Saturday, June 29, 2013

That Part of Parenting That's For Mom (or Dad)

In my last post, I mentioned not wanting to set up a nursery per se, as it would be very short lived before baby outgrows it, and I commented that it's mostly for the parents anyway.  Today, I wanted to mention that doing something under the premise of it being for the child when in reality it's for the benefit of the parent is not in itself a bad thing - at least I don't think so.  I simply used this point as an explanation for why I'm opting out of the planning-the-nursery aspect of prepping for baby in lieu of other excitement.  To each their own.

For instance, though I started a bit backwards, I've been making my way back from researching homeschooling approaches to parenting styles to finally the day-to-day scheduling and expectations I can have for myself and our baby in the early years.  In my research, as I've mentioned previously, I've come across Waldorf education and attachment parenting, both of which really resonate with me.  Upon further scrutiny, I see that one of the reasons they both resonate so well with me and what I want for my child is that they remind  me so much of my own childhood, which by all accounts I would describe as "wholesome", something I think both Waldorf education and attachment parenting aim for as well.

Therefore, I'll come right out and say it - one of the perks of parenting for me will be to relive some of the best parts of my own childhood.  Take wooden toys for example.  I came across a negative comment claiming that children don't want wooden toys.  Perhaps if you've already spent years getting them all the latest plastic and electronic gadgets they demand after seeing them in commercials, and all of a sudden you switch to a simple wooden toy.  But children do not need to be entertained.  They need to be inspired and encouraged to be creative, entertain themselves, be innovative, discover the world around them, not be spoon-fed it to them in the guise of academics.  I think wooden toys are much more conducive to building a child's imagination than are modern toys made with a specific, pre-programmed scope of activity that only calls for the child to click a button and sit back and watch.

I know it's going to be tough to balance gratitude for any such modern gifts that may come our way from well-meaning and generous loved ones with my overall desire to create a wholesome atmosphere for my child.  Not sure yet how to go about it, though of course any gift for my child must go through me and Alex for final approval.  I'd hope that people - especially those who are parents themselves - would think to ask us as parents if a particular gift may be appropriate.  But I guess if one's criteria for one's own child aren't very narrow, one wouldn't have on one's radar the idea that there is such a thing as an inappropriate or unwanted toy, item of clothing, or gadget.

I think I will simply divert to the polite smile and thank you for any gifts I feel aren't wholesome or appropriate for my child, followed by a regularly scheduled trip to a donation center.  And I'll take it upon myself to select the items with which I do want to surround my child.  After all, I can't be the only parent wanting to get some benefit out of parenting for themselves?!  My child will play and learn like every other, but why do it the way all the Joneses and Smiths do it, when we can do it our own way?

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