A Nose Swatting


Like an ice cream scooper caught licking her fingers and then serving customers, I got scolded this afternoon. Scolded by another parent for how I’m raising my son. I shit you not. This is why you should hire teenaged girls and college students as babysitters: they do what you tell them to, or they don’t, but they never tell you what to do when you return home.

It happened like this:

I arrive home from teaching and Evan is in his exersaucer. Babysitter (who has her own kid, now much older than Evan) starts telling me how it went. At first her judgments are sort of masked:

I tried to keep him up but he needed to go back to sleep after only an hour and a half. Her tone of voice expresses not only disbelief but also disapproval. He should be able to stay awake longer.

I say, Yes. This is normal. He sleeps 12 hours at night and then takes three to four naps of 40-60 minutes each. Every. single. day. He’s a great sleeper. As I say this, or some close approximation of this, I can’t help thinking that I know Brian told her this before he left this morning.

She continues: Then he woke up after only 45 minutes. She is not happy with the length of the nap. Presumably, it’s too short. I couldn’t agree more and wish he’d sleep in two hour chunks, but right now, this is his thing. Frequent, short naps.

So I say, Yup. Normal.

And she continues: And then he was hungry already and I tried to play with him because he had only eaten a little over two hours ago.

And me: Yes. Again. Normal. I think about explaining that he doesn’t wake at night so to get all his calories he has to eat every 2-3 hours, but I let it go. We’d love it if he could just eat every four hours like some babies, but we’ll trade sleeping through the night for eating more often during the day. Easy decision. The doctor says this is fine so we think it’s fine, too.

Then the scolding came: I don’t know if it’s you guys or the other babysitters, but you or they are holding him too much.


He didn’t want to be put down. He wanted me to hold him the whole time.

Now I’m looking at Evan, who has been in the exersaucer now for at least ten minutes since I’ve been home and who was in it when I arrived, as I mentioned above. I’m thinking, but of course I don’t say, He’s “down” right now, isn’t he?

She continues, telling me that he needs more quiet play time. I’m listening and the whole time I’m thinking about how she has no idea what we do with Evan. She has never seen us in action. She’s never seen whether we hold Evan all day or leave him on a blanket on the floor or just let him lie in the crib between naps, trying to pick animals off his sheets.

And oh yeah, maybe he wanted you to put him down for a nap and feed him, lady, not hold him.

I know we parents all judge one another. We can’t help it. I’ve written about this before and I totally believe that we judge because we want to believe that our way is the best. And even as I admit that I really have no clue how much to hold the baby, how to get him on a more socially acceptable four-month-old-baby schedule (awake longer, asleep longer), I still feel like I’m doing the best I can for Evan. I’m the one who gets to study his behaviors and habits 70+ hours a day week (it only feels like 70+ hours a day) and I’m the one who tries different things – solitary play sometimes, interactive play other times; days home, days out and about; clock-timed naps, baby-demanded naps. Judge me all you want but jesus, folks, keep it to yourself.  And please don’t scold me.

 Praise, of course, is always welcome.


2 Responses to “A Nose Swatting”

  1. That doesn’t really seem like a scolding – more like a lot of whining from someone who doesn’t want to do her job.

    If she’s not holding the baby, what exactly is it you’re paying her to do?

  2. Sheesh, that was a lot of whining on her part. She has one child? Clearly she hasn’t realized that all babies are different and not all like her kid.

    I wouldn’t let her comments bother you. She may have thought she was being helpful, but like bubandpie, it seems to me she doesn’t like having to actually do her job.

    Both my girls were/are short nappers and frequent eaters. I’ve also been told that I must hold Mira too much because she’s so fussy all the time.

    To me, it sounds like you know Evan’s preferences well, and you have a system you are happy with. That’s good parenting in my book.

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