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September 8, 2010

Lick Your Babies

Just visit the homepage of any parenting website, or cruise down the how-to aisle at the bookstore, and any mother is sure to be panic-stricken at the millions of do’s and don’ts – many conflicting – about rearing well-balanced children.

When I pause to think, it’s enough to make me question almost everything I do…

Am I spending too much time with the girls? Am I spending enough individual time with the girls?

Am I encouraging the girls to develop into individuals, separate and apart from their twinship? Could this encouragement drive a wedge between them?

Am I creating enough structure in their environment so they feel safe and secure? Or have I introduced too much structure so as not to encourage their creativity?

In teaching the girls to respect authority, am I hindering the development of an independent spirit?

Oh, and then there’s the topic of which could certainly warrant an entire book in itself...

How much should I encourage the girls to eat? Or should I have a take-it-or-leave-it approach? Or could they interpret a -it-or-leave-it approach to mean that I don’t care if they get the appropriate sustenance?

Should I praise them for eating well? I don’t want them to think it’s the key to mommy’s heart (although it does make me awfully proud)!

Should I keep them on the straight-and-narrow path of eating only healthy foods? Or if I never introduce them to Fruity Pebbles, will they one day rebel and begin eating every sugary processed food in sight?


But finally, I found something I can feel good about…

I am reading “One and the Same”, a book on twinship by Abigail Pogrebin. She cites one study about epigenetic differences in identical twins – changes in genetics brought about by environmental influences such as chemicals or food.

The 2004 rat study illustrated that “affection, or the lack of it, may also have an impact.” “…rats who were not licked and groomed by their mother as often as their siblings went on to exhibit more stress.” “The offspring of the high-licking moms exhibited better response to fear.

This is one by which I can confidently check “yes”, as I am positively certain that I “lick” my babies enough. They get more hugs and kisses and belly rubs and toe tickles than they know what to do with…

…and I guess I’m just hoping that makes up for any other psychological scars I may unknowingly be inflicting.


Beth said...

Don't we drive ourselves crazy with worry?!?! And the books only make it worse-- go to any book store and I can promise you will find two books which give opposite advice on nearly any part of parenting.

In my oh so humble opinion, you are doing the right thing-- what your gut tells you to do!! Keep 'licking' those sweet little girls and they'll be just fine!

p.s. wasn't "One and the Same" soo interesting?

Helene said...

All the conflicting information out there is enough to make you go insane!!! Just do what feels right in your heart...hopefully any mistakes we do make, our children will know we did out of love.

Cuz I'm the mama! said...

Wow! This is so interesting and I feel the same way!! Interestly enough - I just started taking my girls (12 months) to daycare 1 day/week. It has been going absolutely awful because they are so attached to me. Ms. R literally sceams (as is ... she is angry) all day long. you ... I question everything. Should I continue....or stop?? How is EVERYTHING I am doing impacting their development. It can make me crazy at times. In the end I just say to myself that I am doing the darn best I know how. And - that's all I have! Thanks for a very thought provoking post!

reanbean said...

So funny about you "licking" your babies quite frequently. I also read One and the Same, but didn't interpret that part quite the same way you did. Glad you spelled it out for me, because now I too can feel good about the fact that my kiddos are "licked" all the time and will, hopefully, turn out to be a-okay! :o)

There is just way too much to worry about. I think I worried myself out the first year. I've had far less worries since then.

MultipleMum said...

I have to say I didn't know where you were going with that heading! Hmmm, I thought. I should have been more trusting because you have pulled together another ripper post.

Parenting is a mind-field of dichotomies. This way or that way? I personally reckon there are many 'ways' to the same end-point. As long as you love hard and consistently, the kids will come out all right.

I haven't read this book so I will have to take your word for it, but I reckon all kids need to be 'licked'. Human touch is the most under-rated of the senses and yet it is so important as an expression of love, intimacy and connection.

A&B are very lucky to have such a doting Mum!

Anonymous said...

and we all know that you don't have to be any kind of expert to author a book. heck, i could write a book based on this first year. not sure who would read it, but it would probably drive whoever read it crazy with conflicting advice!

the food one is the thing that i really wish there was a check box or an algarhythm for!!!

Mary said...

that is one thing I worry about constantly!! One of my boys is extra fussy, and seems to get more attention. I try to spend quality time with the other one when mr. fussy pants hasn't woken up yet...but I'm always worried about scaring my children for life :o)