30 July 2009

Basic rights of babies

Nah this is not a post arguing the importance of Good Parenting (or Attachment Parenting or any other method that I define as Good and Important) - well except perhaps in passing and entirely coincidentally. This is primarily a musing about the benefits of benign neglect, and the wonders of nature. Those topics do have something in common I promise. ;)

Reading the Continuum Concept a few weeks ago, I was struck by something. The assertion that babies are developed with the expectation of a certain sort of upbringing. I know what she is getting, mostly that babies aren't crying because they are faulty but because our situation is faulty (I oversimplify, forgive me) but something else struck me.

Certain sorts of experience are inherant in the design of human beings. Certain realities are perfectly catered for by the actual makeup of my children! Those who are skipping way ahead, I know, I know, it took me five years and three children...

Babies are born with developed inner ears. They are MEANT to experience motion, to orient themselves in a moving, living world. They are perfectly adapted to experience an adult reality, DOING, not lying in a crib all day! Ack here I am talking about methods of parenting when I promised I wouldn't. ;)

Babies are born able to regulate their temperature in contact with another body. Therefore they are NOT ONLY best suited to being in contact, BUT they are born with the expectation of changing temperatures! They are born with SKIN, this amazing, wonderful, sensitive, WATERPROOF surface. They are born with the expectation of WEATHER!!

Too many caps and exclamations to be considered literary prose. ;)

Why has it taken so long for it to occur to me that it's OK for my babies to experience wind, rain, sun, cold and heat?

Of course it is still my job to protect their eyes from glare or move them to shelter when they are uncomfortable, of course I can provide dry towels and clothes when we come in from the rain, and wet weather gear to shield us from too MUCH cold and wet on these English Summer days... But how I deprive them when we rush in from the garden the second the weather changes! How unfair to take away from them the full experience of natural glory! How their senses must cry out for Earth's native input!

So many babies are insulated in their temperature controlled cribs, isolated from movement or any experience that might stimulate them (except perhaps the glare and noise of television). How many babies, if they leave the couple of rooms they live in, are rushed from one "safe" sensible environment to another - buggy to car to buggy to shopping centre to house!

And here I am, thinking myself all progressive and radical, running with my baby to get out of the wet, shielding her head from a few little spots of rain!


  1. And how crazy are the things considered 'safe'? Television, car seats, battery operated rocking vibrating things.
    About the motion thing, I'm so gutted that we were stuck in hospital for that first week. we weren't allowed to walk around with our babies so she just lay there in the plastic box or being wheeled around. Argghh, the benefits of hindsight! xx

  2. Lol,I have been thinking about these things too recently.

    It is so liberating to let go of worries about the weather, and to let your baby paddle about in the sea in light summer rain and then wrap them snuggly in the sling.

    I love how the sky sends rain to soak us and then sun to dry us and it's all part of being in the here anmd now, not running from what is.

    Gina xxx

  3. I think when I rush in from the rain it's more about me being uncomfortable than Ingrid :) I have to remind myself how it felt to run in the rain as a kid and how much fun it was!

  4. By the way, I've left you an award over on ingridliddle.blogspot.com. :)

  5. I have just been thinking similar thoughts! I take my little guy wherever I go, and the other day we paused to enjoy the rain drops because I swear he actually was enjoying the rain!

    Love your blog!

  6. We were at the forest the other day and there was thunder and lightening and torrential rain, just Tristan was with us and we ran for shelter under the buildings - he asked to get out of the sling and down and out he went into the pouring rain and went running through the MASSIVE puddles, he looked so exhilerated I felt like joining him :) but instead I enjoyed all the looks we got from the crazy people who thought we were crazy for letting him get so wet!


  7. I was really lucky to have twigged about the weather thing, when I got caught out in a heavy snow shower within a couple of weeks of Grace's birth. She just lifted her face to the sky and beamed! I've tried to just "go with" the weather ever since.

    I've also been trying (and REALLY struggling) not to ascribe values to the weather. We live in such a wet country that if I teach her that a "lovely" day is just a sunny one then she will be disappointed a lot - as I am. I want her to find all weather positive, but it's so hard not to say things like "oh no, it's started to rain" when you have washing out! :)

    Broken Man's Wife


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