Exploiting My Baby* *Because It's Exploiting Me

baby

Want to Feel Isolated? Try Social Networking

General StuffTeresa Strasser15 Comments

On Facebook, “ladies night out” never ends with you getting cornered by a former Arizona State sorority girl who is two mojitos past dullard. On Facebook, the valet doesn’t lose your dirty Honda for twenty minutes while you calculate how much sleep you’ll get if there’s no traffic on the way home. On Facebook, it’s all sombreros and private jokes and close-ups of sushi and magnificent, unattainable Bourbon-hued camaraderie. Your online “friends” have more community, more sisterhood, more fun than you do. Science can now prove it.

When it comes to parenthood, all the children on Facebook do adorable, precocious things with both pets and instruments. These angels wear stain-free sailor suits. They make sand castles, kiss puppies and giggle with rash free cheeks. That’s why every time you sign off, you feel just a little bit depressed by the vividness of their joie. Their brightness dampens you. This is something you’ve always known, but now science has an explanation.

Thanks to researchers at Stanford, we pretty much have proof that social networking is bumming us out.

Okay, I’m extrapolating here, but what they found (in a paper titled “Misery Has More Company Than People Think”) is that as human beings, we tend to overestimate how much fun our peers are having, while underestimating their negative experiences.

After perusing the photo album “Jordan Turns Two,” you will never know the cake wasn’t moist, the pizza made everyone gassy and Jordan had to be carried out like a surfboard when the pony peed on his shoes. You will never know most of the kids left sunburned and at least three viral infections were spread like cheap dip.

Personally, I don’t post much, but I lurk. I watch. I silently compare myself to these gleeful visions, especially to other moms, whose online family portraits have often been shot through a lens of manufactured, carefully produced joy and spiked with a dash of selective storytelling. No matter. It still sends me into a mood.

It’s not that I don’t have moments of transcendent joy, it’s that I don’t know how to share them.

No, not spiritually, I mean I literally can’t figure out how to make photo albums or upload images efficiently. Or, as I’m on the verge of mastering some major misrepresentation of the totality of my life with one kick-ass shot of my toddler’s dimples, he actually needs me to stop him from tumbling down the front stairs. I have neither the time nor the aptitude to fake you out.

I guess I don’t get the spiritual part either.

Last night, when my son got home from daycare, he pointed down the block, so I walked with him. He ran ahead. He ran four straight blocks, his hair flying up, little shoes smacking the pavement, going nowhere, just toward the flat-out euphoria of his body moving through space. I welled up and thought remember this remember this remember this.

Sure, he cried when I washed his face in the bath later, and left most of his rice on the floor, and whined when I put his arms in the sleeves of his pajamas, but I had that moment.

The thing is, that moment is boring. In fact, I’m sorry for boring you with it. If there’s a way of sharing the beauty without sounding braggy or hacky, I haven’t figured it out.

I do know this: I rarely feel happier or more connected after checking FB or Twitter.

There is often documentation of some social function from which I suddenly feel horribly excluded.

Intellectually, I know it’s just an illusion. Stanford proved it. No one is as happy as I think they are, and of course, I understand nobody posts a shot of their positive herpes test with a :-(

Armed with this new information, I can at least adjust for the human condition. I can assume your reunion was 33% less “awesome” than it looks, and that your kid probably crayons the wall after eating a frozen dinner you failed to chronicle for an album titled “Sodium won’t kill him.”

This column originally appeared on the Huffington Post.

The World's Fattest Toddler: I'm Not Worried

General StuffTeresa Strasser13 Comments
Not making fun. Bless his heart.

 

Step aside, infamous Indonesian smoking baby, there’s a new gross-you-out and get-you-incensed Internet sensation in town. It’s the obese Chinese toddler!

Perhaps you have seen photos of Lu Hao, a 132-pound 3-year-old who eats three bowls of rice at a time and refuses to walk to school. It’s compelling stuff, the swollen kid crammed into a raft, floating in a pool, the massive baby gnawing on a chicken bone or being hoisted by his sweating, regular-sized dad as his girth tests the tensile strength of a T-shirt.

If you see the story anywhere online, don’t even bother reading the comments section. This is very predictable, the kind of kid story that causes parents to do one of two things: A) lots of pontificating about how mom and dad need to take charge and are actually abusive in their neglectful/idiotic parenting or B) feel sorry for the child and post about their pity, which causes group A to attack group B. These two groups will go round and round while missing the point: This fat baby is onto something, and I don’t just mean a steel-reinforced Bumbo chair.

I don’t know exactly what Bethenny Frankel does or is, but I know her name, I know she has written a couple of bestselling books, and I know she regularly trends on Twitter and has been featured on five reality shows, two that focus solely on her life.

Forget about the Strasberg Institute or the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa. Skip Juilliard, practicing your guitar, attending classes at Second City or even going to culinary school.

Just have yourself some brawls like the "Desperate Housewives" or the cast members of "Jersey Shore." In other words, embrace your total lack of impulse control, and you will be on the road to fame and fortune.

If you find you can’t keep your mouth shut, you might end up getting punched like Snooki and become an overnight sensation. If you can’t restrain yourself -- from toppling a table at a party, screaming, conniving, drinking, vicious gossiping, smoking, having inappropriate sex, having a zillion kids or, in the case of little Lu, eating -- we are going to be very interested in you. You could be five bowls of rice from your own series.

Discipline gets plenty of lip service, but if you want to “trend” in our culture, don’t call a therapist when you can’t control your impulses. Call CAA. I think they are opening a special “Impulse Control” division because that’s how profitable it is to completely give in to your urges, at least if there’s a camera there to capture it. Only suckers bother with training, practice and long, boring, expensive educations that mainly lead to working mundane jobs while hacking away at manuscripts that will never sell. You know who sells books? The Situation. He sells books, and last I checked, he hadn’t “paid dues” or “even read a book” himself.

If TLC doesn’t get ahold of this obese baby, they are missing out on a chance for a docu-soap that could fit nicely into their lineup, the way Lu’s diaper fits perfectly over a queen-size bed. “Little People, Big Baby” could be the story of two little people struggling to raise a giant child. Look out for “The Littlest Biggest Loser,” in which Lu competes in weight-loss challenges with other chubby babies from around the world.

Lu could move in with the Duggars or be disciplined by Jo Frost or perhaps team up with the smoking baby (who has finally quit smoking, by the way) to live in a house on the Jersey Shore with Bethenny, her new family, a few MTV Teen Moms and an aging Puck from “The Real World.” A swirl of ids could provide new catchphrases, books, spin-off shows and viewing parties.

This fat baby is already learning something important about making his mark. The only thing he really has to worry about? The next 500-pound 4-year-old knocking him off his top spot. Or the smoking baby picking up again. Fame is a hard habit to break.

 

* This piece originally appeared in the Huffington Post.

Another Pebble on Baby Beach

General StuffTeresa Strasser41 Comments

The way I was going to dodge all the stereotypical haggard new mom behaviors, well, that didn’t really happen. It didn’t happen at all.

Yeah, I hate the sound of my own voice saying things like, “I just want to shave my legs. Is that such a luxury?” Hearing myself make jokes about the spit-up on my shirt makes me want to spit up on the rest of my shirt.

It’s not cute and it’s not adorable to complain about getting peed on or about being a new mother with severe personal hygiene deficiencies. You know why? Because it’s not special. Guess what: You are not the first mother to leave the house with baby drool on your shoulder or with mismatched shoes, and neither am I.

It’s one thing to be a bad mother (in fact, it’s probably the worst thing you can do, and no one will forgive you for that shit), but it’s another one to be hacky in your new maternity complaints. I have not been able to avoid the latter, and only time will tell about the former.

Hold on.

All of this self-deprecation is getting in the way of me bragging. Give me a second, I’ll be boasting about myself soon enough, but let me just finish the self-loathing so I can feel better about the boasting.

Not only do I find myself making all the stock mom complaints (tired, hard to find time for sex, hair not washed, stomach not flat, doing laundry all day, no free time, no girl time, no time with grown ups, back hurts from holding baby, arms hurt from holding baby, asleep by 9 p.m., lost track of world events, baby sitters are so expensive, going to the movie costs $9,000 now, you get the idea) I’m in serious danger of falling into another cliché, the competitive preschool waiting list thing. That’s right, after yapping about how I’m never going to be one of those despicable hover parents who need to get their genius child into the most elite preschool that charges you $17,000 a year for “creative play,” after insisting I was sending Buster to the $60 a month pre-school run by the park and recreation department, this bullshit preschool thing I was outrunning caught me by the scruff. It caught me and now it’s forcing me to go to open houses and do research and figure out what they mean by “co-op” and “Waldorf.”

It was all well and good to flaunt my working class roots, to insist on sending my kid to the same kind of free city preschool that taught me so much about chalk drawing and swinging, but the very impulse that snares all the other normally reasonable parents tagged me. What if I screw my kid by going all cheapo on his first school? Although logic dictates that a tricycle is a tricycle and any place that doesn’t allow him to swallow marbles and eat Laffy Taffy for snack time is pretty much the same as the next, I can’t be sure. What if there really is some voodoo magic in those fancy schools that enables pupils to tackle concertos and theorems while speaking multiple languages and excelling at Irish clog dancing? If I don’t place him in a learning environment that properly conveys “conflict resolution,” will he end up kicking the shit out of people and telling me to go fuck myself? What if?

So, I turned my back on the park and rec school for a moment and went to my first private pre-school open house (well, half of it, I was rolling on “mom time”). I must say, though I didn’t understand most of the information about learning styles, I was truly impressed by the diversity of the other parents on the tour. There were white people, and there were super white people. There were even a couple insanely white people, so at least Buster would be exposed to all manner of white people.

As far as bragging goes, while I might be failing at the job of resisting parental peer pressure when it comes to preschool, I’m already pretty okay with mediocrity.

If intelligence, or physical abilities or appearance, language skills, coordination, if all of these things follow a standard distribution, if most babies cluster around the mean in terms of when they crawl or walk or talk or get teeth or conjugate verbs, it’s unlikely my baby will be an outlier in any area, statistically speaking. And so far, I don’t find him to be many standard deviations from the mean (other than in terms of size, because he has a giant, outlying pumpkin head and is unusually tall and heavy, or in the parlance of toddlers at the park, he “is fat like an elephant”). As far as the type of skills you brag about to other parents, I’m going to say hello to mediocrity and give it a warm bear hug.

My boy is about ten months old, and he doesn’t exactly crawl yet. He just rolls across the floor or scoots on his belly. He has a normal amount of teeth. He kind of says “mamamammam” but he ain’t referring to me as he babbles. He sees the cat and says “kah” or “kee kah.”

So far, he hasn’t set the world on fire with his precocity. I assume he will not be scooting to the prom on his belly, so I’m not worried. Sure, there’s something fun about having the kid who crawls at five months, walks at six, talks in full sentences at a year, writes in iambic pentameter at two. It’s undeniably cool having one of those stunning children about whom versions of the same story are always told (“We were at the mall, and a photographer asked if we wanted to get her into modeling” – “We were out to lunch, and an agent said he’d be perfect for commercials” – you’ve surely heard versions of the show-stopping baby story, the baby who is almost constantly begged to become a child actor by strangers in show business promising residuals and college funds).

I’d eat the cheeks off my boy and he’s adorable, but mama knows he’s not so far from the mean.

When my parents said that they just wanted me to be happy, I kind of believed them but empirical evidence showed me that they weren’t exactly bummed out when I won the spelling bee or the state poetry contest. Side note: earnest poetry written by a nine year-old from the point of view of a concentration camp inmate might win a contest or two, but could also be the worst prose ever written.

I knew where my bread was buttered, and in the land of American Jews, it’s buttered on the side of achievement. I don’t hold it against my people, because my grandparents came here as immigrants and were thus obsessed with public displays of “making it” here in the land of opportunity, but it sucks when the only way to stand out or be unabashedly loved is to become a concert cellist or chess master.

And having only been a mother for less than a year, I already understand the urge to see your child as faster and smarter, to squint and strain looking for ways your child is edging toward the righteous tail of that bell curve instead of hugging the midline, with all the other short stacks, just another pebble on baby beach.

For me, I’m resisting. I’m embracing the notion that Buster, like most of our kids, will be mostly average, and to look into their faces expecting otherwise is to hang a photo of parental disappointment on the locker of their psyches.

So do we go into debt to send our toddlers to the “best” preschool in town because we want to give them every advantage, or are we secretly hoping to maximize the odds of their Harvard admission so we can brag about it later and throw around some false modesty classics like, “I don’t know where he gets his smarts! Or, “How we’re going to afford it, I have no idea, but what can you do? He just scores so well on tests.”

Trying to tie this shit together is like trying to shove everything you’re going to need for the afternoon into a diaper bag, but I usually attempt that, so here goes.

One of my first epiphanies as a mother is that I am not unique. The bliss, the boredom, the sense of grief for the old life, the panic over poop color and rashes, the elation over milestones, the wanting to drive away and never come back between bouts of wanting to stare at his tiny face forever, this is basically how it is. I didn’t break the mom mold, and instead of needing to be different, I find deep comfort in being the same. While the banality of my maternal concerns can bore me, so can a good night’s sleep and a bowl of broccoli, and I need those things.

It follows that accepting my child for who he is, whether he walks at ten months or sixteen, whether he says “kitty cat” or “domesticated carnivorous mammal,” will also be comforting in the long run. Most moms, most babies, toddlers, tweens, teens, young adults, old people, most of us will be unexceptional, we’ll all need buckets of love and acceptance just because, and not just because we have an eight-octave range or can dunk.

The thing I notice about Buster, the thing that makes me want to brag though I usually manage to shut up about it, is that he smiles at strangers. And sometimes he smiles at the front door. Or at the “domesticated carnivorous mammal” whose hair he is clutching in his fat little fists. He smiles. I can’t believe I’m not even slightly full of crap when I say that this thrills me and makes me more proud than anything. If my child is a happy person, if his little soul is peaceful and his moods moderately mild, if he enjoys himself and seems to interact well with others – that will be his inner self enrolling in Harvard and I’ll be kvelling. Happiness has eluded me like the cat (mostly) eludes the baby. I grab at it, I eyeball it, I grasp it momentarily by the tail but it out runs me and scurries away before I can get it to curl up on my lap.

I hope I won’t ever need Buster to do anything extraordinary, but if he keeps up the smiling, and by extension, the overall sense of joie, even his happiness is only average, that will be good enough for me. And much cheaper than a Waldorf school.

My Baby is All Ass-Backward

General StuffTeresa Strasser81 Comments

Who is this dude, Frank Breech? Well, it looks like my baby is what they call frank breech. Like three to four percent of all babies, he is bottom down, head up. A C-section is already on the books for eight days from today.

However, experts say one way to coax the baby’s head down so he can safely dive out vaginally is to place headphones inside mom’s pants toward her pubic bone and play music for ten minutes, 6-8 times a day. That’s right, the right song played near my girl parts can save me a major surgery and an unsightly scar.

This begs the obvious question, what music would lure a baby’s head down so he can be born the old-fashioned way?

Here are some suggestions I’ve gotten via Twitter, which I think are pretty genius:

“Into the Great Wide Open” by Tom Petty

“Down in the Hole” by the Rolling Stones

“Jump Around” by House of Pain

“Follow You Down” by The Gin Blossoms

“Hold On, I’m Coming” by Sam and Dave

“Head On” by the Pixies

“Heading Out to the Highway” by Judas Priest

“Relax” by Frankie Goes to Hollywood

“Upside Down” by Diana Ross

“We Gotta Get Out of this Place” by the Animals

“Turn! Turn! Turn!” by The Byrds

In short, my V needs a DJ ‘cause the baby needs to spin. Whaddya got?

Other Pregnant Ladies Kind of Ignore Me

General StuffTeresa Strasser62 Comments

Getting all self-reflective and shit.

Hey other pregnant ladies, quit avoiding my gaze.

All I want to do is chat you up, and find out how many weeks pregnant you are and maybe talk some shop – you know, where you’re delivering, what you take for heartburn, what you think of cord blood banking and the new iPhone app that times contractions.  I just want to be friends, pregnant strangers.

I’ve never done this baby thing before, and I’m always hoping we’re going to see each other and do a secret handshake, and have a moment.

However, it seems you gestational types aren’t that into me. For a while, I tried to smile at you when I saw you in line at the movies, or feeding your meter, or buying groceries. I tried to look welcoming, but you looked right past me, and off I went with my tail between my crampy legs.

It’s not like you don’t see me. Yeah, I’m the one that looks like a physics problem, like I shouldn’t be able to stand upright without toppling over. At first, I wanted to assure you that I wasn’t just carrying my weight in a very unfortunate manner, make sure you knew I was really pregnant, so I would rub my stomach in that ginger way only pregnant women do, but no dice. You and your fetus snub my fetus and me. The truth is, I’ve been a social disaster most of my life, so I’m not unfamiliar with the sensation, I just can’t figure out why this dismissal is so pronounced.

Honestly, if we ran into each other wearing the same shoes or handbag, we would probably at least look at each other and chuckle and maybe say, “Nice purse,” or “You have great taste.” A richly hued and hilarious interaction it would not be, but a human connection, yes. If I were walking a mini-schnauzer and so were you, we would stop and have a chat about our doggies, compare schnauzer notes. Arguably, an entire friendship could spring forth from this one, shared characteristic. If we were both wearing Phillies hats, or driving Mini-Coopers, or reading “Eat, Pray, Love” at The Coffee Bean, there would be a warm interaction, but both heading into child birth (big deal) and motherhood (biggest deal ever) and nada. Nada?

Important point: this pregnant girl snubbing only pertains to complete strangers.

I have now made three new friends, simply because we are all pregnant at the same time and mutual acquaintances hooked us up. I love these moms-to-be and seeing them feels so right and comfortable that even when we don’t get together, we end up texting and emailing all day. I’m more pregnant than two of the girls, giving me a few extra weeks of wisdom, which is a luxury in a situation that is so new I mainly feel like a bloated dunce who is constantly faced with decisions she can’t understand. That’s right, I’m 33 weeks pregnant and have yet to choose a hospital, a name for the baby boy or even a brand of nipple pads. I’m lost, and sometimes euphoric, and 40 pounds heavier and three cup sizes bigger and 20 degrees hotter than I ever was.

Pregnant ladies who walk right by me on the sidewalk and turn away like I’m about to make you sign a petition about saving marine life, I know you can relate.

So I can only imagine there is some sort of animal kingdom thing at play here.

When I see you out and about, I sense you getting protective about your personal space and your baby. Maybe this is insane, but it’s almost like I represent a threat, another mother bear that might somehow compromise your safety or shrink your available resources. Is there something evolutionary going on, as in, that lady better not get more shelter, berries, attention or protection from strong males in the tribe?

Alternatively, this could be endemic to the Hollywood, Los Feliz, Hancock Park areas where I live and write in various coffee shops and drop off dry cleaning and wander. Last week, I was in the Valley and struck up a conversation with a lady who was nine days overdue and she was perfectly genial. The Valley could be a less competitive and more family-friendly place. Maybe it’s just more relaxed in the 818.

Or, both of these theories could be bogus. In the classic horror movie, “When a Stranger Calls,” the most chilling moment is when cops tell the terrorized babysitter, “The call is coming from inside the house.” There is a decent chance that this call is coming from inside the house, the house being my own haunted mind. Either I am unknowingly giving off a cold vibe that freaks out the women I’m trying to befriend, or I’m reading into this parade of pregnant girls some animosity that doesn’t exist.

Like I said, my social skills have never been great.

In the end, this could all be solved with an ice-breaking secret handshake. Or if that’s too intimate, maybe we just throw up a sign, one finger per trimester, sideways, OG style, and know for a sly, passing moment that we’re in the same crew.

Bad Move: Calling Nancy O’Dell a “C-Word”

Favorite Posts, General StuffTeresa Strasser144 Comments

Almost every idiotic thing I do can be traced back to one basic flaw: trying too hard. This explains how I ended up calling Nancy O’Dell a “stupid c-word.”

That’s right. I called America’s sweetheart a “c-word” on the Adam Carolla Podcast and I may have done it more than once, although it’s all a bit of a blur now, except oniTunes, where it screeches out at you with perfect clarity. 

 

People I Want to Punch

Favorite Posts, People I Want to Punch, PreggersTeresa Strasser65 Comments

If one more mom tells me, “Go to the movies now, because after you have the baby, you’ll never get to go to the movies again,” or “Go on a trip now, because once you have the baby, you’ll never leave town again,” or “Have a date night now, because you will never see your husband again,” I am going to punch her right in her tired, defeated face.

Hey, how about you shut your rude, projecting, bitter soup coolers and let me be? [...]

ABOUT 'EXPLOITING MY BABY'

General Stuff, PreggersTeresa Strasser26 Comments

Why Exploiting My Baby Seems Like a Good Idea Like it’s so special having a baby. Britney Spears did it twice, so there you go.

Yet, we’ve all seen these spooky, lost smother mothers with their sippy cups full of self-absorption and their non-stop, mind-numbing prattle about the relative merits of organic baby food. These are the souls who update their Facebook status to reflect little Jackson’s latest bowel movement. This is not okay. This is haunting[...]

A BABY STORY

PreggersTeresa Strasser8 Comments

Author's Note: I had no idea when I was writing this piece that I was already pregnant, probably just a few weeks. Because ultrasounds have gotten so precise, it now seems that I got pregnant on New Year's Eve. It was a romantic evening as I recall; my husband and I rented a documentary on Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels (yeah, we partied like it was 1939). 'A Baby Story' in h Magazine

Right now, I'm the sidekick on a morning radio program and co-host of a weekly television show on deep, deep cable. Based on my career trajectory thus far, my next job will be a series of non-union Mobisodes.

In the parlance of street fighters, or middle managers trying to rally their sales force after a bad quarter: It's go time. Or more specifically, it's gonad time. I'll explain in a minute. A few years ago, I almost landed my dream job, filling the chair left by Lisa Ling on The View. I sat in for a couple of episodes, had some wholesome, well-lit laughs with Barbara Walters, trotted out on stage arm-in-arm with new BFF Meredith Vieira and felt an almost narcotic sense of belonging. Despite a career characterized mainly by bad, impetuous decisions to quit jobs and paralyzing self-doubt, I began to think: I could do this. I was about to link elbows with destiny, as I had with Meredith, who when you get close to her smells like a combination of baby powder, lilacs, and poise.

As my cab sped toward JFK to fly home after taping my second episode of The View, producers called my agent to say I was one of their top choices. Before I even checked my bags curbside, we agreed on contractual terms.

I spent that flight envisioning my move from Los Angeles to a furnished apartment on the Upper West Side. I fantasized about the breezy rapport and private jokes I would have with the full-time driver they promised, the non-pretentious but clearly expensive collection of Burberry trench coats I would acquire, and of course, the non-stop cold splash of "I told you so" my new post would throw in the faces of anyone who had doubted me. It would be hard to keep up my persona of self-deprecation with near toxic levels of smug coursing through my veins, but I would manage.

By the time I landed at LAX, I was out of the running.

The producers said not only did they want a conservative, but also, they really needed someone who was likely to get pregnant in the coming season. I was single at the time. Just like that, I was plunged back into an obscurity so profound it made Debbie Matenopoulos look like Gwyneth Paltrow. I cried like the babies Elizabeth Hasselbeck would eventually have, endearing her not only to her bosses at The View, but to the stay-at-home moms of America.

Sure, I can't complain. Any jobs I get that don't involve taking over my dad's automotive repair business are blessings. But I can't help thinking that if I want to ascend to the next level, I'll need to procreate.

As it happens, I just got married six months ago and my husband and I have started trying to have a baby. Because said baby may be reading this in ten years, I want to make it absolutely plain that we want a baby for all the normal, healthy, unselfish, non-career related reasons. Still, while I'm terrified about whether or not I'll be a good mother, or have a healthy baby, or know how to love it fully, or be able to conceive at all, I'm totally confident about one thing: being pregnant is good for business.

Babies are transformative. They make you more loving and patient. However, I'm not talking about that kind of change. I'm talking about the magical baby dust that converts, say, Brooke Burke, from an icy and unapproachable swimsuit model, to the beloved champion of popularity contest, Dancing With The Stars.

Sprinkle some magic mommy dust on Angelina Jolie, and she goes from knife-wielding, blood vial wearing, possibly home wrecking, scary force of sexual energy, to earth mother goddess breast-feeding on the cover of W magazine.

So effective is this magic dust, it has the power to make you like Nancy Grace.

A Google search for the term "baby bump" yields nearly two million hits, with most of the top ten devoted to celebrity pregnancy. Think about the following babies and ask yourself how many times you've seen their lovable mugs: Ryder, Shiloh, Apple, Violet, Suri, Kingston, Brooklyn, and Sean Preston.

I used to think this was a brand new phenomenon, that because women have increasing power and earning potential, that it's somehow comforting to know that we are still partially just baby-making machines. The threat we pose is mitigated by the hours we'll spend pregnant, nursing, changing diapers or otherwise tending to kiddies.

However, back in 1953, the country basically screeched to a halt to watch "Lucy Goes to the Hospital," which garnered a record 71.7 rating, meaning 71.7% of all television households were tuned in to I Love Lucy. Media coverage of the event was so massive, it overshadowed the inauguration of President Eisenhower the next morning. Cut to Demi Moore pregnant and nude on the cover of Vanity Fair in 1991, to cable sensation The Secret Life of the American Teenager. Guess what the secret is: we even love pregnant teens! And that means you, too, Jamie Lynn Spears and Bristol Palin.

With the proliferation of media outlets (People Magazine even has a Celebrity Baby Blog - read it to learn why pregnant Nancy O'Dell craves baked beans!), we can fill the need we've always had, to see the adorable little faces that result from celebrity DNA, to observe someone known for her svelte body, like Heidi Klum or Kelly Ripa, enlarge. Entertainment news is a now non-stop "Bump Watch."

As a culture, we have a voyeuristic obsession with famous mothers, but we're simply gaga for multiples. How much did we want to see the Jolie-Pitt twins, Vivienne and Knox? According to Forbes Magazine, People Magazine paid a record $14 million for first photos.

Watched TLC lately?

I remember when it used to be home decorating shows (back when I scratching for my seat on The View, I used to host TLC's While You Were Out). Now it's Kids by the Dozen, Jon and Kate Plus 8 and 17 Kids and Counting, which shares the life of the Duggars, who now have 18 kids with "J" names, including Jedidiah and Jinger. Don't worry about the crazy monikers, they won't get bullied on the schoolyard because: one, Jesus loves them and two, they are home schooled.

Aside from the miracle of childbirth being inherently interesting, and the thrill of seeing some tiny starlet get fat and thin again, and the soothing sense that even our most kick ass power women yearn for babies, there is just this: Moms are so Š maternal. Welcome to facile conjecture-ville, I hope you'll have a pleasant stay.

Mothers know things, they have superhuman strength, and they are selfless, protective, gentle and sacrificing. Not my mother exactly - who should have named my brother and me Burden and Buzz Kill for how much she dug being a single parent - but in general, what famous woman wouldn't want to be imbued with these qualities in the eyes of the public?

So, future child, I want you to know I'm not having you just because it will help my career. But, it probably won't hurt.