I was just reading on one of my favorite blogs: "Keeping Up." Sara's latest post alludes to the trend of over-scheduling children; I started writing a comment on her blog, and realized that I was writing a blog post of my own. So...I came over to my own blog and kept writing. So, for what it's worth...my comment to Sara has blossomed and is now my rant to the world:
YES! Resist busyness! ( I think I'm going to adopt this as my new motto.) This is true for adults as well as children.
It's odd, and a little unsettling, how I already feel a vague sort of pressure with a baby - just seven months old - to make sure I provide the right stimuli for learning, the right toys, etc. It's a good thing to be aware of these things, I guess, but I tend to get a little too angsty about it. I find myself thinking, "Am I doing this right? Am I not playing and"ENGAGING" him enough? ( You know when you start using vapid, meaningless buzzwords like "engaging" that you're in trouble.) Should I buy loud, annoying toys and force him to play with them? Are there studies that prove that infants are positively affected by those irritating toys? If I just DO more, will he get better SAT scores???" Not really - not that last one anyway...but I have to keep giving myself reality checks, resisting the weird temptation to constantly second guess myself or somehow feel guilty and instead, just RELAX, for Pete's sake. It's like I'm comparing myself to some non-existant, perfect mother. But sometimes I just want someone to TELL me what to do. Get this toy, do this three times a day, read this book. This will ensure a better future for your child. Voila. A formula. Too bad that's not how life works. ( And besides- " better?" Better than what? Better than perfectly fine? Better than happy? Yeah- makes no sense.)
The pioneers and founding fathers are a great solace to me. They didn't have scads of cool toys with flashing lights and seventy two different tunes built into microchips. They didn't have mobiles that play lullabys hanging over their cribs. They didn't do baby yoga. They did not have Gerber foods or Huggies Sensitive Skin Wipes. ( GASP - how did they SURVIVE?) And look what they did: they wrote the Declaration of Independence. They created the Constitution. They crossed the continent. They built the transcontinental railroad...to name but a few accomplishments. Nice work! Not too shabby, as Nate would say. They were incredible inventors, thinkers, writers, and scholars. Even as children, they could run circles, intellectually speaking, around the smarty-pants college students of today.
George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John and Abigail Adams, Daniel Webster, Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell did not have Baby Einstein DVD's. For that matter, EINSTEIN didn't have Baby Einstein DVD's. So there, busybody moms of today. Take that.
Disclaimer: this is not to say that from now on I am going to use leaves or woolen wipes on Aiden's poor little bottom, tear down and stomp on the mobile over his crib, give him muddy, pointy sticks to play with, forbid him from ever leaving our property, and teach him that Baby Einstein is the essence of evil. Nope. I may actually play those DVDs for him someday. I LIKE the cute little toys he has. I want him to find interests and pursue them. I just don't want to be obsessed with keeping up with the culture around me that ceaselessly chants, "Do More! Buy More! Experience more! Go more! Not enough! Not enough! Not enough!"