February 9, 2007

That Smell? It's Not A Diaper; It's Pheremones.

If you have Jane Jacobs on your babyname shortlist, you'll love reading Steven Johnson's take on urban parenting in Babble. Johnson's been writing thoughtfully on urban, connective living for a while, but now that he's got a few years of dadlife under his belt, his theories have evolved and expanded. That fact alone is a huge relief for people who fear a kid signals the end of polysyllabic communication as we know it:

But after we moved to Brooklyn, I started to think that maybe there was something even better than the pedestrian-centric city: the stroller-centric city. Kids made the sidewalks more lively and humane spaces, but they did something else as well: they spread the pheromones more thickly; they made connections happen between strangers who otherwise wouldn't have reached out to one another. The addition of our children transformed our sidewalk promenades. Strangers suddenly had a reason to talk to us, and I had a reason to talk to them. Before long, we stopped being strangers.
Street Walkers: the suburbs are overrated [babble]


Not to be flip about it, but daddy travelling with a child unaccompanied by mom seems to always open doors and avenues of conversation that would otherwise be closed. People seem to have an odd fascination (at least where I travel) for freaky long-haired dad and perfectly formed little girl.
I've gotten great advice and words of wisdom from Texas grandmothers: "it's that little girrrrls world - you take care" to harsh words from Better-than-me-ny-moms - "she's cold - cover her up" (yeah, I just did that, but she has a habit of uncovering herself, removing hats and blankets as quickly as you apply them) It's a very open-source kind of thing - everyone feels free to comment, and I don't really mind.

That's funny. It's almost exactly the same thing that you hear from people with dogs.

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