PARENTS THE NEW SERIAL KILLERS by Bethany Thies In the Powder Room

Parents: The New Serial Killers

Keepsakes from your baby’s youth are adorable—except for the ones you can’t touch without surgical gloves and hand sanitizer.


I have no problem saying that I’m a less bloody version of Dexter. I’ve saved locks of hair, teeth, petrified shoes in metal and *gag* even *gag* kept a *gag* umbilical cord.

I admit to this so I have no problem getting MTV’s San Francisco Real World real here for a moment: parents are the weirdest kind of weird.

In sociopathic circles, these keepsakes would be called “trophies.” In parenting circles, these things are called “memories.”

There is no good reason for saving a piece of your child’s petrified, uterine feeding tube. None. Don’t tell me your good reason. It’s not good enough. One day, your child is going to stumble across it in a plastic bag in the back of your drawer and suddenly start applying for colleges and full-time residency in Europe. “Why do you want to attend Oxford?” you’ll ask. For so many reasons, but mostly because I’m afraid of my parents. I’ve seen things. Terrible things, they’ll think.

There is no good reason for saving a lock of your baby’s hair. It’s cute, but really… think about it. You have baggies of locks of hair. Do you stroke your cheek with them? Oh, you do. This just got very awkward. Moving on.

There is no good reason to save baby teeth. If you have a box of teeth in your home, then YOU HAVE A BOX OF TEETH IN YOUR HOME. Look at me. You have a box of teeth in your home.

There is no good reason for bronzing baby shoes. Preserving baby shoes in metal is super useless unless you are planning on creating a fully bronze robot baby. In that case, carry on. The world needs innovators like you.

While it’s true that children grow and memories fade, we don’t really need to be the people wearing teeth necklaces dipped in our placenta dust, do we? Do we? DO WE? Wait, maybe don’t answer that.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go huff my 8-year-old’s newborn hat from the hospital.

Bethany Thies is a writer and the proud mother to four, young Vikings. She is the author of the parenting blog, Bad Parenting Moments and the chronically unread poetry blog, Room for Cream. She can often be found searching for socks, keys, discount non-perishables and a bathroom lock her children cannot pick. Bethany’s work has been published in our bestselling humor anthology: You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth, on several parenting sites and, when they’ll have her, in old fashioned black and white in her local, independent newspaper. Her children are unimpressed.

Keep the conversation going...



  1. says

    I had that moment when the umbilical cord came off and I thought, should I, you know, DO something with this?

    Yes! Throw it away, you maniac.

  2. says

    I love, love, love this so very, very much. Although, I am throwing up in my mouth a little at the memory of finding the umbilical cord I didn’t know my ex had saved – deep inside a decorative jar on top of our kitchen cabinets.

  3. says

    I remember when my 3rd baby’s umbilical cord stub fell off…right onto the floor where my dog snapped it up, thinking it was a treat. Saved me from having to shadow-box it, really. (Says the woman with multiple bags of teeth in her home.) Love this post so much Bethany! One of my all-time favorites!

  4. says

    My name is Stephanie and I have a bunch of teeth scattered about my home.

    It’s so bad – I don’t even know whose teeth are whose anymore. I need to throw them all away. My jewelry box, windowsill, dresser drawer and every pinch pot ever made and brought home to me hold numerous teeth from my precious three. Time to go.

    Look at me. Finally free.

  5. says

    My mother had a clear out. Last week she handed me an envelope filled with my baby teeth, because, THE HOUSE IS GETTING TOO MUCH FOR HER and SHE DOESN’T WANT THEM ANYMORE. Now I have to cope with a) guilt over the way my baby teeth have been cluttering up my mother’s house all these years; b) rejection; and c) the pressure of trying to make a decision about what to do with the teeth, considering the fact that they’ve already been discarded once, and must be feeling it. (Not to mention the fact that these teeth were the very same teeth that bit my mother’s nipples, so in a way, they’re kind of trophies. Sshh …)

  6. Lisa L says

    True story – I woke up in recovery after my emergency C-section, feeling paralyzed from the waist down, thinking they screwed up the operation and severed my spine (yes, a little fun fact they don’t tell you that is a side effect to the epidural) feeling very groggy, stupid and yes, panicked because, you know, I have no feeling in my legs.

    Then, to my utter shock and surprise, someone comes into the maternity OR recovery room and places a jar on the nurse’s counter, announcing that this was the placenta for a woman that was getting wheeled in. So, now in my panicked, groggy, drugged and physically exhausted state, I have a direct line of vision of some woman’s placenta floating in a jar as a keepsake.

    I get the lock of hair. I understand the first tooth. I relate to the saving of the first baby shoes as a memento. I DO NOT nor will I ever understand why in the hell someone would save their after birth. What do they do with it? Take it out and shine it up to display on special occasions? Put it on the mantle as a conversation piece? Bring it to parties and play “pin the tail on the placenta”?

  7. says

    On a serious note, let me first warn you that this might be too shocking for most of you, but there are mothers from certain countries who still practice the traditional way, which is to cook and ingest the placenta, because they believe that its nourishment will help them recover from childbirth more quickly. Yes, I know it sounds all the more “serial killer-ish,” but I tend to find the practice more “witchy..” In the old days, midwives would feed mothers (who were usually not aware of it until later on) a stew of their own child’s placenta (in nature, nothing is wasted). As for our keeping our child’s sheddings (hair, teeth, etc.) as “memories,” I think part of that is because as mothers, we love and treasure our child so much that we couldn’t even let their first sheddings go, just to perish forever into the natural cycle of things. Mothers of the past also hold on to these sheddings as a way to protect their child from witchcraft.

  8. says

    So true, and so funny! I love the serial killer analogy. I’ve definitely had my stalker, obsessed mom moments. It’s totally fine to watch your kid sleep, right?