"R. D. Martin, a primate anatomist and paleontologist, claims that humans really have a twenty-one-month gestation -- nine months in utero followed by twelve months outside." From Meredith F. Small's Our Babies, Ourselves.
The Philosophical Baby: What Children's Minds Tell Us About Truth, Love, and the Meaning of Life and Our Babies, Ourselves: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent came in the mail over the past couple of days. I'm really looking forward to them both -- developmental psychologist Alison Gopnick really knows her stuff and she is an excellent writer to boot. And I'm hoping anthropologist Meredith Small's book will give me some perspective on the conflicting advice I've been getting from my stash of parenting books. Feed the baby whenever she seems to want it (i.e. constantly)! No, feed the baby on a strict four-hour schedule! Carry the baby at all times! No, put the baby down! Put her down! Pick her up! Put her down! Feed her! No, don't! Swaddle her! Whatever you do, don't constrict the baby's movements! And so on, ad nauseum. It's like having a good angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other except that you're never sure which is which. My natural inclination is to the attachment parenting side, all !Kung San all the !way -- or perhaps that's only my theoretically natural inclination because when I get tired and exasperated I'm also really drawn to those experts who advocate a strict, strict schedule and a fair degree of separation between infant and caregiver. Suzy Giordano, author of The Baby Sleep Solution: A Proven Program to Teach Your Baby to Sleep Twelve Hours a Night, I am looking at you. With lust in my eyes. I want you, I need you. Will you come here and train my baby for me please? Alas, I suspect, but am by no means sure, that Giordano's promise, to have the baby sleeping twelve hours a night by twelve weeks of age, is a bit of a pipedream. Unless you have a baby who is just naturally inclined to do that, in which case... wanna trade? Mine's really cute. And if yours sleeps all night, I don't care if it looks like an orangutan.