It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Sleep, baby, sleep

I’m not a gadget gal. All that baby paraphernalia that’s out there? 98% unnecessary. The younger your child, the less it needs. A change table? Baby monitor? Bassinet? Don’t need them.

A thousand-dollar crib? A thousand-dollar stroller? (A thousand-dollar anything. Geez, people, get a grip.) Similarly, designer clothes. Does your child care that it’s wearing Brand of the Month?

In fact, for clothes? For the first year or so you can go for the cheap. A child that age is growing so quickly they won’t have time to wear anything out. Unless you plan a large family and want it to last for handing down through several siblings, the cute-and-cheap stuff will do just fine. We want them warm and comfy. Anything after that is window dressing.

I’m not saying you can’t have any unnecessary fripperies, just that you be aware they are fripperies, that you can live without them, that you’re not a Bad Parent if you don’t have them. Why is Good Parenting so often equated with Spending Lots of Money? Lots and lots of money. It’s nonsense. A newborn needs diapers, clothing (a dozen onesies will do just fine), food (which is free and also blessedly accessory-free if you’re breast-feeding), and a place to sleep (with you works fine; a neatly-padded dresser drawer has also worked for many families; a stroller has done double duty for more than a few).

That’s it. There will be other things that you can accumulate as required. If you wait to purchase until you discover you actually need something, you’ll probably discover you need far less than you expected.

So. Not a fan of Stuff for the sake of Stuff.

Each family will probably find that they have a few discretionary items that for them are pretty much essentials. Often these fall into the baby-soothing category. Some families could not imagine functioning without soothers, or a musical mobile, or a bouncy chair. For me, it was the baby swing. When my children were babies, I had a wind-up swing. I loved, loved, looooooved that thing.

Purists will say that a parents’ arms are far better than a mechanical device, and, though that is undeniably true, to the purists I say “Pfft”. Parents have needs, too. Sometimes a parent’s arms get tired, or are needed for other tasks. I could strap the little monkey on my back, yes (particularly now I have an Ergo!!!) but maybe I want to feel deliciously light and unencumbered for twenty minutes. That’s valid.

And if you’re looking for a baby-soother, I’ve stumbled across one that looks like it could be really, really useful. No more middle-of-the-night car rides to soothe your fractious baby. (Or the in-home variant: putting the screamer in their car seat and setting the seat on top of the tumbling dryer. Baby feels the rumble the vibration, and is often soothed right to sleep. ‘Course, that means you have to stand guard in the laundry room in the middle of the night…)

The Crusin’ Motion Soother is a car ride for baby, right there in your home. Right there on the floor beside your bed, I’m thinking, while you sleep blissfully on…

It’s not an essential. You don’t have to have one. You can probably live without one. Your baby will never miss it if they don’t get one — and will probably still manage to get into the university of their choice when the times comes. BUT! What a cool idea!

May 23, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Good, Bad… and nothing in between?

tearsYou’re not nearly as rational as you think you are.

That’s okay. Neither am I. None of us are. Even those who are sure we go through our lives guided by only the most rigorous of analytical thought have merely suppressed their emotions. Just because they don’t acknowledge them doesn’t mean they’re not influenced by them. In fact, given the suppression, I’d say it’s more likely they’re affected. They just don’t know it.

But really, that can be said of any of us. Research proves over and over that “feeling actually happens prior to any conscious thought and because it comes first, it shapes and colours the thoughts that follow.” It’s what we all learned in Psych 101: we have the emotional reaction first, and then we plug our reasons into it. This happens at an unconscious level, mind you, which is why some of you out there are even now denying this with firm assurance that YOU are a rational person. We’d like to believe this — I know I do — but we’re just not so reasoned as we’d prefer to think. Our conscious mind is blissfully unaware it’s being emotionally manoeuvred.

Moreover, if our Gut response is “Yeah! Good thing!”, we minimize all risks associated with it. If it’s “Boo! Bad thing!”, we exaggerate them. The idea that something can be unpleasant but beneficial is as foreign to our Gut response as it is to the toddler you’re trying to siphon those antibiotics into. In our Heads we know better, but Gut steers the psychological ship far more than we’re aware.

Here’s an example. Crying. Crying, particularly the tears of our children, is a Bad Thing. Therefore it is Bad for the child, and there is no benefit to be had from it. Therefore, tears are to be avoided at all costs.

And where does this “reasoning” lead us?

To the idea that children are psychologically damaged if they are allowed to cry now and then. To the idea that the parent-child bond can be torn asunder if a parent doesn’t always leap to close the floodgates. To the idea that anyone whose child cries is a Bad Parent.

But what this reasoning completely and utterly misses is this ironic fact:

If you avoid your child’s tears at all costs… You create children who cry more.

I have a lot to say on this topic. I’ll be back!

February 20, 2009 Posted by | controversy, parenting, power struggle, tantrums | , , | 9 Comments

Why dads rock

How do I love this? Let me count the ways…

1. It’s got the drone that so many babies love. (HOW do babies fall asleep to loud, steady noises? Beats the heck out of me, but we all know those who do. That incredibly annoying whine is probably soothing that kid. He definitely has that pre-sleep glazed look about the eyes. Either that or he’s being hypnotized by the sound. Either way, it’s all good!)

2. It’s steady movement — that the parent doesn’t have to do!! You can sit across the room and read your book while your tot is strolled into submission.

3. It’s ingenius. Top marks for creativity. If you have a drill, and a cheap stroller (I picked up one only this week for under $25), you can do this.

4. Your wife is probably killing herself laughing. WITH you, of course. With you.

5. All the other dads will be SO JEALOUS! Invite your friends over. The men will all talk HP and solder, and the women will snort their drinks out their noses in the kitchen. It’ll be very bonding for everyone.

Of course, you have to have a LARGE empty space in your home. My entire livingroom, even totally stripped of furniture, does not have that circumference. (Maybe someone could rig something similar using a treadmill??) Just like baby swings, you can’t leave the child unattended. I also wonder how long the battery on the drill will last. In my experience, those things aren’t all that powerful. (Granted, my experience with power tools (apart from a sewing machine) is limited…)

Still! GREAT idea, good execution — AND, the most important:


What more could you ask?

via: BoingBoing

November 19, 2008 Posted by | parenting, random and odd, sleep | , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments