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Monday, July 31, 2006

baby registry: In age where it's all about baby, the childfree are fighting back

By Candace Murphy, STAFF WRITER

LIKE A LOT of parties Bonnie Powell goes to these days, there are kids. Lots of kids. And these kids, the spawn of her hyperfertile friends, come in every shape and size. There are gurgling infants. Tantruming toddlers. Preening pink princesses.
But as eyebrows raise when Powell, 34, makes a beeline for a particularly adorable little swaddled squawker in the corner, and the party guests start nudging Powell's husband and saying, "Mmmmm hmmmmm, that's you guys... any day now," the record is swiftly set straight.

Powell doesn't want kids. Ever.

"Those are people that don't know me," says Powell, who works at UC Berkeley and lives in Oakland. "It's people that don't know me that say I'll change, or that I have to have kids, that it's my biological responsibility. That annoys me. I don't want to have kids. And I don't want to be labeled a freak because I don't."

Blame the stalker-like media coverage of Angelina Jolie's pregnancy. Blame the new generation of navel-gazing parents who act as if they've invented childbirth. Blame all those baby blogs. Because childfree adults are lashing back, refusing to drink the baby-making Kool-Aid and are aggressively asserting that they're not abnormal for not wanting to procreate.

For lack of more erudite words, these people are mad as hell and they're not taking it anymore. And they don't care if they use the word hell in front of your kids, either.

"What about the 'Where's Suri?' thing?" says Adrianne Frost, author of "I Hate Other People's Kids," referring to the tabloids' plea for Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes to show their child to the paparazzi. Us Weekly, for example, has a ticking clock on its Web site, complete with minutes and seconds, underneath the headline "When will we see Suri?" At press time, it had surpassed 102 days.

"It's really disgusting, don't you think?" says Frost, who's in her early 30s. "I wrote my book just to give this whole thing a voice. I mean, how many times have people been on a plane and the tray tables are going up and down, up and down, and the parents aren't doing anything and you've just thought, 'I hate that kid.' Or how many times have you seen Dakota Fanning's face in a magazine and you've just said, 'I hate that kid.'"

Baby backlash is everywhere. Books like Jennifer Shawne's "Baby Not on Board," Nicki Defago's "Childfree and Loving It!" and Frost's "I Hate Other People's Kids" all were published within the last year, and interestingly, when ordered on, can be added to a baby registry by the prompting of an ill-placed one-click button.

Also gaining in popularity are childfree groups, like No Kidding!, founded in 1984, as well as and not limited to, the International Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, Kidding Aside and the World Childfree Organization.

"We've started to find each other," says Vincent Caccio, who lives in Cambridge, Mass., but is the spokesperson and director of strategic planning for No Kidding! in New York. "It's definitely not a support group, but there's definitely moral support knowing there are other people who live like you do."

While it's only natural that baby backlash would occur, there's much debate how the societal climate became such a perfect petri dish, a breeding ground, as it were, for it.

Brian Misso, a copywriter who lives in San Francisco with his partner, thinks the current child-centeredness of our society stems from uncertain, volatile times, where people are worried not only about their own futures, but about the future of the country and the world.

"I wonder if people are trying to convince themselves that the situation isn't all that dire," says Misso, 33. "It's like they're saying, 'How bad can the world be when all these cute babies are being born?' It's like the orchestra playing on the sinking Titanic. It's definitely not helping the problem, but it's a way of distracting people from having to think too much about it."

Similarly, Frost points to Sept. 11, 2001.

"Do you think it has anything to do with Sept. 11? And how precious people realized life was?" says Frost. "But that doesn't mean that you have to think that your life is the only precious life. You have to pay

attention to people around you. Including those that don't come from your uterus."

And that's what's really getting under the childfree adult's skin. Whereas generations, for generations, have wanted children, had children, raised children and talked about their children, this one seems more preoccupied with the feat than any other. And that's not hyperbole: Visit, a site where average computer users post their own amateur videos, and there are dozens of birth, C-section and ultrasound videos available for friends, family and complete strangers to view.

Shawne, author of "Baby Not On Board," thinks it's because of a convergence of Generation Xers becoming parents, along with the explosion of personal media. Generation X, after all, made a name for itself almost solely due to the paramount importance of self-expression — at any cost.

"These people are looking for ways to express themselves," says Shawne, "and what better way than to talk about their children?"

But because the Gen Xers are all grown up, that talking — or rather, the showing and telling — is different. Owing to a youth spent staring goggle-eyed at televisions broadcasting the sarcasm of David Letterman and the relentless irony of shows like VH1's "I Love the'80s," today's modern parents are all about proper packaging. And that means everything has to be hip.

Snapsuits are sassy and say "I'm Not a Boy." Nurseries are stylish, have luxe linens, and as Lily Kanter of Mill Valley's

Serena & Lily baby boutique says in this month's San Francisco magazine, "with no cartoon characters on the wall." Even baby blogs, where discussion can devolve into the nuances of a proper poop, insist that having baby has not moved Mom and Dad one step closer to the grave.

"You still rock!" says one. "Life doesn't have to end when you buy a minivan."

"There's a lot of consumerism around children, a lot of products, a lot of effort going into this to show that they're still cool, even though they have a baby," says Shawne, 32. "This is a generation that doesn't want to be like their parents. They're saying, 'We're not becoming boring people.' But they actually are. They're just blogging about it now."

And that's the climate that's cultivated the baby backlash. The global warming of adulthood, the hot topic of everything baby has gotten the childfree steaming mad. Mostly because of the pressure put on those in their late 20s and 30s to procreate.

"There's this expected inquisition among people where they ask you how many kids you have, and if you say none, then they give you advice," says "No Kidding!'s" Caccio, 29. "They tell you about infertility — not that you may have it — and they intertwine womanhood with motherhood."

Caccio, who made the choice not to have kids official when he and his wife decided he should get a vasectomy in 2001, also thinks the current focus on celebrities and the ubiquitous tabloid "Bump Watch" is anathema to his organization's cause.

"These actresses say things like 'I've done a lot of good with my life, but this is the most important thing I've ever done,'" says Caccio. "Granted, it's obviously important to be a good parent, but there's an idea that somehow they discovered it. Like, 'Look what I found.'"

In the Bay Area, the peer pressure for parenthood has also found its way into the gay community, just another infuriating happening for Misso, the San Francisco copywriter who wouldn't have stuck around to listen to the orchestra on the sinking Titanic.

"Having a family has certainly become a viable option for gay couples, especially in progressive places like the Bay Area. And maybe among some circles of gay people there is a bit of peer pressure to have kids since I think some gay people see having a child as a status symbol," says Misso. "Once you've got your house in the city, your second home in Sonoma, and your two Lexuses, what else is left to acquire?"

The more appropriate question may be how much more baby can the baby-free take? As writer Joseph Epstein warns that with today's child-centeredness "family has become the rivalry of friendship," and as the child-free feel more and more marginalized with the addition of every Baby Gap at the local mall, some wonder when, or if, baby mania will cool off.

Frost, the author, sees no light at the end of the birth canal.

"Mine's not a manifesto — I don't think my book can turn anything around," she says. "As long as George Bush calls stem cells 'little snowflakes,' we're going to have a problem."

Sunday, July 23, 2006

baby registry: McCartney's estranged wife buys new home

Big News Network
Sunday 23rd July, 2006 (UPI)

Heather Mills McCartney bought a home to share with baby registry Beatrice just 15 minutes away from her estranged husband's British estate, The Mail said Sunday..

The five-bedroom converted barn, a steal at 550,000 pounds (more than $1 million), has been visited by Sir Paul McCartney, the newspaper said. The exclusive report did not identify which of Sir Paul's seven properties was involved.

It was thought that Mills, 38, intended to stay at a house on the grounds of the former Beatle's estate until the divorce was finalized.

But Land Registry documents show she bought the property without a mortgage nine days after their split was announced.

Mills appears to be planning to use the new house as the base for three new companies she set up in the past month with her sister, Fiona, the newspaper said.

A spokesman refused to comment on the purpose of the businesses.

© Material published on this site is copyrighted to North Korea Times and contributory sources and may not be reproduced without written consent of the relevant copyright owners.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

baby registry: Baby registry is a no-no

Darcey Smart, Weekend Post
Published: Saturday, July 15, 2006
Dear Ms. Smart,

I would like some etiquette advice regarding baby gifts and the timing (before or after baby's arrival) of baby showers. I know several expectant mothers and am an "expectant grandmother" myself. I have always given a fairly standard gift -- a nursery CD or toddler flatware place setting -- and these gifts have been well received. I know that some expectant couples now register their baby at one or more retail outlets. That's definitely not the way I want to go about selecting a gift.

Granny To Be

Dear Granny To Be,

It's now commonplace to find close relatives hosting baby showers, whereas in the past that would have been considered in bad taste. I don't see this development as an issue, but I do find the baby-registry custom misguided. If close relatives want to give an expensive gift, that's fine, but gifts such as the ones you describe are more appropriate at a shower.

Baby showers usually take place before the birth when Mom and Dad are still bright-eyed. However, in the Jewish tradition, gifts are not given until the baby has arrived. If you plan to give a gift but also want to take a peek at the new baby, save your gift for the visit but send a card as soon as the birth is announced. And be a saint by celebrating second and third babies in the same style you did their predecessors.

Dear Ms. Smart,

Several months ago, new owners moved into the other side of our semi-detached. They play their music loud and we have asked them several times to turn it down. They agree at the time but seem to forget almost immediately. Last Saturday night they had a big party. The loud music started after we'd retired and went on till 5 a.m. I couldn't face getting out of bed and going over to confront them. Next time this happens, I'm going to call the police without any preliminaries. My husband doesn't agree but, at the same time, he won't do anything. What should I do?

All Through The Night

Dear All Through The Night,

Your plan of action will only exacerbate the situation. Talk to your neighbours again, no matter how reluctant you are to do so. Explain how their last party affected your household. Invite them to participate with you in mediation (offered at community centres free of charge) to find common ground and set mutually agreed-upon rules. Springing a visit from the police on your neighbours would be a giant step beyond counterproductive.

Dear Ms. Smart,

My 23-year-old daughter lives in our basement and comes and goes regularly with and without her boyfriend, whom we like. One night when she was out with friends, he phoned and asked me to leave her door open because he was coming over with a surprise for her. I said OK, but then thought perhaps she didn't want any surprises or even to see him that night. I did what he asked, but did I let her down? Nothing untoward happened, but what should I have done?

Mummy Puzzled

Dear Mummy Puzzled,

If your daughter was comfortable with having him enter her apartment at will, she would have given him a key. With questions running through your head, it might have been wiser to risk hurting his feelings and just say no.

- Please send your most vexing social, ethical and etiquette-related dilemmas to weekendpost@

© National Post 2006

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

baby registry: launches toy, baby stores

By Staff
Playthings -- 7/7/2006 6:05:00 AM

SEATTLE— has announced the grand opening of its new virtual toy and baby stores, which feature tens of thousands of products, including hard-to-find items from specialty retailers. This is the largest selection of this category of products ever offered through the site, according to the company.

"We are incredibly proud of our new Toy and Baby stores," says Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon. "We've never been able to offer our customers this much selection.”

The new toy store ( carries a variety of brands, including Fisher-Price, Hasbro, LeapFrog, Lego, Mattel and VTech, as well as the complete lines of Ty plush and Madame Alexander dolls. The new baby store ( carries products for newborns up through two years old from Baby Bjorn, Babylicious, Evenflo, Elegant Baby and more, and features a searchable baby registry for customers.

In addition, thousands of additional items are listed by popular merchants including Target, eToys, Discovery Channel Store, and Babystyle, Amazon says.

Monday, July 03, 2006

baby registry: Boy Gerrard finally gets name

Saturday, 01 Jul 2006 18:05

A man desperate to name his baby son after hero footballer Steven Gerrard has conceded defeat, despite launching an internet campaign to drum up support.

Matt Evans, a Liverpool and England football fan, wanted his firstborn to bear the moniker Gerrard in honour of the player, but his wife Jenny was having none of it.

When the couple's son was born on May 20th, the feuding parents could still not decide on a name, and it took a letter from the baby Registry office reminding them to name their child within 40 days to fire Mr Evans into action.

The 29-year-old golf professional set up an internet site encouraging people to vote for his son's name from a choice of three – Gerrard and his wife's two favourites, William and Matthew.

However, even though Gerrard polled a victorious 581 votes online compared to William's 564 and a paltry 75 for Matthew, Jenny refused to accept the result and the deadlock remained.

But with the 40-day deadline looming and their son facing a nameless future, the parent's reached a compromise, and Matthew Gerrard Evans was born.

Could be some player one day.