Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Under Pressure

WHile on holiday, I was able to hand the McBaby over for a couple of hours and sat down to read the utterly brilliant "Under Pressure" by Carl Honore (he of "In Praise of Slow" fame).

It's well worth a read and put a lot of things in perspective for me. I knew that I was guilty of wanting the best for the McBaby and perhaps putting pressure on him to succeed and do well. I've already "overscheduled" him - making appointments for swimming, music and trying to teach him Mandarin (a language which I don't even speak myself).

SOmetimes, when all you've known is the working world, you can divert this energy and attention into bringing up a child. Sometimes the child becomes the job and you justify leaving work by proving that child-rearing is the same as a career, leading to a kind of "professionalism" of parenting. The kind of parenting our forebears did now looks a little laid back and lazy.

But this book shows that this path leads to problems and that when the alpha mother starts banging on about how advanced her child is, it's best to remember that children develop at different paces and that you should trust your instinct.

One area where I do tend to trust my instincts that the book condones is the pruchasing of electronic, educational toys. I had actually told MrM the other day that I felt a bit ridiculous walking into town because the McBaby was playing with a can of my deodorant and a biscuit tin. He wouldn't put them down and we attracted some strange looks.

But if that's what he wants to play with, why buy him expensive toys. I had been feeling consumerist guilt, which is usually an urge I don't have. Am I cruel for not buying the McBaby the latest chair/toy\expensive pushchair?

Perhaps such things are turning babies into passive observers?

As one quote in the book says: "The more imagination and cleverness the inventor has put into the toy, the less room there is for the child's imagination and creativity".

Roll on mum's biscuit tin and deodorant!!



  1. i think it's great to use things like tins and other household objects. In fact i went on a child care course which encouraged you to do that. They said to go round the house collecting a box of objects for the child such as a big key, door handles, sponges and other oddments and ends. Then give the box to the baby/child and see how they interact with the objects.

    Sounds like a really insightful book.xx

    1. Thanks Dannie! Always nice to get your feedback and I can't believe childcare is yet another area of your expertise! You're obviously a lot more open-minded than the people watching us in town with the biscuit tin and deodorant!!