The cat will not suck the breath out of your baby

Although it would be justified if you did this to it.

Still, it would be okay with me if you did this to it.

I think it’s safe to say that few still believe that particular old wives’ tales about babies. That said, I do actually wish that cats were somehow dangerous so I’d be allowed to get rid of the one that lives in my house and pretends to be a pet only when my wife is looking.

Anyway, there’s no question that baby raising has changed over the years, and even in the last 20-30 since your parents managed to assure your survival.

The changes in approaches to childcare cause the following conversation to repeatedly occur throughout the generations.

“What do you mean you are supposed to __________? We never did that with you and you’re just fine.”

The fill-in-the-blanks above for our generation could be: “spend the first 48 hours alone with the baby,” “put the baby on its back to sleep,” “make people wash their hands before touching the baby,” “use a car seat for transporting the baby,” or even “be slightly reasonable.”

I’ve tried to go through some of these issues with my parents in advance of the baby’s arrival, in the hope that I can diffuse as many as possible before they start telling my wife what she’s doing wrong. I’ve done my best to be subtle about it, but my father knew exactly what I was getting at and let me know right away that he found it condescending. Immediately after that he said that we were stressing too much about our baby’s breech position and suggested that we solve the issue by having my wife stand on her head.

I’m not great at telling my parents when they are failing to respect boundaries. Most of the time, they’re not that bad, so it doesn’t present itself as a problem all that often.

But when the issue does in fact arise, I avoid confrontation for as long as possible before suddenly and spontaneously combusting into a temper tantrum with the exact same tone and dynamic as those from when I was 12 years old.

I’m really not certain what will happen once this baby arrives. I am picturing my mom hip-checking me and my dad finishing me off with a clothesline if I try to put my body between them and the baby anytime in the first week.

Regardless, I think I’m going to have to get in there and run interference, even if my parents hate me for it. Any tips from more experienced readers are welcome.


8 Responses to “The cat will not suck the breath out of your baby”

  1. 1 mtaterskt738

    I feel your pain. My wife and my mother sometimes have differing opinions on subjects and this causes problems. Not the problems of fighting or yelling, but awkwardness and frustration from both parties. I believe though that when my times comes to have these talks that my father will understand and will assist me in diffusing or handling the situation as he and I think very much alike. I do think, like you, that its important to raise YOUR child the way YOU want. Your parents did it their way and so you should be allowed as well. Great post.


  2. Well, this is one of those things you will just have to deal with. Everyone offers their pearls, and lots of times I feel the oyster should have been empty. And it is certainly more common on the Grandmother side – on the Grandfathers, they tend to agree with me.

    As for the fill in the blanks:
    swaddle the baby, not wash the baby twice daily (mine played in the mud twice a day, so we did :-)), not give the baby a blanket, let the baby not have a hat, let the baby not have fifteen layers of clothing, keep the baby at the temperature YOU are comfortable in, let the baby cry a little, oh boy, I could go on and on here…

    We take input from everyone, but we are writing our own book…

  3. 3 ianqui

    Found your blog through a comment on seadragon’s blog…

    I think I’ve seen all of your posts about the baby being breech, but forgive me if I’ve missed some important part of the story. Anyway, I was wondering whether your doc offered you and your wife the option of an external cephalic version? My son (now 3 weeks old) was breech for a while, but they turned him at 37 weeks and he stayed successfully head down until delivery. It wasn’t pleasant, but it was totally worth it to me. My posts about it are here, here and here. In any case, I’m thinking turning thoughts on your behalf!

  4. I’m a mom whose husband’s grandparents liked to give advice. He ran interference and after a while things settled down. It’s all about them finding the right balance in your life now that you’re on par with them and I think, as with anything, this takes some time and patience for all involved. Bby all means listen and take what you think is valuable, but don’t let anyone tell you what to do if it goes against your instinct. That’s the best advice I can give any parent.

  5. I like to remind my parents that it was probably acceptable for them to smoke in the car with me on moms lap on the trip home from hospital when they were new parents. And that in hindsight it doesn’t sound like such a smart idea, now does it Dad/Mom?

    But seriously, if you trust your pediatrician, ask him/her when you have conflicting info. Or just don’t know. Our pediatrician is awesome and it allows us this response: “Well our pediatrician recommends we ___________”.

    You’ll do just fine!

  6. 6 allisonwonder

    Thanks a lot- that paragraph about getting your wife to stand on her head just made me snort hot-wing out my nose. Ow.

    I feel your pain. My parents are great, but my grandmother… well, she means well, but she doesn’t see why babies should sleep on their backs, and she accuses me of only wanting my boys to nap because I’m tired.

    I’m told that this will never stop… not until we’re giving our kids bad advice, anyway.

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