Twenty five years ago when I began in the motherhood business, you were cool if you had one of those snuggie baby carriers to strap on. The carrier was helpful because you could put it on and get some ironing and cooking done – hopefully not letting junior get too close to the heat. They were especially useful at supper time when all of my kids went ballistic right when I needed it the least.
I was leery of the sci-fi aspect of the baby monitors available in those days. Some of the other mothers had them but I thought they were a little intimidating back then. They looked a bit like the old portable telephone you see in Seinfeld reruns. Besides, I always wanted the baby in the room with me anyway so I could check on his breathing every three minutes.
It’s incredible the amount of baby stuff out there today. The more they advertise it the more all the parents begin to feel it’s all a big must-have. Not only are parents supposed to provide a college education down the road, but they need to begin the education process shortly after birth with specially enhanced television and computer programs, or some kind of technologically-enhanced audio of womb sounds.
I’ll admit I used Disney videos to keep the toddlers occupied while I made supper but we made our own fun the rest of the day. Thankfully I had worked at a child care center while I was in college and I remembered some cheap tricks – hammering nails into tree stumps, painting the driveway with old paint brushes and a bucket of water on a hot day, and fishing with a stick with a piece of yarn tied to the end of it. And a little bit of dress up always goes a long way. We would have some pretty big adventures without ever going to Toys ‘R Us.
It seems now it’s about what contraptions you need to make your life easier when if you were interested in an easy life, you never would have decided to have children in the first place. I’m afraid keeping baby occupied with all that stuff leads to a baby that needs to have constant stimulation. Now that’s work.
My idea of keeping baby entertained is a nice long rock in the rocking chair while I sing the three little fishes song. Now that I’m older, I’d easily drop whatever I am doing to hold a squirming baby. Everything comes full circle. When you’re a new mom, you love to hold that baby but your mind is running in a thousand directions wondering how you’re going to get everything done that day. It isn’t until much later when you realize that you should have just taken a deep breath and enjoyed that baby smell while you had the chance.
I say stop what you’re doing and pick those babies up, no matter what size, and hold on tight every chance you get because before you know it, they’re asking you for money and bringing strangers into your house for you to feed.
Trust yourself, you know more than you think you do.