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Mom-blogging goes corporate: This birthday brought to you by AT&T

    In response to this, reader Penny left a comment that dovetails remarkably with thoughts I have been struggling to align for over a year. Penny writes: “Hmmm, while I agree with your point about children being autonomous beings, I wonder if that really equates to you needing to get their permission to write about them or really equals some kind of exploitation.

    I am not inappropriately linking sexuality to money for my parents' financial benefit.

    Yes. It is, precisely, some kind of exploitation.

    Some parents sell their children into sexual slavery. (Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe; you know, other places.) Here, we have 150 “A-list” blogger moms selling ad space through media reps. Think I’m kidding?

    “But just as some cringe at Tupperware parties and the like for allowing a commercial enterprise to masquerade as a social one, some find the vast influx of corporate sponsors, freebies and promotions into the blogosphere a bit troubling. Last summer, one blogger organized a weeklong public relations blackout in which bloggers were urged to eschew contests, product reviews and giveaways and instead get “back to basics” by writing about their lives. Another blogger replied that she couldn’t do so because the blackout fell the week of her daughter’s first birthday party, which she was promoting on her blog. With sponsors and giveaways.”

    The article questions if these awkward moments in the capitalization of childhood  ” … might be, in part, because bloggers and corporations are still forging the proper boundaries of their relationship …. ”

    No. It is because of a diagnostic code these parents should be slapped with.

    If selling your kid into prostitution is at one end of the continuum, and the above perhaps two steps toward the middle, the far end is blogging about your child’s adorable yet immature insistence on being so young.

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Japan, My Foot – The Big Finish

If you are among the uninitiated. If not, gird your loins for the heart-warming finale. We left off here. Now, then.

Car-sized heads face each direction.

The next morning, my dexterous sweetheart rigged kneepads out of a pair of sweat socks, an ace bandage, and duct tape. We headed for the complex known as Angkor Thom, famous for the huge, mysterious faces carved into the crumbling stone. The first ruin, the Bayon, had no extended causeways. It was all stairs.

I went up on my hands and knees and slid down on my ass.

The author, triumphant

The other tourists gawked, as did the stone faces of Jayavarman VII, I am sure. I didn’t care. I crawled and slid all that day and the next. At Ta Prohm, where a few months prior, Angelina Jolie had filmed Tomb Raiders, 150-foot-tall trees grew right out of the dilapidation. I got to see that. At Banteay Srei, among the many buxom ladies carved into pink sandstone, we spotted a few super-studly male figures, similarly objectified. I saw that, too.

Our last afternoon, I returned to Angkor Wat and crawled to the top of the towers I hadn’t been able to climb the first afternoon. Stretched below, the temple’s design represented a scale model of the Hindu cosmos. Beyond, the weird, flat, often junglely terrain of Cambodia writhed in the heat. I wept for the umpteenth time that trip, but for the first time, wept with joy.