Thursday, March 5, 2009

Again With The Grocery Store

Today at the store, as I was picking up a few forgotten items (I've got a problem, I know), I had an interesting conversation with the lady behind me in the check out lane.

She asked me about Lauren's age, and said all the cute baby things we usually hear, but then she started talking about how different things were from when her son was a baby 27 years ago. She commented on the price of formula now, and was astonished that people could afford such expenses for their baby's nourishment. I didn't have much to say about that, never having used formula, but I remember seeing the outrageous prices so I agreed with her.

From there we talked about other differences in parenting and upbringing. She never considered the importance of reading to her baby - he was too young to read, so why bother? She fed her son cereal at a few weeks old, to help him sleep better. He ate yogurt (she saw my rice cereal and yogurt on the conveyor) and cheese at a few months old. All these things were brought up, and each time I told her what doctors now recommend about beginning cereal or dairy products, she was blown away.

She asked several more questions about similar topics before I was ready to leave the store, and for some reason, she seemed apologetic about how they used to do things. I made some comments about how things will probably change again in the next 25 years, so we shouldn't put too much stock in doing it exactly right.

But, that is exactly what I do. I follow the rules. No cereal before 4-6 months. No cow's milk, peanut butter, eggs, strawberries, or honey before a year. No excess sugar. No outside play without sunscreen. Rear-facing car seats, baby-proofed cabinets, limited TV. Admittedly, that last one has slipped over the past year, but what I'm getting at (yes, I have a point) is that there are all these rules that didn't exist in 1982, when I was born.

Seeing the end result - me - I know that those hippies (hi mom, hi dad) somehow made it through without all of these newfangled guidelines. And 25 years from now, the experts will have come up with a thousand new guidelines. Our kids will be like, "I can't believe you let us eat food that had touched plastic...how crazy were you?!" So I'll never know if I'm doing everything as 'right' as I could be.

However...

I still think it's for the best. I can't just do whatever I want with regards to raising my children, to some extent at least. I have a hard time flying by the seat of my pants where some things are concerned; if I hear the correct way of doing something, I can't un-know it, and I feel bad about disregarding the rule. But as the kids get older, the rules will become non-existent. Nobody has exact guidelines for eradicating teen angst, so I'll be a fish out of water.

For now, though, I seek comfort in following the rules.

And, in believing my last statement to the lady at the store: "What really matters is that a child is surrounded by a loving, supportive family. Everything else will fall into place."

I'm so wise, right?

Is this thing on?

1 comment:

  1. I totally hear ya! It's amazing the things that have changed just since Faith was a baby (in six short years!) I second your feelings about being a rule follower though, Faith sat in her car seat until she turned 6. And even now on long trips, I wish she was in one. It just seems so much safer!

    ReplyDelete

Hmm...And how did that make you FEEL?