Tuesday, November 19, 2013

10 Reasons To Love Top 10 Lists


I can’t get enough Top 10 Lists, the genre filled with carefully culled tips, symptoms, signs, mistakes, secrets and such. Next month we’ll hit the motherlode of numbered lists with the Best of 2013 clogging inboxes and news feeds. Granted these short bursts of infotainment can be helpful when starting a search for basic information like whether your kid has passed toddlerhood or how to avoid tears at dinner. On the other hand they’re also great for killing a few minutes before soccer practice ends.

True it’s kind of silly to squish all the complexities of human behavior or bodies into a tidy set accompanied by a lone photo or slidesho. As a result more often than not some items seem forced and don’t fit well with the others. Even well-meaning and practical lists can go from helpful to Dr. Phil by the end. Take this WebMD selection for first-time moms and dads. Fortunately it waits until #8 to totally jump the the shark.


Top 10 Mistakes New Parents Make

1: Panicking over anything and everything
2: Not letting your infant cry it out
3: Waking baby up to breastfeed
4: Confusing spit up and vomit
5: Not sweating a fever in a newborn
6: Not properly installing the car seat
7: Neglecting oral care
8: Ignoring your marriage
9: Fighting too much (or too little) in front of your baby

I’ll forgive the pop psychology marital advice including an unfortunate reference to the elusive phenomenon,  suppression (paging Dr. Freud!), because the list ends on a high note:

No. 10: Trusting unreliable sources for parenting advice

Amen. The trusted sources named in the WebMD article?  The CDCs, the American Academy of Pediatrics and that other pillar of accurate and nuanced children's health news, you guessed it, WebMD. 

Really, how many first-time parents cannot tell the difference between vomit and spit up? Is that what prompts calls to the pediatricians these days? Unless there is a study of the Top Ten Mistakes new parents make this list is simply a guess. It’s hard not to make these lists random because they’re largely based on one person's opinion of the Best, Top or Most Crucial, etc. As is often the case, for better or worse, the WebMD example above appears to be compiled by  a health writer and not a pediatric professional so it’s the opinion of one person who hopefully does write about kids and babies from time to time. 


I couldn't possibly stuff all this into 10 Reasons Top 10 Lists Suck. I'm too busy trying to model appropriate social media behavior and second, I do find them incredibly amusing. Send me your favorites. Maybe I'll compile a Top 10 Top 10 Lists of 2013 if I can tear myself away from reading about foreplay and food storage.

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