Saturday, September 1, 2007

It's Not Easy Being...Parents

I like This American Life. I've been listening to it on KCRW for years. Sometimes I laugh. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I laugh so hard I cry, but that usually involves David Sedaris (e.g., the squirrel and the chipmunk). Usually it just gets me thinking and relating to someone I never thought about before.

Today's episode touched home for me more than usual. The one hour was broken down into 3 segments:
Prologue - 10 minutes
Hard as it is to believe, during the early Twentieth Century, a whole school of mental health professionals decided that unconditional love was a terrible thing to give a child. The government printed pamphlets warning mothers against the dangers of holding their kids. The head of the American Psychological Association and even a mothers' organization endorsed the position that mothers were dangerous—until psychologist Harry Harlow set out to prove them wrong, through a series of experiments with monkeys. Host Ira Glass talks with Deborah Blum, author of Love at Goon Park: Harry Harlow and the Science of Affection.

Act One Love Is a Battlefield - 27 minutes
Alix Spiegel tells the story of Heidi and Rick Solomon, who adopt a son raised under terrible circumstances in a Romanian orphanage—so terrible that he's unable to feel attachments to anyone.

Act Two Hit Me with Your Best Shot. - 19 minutes
Dave Royko talks about the decision he and his wife faced about their autustic son's future, including whether their son should continue living with their family.
Being a parent isn't easy. Waking up at all hours, cleaning up all sorts of messes, teething, feeding, you know the rest. But no matter how hard I think it is, "Act One" put the whole parenting thing in check for me. I've got it easy. The second segment is by no means a walk in the park either, but it was "Act One" that really shook me. I cuddled Boogie that much more for seeming to love me as much as I love him.

I'm reminded of this quote by Eleanor Roosevelt:
"A woman is like a tea bag. You never know how strong she is until she gets into hot water."
A summary and some photos of the study referenced in the prologue is here. Careful might just want to reach out and hug those poor little sad monkeys.


j.elliot said...

one starving musician dropped by to say: nice blog you have here.