Monday, September 25, 2006

Free Advice and Infants

I love free advice. Especially when it comes to infants. All those folks who bombard me kindly offer and explain the 'proper method' for raising a baby do me a great service. I imagine they have no idea what a valuable commodity their words of wisdom have become in our life.

I do not actually follow their advice of course. I am fairly picky about my sources. Unless it is basic Biblical principles being shared, I just smile sweetly and thank the offerer kindly, promising to "remember that". In cases of methodology, I do not take advice from anyone with fewer or younger children than my own. Nothing personal, but when I do more laundry in a day than an advisor does in a month, their advice is less-than-helpful.

Besides, if after seven times I have not figured it out, there is obviously a learning curve too steep to for me to surmount, and the advice would be wasted anyway.

Just this week I was encouraged to, "Give dat baby a sucker and strap her in a highchair". The fact that "dat baby" is only three weeks old and cannot hold up her own head is apparently irrelevant. I also have, in the past, been urged to give a 2 month old infant a chicken bone to gnaw on. My Grandfather swore that he always did that with my Dad, and that he turned out fine. The whole thing sounds way too similar to that 'Your-Dad-Has-Brown-Hair-Because-Of-A-Diaper-Accident-While-I-Was-Busy-Watching-Football' story. No thanks, Pop.

All this great advice could be a product of simple geography. Where else but in the Southern U.S. might I find a young mother to assure me that a slice of fatback was by far the most effective pacifier for a little one? I get a little weak in the stomach just remembering the end of a jiggly white slab rhythmically moving on her toddler's lips. But she was right-revolting as it was, it did appear to be a good pacifier.

To alleviate any guilt I might otherwise feel from not putting into practice any of these sage approaches, I utilize the words of wisdom in other ways. Whenever we need some stress relief, or someone is crying, all I need to do is whisper to Mr. Visionary that somebody needs to get that child a chicken bone. The snickering over the chicken bone (and retching over the fatback) lightens the mood tremendously. I told you they were a valuable commodity-we just added to our family repertoire of 'inside jokes'.  

Now we can prove two scriptures in one fell swoop. "Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety" Proverbs 11:14. "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine" Proverbs 17:22.

Did I mention I love free advice?

Fussy Baby

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