Friday, March 2, 2012
Bringing Up Bebe
I just finished reading Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman. You might've read the article from the Times it's based on, Raising the Perfect Child, With Time for Smoke Breaks
by Susannah Meadows. Here's the thing--I totally buy into it. The French are on to something! A lot of the ideas for raising kids are common sense, and they're backed up by scientific research.
Here are some things I've started doing with E based on what I read:
The French refer to babies sleeping through the night as "doing their nights"; as in, E has been doing her nights since she was four months old (sigh. "technically." you know, the 6 hours in a row junk that people call sleeping through the night to make new parents not feel so crazy. I still think sleeping through the night is not getting up at all, but, you know...). In France, most babies "do their nights" by 3 months. THREE! Like 12 hours, 8PM-8AM! And they credit it to "the pause". Basically they wait a couple minutes to go to baby when he wakes up in the middle of the night. Eventually, the baby learns to soothe himself back to sleep, and by 3 months they stop waking. Magic. I've been trying "the pause" with E for her naps, since she sleeps 10 or 11 hours straight now, and guess what--it's been working! She used to sleep for an hour at a time as a nap, usually woke up crying, and was a mess. But last week she took 3 naps that were 2.5 hours long and 4 naps that were 1.5 hours. True story, I now have a good napper. Oui oui!
Ok, in France they have these amazing sounding, government-funded day cares for babies, and it's totally normal and accepted to send babies as young as 3 months to one. At these day cares, the kiddos are fed gourmet (ok, maybe not gourmet, but a lot fancier than the things I make E for lunch!) food. The chefs (yes!) really think carefully about what they're feeding the kids and how they're serving the food. How does that translates to me, without a personal chef at my beck and call? I'm thinking about different ways I can make foods. Take carrots--roasted with a little brown sugar, pureed with some salt and pepper, sauteed with some garlic, shredded raw with a light vinaigrette. E needs to try foods more than once, even ones that she doesn't seem to like, and she needs to try the same food prepared in different ways. Another food ground rule? She needs to try everything at the table once per meal. The last new rule for us? Sweets are OK! I don't want to forbid them anymore, because that will make her just gorge on them when they are available. So a bite of a cookie or a piece of chocolate every day? Fine by me.
The French believe kids should be polite to everyone, and the foundation of this is in greeting and saying goodbye to adults and other kids. Parents really enforce this one, much like you hear American parents enforcing kids using "please" and "thank you" (French parents enforce those, too). And it really makes sense! By having kids greet others, and be greeted in return, they're being acknowledged. It's like saying to them, "Yes, I recognize you're here. I'm not ignoring you, or your behaviors, and I expect you to follow the rules." I love that. E might not be saying much right now, but she certainly knows "hi" and "bye", and I'm going to be even more conscious of asking her to say them now!
So, what do you think? Sound manageable? Or am I a crazy person for thinking E can be a little bit French?