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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Let the Babes Be Babes

Why is everyone in such a hurry to grow their babes up? Rush them into their forward-facing car or booster seat, allow them to sit in the front seat of the car, potty train, teach them to walk sooner via kiddie yoga, send them off to preschool at 3 and have them skip kindergarten in favor of first grade, feed them caviar and oysters, dress them like little adults, wean from the breast, sleep in their own beds in their own rooms, put "play" makeup on daughters and tell boys that men don't cry... The list is endless and, quite frankly, upsetting. Our babes are babes but for a minute. Why rush it? Why rob them of the little time they have to be young, to be just the age they are? Why rob ourselves of the opportunity we have been given to slow down and relive our own childhoods by seeing the world through their eyes?

Everyone just relax. Rest assured, they will grow. They will reach milestones, they will attain skills, they will get to the next phase. Already the children of modern society are far more mature than those of the past. There are myriad reasons for this, of course, which are for another, more scientific post. This post's message is far more simple: slow down, relax, and let the babes be babes.
If you do, I guarantee you and your babes will all be a lot happier, closer, and more fulfilled. Right now may seem like it is dragging on, you may feel the need to move more quickly to just get through, but in the grand scheme of things, this precious, wonderful, most amazing time for them as babes and us as parents is just a drop in the bucket. Slow down and savor every last moment, because those moments will be gone before you know it.

Just let the babes be babes...


  1. This is something I have real trouble with. My daughter was born 5 weeks early, so she is not expected to reach milestones until 5 weeks after other babies her age (6 months). I know this, and I accept it - and yet I still find myself comparing her to other babies her age and hoping she catches up soon! I have to constantly remind myself to just chill out and let it be!

  2. I totally agree EXCEPT about potty-training. :) The fact is that peeing/pooing in a diaper (which to a baby is no different than peeing in clothes) and then later changing your habits to NOT pee in your clothes but only in an approved receptacle, is NOT the natural, instinctive development. Diapers are a convenience for parents, not a biologically programmed necessity.

    Once a child has been diaper-trained, then yes I agree that you should not rush potty-training. But when you allow them to retain their inborn instincts, which are to only relieve themselves when exposed naked to air (unless they just can't hold it anymore, which if that happens all the time eventually leads to diaper-training since they realize that's what they're expected to do), then it's an absolutely gently and respectful way to parent your child... it is by no means at all intended to 'rush' their growing up.

    Or to put it another way -- there is a corollary to the push to make your kids grow up too fast, and that is when we artificially prolong their youth and immaturity. Ironically, the two often go hand in hand. Rushing to get them off the breast and sleeping alone, but at the same time, in other areas, always doing everything for them, rushing in to help them when they're not asking for help but are contentedly trying to solve the problem themselves.

    This is seen a lot with teenagers... our school system as well as our society grants adolescents little to no autonomy, no useful work or contribution to society, treats them in school pretty much the same as they were treated when they were 10... 8... 6 years old. Even now when they are biologically pretty much adults. So many of the "teenage problems" are a result of artificially prolonged childhood, rather than allowing them to grow up on a natural timetable.

    So it is, in a sense, with diapers and potty-training. Diapering a toddler is akin to artificially prolonging their elimination dependence (by which I mean, the period before they are INdependent with their pottying). When allowed to develop without interference, this usually happens by around age 2. Not because it's a race -- but because this is when the majority of toddlers are going independently when given the chance.

    If this 18mo-2yr "window" is missed, then yes you should wait until they are intellectually capable of understanding why they should want to potty-train, with no rush and no pressure.

    I'm just making this point because oftentimes diaper-free folks are unfairly lumped in with "early potty training" folks, when it's really nothing of the kind. Elimination Communication is utterly and completely about following our baby's natural development and not at all about rushing or forcing anything at all upon them -- including a diaper. ;)