Posts Tagged ‘babies’

“No! He wants the OTHER binky!”
“That diaper is too tight!”
“The bath water is too warm!”
“You can’t take her outside in that!”
“What do you mean, you forgot the giraffe?”
“Here, let me do it!”

Sound familiar? In the stressful and overwhelming throes of new babyhood, moms often tell dads the “right” way to do everything from soothing the baby to prepping for a walk around the block. It can be an urge that is almost impossible to resist, especially if she is the primary caregiver and a first-time mom who wants, desperately, to do everything for her child in the best possible way. Moms, we know you mean well and you’re just trying to help. And of course, you have oodles of knowledge to share, especially if you spend more time actively parenting than he does. But be warned of something I’ve seen happen time and again: after being corrected repeatedly, week in and week out, many dads simply give up trying and let you do all the work—because after all, you know best. Soon you might find yourself doing every single bath, meal, and bedtime routine on your own. And more importantly, you might unwittingly keep your partner from the essential experience of finding his own way with his kids (and yes, they do have their own way—different from yours—and it’s okay). And that would be a shame.

Hey, if you’re lucky enough to have a partner in this whole parenting venture, you owe it to yourself and your family to take advantage of it. It’s not only good for you and your partner to each get 1:1 time with your child (and solo time when it’s the other person’s turn), it’s good for the baby, too. If you’re still in the middle of the newborn era, believe me, the time will come when you realize with all your being that it’s much better to share the parenting load—even if you hate the outfit he picked out or don’t think a trip to Home Depot during naptime is such a good idea. In honor of Dad’s Day, maybe try to have that time be now. Let go a little bit. Let him have his own parenting successes and his own disasters, just like you do, and his own chance to bond during all those moments. Left to his own devices, without anyone hovering in the background, dad will probably find his own funny bath time song, his own way of holding junior to calm the crying, his own system for getting the baby’s shoes on in a snap. And get this: YOU might even learn a little something from HIM.

Rob & the girls

To all the dads out there (and the moms who love them), Happy Father’s Day!

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“Socialization”: It’s a big buzzword with parents these days, held out as the primary reason to pack up the baby or toddler and all their assorted gear, get in the car, write a check, and participate in anything from organized playgroups to enrichment classes to daily pre-preschool. It’s what people seem to do. However, our feeling is that all babies and toddlers really need to learn “socialization” is time with their family and neighbors, doing the usual stuff you do—the grocery store, post office, visits to friends, outings to the park. In general, babies like spending time with familiar people in familiar places doing familiar things, with the occasional new playground, story hour, or bakery thrown in for variety. And as any parent quickly finds out after three or four trips to the zoo, usually the garden-variety pigeons and other kids are way more interesting than the lions.

Still, somehow, many new parents start to pack their lives with expensive classes and structured playgroups. Not to mention that “special” outings that used to be a really big deal when we were young–to the children’s museum, zoo or aquarium—are now on many moms’ weekly rotation, along with classes in tumbling, music, and language immersion, at hundreds of dollars a pop. Of course, if you have the time and the means and you’re someone who likes to fill your day with some concrete plans–go for it! But for those just getting used to life with baby, you really don’t have to succumb to the pressure. It is totally okay for your baby (and you) to spend all day in your pjs, exploring the wonder of your own house.

So, our question is this. Classes for babies: Do they need it? Did you do it with your first or second child? Why or why not?

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