Monday, September 17, 2012

I am now qualified to solve all your problems

Are you amazed?  Astounded? 

About a week an a half ago I took the girls to the library.  It wasn't our regular storytime day, but I wanted to get out of the house, no one was available for playdates, and it's a free activity!  In a few months I'm sure I'll love it even more because I'll be able to trust Madison more.  Right now it can be a little stressful trying to make sure she doesn't unshelve an entire section of books, or rip a page with a  favorite character out of a book she found, or get into a tug of war over one particular car on the train table.

But this particular day happened to be very calm in the children's section.  There were no official activities going on at all, so there was only one other family in the children's section, Madison had discovered the dollhouse and was playing beautifully by herself, and Reagan was completely content to stay in the stroller and look around.  I decided to take advantage of this behavior and browse a few things.  First the CDs, since I want to update her music.  I picked out several (although you wouldn't know it, since we've been listening to ChooChoo Soul in the car every day since). 

After picking up some CDs I headed to the parent reference shelf.  Our library has a pretty good collection of parenting books, and I've definitely found some help there.  I was specifically looking for some potty training ideas (we are SO CLOSE...but not quite there and I refuse to do any hardcore training since it seems to backfire).  I also decided to look through a couple of sleep books to see if they had any good ideas for how to get a six month old on a better nap schedule without having to keep a toddler home all day (spoiler alert: those books do not exist).  While I was looking I found a few random things that interested me.  One of them was this book, and I was intrigued right away.

I've actually read two other books by this author (The Baby Whisperer and the Baby Whisperer for Toddlers), and although I don't agree with everything she suggests and her acronyms can drive me INSANE, I like a lot of her suggestions, she writes in a style that is very easy to read, and I like her British-isms.  They make me smile.  A British nanny makes me think of Mary Poppins, and I enjoy that.  If I'm going to read a childcare book, I want to like what I'm reading.  So I figured I'd try it for those reasons alone.

But I was also intrigued because of the title.  Really?  ALL my problems?  Napping?  Tantrums?  Distracted nursing? Sassy two year oldisms?  I read this book and my children become angels and my problems are solved immediately?  Or maybe before they even appear?

I don't want to get too down on it.  It's not a BAD book and once again, there are some good tips and things to try in there.  But the general format appears to be this:

1. Topic (let's say...napping).
2. Anecdote (a call, email, etc from a parent to her, she relays this story.  For example, my child used to be a fantastic napper and now he isn't!  How can I help him get the sleep he needs?  Then she'll write the story in paragraph form giving some history, the situation, and the details).
3. The thing that the parent did wrong that caused the problem to begin with (she wasn't in tune with her baby is what it usually boils down to).
4. Her magical advice that fixed it and made the parent feel like a complete loser. 

Obviously what I take issue with is number 3 (and by extension number 4) .  Yes, we all know that it's possible to give your child a bad habit.  She calls this "accidental parenting".  I really hope she was much nicer to the parents in person when she tells them how everything is pretty much their fault!  I realize that her exclamation points and "duh!" type attitude makes for a good read, but it just SMACKS of judgment.  It can feel unbelievably condescending.  It also makes you paranoid about every decision.  If I do this I am going to screw up everything and need weeks to get my child back on track.  But if I do this I'm going to screw them up in a different way.  But I tried her way and it isn't working for my kid.  Now what?  No one should read a book designed to be helpful and feel like a bad parent who screws up all the time. 

But what bothered me most is the title.  It's as if somehow the implication that if you read this book, your child should really be issue free.  So if your child is NOT issue free, it's because you didn't get it.  And I'm sorry, but I just don't think that's possible!  There is no silver bullet, there is no perfect child, there is no perfect parent.  Doesn't exist.  And although I realize that the title was probably given by the publisher not the author (although I'm sure she had to give approval), and was selected because it's catchy, the title is really what bugged me about the whole experience as I was reading it.  Because of that implication I mentioned before, the message gets lost.  Rather than:  The Baby Whisperer: Helpful Suggestions for Common Problems (the uncatchy but more accurate descriptive title) we get The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems...that you created in the first place.

At any rate, I have now read this book, so I am now qualified to solve all your parenting problems as well.  Here I go.

1. It's your fault.
2. Deal with it.
3. If you don't want to deal with it, hire someone for an extravagant expense (not this author, as she's now deceased, but I can't even imagine what she must have charged).  In exchange for money and a total cut down of your self esteem, you too can have the perfect child!

Hooray!  Time to write my book and start my empire!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Real Time Web Analytics