The Lori Jakiela "kicks-off" the Perspectives feature at Pittsburgh Magazine with her essay "Soft." You very much want to read it and you may do so here. You may also excerpt below. You're welcome.
"When I was a child, I cried a lot.
"My mother, annoyed and worried, bought a book called “Cry-Baby Duck” and read it to me at bedtime. Children’s books have morals, and this one wanted me to toughen up.
“Cry-baby duck,” my mother would say whenever I was upset. “Let’s have a pity party, one two three, awwww.”
"The duck in that story cried because he wanted to be bigger, prettier, less duck-ish. The duck in that story cried whenever he didn’t get his way.
"None of these were the reasons I cried, and my mother knew that.
“You and your feelings,” she said, like feelings made her itchy. “Grow a thicker skin already.”
"A few years ago, when Phelan was 10, we found a copy of “Cry-Baby Duck” and read it together. When we were done, Phelan looked stunned.
“What kind of monster reads a book like that to a child?” she said."