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.
11 January 2011 at 8:00 am
hey velle, I know what you mean and its something I have thought much about too! (and as a blw follower I guess i often reside in that bottom 5%?!). I have found that much of parenting is learning on the job and often time spent reading, chatting with others and then, u know, trying it out on that little blob, helps you find certain principles, philosophies and strategies that sit right with you – and then those build a foundation that helps lead you to other decisions. except some of those end up being totally contradictory but you know what, that is ok because YOU are the mama and you get to do what YOU think is best for your child :) someone will always disagree, so – so what! and you know what – you already know so much more than you think you do. Keep reading talking praying and researching and in the end – go w your gut :)
11 January 2011 at 7:37 pm
Oh gosh, K! (or Elily Mommy as I call you!) You are HARDLY the Feckless 5!!! You’ve been such an inspiration! And BTW, I wasn’t knocking the baby-led weaning theory, only trying to read up the pros and cons. You’re absolutely right – it’s all about growing a thick skin and being confident enough to say, “Yeah… but we’re doing it this way.”
Except, half the battle is deciding where to start!
I’m thinking have a fusion of theories? Forge a brand new “third theory” between 2 dichotomies?
11 January 2011 at 7:59 pm
hey hon, no worries at all, i should have made clear i knew you were not knocking me or BLW :) hehee, i was just teasing…myself?! but yes, deciding where we stand on issues is so tough at times but you will def work out your own groove! And yes, there is definitely room for a 3rd fusion theory! I am there myself – on total opposite sides of the parenting spectrum depending on the issue so not fully at home with either camp! which makes me weird :) but also make me evaluate each issue and in the end know my own principles and trust my values and reasoning and general mothering guru wisdom! Its scary but fun making our own way knowing its for the good of our kids. You will find your way too. And hey, i love chatting about all this stuff so we can brainstorm anytime!