Everything feels pretty alright this morning. Not the boring kind of alright, but the Muddy Waters kind of “alllriiight.”
Rather boringly (is that a word?), I’ve been looking at alternative baby wraps this morning. Reason being that we have the Moby, but it’s not suitable for wearing in public. I’m not quite sure of what you’re meant to do with it outside the home – you can’t wear it permanently as part of your outfit – or maybe you can, but I’d have to get a black one to go with my very varied colour palette. So I may have to cough up and buy a K’Tan to use for outings and that I can reliably wear. The BabyBjorn is amazing for going out on walks, and is probably perfect for the bus, anywhere requiring extra head support, really, but it’s a bit cumbersome for around the house and I don’t want to overuse it. If she associates it with outdoor walks and naps in the fresh air, that’s perfect for me. Anyway, we’ve been so lucky in that we haven’t had to spend a penny on babywear so far, and as it’s the crux of my parenting philosophy, that’s quite a winner.
K’Tan Wrap (needs research!)
So the mind is concerned with practical matters, really. While Baby sleeps, my mind once again drifts to a million different things that need doing, but the priorities are really just making sure I’m showered today. Writing this is great as I listen to her fall into a restorative, deep sleep. I hope she’s getting looked after the way that she needs to be. That she is as content as possible with her situation, even though I can’t imagine how it could beat life in the womb.
The more I think about it, the more awesome it seems. Imagine! Being all warm and enveloped, growing away, not having to attend to any distractions while you attend to the really important stuff. Surely that’s the way we aspire to be, but it’s kind of tough to do that out here. We’re quite cruel to each other, really. Once we find a way to get our hooks in, we go even deeper, because that vulnerability gives us some kind of superiority, or a sense of it. Power, wealth, whatever illusory thing we think we want…. Illusory…. So we’re all just a little bit lost.
Am I going backwards? I remember being consumed by thoughts like this a few years ago – but it feels a bit more mature this time. There is an understanding of the dual reality that one needs to cultivate and manage to survive in the jungle that our culture has created, that we have constructed. If you switch it off at the source, everyone will suffocate, and die, regardless of whether they ever wanted to be part of it or not. You can’t just disband, even though you know it to be a lie. You can’t exist completely in your own world, because you simply won’t survive for long.
But… You don’t have to sleep through it.
There’s scope to be wide awake, to see the transience and lack of substance; the lack of tangible matter to represent the values and measures of a “good” life, or “success” – measures that we all blindly live by. There’s scope to live within the complete non reality of it whilst maintaining your own sense of autonomy, and integrity, having independent thought. There’s nothing wrong with seeing the world differently, but sometimes, it feels hard to believe what you ACTUALLY think when it seems to cast huge doubt on the reality that you are conditioned to live. That everyone around you is forced to live. Standing by your own integrity and sense of reality, however outside of the “norm” it may be, might just lead you on a path away from all that you hold dear. That’s scary. It feels hard to believe that you aren’t slowly going mad, sometimes, when so much of what surrounds you seems like a grotesque, late night freak show that someone else paid for you to see with your friends, and locked the door as soon as you walked in.
Ooh. I hear a disturbance in baby snores, indicating a shift in sleep cycle, I think. OR… She’s about to wake up. She’s due a 3 hour kip though, so let’s see. Hopefully she’ll rest as much as she needs to, or I’ll have a cranky baby on my hands when I could do with some relaxing best friend time, and it’d be great if we could all hang together. Fingers crossed!
It’s even penetrated baby raising, this shift. I say “even”, but I think the way that apparently developed society has developed has affected the way we look at each other as human beings so fundamentally that parenting, and how we raise our children is hugely affected. My mind boggles now, at the thought that many women go back to work SIX WEEKS after giving birth. I’m 8 weeks in, and can’t imagine going back yet. It’s crazy. It’s such an important time in a mother’s life. In a baby’s life. Bonds have only just begun to form in the outside world; baby needs to know that they are safe in this alien landscape (& Mum is the obvious biological choice for primary attachment figure, though by no means the only one), and at this stage… Baby needs to come first. Not forever, but at this stage, when the brain is developing, the systems continue to develop as they did in the womb, as Mum and Baby spend time rooting their relationship in this sensory reality rather than an almost conceptual one in the womb by looking at each other, observing one another through each of the senses, deepening their bond… Someone – the SAME someone needs to be there so that the baby feels grounded and can develop a fundamental sense of security so that they can then confidently explore the craziness of the world KNOWING that they have a safe haven to return to. Especially when the going gets tough, or they’ve seen one beady eyed, multicoloured teddy bear too many as they crawl around. You never feel fully able to let go and experiment and explore unless you have a safe zone, whether it’s in yourself, or another person, or a place. Even as adults, we all need a sense of having a dependable source of security. Babies can ONLY get that from their primary caregiver. A single, consistent person who they know will be there, no matter what. Creating a societal fabric that puts parents under pressure to return to work quickly to survive societal pressures quickly interrupts that bonding process. The bonding that creates a deep sense of security in a child, that, when missing, surely has ramifications for the psychological wellbeing of a developing human being.
Then there’s all this scheduling. Sleep schedules, feed schedules, mother & baby classes… Somehow you’re behind the times, or even stand to be accused of not caring, if you don’t buy into these things, but honestly..
A baby is an instinctive creature. It knows that it wants it’s mother; whether she has a job or career or whatever isn’t going to change that, whatever you do. But there is tremendous pressure to prioritise the schedule of the career and fit Baby around that, rather than the other way around. Am I alone in thinking that there’s something backwards, here?
A baby knows if it’s hungry when it’s hungry, and that may not be every 3 hours so Mum can do chores or take a feeding break at the office. It knows when it’s tired and wants to sleep, which again, varies from day to day. I don’t need the same amount of food, sleep, emotional affection, or mental stimulation every day. I act on instinct. I don’t know…. Ultimately, the object is to teach a child a schedule that revolves around it fitting into an ill conceived system that doesn’t focus on our basic biological nature and instead is a slave, by design, to our master – Money. We schedule our lives and industry – going to work, earning a living, and everyone does it so everyone has to keep doing it but no matter what… We’re always tired, never quite have enough money, work all hours but never quite feel happy. Most of us wish we could do something else, but material security comes first. Now there’s even an industry that makes loads of money out of educating people about getting back to the basics, like physically using our bodies, being mindful (because so little of what we do for recreation requires that now – it seems designed to stop that process, somehow), how to eat properly, tune in to your body etc…. There’s all this noise that we accommodate and now….We impose it on our babies. The only in tune human beings left. Everything is personal choice, yes, but some stuff is sold to you as being safe guidelines when really…. There’s a fundamental prioritisation issue. Why does a baby HAVE to sleep in a crib? Why does it need to learn to sleep alone when it’s only a few weeks old? Because Mum & Dad are under so much pressure to attend to basically surviving our money driven world that they need to put first, and the sooner Baby learns that and fits into the system, the better. Sleeping alone and to schedule is the first step. Fine if it’s truly a personal, well considered choice for the parents, but how many people really make their own choices? I’m not suggesting that Mum & Dad shouldn’t be autonomous – I remain the crazed, ambitious, somewhat hypocritical person that I was, but fundamentally… Instinctively… I KNOW that Baby comes FIRST. She comes before all the bullshit. She’s a BABY, fortunate to be free of all the noise and able to just be. She is reminding me of my basic, fundamental human nature, and she should be given the space and love to be free in herself to do that, without being subjected to the murky haze of artificiality, conditioning & dull, almost undetectable mechanical existence that we seem hell bent on creating.
Hmm. More sunny thoughts for the morning. I think I’m going a bit too much one way. This doesn’t seem like a balanced view. I’ll find a balance, I hope. Or am I going bonkers?
Ooh. Baby is sleeping pretty soundly. I’ll enjoy this shower!!!