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Alicia Silverstone's Most Offensive Parenting Claim

Photograph by Getty Images

Alicia Silverstone is taking a lot of crap (pun intended) for her new parenting book, The Kind Mama. The book has sparked a ton of controversy given her claims that veganism cures postpartum depression and that tampons cause infertility. Oh, how happy we postpartum survivors would have been if Silverstone had written this book earlier and saved us the trouble of wanting to shove our heads in the oven. Turns out, all we needed was more lettuce.

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In a book filled with quality writing like, “Your chichi is the most absorbent part of your body,” it’s hard to decide which part is the most offensive. But when I read the review of the book in the New York Daily News, which included a description of Silverstone’s answer to potty training, “elimination communication,” I found the winner for the Most Offensive to Parents portion of the book.

What is “elimination communication,” you ask? Simply put, according to Silverstone, infants give their parents all sorts of cues that they need to poop. If a mom is highly in-tune with her child, she’ll read those signs and get her kid to a toilet as soon as possible, making the diaper unnecessary.

Silverstone tells People magazine using the toilet is “primal and natural.” This is total crap (pun intended again). There’s nothing natural about a toilet. "Natural" is your baby pooping in the woods right next to the mud where the family resides. That’s natural, and that’s primal. Civilization brings us toilets and parenting books written by actresses who use the word “chichi,” because the word vagina is just too primal for her.

I realize he’s either choking or he has to poop!

One would be forgiven if she thought "elimination communication" was French for "parental torture." Maybe Alicia Silverstone has a nanny to read all of those cues, or the cash to up and move after her entire house has been defecated on, repeatedly. But for those of us mere mortals, this method of potty training is inhuman. Let's say I gave it I try:

Day 1: I read The Kind Mama and get inspired to communicate with my infant, so I throw away all our diapers. My baby immediately poops on the floor. I realize I’m not reading my kid’s cues. That, or I’m just not a kind mama. I decide to try again.

We get in the car to go to a birthday party. In the rearview mirror, I notice my baby’s face has turned red, and he’s stopped making any noise. I realize he’s either choking or he has to poop! I’m thrilled that we’re communicating so well. Sadly, we’re in bumper-to-bumper Los Angeles traffic. The nearest bathroom is half a mile, or 45 traffic minutes, away. By the time we get off the freeway, my kiddo has gone again. But it’s a blast communicating with my child, really!

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Day 2: I wake up invigorated and decide the best way to completely elimination-communicate with my kid is by not leaving the house. I set a timer which goes off every 5 minutes to tell me to race my kid to the toilet just in case. We don’t have one accident that day, but of course we’ve done nothing else but talk about pooping and then tried to poop. At the end of the day, I’m exhausted. But I perk up when my baby says his first word, “diaper.” I immediately go out and buy some. I’d hate to miss my kid’s cues.

Have you tried elimination communication? Do you have a new house?

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