Thursday, 7 June 2012

Parenting Is An Art Unique to all Artists

One of my core ideas of parenting actually came from reading “Gone with the Wind.”  Years ago a solicitor I was working with and I had a cultural exchange, where she lent me this novel and I lent her the entirely inappropriate “Withnail and I.”  I didn’t realize until later that I had lent a movie about two hopeless alcoholics to an avid, non drinker.  The solicitor had said to me at the time to overlook the awful racism of “Gone With The Wind” and to try and read the rest of the story.   I took this on board and did just that and yes, I found it to be a shockingly racist novel full of ignorance and arrogance but it was also an interesting yarn and perhaps one of the first girl power books ever written.

The part that I have taken from this novel and applied to my parenting came from the character Rhett Butler.  He fiercely protected his daughter Belle from what he perceived to be the threat of Starlett’s undermining her confidence, abilities and strength of character.  He looked no further than to Scarlett’s son who was a frightened, insecure little boy who was often pushed aside by the thoughtless, yet courageous Mother.  Rhett suggested that strong women tended to raise weak children.  I supposed it was because he thought women of strength tended to do everything for the child rather than allow them to try for themselves and thus, grow and learn from mistakes or endeavors.  This has always been in the back of my mind as a Mother.  It is much easier to just do everything and much quicker to say the least but I made a conscious effort to allow my son to try and do things for himself and then mop up the mess later. 

The outcome of this is a very strong, opinionated force of personality.  I believe he always had these qualities within him but I made sure never to squash them or punish him for them.  This style of parenting has suited my husband’s natural way and he, time and again reinforces what I am doing without real design. 

In some respects what I have done in parenting could be said to lend a little of the Attachment Theories but I have tweaked to my own style and philosophies so that there are fundamental differences.  I disciplined myself to not let my beautiful, precious little baby fall asleep in my arms but would place him in his little bassinette with a loose swaddle and allow him to fall asleep naturally.  This was so hard to do but the benefits for myself, my Husband and my son were immediate.  My son was and always has been a great sleeper with only the teething era causing temporary havoc.  I had decided that it was my duty to raise him to be as independent as he wanted very much to be.  This of course, differs very much from the latest Attachment Theory pin up which seems to promote and prolong dependence of the child on the Mother, undermining the natural push for some level of independence and personal dignity. 
Omie had told me to take the skim from porridge and add it to Pixel’s bottles so we decided to start doing just that when our baby when he was around 3 months.  When I mentioned this to my Mother care nurse, I received a right telling off and much scoffing at it being out dated parenting.  I was told that babies received everything they needed from a bottle until they were 6 months at least and that if they were fed before that they would become obese.  I was told this was a fact from current research.  My husband and I considered this and decided that this was nouveau parenting and nothing more.  It was a fad on the latest research that would change with the next research grant.  My Husband was certain that Pixel needed and wanted food.  We fed him and I am glad that we did.  Our little one has consistently been just under the average weight and certainly needed topping up.  We now had a little boy who loves his food and sleep, adores adventures and running yet remains a light weight still.

It has been amazing to share the experience of parenthood with my husband, whom I admire, love and respect.  I have often wondered at his tireless enthusiasm over our little son.

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