fry. And yes, I can say no to my kids, but I’d like to save that for the daytime, when I’m awake, and they’re trying to burn down the house.

  • Libby

    March 6, 2007 at 3:16 pm

    Yea! Finally something my kids are good at! Sleeping!! Is there a team for that?

  • andi

    March 6, 2007 at 10:18 pm

    Hysterical as usual, Alice. But perhaps I’m just extra prone to giggling what with my constant sugar high from all the ice-cream I have consumed since reading that article. I am already pregnant, but I figure it can’t hurt, can it?
    I’m so glad someone told me that shutting the door to my daughter’s room is evil. Whatever would they say about me also putting a baby gate outside her door because she is prone to late-night nearly-neck-breaking adventures on the stairs?

  • leolabeth

    March 9, 2007 at 6:51 am

    Glenn Sacks is a Fathers Rights fanatic.
    Thanks to him and his ilk, in my state a divorcing father–unless he’s actually in jail–merely has to say, I’d like 50/50 joint custody please, and he gets it.
    I can’t even begin to estimate the number of abusers sharing joint custody with their victims these days.
    Hmm.I sound bitter, don’t I?

  • Bethany

    March 18, 2007 at 9:56 pm

    As a former co-sleeper, I will agree with several above that I assumed desperation was what drove most parents to co-sleeping. Ah, the blessed, sweet sleep we got with our baby in bed. When she started kicking us, though, we introduced her to her own bed, and it took several months of firm persuasion to get her to bed without tears. Now she’s almost three and STILL wishes she were sleeping with us. I think it’s just a personality thing, and highly personal to each family. Whatever works to get EVERYONE sleep, dude, work it.