Thursday, April 10, 2008

Why I Haven't Been to a Baby Storytime in 6 Months

Mom to 1-year-old: "Belinda, Mommy doesn't want you to crawl. Big girls walk."

Hey Mom, just in case Belinda didn't get the message about how stupid and jerky it is to crawl, could you repeat that 8 or 9 times? Otherwise I'm afraid that eating disorder just won't take.

Thanks.

The whole experience is particularly amusing after reading the chapter on baby classes from Parenting, Inc. The book includes lots of gratifying and reassuring quotes from psychologists and child development experts confirming what I long ago began to suspect:

1) You don't have to "help" your baby reach a milestone. Milestones just happen. There's no teaching required.

2) Just because the rapid pace and constant "engagement" of a baby program -- whether live or video -- keeps them from toddling off, that doesn't mean they're "paying attention" or "learning." More like, they are attuned to newness, and since you keep putting something new in front of their face every couple minutes, they can't wrest their attention away.

3) Parents of every previous generation were qualified to assist their babies in developing speech and all that. We are the first generation to think we need outside "educators" to help us do this. We don't.

4) Your baby and young child is busy learning all about the world, her family and herself. If you are constantly trying to drum the ABCs and 123s into her, it might actually interfere with the important work she's quietly doing.

That said, Pebbles did have a good time going to the library today and squealing "Hi" at other people her size, bouncing to a few songs, and grabbing some rubber balls in the end. Best of all, she didn't seem damaged at all by the fact that I was the only mom not enthusiastically doing every hand motion along with the librarian.

It's not just that I'm lazy, although, God, am I. It's that Pebbles is staring at the librarian. I don't see how it will help Pebbles for me to compete with the teacher for her attention, or for me to do those little bunny ears with my fingers unobserved, a maternal tree falling in the pedagogical woods with no one to learn from me.

More on Parenting, Inc. as soon as I finish it.

1 comment:

fluorescentmom said...

My aunt - an occupational therapist - has told me that the longer babies crawl (up to around 18 months or so) the better for coordination, balance, etc. Something about weight-bearing and coordination. Not that early walking is bad, but crawling for a long time has some very cool benefits.
I have told this to a few people at daycare whose kiddies weren't walking at one and the relief on their faces was palatable. We make a bigger deal out of early walking than we should i think.
And even if this isn't true - ewww to that mom.
I've enjoyed following your blogging as you spread out. Thanks for the writing!