Saturday, 26 July 2008


Two friends of mine, Phil & Monique, have recently had their first child, Emily. Emily is thirteen weeks old, utterly adorable, and I love her dearly. As Phil works at the church, Emily is growing up in an environment that has a significant proportion of older ladies, desperate to impart their wisdom. Some do so in a subtle way, offering help where needed, and backing off when it's not. Others think things, but do not say anything, out of politeness. And others (the most annoying kind), broadcast opinions to all and sundry, as long as Phil or Monique are not around.

Baby Emily gets to sleep best in Mummy or Daddy's arms, as one would expect. As today was a hot day, they didn't want to carry her around too much, as a burnt baby is not a happy baby. However, putting her in her pram to get her off to sleep doesn't work too well. When one of the older ladies asked why they carried her around so much, I explained it's easier for her to get to sleep. The conversation followed a route of suggesting that they were 'over-parenting', and should try to get her used to going to sleep in the pram, etc., etc..

Now, this is all well and good, as it is sound advice, but my current thoughts on parenthood (and I'm sure they shall continue into actual parenthood), are that it's an adventure. You discover things that do, and do not work. What works for one baby may not work for another. I'm all for advice and information from those who have been through the whole process, but at the end of the day, I will be the parent, and not them.

I do not see the problem with lavishing love and attention on a baby of 13 weeks. Weaning them into an independent state is just ridiculous at such an early stage. Phil and Monique absolutely adore Emily, and are doing an admirable job as parents thus far. But I think it is only acceptable that they are allowed to make mistakes and discover the reality of having a baby for themselves, and not be told step by step instructions by those that assume they know better.

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