Friday, 22 January 2010

Going By The Book

There's a morning talk show over here in the UK called "The Wright Stuff." The format of the show is pretty basic in that several topical questions are posed for a panel to debate, and viewers are invited to call in and share their opinions/experiences. I've only watched it maybe a handful of times since moving over here, but happened to tune in one day last week (or maybe it was the week before...) when one of the topics happened to be the use of manuals in child-rearing. This debate was brought up when Nick Clegg, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, roundly criticized Gina Ford's The Contended Little Baby Book. Clegg had become exasperated with the book after a night of his baby crying prompted his wife to ask in a panic, "what does the book say!?"

This then prompted Clegg to liken raising a child via manual to assembling Ikea furniture. Obviously, unlike the Ikea furniture, one set of instructions cannot be applied to every child. So why are so many parents relying on books rather than their instincts?

I'm sure there are several answers to this question, and the root of it is probably that many of us don't really grow up taking care of babies, and so have no idea where to start. Plus, a lot of other things in our life are governed by manuals, from cooking to self-help, so why would people think they can realistically undertake the momentous task of raising another human being on their own !!gasp!!?

I mean, I'm pretty fast and loose with my instincts, and even I can't get away from baby manuals. I've looked into several, but my by-far favorite so far has been The Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp. But I think the reason I enjoy the theories behind the advice in this book so much, is because they do seem to match with my instincts. As I read the book I kept thinking "yes, this feels right." In that sense, I don't think it's wrong to use a baby manual that confirms your parenting instincts, gives you some confidence, and some great techniques for dealing with emotional situations. The problem occurs when parents neglect to check in with their instincts, and just go along with the first book that was given to them at a baby shower, or the book that worked for their friends. Also, I think a lot of parents tend to judge their instincts as "wrong" when they don't mesh with the advice in a particular book.

I just think we need to trust ourselves a little bit more. Our instincts have been carefully honed for thousands of years, and there's a reason people say a mother's intuition is usually right. At any rate, this post has gotten away from me a little bit. I had hoped to talk a bit more about Dr. Karp's ideas and why I think they'll work for me and Gez, but I think I'll save that for tomorrow or another day. Until then, Happy Friday and enjoy your weekend!

Friday, 15 January 2010

Changes abound

Ok- so I don't really have a clear topic to write about today, I've been so neglectful for the past few weeks that there's quite a lot to catch up on, please excuse me while I ramble...
So, if you're wondering, I am, in fact, alive. My nose is stuffy and making weird noises, but it's sufficiently bringing breath into my body (sometimes with the help of copious tissues and Vicks VapoRub), so we're all good.
Little Mister is doing really well, and becoming more and more active by the day. The most amazing thing happened last night: I was in bed and could feel him repeatedly kicking in one spot on my left side, so I put my hand there and pressed in for a few moments, and then he moved and I felt an actual limb. I'm not sure what it was, and I don't care, it affected me in a way I couldn't predict. It was the fetal equivalent of Shock and Awe. Our little laid back, relaxi-baby, simply had me at hello with that one little prod. It's nothing I expected to happen, like feeling movement for the first time, or seeing my belly move, and maybe that's why it caught me so off guard. We played like that for a few more minutes, me pressing in and him kicking back, and I can't describe the joy in feeling my child's flesh and bone for the first time. I know that sounds a little weird, but that's what it was.
Meanwhile while I'm gushing away Little Boy is probably thinking, "back up out my space!"

In other news, we've made tons of progress on the nursery since I last updated. We finished all of the painting and touch-ups, arranged the furniture, put new knobs on the dressers, so it's looking good. My parents and Nana were so generous and bought us our nursing armchair for Christmas, which I was so excited about. By the way, the things I got inordinately excited about this Christmas also included a Sophie The Giraffe and a set of Aden & Anais swaddling blankets, so just to put things into perspective here... But I think the chair, being an extremely generous and infintiely useful gift, was well deserving of the excitement bestowed upon it. We were able to pick it up last weekend and it totally makes the room. I'll post pictures once the whole nursery is put together, and we can have a big Trading Spaces type reveal.

All-in-all things are good here at Chez Jones. Changes are taking place awfully quickly, and the reality of this little boy is becoming more apparent by the day. My handsome, loving husband turns 27 tomorrow so we're looking forward to a fun-filled weekend with good friends and family. I'm sorry I've been so conspicuously absent. I will behave far better in the future.