June 27, 2007

Babblepedia, Little Girl, Is An Advice Site That Babble Wants Parents To Write On. To Write On


The new Babblepedia is a wiki-style advice site for parents--or at least the cool, urban sub-demo--that aims to be an "encyclopedia of parenting knowledge that anyone can edit!" [Or add your two cents to, anyway. Make your contribution funny and/or useful enough, and you may even make it into the book version someday.]

Because there's nothing lonelier than an empty wiki, Babble has already done a lot of the editorial lifting, starting a whole list of entries about need-to-know topics like the circumcision decision; cloth diapers; drinking, manicures and pedicures during pregnancy; tummy time; even preschool admissions. Entries include excerpts from experts and The Babble Take, all that's missing is your own experience, so if you don't see something [Sushi during pregnancy?] say something!

Meanwhile, let's see what The Babble Take is on the issues mentioned above:

Circumcision: FOR
"Another argument in favor of circumcision is cosmetic; some say ladies like circumcised men better and that a quick snip in infancy will eliminate any risk, once your son reaches adulthood, of women laughing at him behind his back because they think his penis looks funny." [Hey, they're Nerve.com, they should know, right?]

Cloth Diapers: FOR
"I carried a lined zipper wet bag with me whenever I went out...I'd do it again in a heartbeat" [hm, said with a lot more enthusiasm than the circumcision article, I see.]

Drinking & Pregnancy: AGAINST, WITH HEDGING
"there are no known lower limits of safety for alcohol intake while pregnant. So for those who want to be on the safe side, abstinence might be the only answer."

Manicures & Pedicures During Pregnancy: FOR, UNLESS YOU'RE A HIPPIE
"There's no solid research, but most experts say not to worry as long as the salon is well ventilated. Alexandra Zissu, author of The Complete Organic Pregnancy begs to differ."

"...as long as a child has plenty of parental love and attention — as well as the opportunity to experiment with new movements on a regular basis — you needn't worry that your baby will remain immobile for very long; necessary motor skills will develop, with or without tummy time."

"When you do a Google search for 'preschool admissions,' the top ten hits are all prestigious New York City preschools. Perhaps this is an indicator that in most other places, preschool is not something that requires an arduous application process...

In the end, one expert says, crazy as it may seem, your child might be better off at a preschool that truly matches your philosophy and your child's needs, rather than at a preschool with Ivy-like admissions criteria and name recognition."

Babblepedia [babble.com]
image: Dominic Roberts as "Rolf" and Elise de Roulet as "Liesl", from the awardwinning 2001 Evans Amphitheatre production of The Sound of Music, directed by Fred Sternfeld [fredsternfeld.com]


"...will eliminate any risk, once your son reaches adulthood, of women laughing at him behind his back because they think his penis looks funny."

I suppose it will eliminate the risk, unless his penis looks funny. It's sort of the shaved head for balding men dilemma. Can your penis pull off circumcision? Some can't.

I don't know that I would categorize Babblepedia as "for" circumcision. They seem to be ambivalent about it at best. The only expert they cite as pro-circumcision is an Australian molecular biologist who is relying on some spotty data. Specifically, the widely hyped findings that circumcision reduces the risk of AIDS has been largely debunked (it turns out to have a lot more to do with the prevalence of prostitution than the prevalence of circumcision):


Wait, so you're saying I shouldn't make any medical decisions based on the Babblepedia?

Hate to break it to you but I'm no hippie.

I'm sure. I didn't mean you personally. I meant it in that slightly embittered organic guy way, like how when you don't want the kid seeing you eating Pop-Tarts, so you can only eat them after she's in bed, you blame the damn hippies.

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