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Friends with Kids

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Some children books contain lessons for kids (there is a long tradition of didactic children’s books). Sometimes children books seem to contain lessons for parents (particularly ones about going to bed or going on the potty, they are often trying to instruct —umm subtly— the adult about proper training techniques). Sometimes the books are even letting the parent work out issues or vent (an extreme version would be the much circulated and discussed “Go the Fuck to Sleep”). This all makes sense to me. My daughter has two books that as much as lessons for the parents seem to be lessons (or opportunities to vent) for the parents… and their friends. Especially their friends without kids. In Lena Anderson’s Hedgehog’s Secret people keep showing up to hang out with Hedgehog and she is too busy cleaning and preparing things for a celebration of her new baby. Elephant leaves in huff. Teddy bear is sad. My daughter loves it because of the calming rhymes and the nice assortment of animals. Hedgehog wants to keep her baby a surprise, maybe if she told her friends they would not be upset, but also — why don’t her friends help her clean up or prepare? They want her to read her books, make them food, go for a walk, etc. Not a single one says “Want some help?” It all ends well though with a party and a baby showing (the baby is so little she hardly makes a peep, wish human babies were more like hedgehog babies if this is true). In  Jez Alborough’s Ssssh Duck, Don’t Wake the Baby, Duck visits Mama Goat and is disturbed by how much attention Mama Goat pays to Baby Goat. Baby Goat meanwhile wreaks havoc and gets Duck in trouble. Similar to the situation in Hedgehog’s Surprise, you feel for Duck, but Duck is also kind of selfish. Am I supposed to share this book with my single friends? Read it together? Wouldn’t that be a definite example of what people complain about when their friends have kids (come on over…. for a glass of wine and a children’s book reading, actually forget the glass of wine). The movie “Friends with Kids” is apparently a film about these changes, in a medium that could more normally be enjoyed by parents and non-parent friends together. I just know about it from reviews though, haven’t seen a film in the theater since my daughter was born.

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