Did Not Appreciate Music Appreciation Class

All these ear parts hurt. All of them.

All these ear parts hurt. All of them.

Five minutes into Baby Music Appreciation class, I am huddled in the corner trying to nurse my frazzled baby as parents waltz their children around the room so that they can feel the rhythm. Slow, fast, fast, slow, fast, fast, slow, fast, fast, sings the teacher, which also describes the tempo of my meltdown.

We go around the room with a chant welcoming each baby by name.

“We clap for Chloe, hello Chloe, we snap for Olive, hello Olive, we bounce for Jake, hello Jake, we emotionally shut down for Teresa, hello, Teresa.” Goodbye sense of peace. This welcome thing goes on forever. By the end of it, my head is tucked into my husband’s shoulder as he holds Buster in his lap.

The other parents seem to be exploding with euphoria, psyched to be slow, fast, fast, slow, fast, fast dancing and bonding on a Sunday morning, and this makes me feel insane, because I’m not just emotionally miserable, I am experiencing a full-on body cramping, head in a vice, eyeballs aching kinesthetic undoing. Several parents come up to us and say, “Claire hated this the first time, too. She nursed the entire class. Now she loves it!”

They say it’s for newborns to 18 month-olds, but I’m starting to wonder if a four month old baby like Buster really needs music appreciation. It’s hard for me to philosophize, because I’m sweating and blinking excessively. The fluorescent lights are too much, as is the clanging of tiny bells and other baby instruments and the intermittent squealing of babies.

Just when Buster is calm, one of these tots lets out a shriek, and he doesn’t know what the fuck.

And I realize that I can’t handle small crowded rooms, or loud noises, or bright lights, never could. My mom took me to Chinese New Year once in San Francisco, where I grew up, and I begged to wait out the whole thing in the car, away from firecrackers and throngs. I still loathe the Fourth of July, with its unpredictable bursts of noise.

The baby is holding up better than I am, but something about the exhaustion and exaltation of new motherhood has made me quicker to dog the things I used to have to pretend to like.

On the way home, I announce that I am never, ever going back there.

Those other parents loved it, their kids seemed okay with it, but I couldn’t hack it. My baby listens to Neil Diamond’s “Hot August Night” every morning in his swing (minus “Sweet Caroline,” because the Mister removed it from the playlist after declaring it f-ed out) and that’s music appreciation enough for now. I am, I said, I quit.

Mommy and me movie? A dark theatre, no forced mingling with other parents as we are ordered to doe-see-doe in parallel lines across the room, that’s just my speed. The breast-feeding moms support group? Didn’t mind that. Anyone who has been a mother for a single day longer than I have has something to teach me, and I’m all ears.

But speaking of ears, mine can’t handle the symphony or horrible songs and baby screams that make up baby music class.

Instead of feeling like a failure, which is my “go to” and always has been, I feel like Julia Roberts in the movie “Runaway Bride.” She doesn’t know what kind of eggs she likes, because she always just orders what her man likes, so she sits down to an egg taste test to find her true self. This is part of a very touching montage. Sorry about using such a lame movie to make a point. I know it ain’t Kurosawa, but I liked it. And I related.

The kind of parent I want to be is the kind that can announce, even in the midst of two-dozen parents with massive loyalty and mad love for baby music class, that I think it sucks. For me, it’s a sweat box of idiocy and overwhelm that Buster doesn’t need and neither do I.

That goes for everything, as I try to sort out what kind of eggs I like. You sleep train, I don’t. That works for you, I think it’s a fad that makes moms feel like powerless losers most of the time. You don’t use a pacifier, I do, cause it works for me and maybe my child will never learn how to soothe himself but I used one when I was a baby, and as my mom says, “You were over it by college, don’t worry.”

You don’t swaddle, I do. You put in your solid ten minutes of tummy time, I cheat the boy out of fully “experiencing” his arms because he loathes it and I’m pretty sure our parents had no idea what the fuck tummy time was and we eventually rolled over and walked, as I walked away from that music class, as I will continue to walk away from things that just don’t make sense for us.

Here’s the music I appreciate: the volume turning up on my own inner voice about how the heck to spend our time. I hate that I just used the phrase “inner voice,” for the record, but how else can I put it? The baby books, the classes, the parenting advice, it can all get loud and bright and cause a girl to panic, and cause a girl to pretend she enjoys crap like waltzing around a packed room with a bunch of strangers and a confused baby in the hopes that he will one day play first violin in the philharmonic. I don’t even know what a philharmonic is, and I don’t care.

Buster has permission to be average.

That’s right. I’m a Jewish mother who doesn’t need her child to be excellent. When that kid flashes me his gummy smile, when he seems content, that’s the beat I can dance to, that’s the way I like my goddamn eggs cooked.

Next time I’m not feeling a baby activity I think I should be doing, here’s how I’m getting out of there. Slow, fast, fast.

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88 Responses to “Did Not Appreciate Music Appreciation Class”

  1. ashley anderson
    February 1, 2010 at 4:39 pm #

    try gymboree. Its not so bad and my daughter loves it.

  2. Teresa
    February 1, 2010 at 3:14 pm #

    Hiya! Loved you in everything I’ve seen or heard you on, love this blog, love the new parenting podcast. (Have I kissed ass enough? No? You are also pretty and your baby is smart.)

    I really don’t want to be a negative nelly, but I wish you wouldn’t group vaccinations into the “what works for you” category. That’s fine and dandy for bottle/breast, pacifier/self-comfort, co-sleep/crib decisions. But vaccinations are more in the car seat/bungee mom hold baby, the kind of decision that making the wrong choice can actually harm your child (even kill your child). Not only that, but not vaccinating your child can put other children and adults at risk.

    Please just take a moment and check out this very well written blog post about vaccine skepticism. http://www.skeparent.com/posts/2010/1/13/why-we-changed-our-minds-and-started-to-vaccinate.html

    Whether you read it or not, or ever bring up vaccines again I still think you are awesome and Buster is lucky to have such a chick as you for a mother.

  3. Nater
    January 31, 2010 at 8:58 am #

    Hi T! I look forward to the next installment of The Parenting Experiment. I’ve wanted to speak w/you since your first days on ACS and spent alot of energy yelling at the radio. I tend toward the conservative and have disagreed vehemently, but wouldn’t miss a second of your broadcasting. You are wonderful and beautiful and named your child after me. I was not aware that I was worthy of such an honor. Keep up the great work.

  4. Maria Theresa
    January 31, 2010 at 8:33 am #

    HI Teresa- Have to say I love the podcast and hope you guys keep it going. I heard you talking about struggling with nursing. You are so not the only one. I killed myself for months and months trying to make it work. Do what makes the most sense for you. Breast-fed babies aren’t some special breed of people. My son had as much breast milk as I could make and that was good for me and thus was good for you. formula isn’t crack. Please keep the podcast coming.

  5. Pregzilla
    January 31, 2010 at 1:49 am #

    Never!!! Those “classes” are rediculous. I will never ever EVER take my baby to one again. Those classes are just an excuse for parents to get out with their babies. Which is fine, but it’s not really doing anything for the baby. So if you don’t enjoy it, there is no reason to participate. Zero guilt.

  6. elizabeth
    January 31, 2010 at 1:28 am #

    Wow, listen to how much more confident you sound from the last post to this one! It sounds like you are trusting yourself to be reasonable about things. There’s nothing about those classes that is necessary to the child. People just do them because the parents enjoy it.

    Kudos to you for saying it’s okay if Buster is average. That’s something I know I’ll struggle with as a parent. Although you want the best for your kid, pushing them to be awesome is just another way of making it all about you.

  7. parenting BY dummies
    January 30, 2010 at 10:10 pm #

    Good for you. I gave all that crap a try w/#1. Now that #3 is here the only music he gets to appreciate is what he hears on the radio while I’m dragging him to the stuff his older brothers do. Could explain the reason he knows all of the lyrics to Single Ladies, but not sure how he knows the entire dance too? Oh, I know, it was that episode of Glee… Anyway, baby classes are as much for mommies (or more) as they are for babies. So, if you aren’t enjoying them then screw it and let your baby listen to Neil Diamond will you shake your money maker in front of him in colorful pants. Pretty much the same thing and he’ll be in a philharmonic in no time, whatever that is?! Or, you could just let him learn the steps to Single Ladies and hope that one day he gets to do something amazing like be on So You Think You Can Dance.

  8. Helen
    January 30, 2010 at 9:05 pm #

    welcome to parenting… where you figure out what works for you and you go with it. i HATED the “creative play” class i did with my kid when she was a baby – and i vow to only do things i like doing with my second. you figure it out – you already have. i’m sure buster will be above average in some things, and not in others – JUST like the rest of us. and he’ll be great, and funny, and have a kick ass mom who didn’t drag him to stupid shit just because she thought she had to.

  9. Sally
    January 30, 2010 at 1:36 am #

    Teresa you are awesome. Thanks for the heartfelt hilarity.

    I heard the new podcast today and loved it. I hope you focus on having interesting people (like Fitzsimmons) talk about their experiences and stories regarding parenting, rather than a bunch of experts telling us how to do such and such. I can google if I really want to know something. What I need is entertainment so I can take my kids to the park and fold all their laundry, etc, etc, without losing my mind (ipod baby).

    And for the stupid people who can’t tell the difference between medical advice and a funny story, maybe a disclaimer?

  10. Augie
    January 30, 2010 at 12:12 am #

    Teresa: You’re funny, down to earth, and likeable. Likewise, some of your columns are of superior quality. The next time I teach freshman writing (I’m a linguist who teaches in an English Dept., so I teach general education courses, too), I will have my students read your piece on the evil stepmother. It is a wonderful example of the use of the implicit thesis statement in personal narrative writing.

    Recently, I heard on a podcast that you’re writing a book on pregnancy and motherhood. My wife and I have two girls, 4 and 2. So, we’ve read tons of books on this subject. Sadly, most of them are not worth reading.

    In my mind, there are basically two types of new parent books: (1) The self-pity reader. This is about the new parent who is overwhelmed by the time committment of children and how much time is taken away from one’s professional life. Sometimes, these books’ authors also kvetch about the lack of sex in the marriage after children. I’m not sure why anybody needs to read about something that is completely normal and well-known to all parents. These types of books also have an irritating quality because they’re usually written by people with nannies and maids. (2) The new age parent reader. This is usually about how wonderful and rewarding breastfeeding is, how great it is to try this or that sleeping technique, and how fathers have to make new mothers organic shakes and buy toddlers cereal made from nuts and twigs. In other words, stuff that very few people care about that is junk science, anyway (except for breastfeeding, which rocks–my wife did it for almost a year with each of our girls and yes, it was really, really hard for all, but not as hard as stopping).

    Indeed, I have simplified this to a rediculous level. And I know that writing is extremely difficult (I’ve been through publish or perish, myself!)However, the market is so saturated with books about pregnancy and new parenting that I have to ask you:

    What will be different about your book?

    Of course, I’m not asking for a personal answer, but I think it is an important question to think about.

  11. Sheila
    January 29, 2010 at 8:36 pm #

    T Berry,
    I never attended a “mommy and Me’ of any kind, didn’t do gymboree, didn’t play subliminal “learn triginometry” tapes during nap time. I didn’t like most human beings before I spawned – there was practically zero chance that was going to spontaneously occur just because I managed to breed. My older daughter did “introduce” me to a fair number of people I wold have otherwise “looked right through” at the public park playgrounds or the grocery check out – she’s an Aquarian through and through — was born thinking everyone must naturally like her. I couldn’t FATHOM this (or how it happened because I’ve felt since birth that no one would willingly talk to me :-) or that if they did that I’d have anything interesting to say. My younger daughter was the polar opposite, she didn’t make eye contact with a stranger until she was in second grade. If we entered a room with children playing she clung to me like a frantic chimp. If anyone tried to engage her in the activity, she would bite them (and I’m talking, leave marks, sometimes blood bites) until I finally started adopting the Heismann trophy stance with her under one arm and my outstretched hand in the other – when I would announce “watch out !!! she bites as loud as I could”. She was the most unrepentant, viscious biter I’ve ever known. I considered this G-d’s payback for my harsh thoughts about the biters I met when my sweet, lovable first daughter was a baby – I naturally assumed those biters were poorly mothered sociopaths-in-diapers … hahahaha… the shoe definitely pinched when it was on the other foot. It really did teach me to check my judgement at the door in a way probably nothing ever could have. Your description of music class sounds like Dante’s third ring of hell. Buster doesn’t want or need music class. If you think he might benefit from some tunes – there’s a TON of great music for babies CD’s out there that you can control the volume and come with no obnoxious mothers and their budding “geniuses” – bleh.

    Sheila

  12. Lupe
    January 29, 2010 at 6:51 pm #

    That’s the T I fell in love with.

    Since when does “mommy and me” need to include a room full of people you would never otherwise give a sh** about?

    My son is ten, and you articulate so well what I felt then and feel now.
    . . . and WTF is tummy time?

  13. Alison
    January 29, 2010 at 4:05 pm #

    I listened to the podcast with you and Adam’s wife. I have a friend who also had a hard time breastfeeding her child at 4 months of age, and felt bad for not being able to nurse. She found a recipe to make her own formula and did so for about a year. She blogged about it: http://www.cheeseslave.com/2008/09/29/how-to-make-homemade-baby-formula/

  14. Cam
    January 29, 2010 at 3:54 pm #

    I didn’t take my daughter to a “mommy and me” type music class until she was 14 months old (I was 8 months pregnant with my son). My daughter had a small shaker, songs were sung, and it was fun. No one should be a “stage mother” or push their child to be a musical prodigy. Music is not a competitive sport. It’s not there to make kids brilliant, or better than anyone else, although many do agree music helps will various math skills. Music should be fun, and children who are introduced to it at all ages/stages may one day pick up drums, a clarinet or something when they are 5, or 15. They may not be in a “philharmonic” but may play with their buddies on the weekend, play at small clubs or give children lessons , but whatever they do, music will be something they always will have.

    • Cam
      January 31, 2010 at 11:58 pm #

      To clarify – most baby “classes” do not actually benefit the baby. Mom’s who are hyper-competitive should be avoided. One on one contact is the most important now. He’ll have plenty of time to crawl around and get into mischief. Real socializing doesn’t happen for another year or so…..Although I’m still figuring it out.

  15. Neil
    January 29, 2010 at 3:27 pm #

    Hi Teresa,

    I couldn’t find another way to contact you or send an e-mail to the podcast, so I figured I’d post this here.

    I just heard your parenting podcast with Ms. Carolla. I really think you need to make a statement regarding your answer to the caller who asked “a friend of mine gives their child Jack Daniels to help him sleep.” The answer you guys gave him was based on a doctor saying once that rubbing a little whiskey on a baby’s gums during teething is okay.

    Even if the teeth remedy is acceptable (which I do not think ANY doctor would recommend nowadays) that is VERY different from giving a child alcohol to consume in order to get him or her to fall asleep. Their have been cases when parents have given their child alcohol and killed the child due to alcohol poisoning.

    If you’re doing a friendly podcast about giving parenting advice, that’s fine, but do not venture into the medical realm or you’re going to get yourself if trouble if you do not have a pediatrician with you. Adam Carolla may be quite wise, but I know he would not have attempted to give LoveLine advice without Drew.

    Here’s just one bad example of how whiskey was used on a child: http://www.ksat.com/news/14420619/detail.html

    Good luck with the podcast, but please stick to non-medical advice in the future.

    Neil (a dad)

    • Teresa Strasser
      January 29, 2010 at 6:56 pm #

      Thanks for your feedback. I think it was pretty clear that we were not in any way dispensing medical advice. We were, after all, interviewing a comedian. However, I truly appreciate your listening to “The Parent Experiment” and taking the time to send along the above link. Seems like a terrible idea to booze up your kid (obviously?).
      t

  16. Michael
    January 29, 2010 at 2:08 pm #

    Sorry this is off-topic but I just listened to your Parent Experiment podcast. I must really like you because I can’t believe I listened to a podcast about parenting. I get enough damn talk about parenting from my wife frankly. But I wanted to defend RIE a little. First of all, me no hippy. Yes, I live in Santa Monica, and yes I’m surrounded by hippies, but my god the drive me crazy. I’m an atheist and skeptic and one of my favorite sites is rationalmoms.com. That said, I always started in with the RIE philosophy when my older son was about 13 months old or so (he’s now 5). When my wife approached me about taking him my response was “Oh god not some hippy-dippy westside crap,” but since she was going to take him to to the classes what did I care. I’m so glad she went because, ignoring how it affected our kids long term, it changed my life as a parent in a hugely positive way. Yes “Educarer” is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard, and I can only hope that Magda Gerber’s unfamiliarity with English is the cause of such an atrocity, and yes the fact that it rejects the entire premise of Harvey Karp’s book is a little frightening, but in the long term it’s made our lives so much easier.

    We don’t have a nanny and both of us work at home. What RIE does is to encourage your kid to play on his own, without stimulation. Take a moment and think about how f-ing cool it is to not have stupid ass cartoons blaring at you, or even stupider battery-powered toys playing all sorts of fake Mozart music all the time. It’s about as peaceful as a house with kids can be.

    here’s a video I posted at vimeo. I was just trying to show generally how RIE helps foster a relaxing atmosphere. I highly recommend you take a class instead of reading a book. It startling how quietly a group of kids play in a RIE class.

    http://vimeo.com/1479089

    My final thought is that the one thing our RIE teacher always talked about was that you should only do RIE so far as it works for your family. It’s not a religion that you have to adopt in its entirety, though some militants would probably think so.

    Anyway, good luck. Kids are hard. I never realized how much I liked drinking until I had kids.
    Michael

    • Sheila
      January 29, 2010 at 8:24 pm #

      Hi Michael,

      I’m a pretty down to earth logical parent (software engineer by profession) and I must say that one of the greatest gifts I every accidently gave to my daughters was finding a home daycare provider that ran her place with RIE principals (she actually attended some classes with Magda herself (obiviously a long time ago). I do think it isn’t for everyone. Parents who feel their kids are failing if they aren’t walking at 5 months, playing three instsruments with virtuosity at 8 months, speaking Mandarin, Enlgish and some language they learned for “fun” at a year, and hot on the trail of table top nuclear fusion by 18 months would clearly not be suitable candidates for trusting their childs inner explorer as is focused on by Magda – but when you see a 5 babies all exploring in their own unique self driven and expressive ways – I defy you not to tear up just a bit. I personally think the world is a lot better because of the Madga’s of the world. That said – I thought T and Lynette were a SCREAM ! Totally coolio pod cast that I will definitely listen to even though my kids are old enough to have some of their own. Hilarious. I also think that it was clear that they weren’t saying put your infants on the Jamesons … nor did I think they were giving “medical” advice – oh perish the litigious thought.

      Sheila

      • Michael
        January 29, 2010 at 10:21 pm #

        RIE is cool. All the cool kids are doing it. But yeah, it’s not for everyone if you want your kid speaking mandarin and doing algebra. I think it’s really worth exploring and is extremely rewarding not just from a kid’s perspective, but from a parent’s perspective. However, that said, people generally ignore my advice. If I say, “RIE is amazing and it’ll make your life with your child so much more pleasant,” it’s almost guaranteed that they’ll ignore me. My wife and I joke that we’re like the greek myth of Cassandra, cursed with the ability to see the future but no one will believe us.

        Our kids might not have had Jamesons, but I’m sure they had plenty of alcoholic breast milk, what we called, “Mamatinis.”

        thanks Sheila,
        michael

  17. Jenny W
    January 29, 2010 at 1:42 pm #

    My two-and-a-half year old twin nephews listen to what Mommy has on her iPod too. And when Beyonce songs come on, one of them says “Put a ring on it!” and when Beyonce sings “in the closet, that’s my stuff, and if I bought it, please don’t touch” the other one says “Yes I want to touch Beyonce!” They didn’t need a class to enjoy music, and they are more hilarious for it. Keep writing!

  18. Lori
    January 29, 2010 at 6:16 am #

    I am so glad you’re back! I’ve been checking regularly and had almost given up on you. Your posts make me laugh and I needed a good chuckle today.

  19. Vanessa
    January 29, 2010 at 12:12 am #

    I wish you would write a post everyday but at least once in a while I get something real, gritty and relatable. I just tried searching for pregnancy or mom blogs and just about threw up inside my mouth after a few sentences. Please know you are incredible, inspiring and full of all the same stuff as so many of your readers and listeners. Thanks for having the guts to say what we all think.

  20. Cath
    January 28, 2010 at 4:40 pm #

    Very impressed that you were able to come to these insights as a first time mom. I think as new moms we get so caught up in “doing the right thing” without taking into consideration that the “right thing” has to work for our babies and, more importantly, for us. Your instincts may not be right for anyone else, but they always are for you. I admit it… I didn’t sleep train my babies, but only because I never had to. I didn’t do tummy time for my first because she was a human geyser and puked constantly…didn’t want to extra clean up … and then forgot to do it with the other 2 because I didn’t have time. The miracle blanket was my best friend and I cried when they grew out of it at 5 months…. although I found swapping it out for a sleep sack seemed to work. My kids wouldn’t take the binkie despite me assaulting them with it every minute I could. And other than breast feeding support group, didn’t do any classes with my first until she was older because COME on, what 4 month old baby needs to “socialize”? I do take my 3rd kid, to a music class which I don’t care for simply because she is 2 and is fully able to voice and demonstrate her adoration for all things musical. The list of cultish mommy things that I won’t do just seems to get longer as they get older. But it works for us… so far.

  21. Miriam
    January 27, 2010 at 11:47 pm #

    I’ve been checking and checking hoping to see a new post. I couldn’t agree more with you (except on the tummy time thing, evidently we all slept on our stomachs, hence no need for tummy time).

    There is so much pressure on us as parents to stimulate, motivate, educate, indoctrinate (ok kidding on the last one) our kids, we forget they can just be kids. Buster will like your music (or if he’s like the kid on Murphy Brown he will like Barry Manilow, the exact opposite of his Aretha loving mommy) – kids absorb everything, all we have to do is try to make ourselves available as parents and people. And feed them…see, it’s not so hard being a parent.

  22. Stephanie O
    January 27, 2010 at 11:34 pm #

    Teresa, you’re awesome. :) Even though my kids and I have enjoyed music class, I agree with everything you’ve said.

    You don’t need organized classes to have fun with music, and some kids music won’t even make your ears bleed! Here are some of our favorites:

    I second the recommendation for Barenaked Ladies kid CDs – we just got Snacktime and it’s tons of fun. There’s an alphabet song featuring words that don’t sound like they should = A is for aisle, etc. We’ve loved They Might Be Giants – No! is our favorite, and more recently Here Comes Science is great. Nicky’s Jazz for Kids is full of fun, well, jazz. Putumayo Kids puts out tons of CDs of music from around the world – we love the Hawaiian one, some are hit-and-miss. We’ve checked lots out from the library to try stuff before buying it.

  23. Oklahoma Tim
    January 27, 2010 at 9:20 pm #

    Hell to the yes, T. I’m not even sure if I like music AT ALL anymore, this blog is so good. Please experiment with new baby classes or whatever other activities inspire you to write more blogs… and play the kid a little Miles Davis. He’ll be a cool ass cat. Lastly, for the love of christ, keep not seeing the emperor’s new clothes.

  24. Erina
    January 27, 2010 at 6:54 pm #

    Teresa, you mentioned on the podcast that you will be on Dr. Phill. Even though I hate him, I would like to watch it since you will on it. So, my question is when will it air?

  25. Kyle
    January 27, 2010 at 6:18 pm #

    This post was music to my ears.

  26. Jamie
    January 27, 2010 at 4:07 pm #

    Teresa, you are the voice of parental reason! I love your “Runaway Bride” analogy; that’s really spot on. There are so many contradictory ideas about what is good for kids that if we did everything we were “supposed” to do, then our kids would be truly effed up. Your instincts are perfect–reject the stuff that doesn’t make sense to you or makes you crazy and accept the stuff that works and feels OK.

    And yay for being fine with an average kid! Average kids are underappreciated!

  27. Janine
    January 27, 2010 at 2:46 pm #

    Thank you!!!!!!!!! There are so many rules and books and experts out there telling you what to do that it’s hard to just enjoy your baby….our parents never knew half the things we do and we all turned out fine, didn’t we?

    I’m a new Mom with a 4 month old as well and I almost lost my mind when she was first born. I was trying to decide if I should buy, “The Baby Whisperer” or “BabyWise” to get my child to sleep at night without potentially screwing her up for the rest of her life by letting her cry it out or by going to her too soon when she cries. Then a friend gave me the best advice I could ever ask for….she told me “Put down the books, relax and trust yourself. I know you THINK you don’t have any instincts but you do, you just have to trust them.” I took her advice and now I am a happier and better Mom than any book could ever teach me to be.

  28. Debbie in Seattle
    January 27, 2010 at 1:48 pm #

    Thanks for another great post. I used to take my daughter to baby & me time at the local public library. It was free and a great way to meet other parents who like to read (I’m a bookworm) and the baby gets to interact with other babies while listening to a story. Give it a try!

  29. Chana
    January 27, 2010 at 1:41 pm #

    I am so glad another parent has finally admitted that it’s okay for their child to be AVERAGE. Too much pressure is put on parents to have their kids be the next Einstein. I didn’t have Baby Einstein videos, Baby Music classes or phonics when I was a child and I think I turned out okay. Keep posting. I check your blog every day for anything new.

  30. Andy
    January 27, 2010 at 12:48 pm #

    This post should be mandatory reading for all new moms/dads. Read all the parenting stuff you want, ask all the other parents & your pediatrician any question you want, then decide what works for YOU and YOUR baby & do that!

  31. April
    January 27, 2010 at 12:47 pm #

    You and Buster will do just fine!

  32. Betsy
    January 27, 2010 at 12:23 pm #

    Me too!! :)

  33. Tess
    January 27, 2010 at 10:12 am #

    Yea, that sounds like hell.

    Your baby will probably appreciate his Neil Diamond education when he’s older.

    The important part is that when you’re singing or when you’re dancing, that you’re interacting with him. That’s the mommy & me time that (at this age) he’ll really respond to. He doesn’t really need that much stimulation or socialization from outside his little world.

    The best thing in the world is when you put on a song they’ve known forever and they start dancing and singing to it automatically. It’s so cool. :)

  34. Jen
    January 27, 2010 at 5:55 am #

    RE: Tummy Time Guilt

    My (fabulous, low stress) pediatrician told me that any time our son wasn’t laying on his back counted and that Anderson shouldn’t have to lay on his stomach with his face in his own drool, unable to push himself up until he went away to college. At 14-months he has a perfectly normal shaped head…no helmet needed.

  35. Megan
    January 27, 2010 at 3:48 am #

    Yahoooo… A new post! I check multiple times every single day (usually while breastfeeding!). We should start a new club. The swaddle-pro pacy-anti belly time club. I guarantee we’d have a quick following. I’d add ‘watching tv (or checking blogs!) while breast feeding’ to that list. It’s supposed to be ephemeral bonding time with your baby. Really? I do this far too often to be concerned with bonding. We are bonded at the boob. Keep posting! Keep posting! It gets me through my middle of the night feedings!

  36. Michelle
    January 27, 2010 at 2:32 am #

    The best thing anyone ever said to me as I was frantically worrying that my baby wouldn’t think I was a good enough Mom was “Well, you’re the only Mother she’s got, so what’s she going to compare you to?”

    YOU are his Mom. Do what feels right. And, yes, music class sucks.

  37. Roger
    January 27, 2010 at 1:29 am #

    Wait until you go to your first school meeting and some parent stands up and says “My child tests WAY above average. What will the school be doing to stimulate them.”

  38. Starfruit
    January 27, 2010 at 12:12 am #

    Soooooooooo refreshing and hopeful. Always wondered about the dreaded ‘grouping’ of moms and activities when thinking about having kids…..you’ve ‘come out’ to discusss a topic that makes me feel there are choices beyond ‘what everyone else is doing’. THANK YOU……..

  39. Mahalo
    January 26, 2010 at 11:20 pm #

    “a sweat box of idiocy” That is brilliant! Our parents didn’t have half of all this nonsense and we are all fine. Not perfect, but who the hell is. I love that you are honest and keep up with the great posts. Can’t wait for “The Parent Experiment” podcast!

  40. poorjavier
    January 26, 2010 at 10:29 pm #

    A New Post!! You are my mommy methadone. Let Buster learn to appreciate the music that daddy and mommy listen to. Sing to him and I’m sure he’ll be a drooly, poopy, happy baby. Slow fast fast, very funny. As they say, “comedy gold”.

  41. Vic
    January 26, 2010 at 10:22 pm #

    What provoked you into even going to one of those classes with a 4 month old? I can’t even imagine why people do those kind of things that early on. Music classes can be fun and beneficial later on, though. Perhaps try a “Kindermusik” type class when he’s a toddler?

    • Mrs Musics
      January 28, 2010 at 11:59 pm #

      Blech. Please don’t. The best baby music? The kind you sing to him. Everything else is just over-rated, over-hyped bologna. Kindermusik likes to claim all sorts of benefits, but if you look into their research it’s all done by one chick – surprise! A kindermusik teacher!

      • Vic
        February 12, 2010 at 10:48 pm #

        Well… although we’ve never done Kindermusik because it was so pricey, I did have my son in a local “Music and Movement” class at age 4 and he had a ball! As kids get older I do think they benefit from classes involving their peers, music, instruments, dancing, whatever.

  42. Jamie
    January 26, 2010 at 10:09 pm #

    I love your attitude about doing things the way that works best for you and your baby. Good for you. I say to myself that I don’t care what people think and outwardly I’m super defensive while inwardly I’m freaking out wondering if I’m permanently scarring my child. I thought about doing one of those music classes with Amelia, but I’m like you in that I HATE repetive noises, loud noises, and children screaming. Seriously hate it. So, thanks, I think I’ll skip the music class.

  43. Kelsey Cafferky
    January 26, 2010 at 10:08 pm #

    I couldn’t agree more! My son hated tummy time, was swaddled until he was 6 months old, and STILL uses a binkie and he’s 15 months old. You are not a bad mom because you do these things in order to maintain your sanity. I think you having sanity will make you a better mom…while allowing you to decide what does and does not work for your baby and your family. I got tricked into going to this HORRIBLE new mom’s support group when my son was about 2 months old. All the mom’s there were weird and seemed really into it and I wasn’t so I never went back. I didn’t feel bad and still don’t. Good luck!

  44. Tom Gordon
    January 26, 2010 at 10:07 pm #

    Hey T! Thrilled to see you back! I figure being a new mom has to be pretty time consuming… I know Adam was asking people to vote for this blog for Mother blog of the year (you got my vote twice, once at work and once at home), so hope that is going well…

    Otherwise, hey, create your own music appreciation session… Neil is great, but throw in When You Dream by the Barenaked Ladies and some other varieties of music. I bet if you asked Bryan and Adam, they’d list nonstop the stuff to avoid… Otherwise, you’re doing amazing, and thanks for keeping us informed!

    • Tom Gordon
      January 26, 2010 at 10:11 pm #

      Oh, meant to mention since I remember you saying you liked Barenaked Ladies, they have a children’s cd which actually is great. I teach elementary school, and my students actually love the songs, so feel free to try that.

      Also, they have a song about the keyboard player and his new son that is pretty recent, called Peterborough and the Kawarthas. He is talking about the weather where he is (on tour) vs where he is (I listen for you every morning) is the idea (he is checking the news to see what the weather is like back with his son). Not sure if its the right vibe, but hey, I think its a good song…

  45. Carla
    January 26, 2010 at 9:47 pm #

    Another great blog Teresa! My son hated tummy time too! They don’t have any upper arm strength so it just upsets them to do it. I only did it for a few minutes at a time and he started crawling just fine so I guess I didn’t damage him :)
    Don’t feel bad about the music appreciation thing. There are other kinds of music they can learn besides the waltz! The time you spend with him is more important then anything else.

  46. alex
    January 26, 2010 at 9:10 pm #

    Great post. I have a lot of friends in the baby boom and some of them seem to be grooming their kids for gattaca. Creepy

  47. Jen
    January 26, 2010 at 9:00 pm #

    Oh man 2 of the worst things about parenting.. 1 other parents 2 the effin sweating. Im glad its not just me.

    I can remember my first taste of this was in the Nordstrom “Lounge” nursing my first when a Mom of I think 4 gave me the “You don’t do the baby whisperer?” She proceeded to talk down to me like I had clearly missed the boat. I went home and googled it and of course it made me sweat.

    You have learned one of the best lessons pretty early. Your instincts are pretty much always right :) I did all the things you do to my first and I assure you he is not a booger eatin spazz because of it :)

    • Jen
      January 26, 2010 at 9:12 pm #

      note to self. this –> :) is kinda annoying

  48. Rebecca
    January 26, 2010 at 8:58 pm #

    You’re so awesome, Teresa!!! I love that I can hear you venting this, and I love how empowered you sound right this moment!!

  49. Giovanni G.
    January 26, 2010 at 8:47 pm #

    Perhaps my favorite entry to date, nice work T!

  50. I. Thomas
    January 26, 2010 at 8:46 pm #

    I doubt very much that Buster will be “average,” class or no class. My mom certainly couldn’t afford any of these kinds of things when my brother and I were toddlers. In addition to teaching elementary school during the day, she had to tutor students in the evenings, to make ends meet. Fast forward many years, and my brother is a successful musician in LA, raising a wonderful child of his own. And I graduated from Harvard and launched my own business. Your son will do great, with or without nonsense like “Baby Music Appreciation.” Because you are his mom. And if I may humbly offer one suggestion, it is that he will pick up on (and internalize) your stress about things that you are doing for his benefit, like this music class. Which kind of defeats the purpose! So relax and enjoy your time together! : )

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