When we discovered that we were expecting, after the initial joy-meets-confusion-meets-breathlessness-meets-joy period, we too did something that we sort of feel silly about in hindsight. We spent a lot of hard-earned money on books about pregnancy. Yes, the very same fat bundle of literature printed on paper so flawless and shiny that you would probably feel the urge to sanitize your hands before turning each page, for the fear of making it dirty.
As expected, we too read them from cover to cover, often analysing why our (okay, my wife’s - but I did give good competition with my belly!) baby bump looked nothing like the perfectly formed round belly that the model on the cover the book had, to discussing about the authors’ various degrees that made them perfectly qualified to be giving us pregnancy advice. We read up on all everything related to pregnancies and babies until we felt like we’re totally in control of the situation and knew ‘what to expect when we were expecting’. Because that’s what the new generation of parents do; we like to harness the power of information that we have at our disposal because we’ve been trained to vomit out facts, at the drop of a hat.
What did happen was that (over)loaded with all of this information, we had frequent panic attacks when sometimes the foetus’ development was not at par with what they said in the books. Or we ended up rushing to the gynaecologist because we couldn’t feel the baby kick, when in fact, he was just taking a nap and all we needed was to drink some cold water to wake him up! Yes, in retrospect, we do realise that they were all sort of guidelines - but to be honest, it was perhaps the first time we realised that ‘too much information is not always a good thing’.
Of course, we didn’t really learn our lesson. Which is why, when the baby was finally born, we graduated to parenting books. The very ones that somehow with their pictures of adorably cute babies with rosy cheeks and smiles that could take away all your worries, seemed to promise that they hid the secret formulae to raising strong-happy-intelligent-artistically gifted-musically bestowed-athletically inclined-children who would be the ones to make everything alright with the world. Instead, what we got were stunning examples of a broadly generalised class of kids whose behavioural and developmental traits resembled nothing of our son’s at all.
Needless to say, we soon quit trying to follow those books. Because this is the part that nobody tells you about:
[tweetbox design="box06" float="none"]Kids almost never behave like they say in these #parenting books. Mostly because they are yet to read the books. [/tweet_box]
It almost never goes the way it's meant to go like in those amazing parenting books and magazines. And I reveal this, with all the experience of having read some of these books (just so you don’t have to - because I’m nice like that!) In fact, most of them are just the equivalent of click-bait articles that we read on the internet today. They draw you in with titles such as ‘How to raise the perfect kid who listens to you’ and then proceeds to tell you off in condescending tones, which makes you feel like you are the toddler now. No, thank you - I have my parents for that !?
Of course, that’s not to say that these parenting books have not been at all useful.
In fact, we did end up using one of them to correct the shaky coffee-table that was missing one of those rubber thingamjigs on a leg. Oh, and we used another one to prop open the door when it gets really windy. And yet another to increase the height of my old desktop monitor. So yes, they have definitely gone ‘above and beyond’ what they were meant for.
In short, if you still want to go ahead and read these parenting bibles about raising ‘good kids' - good luck. But remember this:
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Trying to grasp #parenting using a book is like Trump using Google to find what a President does.
There's fat chance of that happening.
Having said all this, if I do ever bring out a physical book with my #DaddyJournal adventures and anecdotes, I expect all of you to buy it :P
Also, there are some really good books on parenting out there. Funny and relatable ones. Go read them. Oh, and some of these books do have really useful tips. Yes, really.