Friday, June 4, 2010


Once you learn that you are pregnant, all the talk about pregnancy, delivery, and parenting begins in full force - with family, friends, and, much to my chagrin, strangers. Nothing like a baby (or puppy) to bring out the extrovert and "experts" in people. During these discussions, it becomes clear that there is a great divide between generations when it comes to raising children. Nowadays, things seem pretty hard core compared to the 70's [insert favorite illegal substance joke here]. I was actually shocked with all the gentle advice (read: firm recommendations delivered with a ruler to the hand) I've received. One of my faves: No baby powder. "I'm sorry, what?" Apparently, it's now considered a hazard because the baby can ingest it, creating serious lung damage. Um, I'm not planning on unscrewing the cap and dumping it all over her face, leaving her engulfed in a haze of white powdery goodness. And, last I checked, we don't breath through our butt cracks. What's wrong with a dry, rash-free, fresh smelling bum? It didn't kill me or anyone else over the past 120 years, so in Josh's words, the pediatricians can pound sand on that one. The American Academy of Pediatrics and all these Don't Kill Your Baby 101 books really lay down the law with what is considered "good" parenting. I actually feel judged when I read them. My God, all the expectations involved in raising your child flawlessly can drive you to the nut house (erm, maybe a poor choice of words considering my profession) before the kid's 1 week old. I've found that these books can be reassuring in terms of general expectations of babies' behavior and developmental milestones, etc., but I think they also create a pretty rigid view of good parenting and, as you read through all the no-no's, create this drive for [unattainable] parenting perfection. Just with anything in life, isn't it all about balance and common sense? I think, for now, I'm done with the advice books. I'm to the point where I feel like I'm raising a mogwai, who I will turn into a gremlin with one benign, good-intentioned parenting misstep. So, perfect parent or not, I'm going to sit back comfortably with a paper umbrella in my bottle of baby powder, toasting the old school attitude and enjoying my baby girl. Cheers!

1 comment:

  1. Talc based baby powder is bad. Talc is linked to both lung cancers and ovarian cancers. Cornstarch based powder is fine. And a must in our house, because my girl was very rash prone.

    Some of those books are super conservative, that's why I gave mine away.And be careful with those lists of developmental milestones, because normal is a VAST range and it's easy to convince yourself that your baby is either a genius or way behind. For example, my second baby was pretty much "by the book" except for walimg, which she did at 15 months. Baby number one was all over the place, rolled over at 3 weeks, walked at 9 months, but wasn't talking a lot until closer to 15.