So I figure that at some point, I have to stop navel gazing (quite literally) and start figuring out how to bring up another human being. As if I don’t have enough problems figuring myself out.

A part of me has been putting this off because it’s such foreign territory. But an even bigger part of me is scared silly because of the plethora of theories out there. Was reading an article that was against baby-led weaning, and this passage completely resonated:

I am sure that this is how about 85% of parenting decisions are made. There will be 10% of world-beating parents who would sooner fund a cross-cohort study of the whole country than entrust their child’s diet to a misremembered segment of early-afternoon radio. Then there will be the bottom 5%, the totally feckless, who are worse than me at everything – I have no evidence at all for their existence, yet take a surprising amount of solace from it nonetheless.

For everyone else, there are either obvious rules – don’t let them play in traffic, don’t let them stick knitting needles in sockets, make them learn to read even if they would rather play – and the rest is just coming down on one side or the other, and then continuing to do that, unless something calamitous happens and you have to do the other thing. Routine Feeds or On Demand; Gina Ford or Snooze at Will; Breast or Formula; Puree or Finger Food. It’s not like we’re choosing a football team, or an ideology. Nobody’s going to die. There isn’t a fire.

Except, why does it feel sometimes that if you don’t choose the right theory, you ARE that feckless 5%? That irresponsible low-life they call the Lazy Parent? The internet has done one thing for parenthood, alright – it polarised all of us over something or other. Secretly, we all aim to be smug and satisfied that we are not killing our baby while everyone else is, tut tut tut. Add to this the whole culture thang – Eastern vs Western theories – and I have before me a gorgeous melting pot of pull-my-hair-out.

So what do I do? I lament in ditty.

Solids at four months, or six?
Let’s make it an even five.
Vegetables chopped into finger-sized bits
Or mashed w’thin an inch of their lives?
If Mommy makes rice porridge mixed in with spinach
And topped with steamed ikan kurau,
Is she being clever, this Chinese endeavour,
Or just today’s ignorant cow?

Is it Boob on Demand, or meals by the clock?
Is it suicide to rock them to sleep?
Should they snooze as they will
Or will they be a pill
If by military time you don’t keep?
Do you sing them a song, swing them in a sarong
Or leave them to cry till they’re hoarse?
Is immunisation a bastardisation –
Should I let ’em ills run their full course?

Are good theories today
Bad theories tomorrow?
The answer, I know, is a Yes.
Yet… the only other smart answer I bring
Is that this mommy doesn’t know best.

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