Monday, July 30, 2007

PARENTING 101

It's so funny when you meet "new" parents. They seem so self-assured that they have a handle on things. They politely turn down years of parenting advice because they, in fact, have their own parenting ideologies by which they live by. And nothing is funnier than watching a new parent realize they don't have all the answers after all.

This week-end, we went to a birthday party for our neighbors child. We are all good friends, so we all came bearing gifts. The girls all decked out as princesses (as this was the dress code). One of our mutual friends (and one of J's poker buddies) came with their six month old daughter. I haven't seen her since she was a newborn and she was such a sweetie pie. Of course we all came out with our horror stories about when our own kids were babies. Funny things they did, embarrassing instances where we were in public and they threw up on us.

As we started to discussion introducing solids, the mother took a red bell pepper from the vegetable tray and let he baby gum it. Since she didn't have any teeth, she figured it was reasonable to do so. I kind of looked at my other friend with a "what the hell is she doing" look, since they just finished saying they introduced rice cereal the same week. Figuring I'm not about to interject, she goes on to say that the baby really seems to enjoy the pepper. All I'm thinking is for a tiny little tummy, perhaps a gassy old pepper isn't the best thing to give her. That and what if she got a piece of it off. The mother assures us that since she doesn't have any teeth, this can't happen (see where this is going yet?).

So she hands the baby off to the daddy, who continues to let her suck on this pepper. All of a sudden, I catch a flash of red chunk in her mouth and yell, "She's got a piece off in her mouth!" and proceed to push her forward and sweep her mouth. By this time, the mom is frantic and the dad looks like he's in shock. They get the piece out (as big as a dime) and the baby starts to cry. No doubt because she was a little taken aback by these adults assaulting her over a piece of red bell pepper. However, she quickly calms down - no harm, no foul. You can tell she's rather embarrassed though. After all her expert proclaiming and such. All the veteran parents just eye each other with the "you'd think they'd listen" expression and say nothing, only offering comfort to the newbies who's six month old almost choked on a piece of veggie.

After about five minutes, we were all over the incident and talking amongst ourselves, when the father, still holding the baby, offers the baby the red pepper again! At this point I'm thinking, "Are you total void of intelligence here?" and finally say, "Do you really think that's a good idea seeing she just had a close call?" He blushes and puts the pepper away. You know of course, after they left, we all talked about how amateur they really are.

But that gets you to thinking... or at least me anyways. Was I like that when I first had my kids? I don't think I was, but then again... For me, I was so overwhelming with having the twins, I was happy to accept any tidbits of help I could possibly get. I also learned quickly that all my preconceived notions of how I would parent were idiotic and coming from the brain of someone who never had a child. It's so funny though - how some of us refuse to budge from those mindsets even after they are in the game already. Perhaps to admit they were wrong is a lot worse than to be made an example of in public. In any case, I was happy the baby was fine. However, I highly doubt they learned that they didn't have all the answers. They just learned not to give a baby a pepper to munch on.

13 comments:

Slick said...

New parents are as bad as teenagers aren't they?

Course, men don't deny the fact that we suck at determining when babies should get solid food and such, women are so much more knowledgable about that kinda stuff.

When they turn out to be pro sport stars, we must have the credit though ;)

tulipmom said...

Was the dad AWAKE? Duh!

JaniceNW said...

I am the queen of child safety so no I was never like those parents. A bell pepper? DUH! Let the kid munch on your thumb or a teething toy, let's get a clue people.

Lainey-Paney said...

Did they mention Baby-Led-Weaning at all?

Lots of parents are now into this...and so if they were trying that method, then at least they'd have that to back them up for their rationale...

mcewen said...

I suspect most of us were, unfortunately. Certainly the thought makes me cringe.
Cheers

TK the Shrink said...

Thank goodness the baby didn't choke!!! Luckily for me, I worked day care before I became a mother so I already knew what to do and not to do with kids ages 6 weeks and above. I was the clueless pregnant chick though! LOL Still climbing on things ect...

Noemi said...

I really hope I was NOT like that! Know with 3 kids and over 15 years of experience I am sure I am a better know...

MamaLee said...

I think I leaned towards the cautious side from the get go. Perhaps I learned to be from watching my siblings and their kids, or maybe because I was an older mama starting out.

I just remember being a little paranoid with my son, and then I eased up with my daughters, because I knew then what to expect and what things really worked.

I think many new parents either go the paranoid route or the opposite.

And it bothers me to watch parents who aren't quite cautious enough.

Maria said...

I honestly was never one of thoses parents. I was scared shitless. I read every book available and then just tried hard not to keep her alive.

I don't think I relaxed until she was about three.....

Em said...

I know a made a lot of stupid mistakes...but even I knew not to give a baby a pepper to chew on! LOL

Jenny said...

I love when new parents (or parents-to-be) think they have it all figured out. Things like that especially make me cringe - here suck on this choking hazard. Aauugh!!

When I had my daughter, my cousin was in nursing school and working as an aide at a hospital. She got hold of a book by a woman who insisted that you can put a newborn on a regimented schedule of naps and feedings and also start potty-training by 4-5 months old. (Yeah, okay).

When my cousin got pregnant, all I heard was how she was going to use this method for the baby and how much I could benefit if I tried it with my daughter. I laughed and told her to just wait. Her kid is over 6 months old and the schedule was a dismal failure. Go figure.

Catwoman said...

Sigh. Yeah, it's funny until a baby chokes to death, right? ;)

The dad is obviously a moron for handing the pepper back to the baby! Good for you for saying something, I mean COME ON!!!!

And I never would have done that when I was a new parent. I'd read every book and followed directives to a tee, so I did the whole introducing solids one at a time and I think the first time Little Man got a real solid was when I gave him Cheerios and I was petrified the whole time.

My big issue was other people, really, like Sweetie Pie's 80-year old grandfather trying to feed my four month old mashed potatoes!!!!

k8 said...

i am sooooooo scared that when i go back to work my MIL will try to give travis solid food too early.