The great debate: Andrew Orvedahl and Jef Otte settle their parenting differences like men


The beef started on Facebook. Creeped out by last week's TIME cover story about attachment parenting -- you know, the weird one with the preschool-age kid standing on a stool and suckling his mom's tit -- I penned an essay for the Village Voice about how much attachment parenting sucks and posted it to my wall. As it happens, my arch-nemesis, the nefarious local comic and 2012 Westword MasterMind Andrew Orvedahl, is himself an attachment parent who, naturally, has penned his own essay on how much non-attachment parenting sucks, which he then posted to my wall. At that point, it was clear that there was only one way to settle our differences: the old-fashioned way. With a wrestling match.

Except we're a couple of weaklings and would both most likely somehow lose, and while it would at least be interesting to see the only wrestling match in history to end with two losers, we instead settled on a different time-honored method of settling grievances between nerds: a spirited debate. Gentlemen, and when I say gentlemen I mean including me, state your positions:

Babies have no social skills
By Jef Otte

Babies have no social skills. They're basically little fascist buttholes with totally self-focused attitudes and zero empathy or self-control who shit themselves constantly and shriek horrible, horrible shrieks when they don't get what they want. Which is fine, because babies are adorable and they don't know any better. What is not fine is grown adults who act like fucking babies. And yet this is exactly the outcome that attachment parenting engenders with its bizarre, anti-logic insistence that it's bad to let babies cry because, I don't know, it's not caring or something.

But that's stupid. Babies cry. It's what they do. Sometimes it means they need something, and other times it just means they're being dicks. And the more their being dicks and crying about it doesn't get them anywhere, the more they learn that being a dick won't get them anywhere - in essence, the more they learn to behave like decent human beings instead of fucking babies, which is the outcome that we as parents should be striving for. Of course, attachment parents like Andrew Orvedahl would disagree, because according to attachment parenting, babies are incapable of manipulation. Which, if you ask me, is underselling the shit out of babies. Babies are some crafty little fuckers.

Babies aren't Assholes, or: What is attachment parenting?
By Andrew Overdahl

Attachment parenting is the radical, nay, Mountain Dew Extreme radical notion that children, specifically babies and toddlers, are people! I know, gross, right? While some people think attachment parenting is a new fad set upon us by hippie moms wearing those weird toe shoes, it is in fact the way most of the world currently parents, and how all of the world parented for a very, very, long time. Responding to your baby's cries and paying attention to her aren't new, weird ideas. Leaving your baby to cry all night in a cage in a separate room, however, IS a relatively new, weird idea.

Attachment parenting has nothing to do with spoiling your child, or 'coddling' them, it is simply the philosophy of taking care of your kid and putting in the work of raising them. Leaving them to 'cry it out' takes a lot less effort than figuring out what they need, and responding to it. But if you put in that work, you'll find your child cries a lot less, because you're meeting his needs.

And when that happens, both you and your baby cease to be assholes.


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To defend these positions, we're throwing down the gauntlet at the comedy debate show Arguments and Grievances with host Kevin O'Brien at the Vine Street Pub & Brewery at 10 p.m. Sunday, May 20. There is no cover charge. The debate, "Attachment Parenting Vs. Crying It Out," is pretty late for Andrew and me, since we're both parents and go to bed at like 9, but not to worry: we'll both be on a shitload of meth. (RSVP on Facebook) -- Jef Otte

Read our MasterMind profile of Andrew Orvedahl here.

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Vine Street Pub & (Brewery)

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