Wednesday, February 28, 2007

look how far we've come

The book I quoted from in my last post was given to me by a Japanese friend of mine. When I mentioned that I liked parenting books she brought one other english book that she had. After reading the first chapter I was totally confused so I looked to see when the book was published. 1964! I had to check twice to make sure I wasn't seeing things.

With this new perspective in mind I read the whole book out of curiosity. I laughed to myself so many times that finally my husband asked me what I was reading. I read the first chapter to him and he actually checked the page to make sure I wasn't making it up.

The principles in the book aren't bad but they are presented as absolutes with no room for change. Also there is no explanation as to why you're supposed to keep to this rigid schedule. So I decided that for those of us who are SAHM's this might add a little levity to the day and the struggles we face in our parenting.

My First 300 Babies - Chapter 1

What a joyous occasion - Mother's arrival home with her precious bundle! Eager relatives and well-meaning friends excitedly await this homecoming, and they anticipate at least a peek at the hidden treasure so completely shrouded in afghans and blankets.
Now the time has come for the actualy unveiling of this new little member of the family. Father's peek through the hospital nursery window has been most unsatisfactory, so he especially appreciates a thorough, unhurried inspection of his new little one. Clicking cameras often play a part in this happy drama, for this event must have every means of preserving its memory for psterity. That's how important the advent of this new baby is!
After all this welcome home, our routine for the day starts, and it's time for the infant to continue the nap that has been interrupted by his homecoming. If he is asleep, he should not be disturbed, but if he is awake, his diaper could be changed before putting him down on his stomach in the bassinet or crib made ready for him. In the event the baby might be fussing after the ride home, a small feeding might be given before putting him down for this nap, but my experience has been, with few exceptions, that after the excitement of coming home and the distracting display of chatter and camers, these little ones are quite ready to be tucked into their baskets to continue their sleep until awakened at 2:30pm. I suggest that you take advantage of this peaceful interlude.
These instructions are based on the assumption that your baby has had a feeding prior to the usual hospital checkout time, and that his arrival home is around 11:30am. You may feel that it is too long a span from the 9:30am feeding to 2:30pm, but these little ones invariably seem to need the sleep more than the food on this particular day. Usually it works satisfactorily for all concerned to proceed on this day as I have suggested.
After the baby has been tucked into his basket, it is time to think of Mother and her need for relaxation. Her role has been an important one in this event, so her bed or a comfortable sofa should be her retreat. Not until 2:30pm does the baby have need for further attention.
Whether the baby is asleep or awake, 2:30 is the next regular eating time. If asleep, he should be awakened, his diaper changed, and a feeding given. No nursing or feeding should exceed 30 minutes. This is a most important rule to observe.
After this 2:30pm feeding, the baby is put down on a bed or any suitable safe place (but not in his basket), on his back (not his tummy), allowing him to spend this part of the afternoon as he prefers. He could be held or talked to if there is no fussing, for when unrest starts, holding and attention are not the answer.
My experience has been that the conduct of the baby after this 2:30pm feeding usually seems to follow one of two patterns: 1) he may be awake and willing to remain fairly quiet, looking around or fussing intermittently. If this is the case, not later than 4:00pm turn him on his tummy for a short nap, to be turned over and awakened not later than 4:30pm. 2) He may want to continue his nap on his back after this feeding, and that should be his privilege, but again he must be awakened by 4:30pm.
There is a possibility of a third mood in which perfectly normal babies indulge. After being fed and put down, within a matter of minutes fussing starts, or even a more vehement display. You can check for a bubble or a soiled diaper (that never really disturbs the baby-only parents), but after this inquity, allow our little friend to work out his problem in his own way, and try to be unmoved by his results. If this mood has persisted until 4:00pm (or slightly sooner) turn the baby on his stomach, and he may feel a short nap is his answer. Again, by 4:30pm he must be wakened regardless of how much fussing he has done previously or how short the nap might have been. Keep in mind that any of these three moods is normal and must be accepted, at least for the time being. Mother's undisturbed attitude will do much to better these stormy wake-times. (italics are from the book)

And this is my favorite part of the book.

After breakfast is over and the other children are in the playpen or in the room with the gate, or else out-of-doors or at school, and the baby is back in the bassinet for more sleep as his schedule indicates, as good time presents itself for making supper preparations. This could include preparing a molded salad and a dessert, browning meat to be used for Swiss steak or chops for the oven, or assembling a meat loaf or some casserole that is always improved by a few hours of refrigeration before baking. Also, a sink full of hot, soapy water is helpful to soak the dishes used in cooking and makes the cleaning up process simple. When supper time draws near and the demands are many, these early preparations are really a time-saver.

I don't know about you but now, in the 21st century, when my older kids are off to school and my baby is sleeping and my 2-year-old is playing quietly, this is when I make some time for ME!


coarse gold girl said...

LOL---Oh my God you have found the parenting manual that my MOTHER must have read! This is great. I want to borrow it off you so bad so I can "see more into my mother's maternal mind"!

I have spent so many minutes, hours, days wondering where my mother got her method of child rearing. . .

If only babies were really as easy as she makes them sound--it's like a mommy playing fried eggs with the baby--tummy up (sunny side up) awake, tummy down (sunny side down) asleep. and that last paragraph! does the mommy, according to the author, ever need to "spend time interacting" with the baby?

LOL. Oh my,(wiping tears of laughter out of my eyes,) oh my!

Sarah said...

Oh, I'm glad you appreciated the post. I was really worried that someone would write and say that this is exactly how they raised their child and what was wrong with it!

There is only one reference to the mommy playing with the baby and that is "for a few minutes before the baby has a nap you should rock and sing to him but only if he is not fussy"! All other awake times are spent in a playpen, behind a gate or outside alone.

Also the book advised to never say "no" to your baby but give a command like "now that's enough" or "let that alone, it's not for you".

So although in general I believe that my kids should be able to play by themselves and that my ultimate goal for them is to be self-reliant, I think this book goes too far in helping parents achieve that goal.