Jocelyn read me a book this morning. Panda Bear Panda Bear What Do You See? Her version went something like this: "Teddy Bear Teddy Bear What Do You See? Foug joghou hweoru dhgou moczoing with me."
I could get all mother-of-the-year on you and say that I taught her to read at two years old. But the truth is that I’ve read it to her enough times that she has memorized the rhythm of the story. And anything else she’s learned—like how to spot an octagon or a stop sign—is from daycare or Sesame Street. They don’t tell you in those parenting books that a lot of this raising kids thing is luck, or letting someone else do it while you clean poop off the sheets.
Which brings me to RIE (Resources for Infant Educators, pronounced “wry.”) The Daily Beast reported yesterday on this new parenting method touted by celebrities. It’s all about getting back to basics, and cutting out the high-stress nature of baby sign language, Gymboree, and strollers. “A crying baby isn’t shushed or distracted but is allowed to release the tension of feeling, and asked why he or she is crying.” There’s a lot more to it than that, of course, but that’s what stuck in my mind long after I read the article.
There are positive points to this crazy rye on toast idea, as there are to various parenting methods. But do I really need a “method” to raise my kids? Some days, maybe. On other days—like every odd day—my girls can outsmart a method. Aja is a very calm child, until she’s not. Just like I am a very easy-going mom, until I’m not. Will she respond to questions about why she’s crying? Hell no. Will she give me any inkling of a reason as to why she refuses to take a bottle? Absolutely not. Her sickness from last week has passed. Her teeth have ruptured the gum line and the drool has stopped leaking from her chin. The bottle is not too hot, nor too cold. But put that nipple a few inches in front of her face and she clamps her mouth shut. Then she gives me a toothy grin that shows off her under bite. So maybe it’s just the bottle? No, that’s not it. She’s also impossible to feed in the high chair. All she wants to do is get out. Strap her in and she screams like a wounded cat.
So apparently, if I were to get all RIE on her ass, I should talk to Aja and explain to her what I’m doing. I should ask, “Why little child, must you cry?” And then I can dangle a paisley scarf in front of face (one of few toys allowed in RIE) and she’ll stop crying and eat like an obedient baby.
Let’s just say that this has not been a good week in the land of motherhood. There has been a severe lack of food, sleep, and patience throughout the walls of this house. No book or method could have helped me. Unless that book or method included an all-expense paid trip for me out of this juice joint.
And speaking of Aja—while she may be a bit behind in her verbal skills, I’m convinced she’s going to start talking soon and her first words will not doubt be: “Drink the fucking bottle mother!”
I would never say such a thing of course. There’s probably a parenting book out there that claims cursing in front of your child leads to feelings of abandonment and self-doubt. But then again, there's probably another book that says speaking to a child at their level will make them a better citizen of the world. That book starts with the letter A. And I always listen to the books that start with A.
Duh duh. Goo goo gaa gaa.
Do you RIE, or just eat rye toast?