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klutzoplex

March 22, 2006

Why, oh why?

Posted by Strawberrypi... I can't remember my password.

A few months ago, I asked one of my parent-friends, who was telling me that no sooner did her son finish one meal than she would have to begin making another, why she didn't just cook in batches. It was a sincere question, but my friend took on a defensive look as she answered that "Well, they're different meals!" (I've since learned that because babies are so sensitive to food contaminants, they shouldn't eat leftovers.)

I admit, that as a new parent, I too get a little taken aback when my friends ask me about our parenting practices. It's not easy to answer the 'why's of the decisions you make when you feel on the spot, even if you know the questions aren't judgemental. As the little one gets older, and since I guess many of the decisions we have made for her are not common among our friends and family, I find that I am facing these questions more often. So I thought I'd answer some of them here, in the comfort of our office-under-the-stairs. Besides, who really wants to hear my long-winded answers. At least here, you can skim. ;)

Let me preface this by saying that my personal biases lean toward 1) what seems biologically natural for our species, 2) what is done in the majority of cultures that seem to turn out happy, healthy members of society, and 3) what scientific studies have shown to be beneficial, probably in that order.


Q: Why do you carry the baby around all the time?

A: Well, I don't carry her *all* the time. I carry her when she needs a break from stimulation, when she needs to be close to me, or when it's good for her to be at eye-level to see what's going on. The closeness helps her develop her sense of security so that she will have the confidence to go out into the world to explore on her own when she is ready, which she is beginning to do more and more. Seeing at eye-level helps her to understand what it is to be a person in our society; it's stimulating for visual, social, and language development. The movement of being carried around while I do things is good for vestibular development, or balance. Besides, strollers are a pain in the butt.

Q: Isn't she getting heavy?
A: Actually, no. The wraps I use are great for weight distribution. That said, there are times when we are walking around all day and I have to ask the hubby to take over for a bit.

Q: Aren't you afraid that if she is used to napping while being carried, she will never sleep while lying down?
A: No, because it is so much more convenient to be able to be out while she naps in a wrap rather than having to be home every time she needs to sleep. Plus, we felt that all those struggles trying to get her to nap on her own in the beginning were good for neither her development nor our relationship, and I am not willing to go through that again. As she gets older, her sleep will evolve, and she will begin to nap in a bed. At least when she is older we will be able to explain why we want her to try.

Q: If you sleep with her now, she will never want to sleep on her own.
A: Yeah, that's not a question, but my answer is. How many adults do you know that sleep with their parents?? (Ditto being rocked or nursed to sleep, btw.)

Q: Why are you aiming for nursing to two years rather than the one that is recommended by Canadian pediatricians?
A: Pediatricians recommend *at least* one year, and then as long as is mutually beneficial (or similar words to that effect). The World Health Organization, based on more recent studies that have confirmed numerous health benefits for nursing during the second year, now recommends *at least* two years. The biological weaning age is somewhere between 2.5 and 7 years, I assume depending on the baby. Also, if she weans from human milk before age 2, she must drink cow's milk, which in my opinion, is far better for baby cows than baby humans. (She'll probably still drink some cow's milk when she is older, just because the rest of the family does.)

Q: Isn't EC'ing a lot of work?
A: I thought a lot about this question, because really, I cannot see how it could seem like a lot of work. It's not more work to hold a baby over a toilet than changing a diaper. Certainly, in the long run, it will end up being less work. The conclusion I came to is that people perhaps react the way I did at first. It doesn't seem like more work to practice it; it seems difficult to learn. So my answer is, yes, it takes a little bit of practice and belief that your baby *can*and *wants to* communicate with you. Beyond that, if you're interested in learning more, I'd be glad to talk with you.

Well, that's enough rambling on from me. I also apologize to all those moms (and dads) out there that I have made to feel criticized because of any of my questions and assumptions, past, present, and future. I believe that every one of us does what we believe is best for our children, ourselves, and our families. I'm also still happy to discuss parenting. I just don't always think as clearly when I'm face to face :)

Comments:
Damn, it sounds like you know your stuff when it comes to raising kids! Ain't got any of my own yet, but I don't think I'll be as together and sensible about it as you are when my turn comes around. Think mine'ss just have to learn to survive by the skin of their teeth...
 
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