look who is sitting
When my mother had me, I don’t think she thought that much about how things were done differently around the globe. She might have had some knowledge about how things were done in America thanks to the old high school friends she still keeps in touch with, and she might have known about some of the things they do differently in France thanks to my parents’ French friend who had children at the same time as my parents, but other than that I think she was quite satisfied with just bringing up her kids and not really interested in what was done differently in neither the Netherlands nor the nearest town.
For me it is a little different. Thanks to the Internet (or people knowing someone who knows someone who was once somewhere close to this particular country where they do this), I know about maternity leave and traditions when taking care of babies in countries I have never visited. In Cuba, apparently, babies are given solid foods only a few weeks after they are born, in some countries, apparently, babies are not given cow’s milk until they are at least a year old, and in a too many countries maternity leave is over before it has even begun and mothers have to stay at home to watch their kids because day care is something they can only dream off. (I have 52 weeks of maternity leave – if I want – and day care is everywhere. In that sense, I feel extremely lucky that I have a choice.)
I don’t really care how other people do things. I think it is funny to see the differences, but I do things according to what I find is right, what I have been brought up with, what people I trust tell me to do.
One thing I chose was to not force our daughter to sit before she could do so herself. Not long after G’s birth I was told that it would be better to let her move around as much as she possibly could and to let her find her own way into sitting. I listened, because the people telling me were some of the people I have trusted the most, found the greatest and most honest in giving advice. I can name a handful of people who, had they given me the same advice, would have made me do the exact opposite, but in this case the advice came from the right people and so I chose to follow it.
The first couple of kids I know who are G’s age were sitting (with help) in the autumn. By Christmas I began wondering when my girl would sit. She was trying really hard, but rather than sitting up, she would lie on her side like an ancient Greek dining. And then two weeks ago on a snowy January Friday she suddenly got it right. She was sitting. It took her the weekend to perfect it, but nothing’s been the same since. Our girl is sitting:
(She is also finding emptying the diaper bag the funniest thing ever. I let her. I say no to so many other things (she wants to eat every news paper, every magazine she comes by and she doesn’t seem to understand when I tell her that those are for reading rather than eating), so this is one thing I let her do.)