Monday, September 12, 2011

A "Spy Kids 4: All The Time In The World" Viewing Reveals I Am Officially a Car Seat ‘Nazi’

A word of caution: spoiler alert.

This weekend, we decided it was time for a treat.  So the whole family headed to the movie theater to see the fourth installment of Robert Rodriguez’s Spy Kids series.  I never would have thought that this of all movies would send me into an attachment parenting tailspin.  From my blog, to Facebook groups, to research projects, I have become so immersed in the natural parenting culture, I can't seem to get it out of my head.  I think I may have a problem....

Pregnancy and Labor

We jump right into the momma madness with full-term pregnant spy, Marrissa Wilson (Jessica Alba), clad in head to toe, skin-tight leather and 5 inch platforms.  With neither puffy face nor swollen ankles, hot momma Marrissa jumps off an extremely tall building and flings herself down a zip line towards the bad guy.  This is right after she announces she is in labor. 

What I couldn’t help but think:

“Seriously? Are they trying to be funny?”

Well, yes, of course, they were trying to be funny.  But when you have spent the past year submersed in birth and birth stories, this over the top look at labor was puzzling to say the least. 

Things got better in the next scene when Marrissa starts to chase Mr. Bad Clock Guy.  Rodriguez doesn’t show her running full speed through the street, catapulting over the hood of a car, and somersaulting into a warehouse.  Rather, she waddles through the street, heaves herself up onto the hood of the car and precariously scoots herself to the other side, and then staggers breathlessly into the warehouse. 

What I couldn’t help but think:

“Ok, that was pretty funny.  Especially the car bit.”

The Birth

So Rodriguez has established the fantasy/tongue in cheek comedy tone with the crazy hot pregnant lady in labor kicking some serious ass.  Then he makes what can only be described as a strategic move with the birth of the baby.  After Marissa is wheeled through the hospital hall on a paramedic stretcher, her husband excitedly tells his two other children that they will have a new baby in 10, 9, 8.....

And that’s it.  In the next scene the baby is like a year old.  Rodriguez skips the whole birth.  No what kind of drugs did she get? No did she go au natural or get cut open? He bypassed the whole thing, leaving no leverage for homebirthers and epidural lovers to shake white knuckled fists at each other through their computers.

What I couldn’t help but think:

“This man is a genius.”

Formula in a Sippy Cup

Yeah... I’m not even going to touch this one.  Nothing to see here.  Keep it moving ladies.  Keep.  It.  Moving.

Crotch Dangler

Strollers? Super spy mom doesn’t need no stinking strollers.  She straps her spy baby to her chest and is hands free to kick some serious spy ass.  Unfortunately, it’s a Baby Bjorn-type soft structured carrier that puts most of the weight of the baby on her pelvis as she literally dangles from her crotch. 

What I couldn’t help but think:

Sigh.  “Robert, what are you doing to me? You were doing so well with the ten second mystery birth, now with the formula AND the crotch dangling?”

Front facing babywearing will almost always cause a tremor among AP fault lines.  You have people like Dr. Kikilionis, who feel that front facing can cause sensory overload when the child is unable to make eye contact with the nurturer for cues.  Others argue that when a child is primarily held between the legs and pressed up against the very hard, adult breast bone, it negatively affects the c-curvature of their tiny, little spines and can also cause damage to the pelvis. 

Other mommas will no doubt chime in with counterpoints such as an uncomfortable baby is going to let you know they are uncomfortable.  Many babies authentically do not like to face inward, and isn’t front facing better than not babywearing at all? There are, in fact, ways to front face - like the Buddha hold - that makes forward facing easier on the spine.

Personally, I have used wraps, pouch slings, and mei tais and have never found a need or want to forward face.  Although I have to admit that I do think my baby would let me know if she wasn’t comfortable facing forward, just like she lets me know when she is uncomfortable facing in. 

Car Seat

When retired spy turned stay-at-home mom gets a call to arms, she scoops up her bundle of joy and heads for her SUV.  Once she puts spy baby into her car seat, computer techno arms come out of no where to perform the tedious task of securing the seat's five-point harness.

What I couldn’t help but think:

“That is friggin’ awesome.”

But sadly, my awe was short lived.  And, here is where I have to go a little (more) neurotic.  The first thing I obviously notice is the fact that she is forward facing already.  This is a child who, at the end of the movie, takes her first steps.  I don’t know how much she weighs, but I’m guessing she could still benefit from extended rear facing

But the worst part was yet to come.  Once the mechanical arms snapped baby spy into the five-point harness, the straps lay dangling loosely off her chest, and the camera cut away. 

I gasped, instinctively.

This wasn’t just a slightly misread pinch test.  If I buckled my one year old into her seat that loosely, she would be wriggling out of the straps, crawling under the driver’s seat, and eating stale cheerios off the floor before we even got one block from the house. 

Are you seriously telling me that someone can go to all the trouble to create a machine that buckles a child into a car seat, and they can’t be bothered to actually read the simple manual to said car seat? And that’s not even addressing the whole extended rear facing issue.

What I couldn’t help but think:

“Holy crap, I really have become a car seat Nazi.”

Gender Neutrality

Rodriguez saves a little face when spy mom sends two rockets to save her step-kids -- one pink and one blue.  Going against the cliche, the girl crosses to the blue rocket and the boy (without any kind of homophobic apprehension) runs to the pink rocket. 

What I couldn’t help but think:

“Nice touch.  Doesn’t make up for those damn straps though.”

Zenclamier: I really don’t like using the term Nazi to refer to any activists including car seat safety promoters.  Nazis killed thousands and thousands of people in torturous devices.  Sometimes car seat safety activists get a little over zealous in an effort to, ummm, save lives.  I really don’t think the term applies.  But you have to admit, it was a pretty catchy title.  After all, you are reading this.  And I am ‘Officially a Really Crazy Car Seat Safety Advocate’ just didn’t have the same ring to it.

***This post was originally written under my previous blog name, Zen and the Art of Cloth Diaper Maintenance.***
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