Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The bay-bay industry

Make no mistake folks, there is as much, if not more, of an industry surrounding babies and the raising of these wee creatures as there is with that other great big life-changing event, the wedding. Just as the wedding industry employs an army of millions to convince the engaged masses that they must have this kind of dress and this kind of tux and a ring of this size and this many attendants and this much food for this many people and oh cripes don't forget that the cake has to touch the ceiling and oh dear me you're forgetting all about the accessories if you don't have every single one of these you're going to end up divorced in a trailer park...will that be Visa or Mastercard...yes, much the same kind of thing exists for babies. Hundreds of hucksters, all eager to sell you tons of crap and stuff and gizmos and devices, all of which have been specially designed by experts in the field of babyology to make your baby happier, smarter, quieter, taller, thinner, prettier, saner....this product insures baby will earn seven figures...this product prevents serial-killer-like thoughts. And the advice, my friends, the sheer volume of advice that's out there about how to raise your kid given any number of different circumstances. I'd find it extremely interesting if one could feed all of the information contained in all of the baby and parenting books for sale in even a small bookstore into a database and then run checks and queries and various cross-references to find out just how many contradictions you can find. I'm betting the number is in the millions.

Thing is folks, all these products, all these devices, all this advice, even though I know a lot of it is great and even necessary, and I wanna soak up as much of the "good stuff" as I can, my instinct tells me that the vast majority of it is all nothing more than one great big Mickey Mouse driving down Sesame Street and running over Winnie the Pooh (modern or classic Pooh) distraction. And come to find out, one of the leading experts in the field, Dr. William Sears, concurs:

"There is really no such thing as one best way to parent a baby, just as there are no perfect babies and, would you believe, no perfect parents - only people who have studied babies and people who have more experience than you. Being a parent requires on-the-job training. Too much advice from 'experts' can actually interfere with the beginning parents' intuition and block their ability to learn as they grow."
Of course, this guy is one of the so-called "experts" too, but hey.

So it may be a bit soon for me to be saying this, given that my kid is still a few months due, but the point I'm getting at is, don't believe the hype. Something tells me that this is the kind of job that demands training while doing, and that Ash and I have a whole host of instincts that have yet to kick in to help us out.

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