Monday, August 13, 2007

On Babies and Being Different...

You mustn't hold your baby too much, or you'll spoil them! If you don't let them cry, they'll expect you to pick them up at every whimper! They have to learn to put themselves to sleep in order to become independent! If you let them into your bed once, you'll never get them out of it! You have to control them, or they'll control you!

It makes me want to puke. Can someone please explain to me when we as a society decided that babies are capable of manipulation? Who assigned such a complex thought process to such simple creatures? Why is it so wrong to baby your baby?

A good friend told me today that she's going to have to "de-spoil" her four-month-old son because he wants to be held all the time. If it's possible to smile and nod over the phone, that's what I did. I don't think she was interested in my thoughts on the subject, and since she's a good friend, I don't want to criticize her parenting. She's also a first-time mom and quite sensitive about such things.

She had called me to ask what kind of baby juices she can give. I confessed I had no clue because I've never given my babies juice. I think she took it as a criticism, but I didn't mean for it to be. Who am I to judge? As a first-time mom, I gave Connor baby food at the age of four months on the advice of his (former) pediatrician. I didn't know any better, and neither does my friend.

I've done a 180 since then, and I'm completely confident that this attachment parenting thing works very well for us. I'll also not-so-secretly (since this blog is public) confess that I think attachment parenting is the best way to parent. Oh I know it's politically correct to say that what works for one parent may not work for another and all that bullshit. Come on, let's be honest. We all know that we think the way we parent is the best way, otherwise we'd do things differently.

That said, it's hard to be an AP mom around here. Come to think of it, it's much like being Pagan...which I also am. Strike two on the freak-o-meter. On the rare occasion I meet someone who calls themselves an attachment parent, thoughts of playdates in the park race through my head. Reality quickly sets in; I always meet these parents in Columbia, and I live too far away to make friendship a likely possibility.

I'll admit to being disappointed that my friend doesn't share my parenting views. We have so many things in common, including being Pagan, that maybe I assumed we would be alike in that regard as well. Another friend of mine just found out she's pregnant, and I already find myself hoping to find that commonality with her. Hey, her sister considers herself AP, so it could happen. ;)

I look back and try to pinpoint when exactly I started wandering off the beaten path. It's not like I consciously set out to be different from everyone else. Attachment parenting, like the Pagan path I follow, just seem to fit me. It makes sense, feels right, and all that jazz. Maybe I've always felt a little different. When I look around, I have to admit that I don't always think that's such a bad thing.

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