Jewish World Review Dec. 5, 2003 / 10 Kislev, 5764

Lori Borgman

Lori Borgman
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Arianna Huffington
Jeff Jacoby
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Hey, hey, we're the monkeys (or close enough) | The journal Science published a study revealing that baboon mothers with strong social networks have greater success rearing their young. In other words, a baboon without a support group is like a soccer mom without a mini-van.

I could have told researchers that. And it wouldn't have cost a single banana.

Even strip mall coffee shops know not to mess with small packs of females. Often I have overheard a manager say to the staff, "Put the tranquilizer darts away. Just let them be and they'll leave when they're ready. Whatever you do, don't make them mad."

Every mother knows it doesn't matter where you live; it matters that you get away from where you live. Every woman needs to get out the house/jungle/whatever and realize there is life beyond the trees and walls that contain them. The important thing is to mix it up with other moms, compare notes on teething, feeding, the rate of tail growth and the thickness of fur. Mother networks are therapy, energy booster and reality check all rolled into one.

In the baboon world, like the human world, the more social a baboon mother is, the better parent she is. Baboons who are isolated and spend a lot of time alone, do not fare nearly as well, proving once again: When Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

Researchers examined how social networks affected baboons' mothering ability over 16 years. Note that the researchers packed up and went home right when the little monkeys were old enough to get driver's licenses.

Female baboons form tight bonds with their mothers, aunts and sisters. No surprise there, especially to the opposite sex. There's not a male in the world, baboon or otherwise, who hasn't felt the power of that formidable female front.

Female baboons also stand together against predators. Last spring in Uganda, baboons gathered along a road and hurled edible objects at passing motorists after one of their young had been struck by a car. They gave new meaning to taking justice into their own hands. It was a drive-by fruiting and there's not a mother of any species who would fault them.

Another study revealed that baboons have a knack for grouping one another based on dominance. (Will the similarities never end?) Dominant baboons make threatening grunts. These would be the females able to direct large herds of school volunteers. They are the mothers with the courage to look another mother in the eye and grunt, "You - school carnival games."

Less-dominant females responded to the threatening grunts with screams. Translated, the screams mean: "What do you mean I'm doing carnival games? I only went to the bathroom and now I'm doing games!"

Baboons, like humans, appear to enjoy a reason to get together to socialize. Think how their networks could expand if they started lifestyle makeovers - Monkey Eye for the Ape Guy. Or consider what would happen if just one visionary baboon followed her dream of opening a Curves or hosting a Pampered Chef party.

Yet the primary way female baboons bond is by grooming, which explains in the parallel human universe why highlighting is so popular. It extends the time females can spend at a salon from a half hour for a simple cut and blow dry, to a good two hours once you throw in foils, papers and a paint brush heavy with goo.

Baboons have not discovered the refuge of the salon; they stick to picking fleas and twigs out of one another's fur. Too bad. Imagine what they could do with a little Mary Kay.

Enjoy this writer's work? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Lori Borgman is the author of I Was a Better Mother Before I Had Kids. To comment, please click here. To visit her website click here.

11/26/03: Hardship? We don't know the meaning
11/21/03: Good kids! Wonder who raised them
11/14/03: Safety first, even when danger has passed
10/24/03: NFL fan learns to handle heightened sensations
10/03/03: Chipping away at misunderstood lists
09/26/03: Boundaries disappear, society pays the price
09/19/03: Easy (bike) rider
09/12/03: Got Mom?
09/05/03: S'Mores Maker threatens all we hold dear (and gooey)
07/25/03: Private journals, public records
07/25/03: Star appears bright-eyed, bushy-tailed
07/18/03: Girls pool talents for commercial success
07/11/03: Summer; the living is easy
07/03/03: Terrible twos make terrific workout
06/27/03: Emergency a matter of definition
06/13/03: A Father's Day roast for Mother Goose
06/05/03: Good examples of bad parenting
05/23/03: Faulty equations on the love calculator
05/16/03: Busted for Oreos!
05/09/03: Mom plus shipping equals excitement
05/02/03: Mom shudders at thought of the m-a-l-l
04/21/03: Mother Confessions
04/11/03: Husband snoring: Hit or mist
04/04/03: Flip flops hashed at the lunch table
03/28/03: Bare facts on protesters
03/21/03: Madonna: Like an Author
03/17/03: Mom develops rapport with son's answering machine
03/07/03: The call for courage
02/28/03: My relationship with Mister Rogers
01/31/03: Mom pushes memories out the door
01/24/03: Picture this! Human 'beans'
01/10/03: Password, please!
12/31/02: Who it was a good year for
12/06/02: Radio show guarantees family-size audience
12/02/02: High-seas adventure would enlist few takers today
11/15/02: Frozen turkey makes cook chicken out
11/15/02: What's going on with "going out?"
11/01/02: The crazy mind of middle-age
10/25/02: Relationship rooted in willow talk
10/18/02: The challenge of being spontaneous
10/11/02: No wheels, no keys, no problem?
10/04/02: Lessons of a childhood survivor --- my children's
09/20/02: "Cutting the Cord" to the Tube
09/13/02: Over there
08/30/02: The Last One Left
08/23/02: Rare sighting made on the patio
08/16/02: Kids get reality paycheck
08/08/02: We look like this . . . no, Kidman!
08/02/02: We should be a nation of 'nuts'!
07/26/02: Hold your applause --- please!
07/19/02: Greed and Mints on the Pillows
07/12/02: Remodeling: Blueprint for Disaster
07/08/02: The Botox wrinkle
06/28/02: One perfect day
06/21/02: Flush with excitement
06/14/02: The Ways a Father Says "I Love You"
06/07/02: Garage Sale Treasures
05/31/02: No Pudgy Hour at the gym
05/19/02: Ozzy, if you come for dinner, bring change
05/19/02: Instant Messaging and LOL
05/10/02: Some mothers get something more
05/03/02: I Nudge, Therefore I Am
04/25/02: Motherhood is seasonal work
04/19/02: Paper trail to college
04/12/02: What to cook or not to cook
03/31/02: Mom and Dad Break Curfew
03/22/02: Introducing P.P.M. (Partners Per Month)
03/15/02: Birth of a Pothole
03/08/02: When Enron Momma gets mad
03/01/02: Little hope for bookaholic
02/22/02: Wrestling with prejudice
02/15/02: Say What?
02/08/02: Kitchen intelligence
02/01/02: Age-old words
01/25/02: Abortion: Switching Sides
01/18/02: Kids, take note
01/11/02: The heart-stopper e-mail
01/04/02: The slightly sunny side of 2001
12/28/01: The Way Things Work
11/30/01: The Leftover Shuffle begins
11/27/01: Glasses bring age into focus
11/16/01: A different portion of Thanks
11/09/01: The Next Stage of Parenting
11/01/01: Of boys and patriotism
10/26/01: College Son the Invisible Man
10/19/01: Out of the closet ... and into the school
10/12/01: A Parent's Guide to Dating
10/05/01: "Taking Care of You"
09/28/01: Time indivisible
09/24/01: Refueling capitalism
09/14/01: A time to mourn
09/07/01: Lack of modesty stirs the troops
08/31/01: Scholarship search an education
08/24/01: The test for parents
08/17/01: Immodest proposals
08/10/01: Trying to R-r-r-re-re-relax
08/03/01: It may be shabby and chic, but it ain't cheap
07/20/01: Bride showered with sage advice
07/13/01: Baby Bear Finds Driving "Just Right"
07/06/01: Pale at the Thought of Bronze
06/29/01: A Dog's Best Friend
06/22/01: Rethinking fatherhood
06/14/01 Don't forget to lock the door
06/07/01 How grandma punishes her kids
06/01/01 Hearing voices
05/25/01 Cyborgs for Better or Worse
05/18/01 The death of Common Sense

© 2001, Lori Borgman