23 March 2011

Talismans

For years now, since before the girlie was born, I've had a little stack of parenting books by my bed. They come and go - all of the baby care tomes are gone, and I'm slowly replacing them with books like Reviving Ophelia and How to Talk So Kids Will Listen - but until the other day, there were three in the pile that we really didn't need: Weissbluth, Ferber and Satter.

It was like some kind of magical thinking: As long as the sleep books are under the bed, the child will sleep. As long as the sensible eating book was at hand, the child will eat.

Of course, she doesn't sleep, except with me. Oh she went through a period of sleeping in her own bed every night right after we got her a heated mattress pad, but she fell back into her old ways soon enough, and now every last stuffed animal she owns is on the floor of her room and she only goes in there to fetch clean clothes. I've given up.

And she doesn't eat, except with ketchup. The other night she ate salad for dinner - hallelujah! a green vegetable! - with a dressing that she'd made by stirring equal parts of ketchup and vinaigrette together. She eats rice with ketchup for lunch. Rice cakes with ketchup for snack. Hard-boiled eggs dipped in ketchup. She's discerning: only Heinz will do. Frou frou organic ketchup from Whole Foods? Feh. Homemade stuff from the Greenmarket? Feh.

I know that one day she will go into her room and close the door and blast the stereo and refuse to talk to me. I know that one day she'll eat something other than ketchup.

But I finally gave up those books, those talismans, and passed them along to my brother and sister-in-law. Maybe they'll do someone else some good, under another bed.

18 comments:

Becky said...

Ah, the passage of time marked by book titles. :)

De said...

I felt a little sheepish this week, checking out an audiobook called "Nurtureshock," but I'm enjoying it. Sort of - I just finished the chapter on how none of us are getting enough sleep, which has always been the giant red button my mother pushes every time she is around - and even if I get nothing out of it, I'm betting something will stick in my brain and one day I'll bug the h#!! out of my kids. Bwah-hah-hah.

Anjali said...

I'm convinced, after 9.5 years of parenting, that parenting books don't work.

Our kids just do what they want, when they want, and grow out of it when they're ready.

It's kind of liberating, actually.

Rima said...

My son will only eat ketchup, with a side of ketchup.

Slow Panic said...

Reading that Ferber book was the stupidest thing I ever did.

OK, it's not the stupidest thing I ever did. But it was stupid.

That Ferberizing? Not for me, not for even one second.

My boys are 12 and 9. The 9 year old crawls into my bed around 6 every morning. And I still like it. It won't last much longer and I promise you I will miss him when it stops.

Heide said...

I found a box the other day, left over from the last move, with some parenting books in it. I looked at them for a moment ... and put them back in the box and shoved it back under the sideboard. They don't describe my kid, anyway.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I think the sleeping thing is what you are comfortable with--I don't mind a baby in bed, but after a year I'm done. And it worked out that way for all the kids. Similarly, they rarely (only in cases of severe illness) woke me in the middle of the night because I HATED to be woken.

They had other habits other people might have found annoying, but didn't bother me much at all.

Bron said...

I read Nuture Shock and it gives much food for thought. That and the Dr. Sears book are really the only parenting books that made sense to me. Yes, I became an attachment parent because of a book but one who didn't co-sleep (room too noisy), and who didn't carry their baby in a sling (she hated it). Basically, a book can only whisper ideas at you but your child will let you know what they need if you are paying attention.

mayberry said...

I do look forward to the moment in the wee hours when a little boy clambers over me and snuggles in. When he doesn't do it I feel cheated!

ifbyyes said...

Part of me feels guilty that I LIKE having my baby in the bed next to me. Until I resolve that, my efforts to get him into his crib may be less than successful.

FreshHell said...

I threw out my books long ago and have never looked back. They all talked about these idealized children who, if you did THIS, would act THUSLY. Bullshit. The books on sleeping? Forget about it. The only book that was ever helpful was a crazy book about food. It had some useful charts about what foods to introduce when. Right now, I just wing it without any professional advice (except from live humans) and....so far, so good.

Patois said...

That sleeping thing? We call it musical beds around here. The oldest is nowhere to be found, but the littlest still comes around. And the middle girl still lingers between aging out and joining in.

I'll catch up (ketchup?) on sleeping without children soon enough.

Gina said...

I'm with her - only Heinz is acceptable. Of course, I'm from Pittsburgh and it's the law.

leanne said...

The only parenting books I've ever read were two "What to Expect" ones (one on the first year and one on the toddler years). After that, I gave up (and actually, I never finished the toddler one). I found I had more luck when I just asked family and friends. That and relying on whatever wits I had about me.

Some days I wonder if reading more books would help, but then like FreshHell I figure... so far, so good...

Bibliomama said...

We do musical beds around here too. And I think most parenting books are a giant scam -- kids aren't an exact science. And what's wrong with ketchup? It's practically a vegetable!

YourFireAnt said...

Prophylactic motherhood. I love it.

;-)

Kyla said...

I've never been one for parenting books...beyond that first pregnancy. I did read magazines when BubTar was younger...but once KayTar came along, I found conventional parenting wisdom to be useless and maddening. I think I should write a book called, "What To Expect When You Get The Unexpected". LOL.

painted maypole said...

how to talk so kids will lilsten is on my nightstand. ;) but i think it might be overdue at the library.