This article is beautiful, and the fact that people are continuing to comment on it sixteen months later really says a lot:
(Cross-posted in the comments.)
*Time to brag* My kid (now four) hit every one of his milestones early. He began rolling onto his tummy at eight weeks, tummy-creeping at ten, began crawls up on hands and knees at 4.5 months, sitting independently at five, took his first steps at eight months, and was able to walk alongside me by the time he was ten months old.
The secret? From the day I brought him home, I KEPT MY KID ON THE FLOOR for as long as he would tolerate. I’m talking five to ten minutes stretches as a newborn, several times a day, which increased to twenty to thirty minute periods by the time he was three months old. By four months, if he wasn’t sleeping, eating, bathing, having his diaper changed, or being transported, he could be found happily playing on the floor.
When my kid fell, he’d first look to me before deciding how to react. I discovered early on that if I kept my cool, he would not cry. To this day, my heart swells with pride whenever I see a “sensitive child” run crying to their mommy over the tiniest bump or fall. My kid simply dusts himself off and keeps playing.
I can’t help but be disgusted by parents (as you’ve pointed out, usually women who can claim membership to one “mom’s club” or another) who behave as if it’s perfectly normal for their “wonderfully attached” 11-month-old to not yet be mobile, often hiding behind the excuse that “crawling isn’t even a milestone.” (Uh, really?) Far worse are the ones who claim that tummy-time is somehow “disrespectful” to infants and should be avoided at all costs. These are the parents of children who seldom walk before the age of two. And this new trend of “extended dry-nursing” is borderline child abuse.
They say some babies hit their milestones faster than others, and I suppose this is true. If a baby has a developmental delay, that’s unfortunate. If the delay happens as a result of poor parenting, even more so. But if the delay is clearly caused by a parenting philosophy, that’s just unforgivable.
We’ve had quite the infestation of bad monsters in Mommy’s closet as of late. We’ve tried ordering them away, getting the good monsters who live in ••••’s closet to order them away — hell, •••• even threatened to EAT the monsters last night if they didn’t go away — but to no avail.
So now ••’s come up with an ingenious plot to PAY OFF the monsters so that they’ll leave Mommy’s closet once and for all. If bribery doesn’t work, I don’t know what will.
Select a delicious, nutritious meal to feed your child.
Sober up to the realization that there is no way in hell he would ever eat that.
Come up with a new meal featuring minimal (less than three) ingredients.
Assemble the meal. In many cases, cooking will not be required.
Present the meal in an attractive fashion (sandwiches shaped like zoo animals, pancakes decorated to resemble faces).
The sell. (“Oh WOW, these look sooo yummy! “ / “You’re a lucky [boy/girl] to get such a yummy [breakfast/lunch/dinner]!” / “OM NOM NOM!”)
Once the meal has been refused, stand firm in your resolve that THIS is [breakfast/lunch/dinner], there will not be an alternative [breakfast/lunch/dinner], and he will eat what you’ve made him.
The entire meal finds its way onto the floor. Luckily, you anticipated this, so there is an identical plate sitting right out on the counter. Clean up and replace lost meal.
Ignore your child’s frantic cries of hunger. You’ve already fulfilled your parental obligation to make [breakfast/lunch/dinner]. Go empty the dishwasher or read a magazine.
The cries get louder. Your child is clearly starving. Deny the pleas for Cheerios and Goldfish Crackers. He will eat what you made him or go hungry. You are strong. You are the one in charge.
Disregard the pity in your heart for your starving child. Ignore the guilt you feel for imposing such suffering upon a small, helpless creature. Go do some laundry.
The cries of your child become unbearable. Over the sound of the dryer, you think you hear Child Protective Services knocking at your door. Beg your child to sit down and eat his meal. Offer him cookies if he takes just two bites — no, one bite — of his damned [breakfast/lunch/dinner].
Your child is wasting away. You are a horrible [parent/grandparent] for abusing your child so. Fearing [loss of custody/incarceration/eternal damnation], you allow him a belly full of [Cheerios/Goldfish Crackers] for [breakfast/lunch/dinner].
Break down crying as your child happily eats his snacks. By this step, you should feel guilt for giving into the demands of a fussy toddler and denying your child a healhy, balanced diet — he would have certainly eaten the full meal if only you had held out a little longer.
Child learns to get what he wants through emotional blackmail. As you begin to plan the next meal, so does he.