Tuesday, March 07, 2006

My Dad, Unsung Parenting Guru

My Dad, Unsung Parenting Guru: or How I Came to Disregard My Bellybutton Lint Just Now

"There are some things you just don't need to have."
--My Dad, as quoted by my Mom, regarding my brother's desire and mine to upgrade our beloved Atari to a Nintendo, sometime in the late 20th century.

He was totally right about that, and it occurs to me that I have a great tool, right here in my hands, for stepping outside the Montessori books and refining my parenting strategy by listening to real human beings instead of people selling books. So how about an interactive post!

Given my stated commitment to minimalism in the infant environment, and the impending necessity of actually giving my child things to use/play with, readers, bloggers, and lurkers, I'd love for you to tell me--

If you are the parent of a baby or young child:

Tell me about something you decided not to use with or give to your child, and why you made that decision. (Feel free to post anonymously, so whoever gave it to you as a shower/birthday gift won't recognize you.)


Tell me about an element that is/was unexpectedly essential to your infant environment, and why you couldn't have done without it.

If you are the parent of an adult or older child:

Tell me about something your children lobbied hard for, that you might have given them (meaning you could have afforded it/ had room for it/ it wasn't illegal...) but didn't, and how you feel about that decision now.

If you don't have any kids, or if you do but can still remember being one:

Tell me about something you really wanted (and really could have had if your parents had been willing to give it to you--see above restrictions) when you were a kid, but didn't get. Do you still feel the lack? Are you better off for having missed it?


Tonia said...

One thing that I couldn't have lived without for the first 3 months that goes against your philosophy is his swing! He WOULD NOT sleep elsewhere and had a lot of spitting up and the pediatrician suggested more of an upright sleeping position...worked wonders!
Another thing, not necessarily that I couldn't live without, but have been great that fit more into your philosopy are peek-a-blocks. They don't do anything and you can see inside if they rattle or such. Rece loves them! He has just started getting into stacking...it is so fun.

KB said...

On the other hand, my son really did not care for the peek a blocks at all. For some reason he much more preferred his standard colored wood blocks. From about 18mo. -to the present 2.5 yrs. he still LOVES his wood blocks and duplo legos. He'll spend an hour at a time playing by himself (but esp. likes it when we play too.) Same thing with my oldest now 7 yrs., he just adores legos and building.

Mama C-ta said...

Not trying to start a huge discussion on blocks but Julian loved the peekablocks. I really want to get him the wooden ones but waiting for him to reach the 18 month guideline. I couldn't figure out why it was recommened for 18 months but figured there must be a reason.

Back to your post...

Not sure if this is really what you are looking for but we were given a very cool pair of baby red/black tennis shoes but they went unworn. I loved them so much, very very cool but since they were hard-soled and so rigid in general, his feet never touched the insides since they are unhealthy for developing feet. I felt badly about not using the gift and couldn't bring myself to tell the giver I wouldn't have him wearing shoes unless soft-soled. And the style fiend in me was fighting the urge to put them on him.

And something I couldn't live w/out was definitely a sling even for household use. It cured almost all fussiness in the early days (except when the food allergy issue became out of control). It ensured peaceful naps and plenty of calm moments and meals. Since he hated the car and stroller, it was one mode of transportation that we all could live with (obviously we didn't use it in the car but it encouraged us to walk where we could).

testdriver said...

Yes, the sling is the one concession I have made that I think I might lose my mind without. I use it for trips out and for working around the house, and sometimes just for walking around to calm us both. It's so great--and like the co-sleeper, not exactly forbidden by this model, just not exactly encouraged.

I'm fascinated by the peek-a-block discussion! I'm putting them on my list. There are some other wooden rattle-blocks that they have in Montessori infant-toddler classrooms-they have some kind of special finish that doesn't lick off or something. Maybe that's why the wooden blocks are designated 18 months. They figure they'll avoid getting sued because your baby's pooping splinters. Who knows!

I also have the style issue--that's why one of my goofier things-I-wouldn't-want-to-be-without is Trumpette Mary Jane socks. They are to die for, and not really shoes! :)

Amy said...

Ohh I love this game! SO many things to love.. so little space to tell about them!

For MS & HIP the thing I loved was a small bathroom rug on their changing table. Instead of a changing pad ( cold and crunchy) I purchased a few small white bathroom rugs. They are so soft and when poo gets on them... it is easily soaked out... and or bleached in the sun. The second thing I loved was my mei tai carrier. It magically gave me 4 arms. I strapped MS on my back and carried HIP with my arms. This way no one was left out.

For Angus: a simple pillow in the bathroom does the trick. Our bathroom is warm and soothing. When he's mad I just lay him on the pillow and lay next to him. He seems to love to stretch out his legs and kick furiously as I talk him down from the ledge. Another thing that is so f'in' awesome ( thanks to mama c-ta's awesome baby links) are babylegs. Gus wears them with a onesie every night to bed. Since he is morally opposed to diaper changes... the baby legs speed up the job( no awkward snaps) and keep his legs warm to boot! + they are soo cool.. they really bring out his rock star within.

Noni said...

Probably the one thing you guys lobbied for (besides the Nintendo)that I successfully resisted was a trampoline. Many of your friends had one but I felt they were too dangerous. On the other hand, we later built a skateboard ramp and that proved to be quite dangerous.
I do regret not giving in on the fluffy dresses that twirled!

LA BABA said...

Well, I think you are opening the gates to mother-guilt.Or am I the only one still brooding over my mistakes?
I once had a little boy who wanted a punching bag for Christmas. I don't know why we didn't give it to him and I don't know whether he wanted it just to develop his muscles. But looking back I think it would have been great to punch out his frustrations. I have come to realize that parents don't always know best. Children know what they need. That is why my mantra for all young parents is "ATTENTION MUST BE PAID!"

Auntie Shoogs said...

I am still devastated that MOM and Dad never gave me the horse I wanted to keep in the backyard. I doubt I'll ever get over it and it scarred me for life.


testdriver said...

Fluffy dresses that twirled! Imagine how my taste might be different today, had you just allowed me to be the beautiful baby-pageant meringue of ruffles and lace that I always wanted to be!

Butterfly wings and hurricanes and all that!

Of course, I am still a sucker for a sequin.

Busy Mommy said...

For Baby K - I have to agree awith the baby carrier and hard soled shoe comments. I will add that the froggy fingerpuppet bath mitt is a hit also. After I am done cleaning him up, he will sit on the floor of the bath and play with it while I finish my shower.
Miss S never had a high chair, just a booster seat. Much better. I am trying to figure out how to get rid of Baby K's without insult to the inlaws.
All the older kids ask for video games and cable. Still holding out on that one and have (I think) much happier kids as a result.

Mr. Noodles Panini said...

Ugh. I was SO deprived as a child, I really don't know where to begin! Must I only pick one thing that those horrible monsters refused to give me? I guess one thing was a trampoline. And yes I'm still bitter, and yes, I still want one! Anything else that they wouldn't give me I could always just find over at the Streicher's house. :)

Mr. Noodles Panini said...

Wow mom, you remembered!

Renee said...

What kind of stroller do you guys use? We have our second on the way and our Maxi Cosi Pearle will no longer fit the bill when there are two children to take to the zoo or park! I also use a sling, but sometimes it is SO convenient to put the sleeping baby in the carseat into a stroller (in the carseat) rather than jostling him to get him out of the carseat and into the sling.