It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Mantra for Guilt Reduction

The pee has dried, the blue line appeared! You’re going to have a baby! Quick – get down to Babies R Us and whip out a credit card or two. You have a lot of stuff to get and only seven and a half months to get it. A stunning array of baby paraphernalia, a vast cornucopia of convenience awaits you. Things that promise to help your baby sleep, protect his safety, develop her intellect, nurture his emotional development. Make your baby faster, stronger, smarter, kinder, calmer, happier, a full and fulfilled human being, thanks to the wonders of modern manufacturing and marketing.

Godalmighty! The pressure! The guilt if you don’t buy the critical item and thus have your offspring fall behind some gold standard of babydom! And all this while you’re carrying a sleep debt big enough to rival that of a small war-torn country somewhere. Take a deep breath. Mary is about to remove all that nasty guilt and oppression.

You parents of chidren under five haven’t been in the biz long enough to truly understand that these things are FADS. They ebb and flow. They move in and out of fashion. We think when something goes out of fashion that it’s gone because it was inferior, that, with modern knowledge and research, we now Know Better. Nope. Probably it’s just a fad.

Baby Walkers, for example, the pride of my mother’s generation. Moms in the know, who wanted to foster their children’s development, put their babies in walkers to strengthen their legs, prepare them for walking, give them independence and a bit of autonomy. They were a Good Thing. Good, good, good, and you were a Good, Progressive, Knowledgeable Mother if you used one.

By the time mine were born, the fashion had changed. Children, too young to be that mobile, had died falling down stairs they would never have been able to reach if it weren’t for a walker. Walkers accelerated movement artificially, helping children to skip the crawling stage, which as we all know, is necessary to strengthen a child’s lower back to ready them for their upright days. They were Bad, Bad, Bad, and you were a Negligent, Reckless, Know-nothing Mother if you used one.

And now, they are becoming fashionable once more. Some design changes have been made to increase their safety, and they are re-entering acceptance once again. Thus swings the pendulum, and for each generation, the item was revered or denigrated by loving, caring parents who want to do the Right Thing by their child.

So what to do? How do you know? Here’s the shocking truth: You don’t need a lot of stuff to raise a baby. Really. A baby has two fundamental requirements: nourishment (both emotional and physical), and shelter (a home, a place to sleep, and clothing). That’s it, that’s all. Anything beyond that is for the parents. Therefore, if it doesn’t make YOUR life easier and more fun, mom and dad, You Don’t Need It.

Take a walk through the baby department with that in mind, and see how much simpler and less expensive all this suddenly becomes. If you’re a confirmed shopper with no money concerns, go wild! There’s a whole world of consumer goods just waiting for your credit card. Just don’t try to convince anyone this is all needful for the baby’s growth and development. It’s a helluva lot of fun for you, is what it is. And why not??

However, if you hate shopping and/or have few funds to spare, the burden of guilt is hereby lifted. Nourishment and shelter, nourishment and shelter. Does the baby-rocka-romper-cizer feed my baby? Make him/her feel loved? Keep him/her dry in the rain or warm at night? No? Then, if it doesn’t turn YOUR crank, if seeing your little one bounce and twist in this thing won’t give YOU hours of pleasure, don’t buy it. Your sweet patootie can get all the rocking and bouncing he/she needs in your arms. If your arms are ready to fall off from all the bouncing and rocking you’ve been doing, and you desperately need a break, then buy it – for yourself.

Nourishment and shelter. Simple!

August 9, 2005 Posted by | controversy, parenting | 18 Comments

knock, knock

Knock-knock jokes are often the first type of joke that children learn. They’re formulaic, interactive, and have delightfully punny punch lines. But humour is a tricky concept, and just because a kid’s memorized the formula doesn’t mean they understand the equation. Here are some I’ve been subjected to:

Kid: Knock, knock!
Me: Who’s there?
Kid: Moo!
Me: Moo, who?
Kid: A cow

Knock, knock!
Who’s there?
Me, who?
Is Me, Mary!!

Who’s there?
Isabelle, who?
I gots a bicycle!

Who’s there?
(Hmmm. Do I want to pursue this one? Ah, why not: the tot won’t understand the punch line anyway!)
Dick, who?
I dunno. Daddy wouldn’t tell me the rest.

Who’s there?
Banana. (I heave a mental sigh. I know this one, and it can go on for a while in the hands of a knock-knock fanatic.)
Banana who?
Banana who?
Banana who?
Orange who?
Banana went away.

(For those less familiar with these things, we’ve omitted a critical part of the punch line: Orange you glad…)

Who’s there?
Amos, who?
A mosquito just bit me!

Hey! Someone got one right!

August 9, 2005 Posted by | Developmental stuff, socializing | 8 Comments