Aw congratulations, you’re pregnant. That’s so nice. Oh it’s your first baby? Aw…how special. Oh I see you’re carrying a thick book there in your purse. Whatcha readin? Oh it’s a parenting book! Aw how nice…
Look, I get it. You’re all fresh and fluffy about what’s to come. Just like when you put that Ikea shelf together for the first time, you want to read the instructions so you can do it right. Let me save you a lot of time and heartache. Here is a list of what not to read.
1. This blog – Read this one post and then CLOSE IT. Do not open it again until approximately six months post child birth. You need to reach a stage where you find your new life somewhat laughable before you come here again. You need to be resigned to the fact that poop, barf, and sleep deprivation NEVER END. When that makes you giggle to yourself in a delirious sort of way, you’re ready to come back here. No sooner.
2. What to Expect When You’re Expecting – Expect that book to make you anxious. Now go return it and spend your money on something useful like a prenatal massage or a postnatal box of wine.
3. Anything on the Internet – As Husband says, “Googling something is not research.” Any pregnancy symptom you google is going to tell you you’re probably fine but you could be dying. I had a hankering for fruit when The Beast was on the inside, so I decided to eat a whole pineapple in one sitting. Naturally, my stomach felt weird afterwards so I googled ‘pregnancy and pineapple.’ It said I was probably fine but I could be dying. I didn’t die. I got a lot of cankers though. I bet if I googled ‘pregnancy and cankers’ it’d say I’m probably fine but I could be dying. If you have a list of neurotic questions like I did, you’re better off taking your tattered little post-it note with you to the gyno. They’re obligated to act concerned and answer your questions. Something tells me their research is a little more official than google too.
4. The Baby Whisperer – Sigh, where do I begin? It’s no secret I hate her big, stupid book. I found her techniques frustrating and ineffective; her tone pompous and condescending; and her typos astounding and abounding.
I’ll just zero in on a couple of her techniques. Let’s start with her EASY routine. She preaches to new, inexperienced mothers that all our children should be on a schedule where they methodically do the following:
Isn’t that cute! It spells EASY! Um, just because her routine spells a neat, little word, doesn’t make it sensible. Has she ever met a real, actual newborn? From what I hear, most of them E-eat and if you’re one of the lucky ones, they like to go to S-sleep. So for most people it should go:
A-activity-poop and/or cry (both mother and child)
See this must be why I don’t have a parenting book, because I can’t get mine to make a neat, little word like hers no matter how hard I try. I bet she was really good at Scrabble. It just feels very counter intuitive to wake up a newborn so he can have an A-activity before you put him to S-sleep. And since she frowns upon letting a baby cry himself to sleep, nor will she allow us to feed a baby to sleep, she had to invent a big, stupid technique called shush-pat. Oh boy…
Shush-pat is down-right ridiculous. It borders on laughable. Just because you loudly shush by your baby’s ear for 20 minutes, five to eight times a day/night does NOT make you a baby whisperer. It makes you crazy. And sweaty. Once you add the rhythmic back patting, you’ve got a recipe for a crazy, sweaty mother and a very annoyed baby. Seriously, my baby learned to straight arm me in the face before he learned to reach for me. I’m no expert like her, but I think that means he doesn’t like the shush-pat. Plus, any technique where I have to work harder to get my baby to sleep than he does is nuts.
In her book she states she is often asked, “What do I do when shush-pat doesn’t work?” Pfft. Burn the book. That’s what she should say. But instead, she made up ANOTHER technique called pick up/put down. This one is perhaps the most hair-brained of all. For this particular technique, we are supposed to pick up our baby the second he starts to cry. The instant he is calm we are supposed to put him down. When he cries because we put him down, we instantly pick him up again. We carry on like this until the end of life on earth or until our baby gets so confused he tuckers himself out and gives up. And she thinks letting him cry himself to sleep is mean. All I have to say about this technique is my baby cried longer and harder during pick up/put down than he did when we finally got our head’s screwed on straight and Ferberized him.
Perhaps the most annoying thing about her book is the pompous tone in which it is written. The most arrogant term she uses is ‘accidental parenting’. Basically, everything we try as new parents that she does not endorse in her book is dubbed as accidental parenting. Let your baby nurse to sleep=accidental parenting. Let him fall asleep in the car seat or stroller=accidental parenting. Feed him small amounts all through the day=accidental parenting. It goes on and on and on. I know I’m supposed to take responsibility for my own feelings, but in this case, I don’t want to. I want her to take responsibility for my feelings, because she made me feel like a bad parent.
And then there are the typos. It’s not like she updated her status or posted on her blog. She wrote a BOOK. Surely to God she could have afforded to pay someone to proof read the thing before it went to print. Or at the very least she could’ve done a little spell check. I mean, nobody’s perfect, but come on. Or maybe she had an editor who tried some of her big, stupid techniques in her big, stupid book and realized they’re foolish. In a sleep deprived stupor I imagine her editor putting all her spelling errors and typos back in her book as payback while she cackles maniacally at her desk at 2 am nursing her infant to sleep. Yeah, that’s probably what really happened.
Anywho…these are just opinions. You can read whatever you want and make up your own mind. And I don’t hate the actual Baby Whisperer. I’d have lunch with her (if she was buying) and stuff or at least kick her arse in a friendly game of Scrabble. I just don’t find her book useful. Except to prop up the ipad so The Beast can watch some Baby Sitter Einstein… Bottom line: Read your baby, not some big, stupid book. You’re motherly instinct is way smarter than any book even if you’re new at this gig.
Anyway, I’ll leave you with a little list of What TO Read. How ‘bout that?
- This blog after you recover from your postpartum state.
- They give you a brown paper bag at your first doctor appointment. It’s full of little books and pamphlets. There’s some good stuff in there.
- The Public Health booklet thing. It has good stuff about breast feeding, needles, how to make baby food etc.
- A novel.