Saturday, May 25, 2013

Blog Every Day In May :: How To Baby

Today's topic: things you've learned that school won't teach you. Technically it was day 23's topic, but I didn't finish it on time. And, not even because I was procrastinating. I just ran out of time.

I don't know about other schools, or even what my old high school does now. But, back in 9th or 10th grade as part of our 'physical education' class we had to take care of 'babies'. Babies composed of flour. Flour babies. And, apart from some class on how sex is the worst thing ever, and never have it because you will get pregnant, which was taught by the I keep my condoms in my oven mitt lady, that was the extent of what could sort of be construed as parenting lessons.

I remember the flour babies. I think mine was a boy. It was entertaining for half a day. Then for the rest of the week everybody just toted around a bag of flour in baby clothes during the school day and left him/her on the table at night. At the end of the week everybody made up crap about changing diapers and putting flour to sleep at night. I learned a lot. So so much. Ish. Nothing at all actually.

I don't remember learning a thing about forms of birth control, or pregnancy, or babies. I'm pretty sure we were part of the abstinence only school of thought. Honestly, just make everybody live with a pregnant person for a week during the third trimester, followed by witnessing a natural birth, followed by two nights with a newborn. Bam. Not having sex? Sign me up! I remember learning something about how condoms never work and you still contract every disease ever because gross things get left behind on tape and babies are fine sitting on the table for hours until you have to remember to bring them to school the next day. Again, I learned a lot. So so much.

Flash forward something like 12 years, I have a baby! My baby is nothing like a flour baby. First, she is way cuter. Second, she is alive.

Changing a diaper on a sack of flour is not at all like changing a diaper on a flesh and blood baby. Changing a diaper on your little sibling, baby cousin, or friend's newborn isn't even like changing a diaper on your own baby. Everything you do is a learning process. You figure it out as you go. You know that babies need diaper changes. But, you learn how to hold her feet, and where the poop hides, and to always keep a diaper underneath or the changing table will get peed on, etc. It is hard to teach that. Especially with flour.

I read how to baby books while I was pregnant. But, they really didn't teach me anything - the one thing I did learn was that baby poop is suppose to be yellow but can also be green or brown, who knew? The only book I  liked was Bringing Up Bebe, and it isn't so much a how to book but a comparative anthropology book. She gives you ideas to keep in your mental toolbox and use if/when needed, and if that doesn't work try a new tool. And, that is really how it is with a baby. You should know that babies need to eat, sleep, have a clean diaper, and be enriched. But, there isn't one way to do it, and you won't know which way to use until you have a baby to try it on. And, then it won't even work the next day so you get to find a new tool.

So, a 'how to baby' class wouldn't be successful. Even with real babies. Everything is so different with your own baby, and experiencing it all day and all night. Maybe a 'fill your baby tool box' class would be better. But, I think the idea behind the flour babies was more don't have sex because babies are a lot of work. Sorry, flour babies don't really convey that message well. Just wake the kid up every 2.5 hours and make them stay awake for an hour continuously for a week. I would so have failed that lesson...

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