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Language Log

Saturday, Apr. 09, 2011 - 11:37 a.m.

I have a problem. I keep wanting to give advice to people. I don't actually do it that often, and not in an unrestrained fashion, but I want to. I don't want to want to.

Advice like:
Stop worrying about being fat. Enjoy your food, get some exercise because it's good for you, and love yourself. Life is too short. You're more beautiful than you think.

I can say that only because without any effort at all, I lost 25 pounds after Q was born. I didn't feel that way when I weighed 200. I wanted to feel that way, knew I should, but I didn't. But I did try not to talk about it, or feel guilty. (but I would get mad at others who didn't help, like my in-laws with their bowls of candy).

Advice like: Don't feed your baby purees! There's no need, it creates extra work, and doesn't help them learn to eat and enjoy and moderate their own food intake. It's counterproductive!

Here, I don't want people giving me more advice on mothering. I have my own ideas. On the other hand, if someone had an excellent, research-supported solution to some nagging issue of infancy, I'd want them to point out to me that it existed.

Advice like:
Give a 10-year-old-girl something besides clothes and jewelry for her birthday! What the fuck is wrong with you people? What kind of message are you sending her? She's in 5th grade for Chrissake! Give her something that nurtures her mind and imagination! Plus, if anyone outside of family had given me clothes for my 10th birthday, I would have considered it the lamest gift ever.

Advice like: It's "Nowadays", you dimwit, not "Now and days". Maybe if someone had given _you_ some books for your 10th birthday, you'd know that.

My inner descriptive linguist and my inner snotty prescriptivist battling it out.

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