New Parent Mistakes

Number of times Virginia has soaked the changing pad cover because we forget to slip a clean diaper under her butt as we chuck the dirty one: 2

Number of times Virginia’s business has exploded all over the place because of an improperly sealed diaper: 2

Number of times we read a few chapters in a new baby book, took its advice, only to learn its a totally controversial, widely disputed, potentially dangerous tome put out by a child-hating evangelical Christian ‘family ministry’ that, had we read further, would have advocated us hitting our kid and cautioning them not to tell anyone: 1


So. Back in December my mom and I went to my old alma mater’s (St. Luke’s) Christmas Fair – something we like to do every year even though it is completely devoid of the community spirit and thoughtfulness that made it really fun and special when I was growing up. Anyway, they have a ‘book room’ and I found a copy of this book ‘On Becoming Babywise’ and it promised that if you followed its doctrines, your infant would be sleeping through the night by 8 weeks and everyone in the family would rejoice. Not yet knowing anything about real live babies I thought that sounded pretty awesome so I invested one American dollar in it.

On Tuesday, while Virginia and I were hanging out on the couch I finally decided to start reading it. The first chapters sounded pretty alright. They were all about how not to lose sight of the importance of the husband-wife bond and how that is a priority relationship because if a child senses that there is discord among his parents it will create a low-lying anxiety that will affect his sleep, health, learning, etc. The book advocated a philosophy that a child is a welcome member of the family but not the center of it. (Seems a little hard-assed but their point was that in the future they wish to avoid creating “me-centric” child who expects everyone to cater to him as his parents once did)

Subsequent chapters explained their “PDF” or ‘Parent-Directed Feeding’ program and their sleep manifesto which cautioned against the use of “sleep props” such as rocking a baby to sleep, nursing a baby to sleep, using sound machines, or drives in the car to soothe a baby to sleep- and advocated putting the child in the crib awake and letting them cry it out if need be.

Long story short, we tried this once – Virginia was hysterical, I was practically convulsing with tears, hating myself for doing this to her / hating the book/ beginning to hate Mike for “making me” do this. It was bad. When I finally couldn’t take it anymore and demanded Mike give me my baby after he changed her I held her so tight to my chest and just sobbed and sobbed until finally we were both calm enough to attempt sleep.

I felt even worse when I read THIS article the following day. Disgusting. My mom came over later in the afternoon and she said we should get the hateful tome out of the apartment because it was creating negative energy and so we ceremoniously took it outside and threw it in the trash, then paraded Virginia around Sunnyside in her massive buggy.

She is such a good baby and sleeps so well already- I was foolish to doubt my own instincts and won’t do it again.


2 responses to “New Parent Mistakes

  1. you’re right, that article is infuriating.

  2. Oh yeah, those baby cries. Um, we got lucky in that my partner’s dad’s ex-girlfriend was a six time mum. She taught us about the different cries – there’s four of them if I remember right. I’m hungry, it’s dirty/wet/warm in my nappie, I want attention, and I’m tired. Figure those out, and you’ll save yourself a lot of problems.

    I don’t get why anyone does feeding by the clock. For generations, nobody did it because they knew the hungry cry for babies. Most of the world doesn’t use it. Why fiddle with nature?

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