The Bearded Iris

A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

When social awkwardness, sobriety, and blogging collide…

So about that video I posted last Friday

Over the weekend, it hit me like a ton of placenta teddy bears that I spend WAY MORE TIME online than anyone else I know in real life.

And when you combine my ginormous Internet-based catalogue of bizarre tidbits with the fact that I am not currently drinking, you have the makings for some pretty darn awkward cocktail conversation. We’re talking, “Hey, does this mole look weird to you?” banter. Eeeek.

Rest assured, this will not be much of an issue moving forward because I am either going to become a complete shut-in or I am going to start drinking again just so I can remotely begin to tolerate myself.

But in the meantime, it has dawned on me that some of my readers probably didn’t get the pop culture reference I was trying to poke fun of with my video last week.

Yes, that video was actually a parody (or rather an attempt at a parody) of several recent news stories that caught my eye.

Maybe if I take a step back and explain the background, the video will make more sense.

(Although, in my humble opinion, if you have to explain why something is funny, it really isn’t that funny. And now I’m explaining it, even after that explanation, which is just weird. Ew. Don’t look at me, I’m hideous.)

But here’s the background story just in case you want to know more about why I would ever do such disgusting things (for free…with children…and food…on camera. Oh God, I should be in jail, shouldn’t I).

About two weeks ago I caught a quick teaser on The Today Show about how actress Alicia Silverstone had a “unique way of feeding her baby.”

Oh those morning news show producers are so clever, aren’t they? They always manage to trick me into staying tuned for what promises to be the most unbelievable story EVER!

And for once, I can honestly say, I was NOT DISAPPOINTED!

They actually showed footage of Alicia Silverstone pre-chewing her 10 month old baby’s food and feeding the baby from her own mouth.

It was truly shocking. And also, it was mom-blog GOLD ON A STICK! I couldn’t WAIT to Tweet it, and Facebook it, and blog about it, oh my!

Listen, I do some pretty gross things. My version of “the 5 second rule” is more like “meh, this is from today right?”

And yet, even I was disgusted by Alicia Silverstone’s parenting style.

But I think I was less put off by the physical component of passing masticated food from mouth-to-mouth and more revolted by the notion of doing something for a healthy child that they should do for themselves.

On top of that was another recent news story on NPR about an Easter Egg Hunt in Colorado that was cancelled due to parental aggressiveness.

Swear to God, couldn’t make it up if I tried: parents hopped a rope fence and swarmed the field determined to get their kids a plastic egg.

Normally, I try to model a “live and let live” attitude about parenting. Who am I to judge?

But more and more I’m confronted with examples of egregious “Helicopter Parenting.” This is the popular name given to parents who hover over their children and are super controlling about every element of their lives.

Outlandish scenarios like these are the stuff that humorists dream of. Sure, it might be mean, yes, it might be gross, but oooh-la-la…is it ever good material!

So my video last Friday was my own little way of contributing to the conversation and sharing my two-cents about how ridiculous helicopter parenting can be. Some of the scenes that were cut due to time limitations were of me doing my kids’ homework for them and me cutting my 12 year-old’s food and feeding him with a fork while cooing “open wide for the choo-choo-train!” It’s funny (to me) because it is so ridiculous and yet Helicopter Parenting is SO hot in the news right now.

And it’s not just eccentric celebrity parents either. I know one mom in my own suburban middle class neighborhood who goes online every afternoon, prints out her middle school son’s homework for him (as posted online by his teachers), and files the assignments into color coded hanging folders for him so that when he gets home from school (after she picks him up by car so he won’t be exposed to the dangers of public transportation), he can get started on his homework without delay.

I find this utterly ridiculous. I would no more do this for my son than I would pre-chew his food.

Is she going to go away to college with him and organize his daily workload there too?

I’m no model parent by any means, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to raise a bunch of helpless namby-pamby kids who can’t even chew their own food or find their own Easter eggs.

And that is all I have to say about that.

Now that you know more about the inspiration for my video last week, which was intended to be an over-the-top-parody of current events, perhaps it makes more sense and is (hopefully) more entertaining.

Or maybe it’s still as gross to you as it was last Friday, in which case, please have some pity for me. I’m definitely not right in the head.

sincerely yours and with even more social awkwardness than ever,

-Iris

PS – does this mole look weird to you?

58 Comments

  1. ok! NOW I get it… I must admit, I really didn’t care for what I saw in the video and I could not imagine where you dug those ideas up from. I clearly did not see the Alicia Silverstone story on The Today Show. I actually thought you were perhaps having a dry spell and well, were reaching to the far depths for blog fodder to spin. I am so happy to know now that this was just a parody on that Silverstone story and then you embellished on that with similar ideas. I have to admit, a teeny, tiny part of me did think you were crazy-for-cocopuffs, but now I get it!

  2. Oh, sweet love, I totally “got” your vlog and laughed while watching! (I had heard about the gross Silverstone mama feeding baby from her gullet interview, of course.) But even if I hadn’t seen that, I still would’ve laughed because you are freakin’ hilarious. Always. We all do strange things as parents, but we don’t sit on Matt Lauer’s 30 mill. dollar lap and whisper the story to him for all the world to hear. You just keep doing what you do, friend. You are always entertaining, no matter how crazy things seem inside that beautiful little keppie of yours. XO

  3. Well I for one choked on my morning mimosa while watching your vlog. You’d think I’d have learned to not eat or drink while a vistin’ you but alas, I am a slow learner. You, my dear, are one of my favorite bloggers and I get unreasonably excited when I see you have a new post. I have taken social awkwardness to new heights recently and I blame the wine. I will not be giving up the wine, but I do blame it. Please keep on being hysterically funny with a side of socially awkward so I don’t feel so totally alone. Consider a public service. Ha!

  4. I spend way too much online, too, and I totally got your video. Even if I’d not seen the pre-chewing article (ick), I would have know EXACTLY what you were portraying!

    We call the children of helicopter parents Little Precious. I have had the misfortune to see how life treats an adult Little Precious and it is NOT PRETTY. \

    Carry on.

  5. I heart you long time, Iris. Even the awkward parts. I’m as awkward as it gets.

  6. Iris – I totally got it – all of it! I don’t know it if that means I also spend too much time on the internet or not. I do however have a friends that does all these things in real life and is fine with it. I am sure she will go to college with her son. She does his HIGH SCHOOL HOMEWORK. And we wonder why kids can’t grow up and function.

    I loved your video it was totally gross but I think that was the point.

  7. Totally feel you about the helicopter parents, and the monsters they create. I had a 6 year old throw her socks at my feet at playgroup the other day and demand, “Someone put my socks on!” Uh.No. This is a six year old! That’s what happens when parents do everything for a kid….they learn to do nothing for themselves. Think of what they’ll be like as adults. Yikes!
    And I thought the vlog was funny 🙂

  8. I got it right away! I posted on FB that my son didn’t understand the concept and hurled onto the back of my skull while co-sleeping and got crickets…he had a stomach virus but I was trying to be a funny-like.

    PS –
    Kudos on not choking or aspirating the mouth wash!

  9. Brilliant. It just gets weirder and weirder. Thank you so much for making me feel like a stable parent. It doesn’t happen too often. (And I’m referring to Ms. Silverstone not you of course).

  10. Iris, I loved your vlog! My husband was wondering what I was laughing at… If my kids miss a deadline, or don’t do a homework assignment, I make sure to quickly do it for them and run it to the school so they don’t lose any points or get in trouble. Ha! Totally kidding. They get to experience these novel thing called consequences and repercussions. Maybe they’ll learn for the next time they have an assignment. I’m not going to go to their job interviews or call their college professors to beg for a better grade. My husband’s boss had a college graduate show up late for an interview. He was denied the interview, and then when his mother called the employer to tell her why the boy was late and that he’s a really nice boy and she should give him another chance, his boss immediately shredded the resume. She didn’t want that kind of insanity working for her! I don’t blame her. Good job for not being one of those, Iris!

  11. I completely understood your video, laughed, and said “oh yeah! that’s the stuff.” Because seriously? Let your kid chew their own damn food. Your post today also is why as a teacher I will fight to the death against putting homework assignments online. To the death.

    • You fight that good fight, Mama! I want my kids to pay attention IN CLASS and be responsible for writing down their assignments in the nice agendas the PTA forces me to buy every year. Seriously, listen to us people: if you are a mom who does your kids’ work, you are causing them more long term harm than good!

  12. I missed the video last week but just peed my pants watching it. I’m also somehow online more hours than I’m actually awake during any given day. Naturally I saw the Alicia Silverstone thing and was DYING to blog about it. But a friend of mine, who reads my blog, actually does this! She’s done it in front of me. She’s even complained to me about other people finding it repellent or weird. So I had to keep my trap shut. Thank goodness for good people like you who can make fun of it properly. Your video is awesome!

    I have done gross things. I have torn meatballs apart with my hands to feed to my young children, but pre-chewing is just over some line.

    • STFU! OMG, I hope she’s not one of my readers.

      And yay for pants peeing and meatball ripping moms! I’m totally a napkin-spitting-face-wiper, myself. Sometimes if I don’t have a napkin I’ll just lick a face…hopefully it belongs to one of MY kids, although at an ice cream parlor I am not to be trusted.

  13. OMG – Okay – so we totally didn’t go to the Easter Egg hunt this year because we went last year and it was a complete clusterfuck – mainly due to the completely psychotic parents. Holy mutha! I was in awe, and not in a good way. It took me a while to get over the shock.

    • WORD! Nothing like a run-in with psychotic parents to sully a wholesome family tradition.

      Here’s what we did this year: our OWN Easter Egg hunt! It was really low key and fun. The big kids helped the little kids and in the end, we equally divided the eggs, because that is the decent thing to do! Hello!

  14. I was pretty sure I could have googled A.S. and figured out where you were headed, but I decided to be lazy, laugh at the video, and move on.
    Ps. I totally asked a coworker to look at a bump on the back of my head less than an hour ago. You are not alone.

    • Haha! It’s probably not a tooo-mah, but it never hurts to get a second opinion. Or wait, at work, maybe that should be ‘it always hurts to get a second opinion.’ Oh crap, don’t ask me, I am absolutely clueless about office etiquette.

  15. Ok-I didn’t put two and two together about Alicia Silverstone- although I did watch and was grossed out. Honestly- this makes your video way funnier!

    • DAMMIT! I totally should have included a link to the original Alicia Silvergullet video in my first post! (But I’m glad you think it’s even funnier now, so that’s cool!) 🙂

  16. Soooooo… here’s a thought. If you spend so little time on the internet (or spend so much of your time under a rock or a bridge) that you don’t get the Silverstone reference or know about helicopter parenting, are you really too damn lazy to google them? You’d really rather waste your time composing a comment that makes you look like an out of touch recluse? I say back away slowly while the rest of us “get it” and laugh our asses off.

  17. I saw the Silverstone video, and said to myself “Why is she even relevant?? When was her last movie?” And then I realized, OH… Iris is pretending that she doesn’t really feed her children this way… Anyone who has read your blog, or Facebook posts knows that your vlog was NOT a joke. That you take that shit seriously. In my family, we call that “Playing Show”… We just get real with it…. like, once, my boyfriend, called Joe-No-Pants, spit out chewed up goldfish and ice cream cake and I ate it… just to gross out my cousin. Joe-No-Pants and I shared everything….ahhhh, those were the days.
    And another thing… if people don’t have a sense of humor, then your blog is not the place for them to be. They need to go back to their Mothering Dot Com board and talk about eating placentas and breastfeeding their teenagers.

    Love you, Clamhat.

  18. You crazy mofos are totally restoring my faith in humanity (and myself) right now. This is exactly what I needed to hear. THANK YOU!

  19. We got the Alicia Silverstone story downunder Iris so I knew exactly what you were vlogging about but then again I started to think you might’ve been like this ‘for real’ and was just trying to make out it was a parody because, you know, you’re like that. LOL

    Anne xx

  20. I’m pretty sure my favorite part of the video was in the DVD how you smacked your daughter’s head with your ass and she barely registered it.
    So. Funny.
    And now? I only have to carry one water bottle with me when I go out with the kids.
    WIN.

  21. WTH? Somebody didn’t get? It caught me too! Those damn morning shows – I was on my way to the computer and heard and said “no just please no” and then of course watched, and was disgusted. I saw yours and laughed my arse off!! Still don’t know how you got your kids to do that. Easter egg hunts – the new contact sport. Wow.
    LH

  22. P.S. Congrats on the poop award!!

  23. You had me at ‘egregious’.

    Love your writing.

  24. Somehow I’d miss the Alicia Silvergullet (hee hee) video, which is pretty amazing considering the amount of time I spend online. So, yeah, a link to it, probably would have been helpful.

    But I’m familiar enough with helicopter parenting. I don’t have kids myself, but my sister-in-law asked my husband to cut my 10-year-old nephew’s French toast for him just a few days ago in a restaurant. And my brother had asked me to do the same thing for his brother 2 years ago. (In both cases: 10-year-olds, toast. What’s hard?) Those are extreme examples, but my sister-in-law, in particular, definitely has her hovery moments. Luckily, she takes school too seriously, and my brother and nephews take ANY kind of competition too seriously for her hovering to be all encompassing.

    I’ve had a couple of friends who would occasionally “pre-chew” a bite or two of steak or some such for their kids when their kids weren’t quite old enough to be eating it. None of them ever did it as a regular thing, though. And it was always in the privacy of their houses or in extenuating circumstances like being out in the woods camping without as much baby and toddler food as they thought they’d brought.

    But still, I got enough of the video to think it was pretty d@mn funny. I especially liked you pre-swishing the mouth wash for Mini-Me. Y’all both looked like you were close enough to cracking up, I thought you were both in danger of aspirating it.

    And it’s good to know that not everyone in blogland is the embodiment of perfection. I’m socially awkward with or without alcohol. I don’t drink as much as I used to because I finally realized that I tended to say even MORE socially awkward stuff with alcohol.

    • I also had heard of helicopter parents but not the Alicia Silverstone incident, so thanks for the educational explanation.

      I work around college academic advisers and I’ve heard stories of parents showing up for advising appointments and even job interviews.

      Things are different than back in my day, though (college in 1980 – 1984). Nowadays, the students call their parents several times a week, whereas I never called my parents (long distance was very expensive) and was glad not to have to.

      (Do I have to say something about “young whipper-snappers” now? And “Get out of my yard!”?)

  25. JD @ Honest Mom

    April 9, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    Oh my LORD that was funny. Your kids are awesome.

    PS: Man do I wish you went to my church. We need more crazy there. It cracks me up you are a church goer.

    PPS: Is your pic in the sidebar you, for real? Because the hottie in the video and the hottie in the sidebar look like totally different people. Or maybe it’s the glass of wine I just had.

    • Ha! Yes, I’m currently a church goer, but definitely don’t hold it against me. I keep expecting them to not let me in the doors every time I show up.

      Okay, that “hottie” on the sidebar (bless you for saying that!) is wearing a LOT of makeup and no glasses and a highly engineered push-up bra. The real everyday me (like on Spring Break in that video?)…NO makeup, glasses, heavy duty sweatshop bra, pony tail, etc. I usually look like one of those poor women they are about to ambush on those “Ten Years Younger” shows, but if I have unlimited time and resources, I can clean myself up real good, y’all. 😉

  26. Helicopter parents are RUINING our society. We have a whole group that can’t chew their own food, wipe their own butts and do their own homework – and that’s just this year’s graduating seniors.

    Thanks for doing your part to raise awareness.

  27. Are you kidding? It was hilarious. I just showed it to my 4 and 6 year olds. I had to explain that you were just joking, but they loved it.

  28. I didn’t know the Silverstone reference, but I knew it was parody – because I’ve read your blog before and KNEW you didn’t actually do shit like that…plus, that look you kept giving the camera was hi-lar-i-ous!!

  29. I got it the first time!! I’m smart and savvy like that.

  30. No explanation needed. Even if I hadn’t seen the Alicia Silverstone clip (gag!!!!) I still would have found your video hilarious. I hope I can rope my kids into some awesome videos like that one day.

  31. My hubby and I are sitting here baffled that your video required an explanation. I’m one of the most uptight person ever AND I still found it hilarious! Jeez Louise, people need to get a sense of humor. (BTW, I keep trying to type “humor” with a u (as in humour) but the spell-check keeps telling me it’s a mistake… doesn’t it know that I’m Canadian, damn it! We add a u to everything! Labor-labour, color-colour, favor-favour, humor-humour… not sure if it’s the comment software thingy or Google Chrome, but either way, they’re totally discriminatory. 😉 * end of crazy rant*).

  32. Thought the video was hilarious and well-done…and because I know I live under a rock, I made sure to google Alicia beforehand. Can’t wait to show the video to my son – he will pee himself laughing…

  33. LOVED the video!!!!!

    My non helicopter mom always made me look words up in the dictionary, she never told me outright. Thus, as a grown up… I am a fan of The Google when I’m in doubt. Get where I’m going with this, I? Wink, wink.

    On a different note, Silverstone’s book “The Kind Diet” is a good read!

    • I said it before and I’ll say it again, I really love your mom.

      The problem (apparently) with assuming adults will google if they don’t get a reference (mentioned twice in fact…once in the background text and once in the actual video) is that so many DON’T! I know – it shocks me too! And you know me, I’m WAY too thin skinned to not take it very personally when someone doesn’t get it. Gah!

      I too am a fan of some of Alicia’s non-mouth-chopped/served recipes. I went through a raw phase a couple years ago and her mock tuna salad was one of my faves. 🙂

  34. Totally got it the first time around without the explanation and thought it was HILARIOUS!!! Those who didn’t get it were the moms that were too busy hovering to notice what is going on in the world:) Love you and your sense of humor!

  35. I thought your video was great. Helicopter parents are so ridiculous.

    We just went to an Easter egg hunt on Saturday. I took video of our daughter checking out the easter eggs and putting them in her basket at a leisurely pace.

    In the background you see and hear an obnoxious mom repeating over and over “Put it in the basket. Pick up the egg. Put in the basket.Pick up the egg.” Her son, who couldn’t have been more than one, wasn’t the least bit interested. So of course it only made sense that she take charge of the situation and control her sons arms. I watched in shock as she took his arms and made him scoop up a ton of Easter eggs at a time.

    I think my daughter left with 10 eggs….there were other kids my daughter’s age (1 year) whose parents were carrying full 5 gallon buckets worth of eggs.

  36. I found it funny, sad someone needs it explained???

  37. Oh Iris, you silly thing. I may live in Iowa but I do know what google is. Your video was weird and a tad creepy but that’s why we come back for more. Shee girl, you know you my boo.

  38. I got the reference. I think you might have to live under a rock not to. No? It was all over T.V. and the nets.

  39. I continue to be amazed that your children willingly participate in your videos.

    Also, I don’t remember my parents even helping me out with my college applications so I’ll be damned if I help out mine. Those things are time consuming!

  40. I freaking love you.

    That’s all.

  41. Here is a very fitting comic to go with this story… still can’t believe the Alicia S thing, that’s just cray-cray! lol
    http://pinterest.com/pin/261349584595330565/

  42. While I didn’t get a chance to watch the video….I did love this post! I have watched many moms wait endlessly on their children and it looks terrifyingly crippling!. Seriously, if you want another baby that cannot do anything for their selves…Have another baby! Thanks for sharing…LOVED IT!

  43. angela@angelagarrison.com

    January 26, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    My favorite kitchen plaque of all time (is there really such a category?) reads, “Prepare your children for the path, not the path for your children!” That masticating mother and the homework queen should do well to heed this advice as there is not enough time in the day to prepare all the paths their children will walk.

    • Oh, I LOVE that. Never heard it before, so thanks for sharing it with me. Yes, I totally agree. I feel like it is my job to get my kids ready to live without me, not to have to depend on me for the rest of their lives to chew their food, do their homework, wipe their butts, etc. Thanks again for the comment!

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