Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Pots, Pans and a Cardboard Box

The whole time Nancy and I were pregnant, we kept saying we need to write down all the things we’d swear we’d never do.

These were some of the things on my list:

  • Feed my child fast food
  • Allow her to watch television under the age of three
  • Have a house that looks like Toys R Us

The idea was to check back in with each other and see what we were actually able to follow through with. I kept joking that all my child would have to play with were pots and pans and a cardboard box.

What I am happy to discover, is that you really don’t need much more than that. Sophie spends long periods of time just trying to climb all over my body, or explore the house, or swipe at a dangling blanket. And I honestly do not think that these activities are any less stimulating than sucking on a multi-colored combination rattle, book, teething ring “toy” designed by Baby Einstein.

She has a small box of such items in the living room—all of which were given to her by friends and relatives. She does like these things. When the mood strikes her, she inches her way over to the box and hoists herself up on her knees to grab whatever’s accessible, and then tries to cram as much of it as possible into her mouth. However, if I give her a spatula she pretty much does the same thing with it.

Having spent a fair amount of time on the floor of my living room, assembling and studying swings, exersaucers, and jumperoos, I have become deeply suspicious of the whole baby industry. It all seems so unnecessary. These bright, ugly toys designed to make your baby smarter, are alarmingly over-stimulating. I wouldn’t be surprised if they have a deleterious effect on brain development. In fact, I would even venture to say that these things were not designed for babies, but for their parents—to relieve them of their infant burdens, to provide time to do other things, to minimize the social interaction and human contact that truly fosters healthy development

I’m willing to bet: if it didn’t exist 100 years ago, chances are we still don’t need it today.

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