I went to one RIE parent and me class and that was enough…or was it?
I was told not to read my baby books, and not to give her more than a handkerchief to play with while she lay on her back on the floor. The idea was that books are too advanced, and jiggling a bunch of toys in her face would distract her from what her natural inclinations to explore would have her do. I got the idea, but it was so drastically different from what I had learned a day previously in another mother and me class that I got a little freaked out and didn’t go back. I have to admit though, what I experienced and learned from the teacher that day, stuck with me.
So, I went home and gave my daughter a handkerchief. I took away all the plastic lighting up, noise making, and colorful toys, and watched what she would do. She was OK, but somehow slowly the toys came back…not in the same quantity in front of her as before, and granted there are more wooden and cotton toys than plastic, but nonetheless a handkerchief didn’t seem to be enough. I guess I had to find hers and my own comfort level with what kind of toys and how many. I was grateful to have had the conversation about being mindful of what toys I was giving to my daughter in class that day.
The other thing I was told NOT to do was to sit my daughter up (she was 4 months old and I was so proud of her being able to balance herself in a sitting position that I would move her to this position often so that she could “practice”). The idea was that she shouldn’t be forced to be in a position that she couldn’t get into on her own accord, and for that matter, couldn’t get out of either. However, a day prior I was getting kudos from all the other moms about how my daughter could “sit up already!” and “wow!”.
There was something about the truth behind what she said when she spoke of the way we “rush” our children to do it “first” and how we are constantly comparing our child’s milestones with those of other children. The idea that the sooner they reach the milestones, the better, was one ingrained in me that I hadn’t questioned. Until that class.
This article speaks to this idea and I’m curious to hear other parents’ thoughts on it. It’s something I know I’m going to think about the next time I prop up my daughter on the coffee table ledge. Now that I’m thinking of it, I wonder if I should go back to the RIE class. Part of me is a little scared, like, wait, what if I become this totally against the grain parent and everyone thinks I’m some hippie nut? I don’t know….What if?? We shall see.