May 27th, 2009

The Secrets of the Baby Whisperer

When my oldest child, Milo, was about three months old, Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, by Tracy Hogg, was my Bible. I figured Milo was old enough to be on some sort of schedule and I was lured by Tracy Hogg’s E.A.S.Y. approach to getting your baby into a structured routine.

The entire premise, for an exhausted, new mom, is more seductive than a tropical drink on a warm evening.

I mean, Eating, Activity, Sleeping, You (as in You Time). Please. What’s more delicious than that? When you’ve given up your body, sleep and freedom for the past year…nothing, that’s what.

So, I took her quizzes. I earmarked her book. I scoured her website. I printed pages and highlighted them. I wondered how much it would cost to fly her from England to Seattle for a one-on-one. (And why are all the child care savants English, I’d like to know?)

Hogg, who has since passed away, loved her acronyms. She also promoted her technique for interpreting what your baby was trying to tell you as S.L.O.W. (Stop. Listen. Observe. What’s up?)

I swooned over her bulleted lists and trouble shooting guides. I admired her compassionate combination of respect for both the baby and the mom. And Secrets of the Baby Whisperer gave me hope when my hope well had run dry.

I soured on Hogg’s methods, though, after several sunny afternoons spent locked in Milo’s dark, stuffy room, repeating the mantra to myself: We’re not leaving until he naps. In his crib. Because Tracy said he should. And would. If I did it right.

I tried everything. I patted. I shushed. I sat by his side. For hours on end. And then I went insane.

It wasn’t long before I came around and realized that all babies are different. That, if Milo didn’t want to nap alone in his crib, in a dark room on a sunny day, well, then, he just wasn’t old enough to. (It was only a few months before he accomplished this feat with little fuss anyway).

With Belle, I wised up. And I relaxed.

And, though I laud Secrets of the Baby Whisperer for the encouragement it gave me and I don’t think there’s a thing wrong with reading it, don’t rely on it too heavily. Like all parenting books, it’s a loose guideline. It offers ideas. But it is not a be all, end all.

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This Weeks Tip

Even if you don’t have a need for this, try it — it’s way cool! To remove permanent marker from any smooth surface (computer monitor, dry erase board, refrigerator), simply draw over the marks with a dry erase marker. Then wipe away both marks with a cloth or eraser. Really, it works!