But wait, say the vocal feminists, this isn’t 1950! Breastfeeding is natural and beautiful and mothers should be able to do it in public totally shirtless if they so choose! True, but this child is no newborn; rather he’s a 3-year-old in camouflage cargo pants and velcro sneakers, and on Time‘s cover he’s standing on a chair to reach his mother’s breast for what can only be assumed is a light midday snack. The mother and son (whom I’m calling Roger) are an example of attachment parenting, a recent style of parenthood that includes prolonged breastfeeding, co-sleeping, and baby-wearing (which sounds a bit like the child is a stylish accessory on par with a chunky necklace or a cute handbag). What will this attached child be like in the future?
8 – FIVE YEARS INTO THE FUTURE
Still a child, Roger is almost unconditionally devoted and attached to his mother. For school reports on the students’ role model, favorite author, and historical figure, Roger chooses his mother. In a totally unrelated vein, his mother decides not to show him the Time cover so he won’t feel embarrassed.
Favorite Hobby: Making Mother’s Day cards year-round
Favorite Food: Homemade milkshakes
Neuroses: Separation anxiety
13 – TEN YEARS INTO THE FUTURE
Roger is old enough to resent his mother for his unwanted celebrity status and blames her for every problem in his life, and in the world in general. However, he simultaneously can’t leave her side, partly because of his own attachment, and partly because of the 12-foot tether she makes him wear. His mother responds to his attacks by taking detailed notes of his meals, interactions, and bowel movements.
Favorite Hobby: Sleeping in his own bed
Favorite Food: Milk Duds
Neuroses: Stage fright from playing the title character in his school’s production of Oedipus Rex
18 – FIFTEEN YEARS INTO THE FUTURE
Roger goes to college! Although Roger chooses to attend the University of Please Get Me Away From Here, New Zealand, his mother manages to enroll as a part-time undergrad. On the plus side, at his mother’s insistence, Roger always has a designated driver. On the downside, Roger’s humiliation at failing Lit 101 is made worse by his mother’s A grade.
Favorite Hobby: Studying. By himself. In his room. Alone.
Favorite Food: His rebellious, unhealthy, cup o’ noodles.
Neuroses: Inferiority complex
23 – 20 YEARS INTO THE FUTURE
Though he still resents his mother for the teasing he sometimes endures, Roger’s maturity allows him to reasonably address the situation. He and his mother have a frank discussion, and Roger moves into his own apartment with a long-time girlfriend. However, Roger does remember to come home every once in a while for a nice, “home-cooked” meal with his mother. Typically, Roger’s girlfriend does not attend.
Favorite Hobby: Anonymous author of the blog “Why Attachment Parenting SUCKS.”
Favorite Food: White Russian
28 – 25 YEARS INTO THE FUTURE
In a complete and total rejection of everything his nurturing mother stood for, Roger and his 7-month-old daughter appear on the cover of Time Magazine. Roger is at the helm of a new trend in parenting called DO IT YOURSELF YOU WHINEY KID parenting, which supports total independence between parent and offspring beginning immediately after the child exits the womb. When the backlash from the public hurts his feelings, he calls up his mother for comfort. No one recognizes any irony.
Favorite Hobby: Throwing his kids in the pool to teach them to swim.
Favorite Food: His 2 year-old son’s home “cooking.”
Neuroses: PTSD from seeing his wife’s breast pump.