Friday, September 12, 2008

Oh Baby!

I was watching the Today Show this morning, as I am wont to do, and I was rendered completely speechless when presented with this concept: high heels for babies.

I was only rendered speechless for as long as it took me to run to my computer, because it turns out I actually have a lot to say about this.

Y'know, my kids were learning things in kindergarten that I learned in second grade. This is viewed as progress. Progress that has completely dismissed everything we know about child development. We are pushing kids to do things earlier and earlier. Potty training before they know how to walk? I understand how this might be convenient for a parent tired of changing diapers, but how in the world does this benefit the baby? I suppose one could make an argument for reduced diaper rash, but that argument is a weak one at best.

Don't get me started on the current trend of constantly bombarding our babies with educational toys, videos, games, flashcards, etc. While I am in favor of all of those things, moderation is key. Certainly utilize educational toys! Playing games with your baby is vital to their development! Play away! Flashcards I'm not such a fan of, but if the baby enjoys playing with them, rock on with your bad self! But babies also need some time to just chill. Some non-stimulating time to process all of the new things they've been exposed to.

I am always a little taken aback when I hear parents proudly proclaim that their 4 year old is reading. Sometimes, of course, this means that the child has memorized the book. I know my mother claims I read much earlier than I actually did because I had memorized a few favorite books. "I do not like green eggs and ham; I do not like them, Sam I am." I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about wee ones who have been drilled and drilled and "taught" to read. I always think that pride is a little misplaced. I will grant you, there are a small handful of children who are ready to read at a very early age. Those children should certainly be provided with opportunities to do so. But most children, from a purely developmental standpoint, aren't ready to learn to read until they're 5-7. As a matter of fact, countries where reading is introduced at later ages have much lower rates of illiteracy than do countries which introduce reading at younger ages.

We're just in such a damn hurry.

Which brings me back to baby high heels. Ugh. We shake our heads in bewilderment at increases in teen drug use, alcohol abuse, and sexual activity at younger and younger ages. How does this happen? Well, it starts with things like baby high heels. I was distressed a couple years ago when I found it difficult to find clothes for my at-the-time-not-yet-tweens that didn't make them look - well - let's just say like miniature teenagers. Because I don't feel like being as harsh as I probably could. Now we're going to dress our babies up like little - like - well, not like babies? I find this so appalling.

Treasure babies for being babies; toddlers for being toddlers and so on and so on scooby-dooby-dooby. We're in such a hurry to get to the next place that we forget to treasure the place where we are. And in the case of children growing, the place where we are right now is one which we can never revisit.

Anyone interested in my thoughts on Bratz dolls?

1 comment:

Denise said...

A big AMEN to this: The Dove campaign (for real beauty) is one of those places that calls out the barrage of imagery and messages we send our kids (daughters, in particular).

High heels? FOR BABIES? How destructive is that for a growing back to deal with the offset caused by having to balance on heels? Seriously!

Sugar, I hate the fact that the bratz dolls have very little facial variation. And what features they do have (eyes and lips) are usually very sexualized (larger, doey eyes and tarty little pouty lips). They give me the creeps.