Monday, August 16, 2010

Some Well-Intentioned Advice

Two guys with a newborn -- without a mom in sight -- definitely attracts notice, even in a city like New York, and particularly from women.  I don't think it's because we're gay, but because it is so culturally engrained that men are incompetent boobs when it comes to babies, and need a mom to swoop in and save the day.   That means we get a lot of unsolicited advice from woman about what we're supposedly doing wrong in caring for Max.  It is almost always well-intentioned -- and sometimes even right -- but it can still be annoying sometimes since we like to think we are getting down this baby-raising thing just fine! 

One example is Eli, who helps keep our apartment clean and organized every few weeks.  She is very well-meaning towards Max; for example, as a baby gift she very sweetly gave us a bottle-cleaning kit, and boy has that been put to good use! But sometimes she can be a little too well-meaning.

When she arrived at the apartment for the first time since Max was born, she found Stewart and me on the couch with Max sleeping on my chest in his diaper. Before saying even “hi” or “congratulations,” Eli hurried over to us saying “Oh no, Oh no! He needs to have clothes on!” Stewart started to put Max back into his pajamas, as we were about to anyway, but apparently he wasn’t doing it quickly enough for Eli’s liking. She said, “Here, let me do it” and started grabbing after Max. Stewart confidently said to her “I got it” and finished dressing him.

That was the first of Eli’s rather forthright opinions on how we should care for Max – but, needless to say, it was not the last. The next time Eli came over she told me that her sister-in-law, Clara, the woman who helps clean Stewart’s brother’s apartment, told her that our sister-in-law, who had a baby eight months before us, has “much much milk stored up” in her and that therefore instead of feeding Max formula I should start getting milk from our sister-in-law to feed him! I’m sure Stewart’s sister-in-law would be just thrilled to know that Clara is offering up her breast-milk for any takers! Then again . . . probably not.


  1. LOL.. Well as someone who has helped to raise several children from birth to college I can tell you it is not an easy task. However I think if you follow your instints and just ask questions when you are completely unsure or even just a little unsure you will be fine.

    Congrats on your son.


  2. God bless Clara. As a new father she gave me fantastic advice in caring for my newborn. There were times when, I regret to say, Greyson was inconsolable and her strong reassuring hold was the only thing that would put him at ease. Gay or straight, all fathers can all learn something from mothers' well intentioned advice. -Cartwright.

  3. I admit that I know "nothing about "raising babies" (sorry "Gone with the Wind" fans) and I really envy parents who understand their babies from the first moment - that's special. I remember when my niece was born. I was the only one who couldn't understand her until she was about 7; definitely my fault not her's! Now she's 25 and one of my favorite people to speak with. I love being an aunt and Godparent. Besides being a parent, that's the next best role to a grandparent!


  4. Jake,
    Great blog, thank you for reminding me over & over again to look it up. I look forward to reading many more of your tales with Max.
    And you take good pictures also.
    Thank you again for pushing me to see it.

  5. I do think it's well intentioned but truly annoying. I used to get random ladies in Moscow yelling at me on a daily basis when my guys were little. (My husband got more advice but it was kinder - I'm female, I was just an idiot)

    The sister-in-law milk thing is hysterical.