Can you raise a normal kid in Park Slope, early assessment

5 Jan

So the tagline I chose for the blog is ‘Can you raise a normal kid in Park Slope?’, and after almost a month, it’s time for a clear-eyed assessment. First I would say that we have no idea if the kid is normal. At this point, it is more about our experiences, choices, assumptions. To cut to the chase, I would give myself a C-.

First the kid:
Poor Brooklyn Baby, he has so far had:

  • Jaundice, for which he received three blood tests in three days after being released from the hospital, followed by a 24-hour admission to the hospital. Under the UV lamps, wearing nothing but a bikini diaper. Where he got an IV put in. Which took 3 tries.
  • Eye infection, which is currently developing. We have been applying a warm compress, now we have eyedrops (which I suspect he’s going to hate)
  • Thrush, which is currently developing. This is where we have traced the burning breast pain felt by baby mama. Symptoms on BB are minimal, we’re applying an oral anti-fungal, with concomitant cream for baby mama.
  • Club foot casts, and we are now on BB’s second. The kid’s taking this like a champ, not even flinching when they cut off the first one. It’s now on our mantel.

So is it fair to say that we have a sickly child? Or that we are hyper-vigilant about attending to his every issue? At least we are not running around town with diapers filled with poop.

Now us. Why give myself a C-? Here’s the evidence against us so far:

  • Birth in Manhattan. We are one of those couples who moved to Park Slope but didn’t deign to have our baby in the local hospital eschewing it for the much classier Roosevelt, near Columbus Circle. True, baby mama’s OB/Gyn of 5 years works there, but still, we traveled to Manhattan to have our baby.
  • Modern glider furniture. Our rocking chair is rocking the house, but it is definitely a top of the line chair.
  • Breastfeeding iPhone App. Yes, we have given up pencil and paper, and instead we are tracking the breastfeeding times via an iPhone application.
  • Postpartum doula. We have hired one, to come by for 16 hours or so over the first weeks. When she came to meet us the first time, she popped right on over from the Park Slope Food Co-op.
  • Lactation Consultant, home visit. She came by for a few hours to weigh the baby, check the baby’s latch, help baby mama shift her positioning, and generally be unhelpful in alleviating the pain that babymama was feeling from breastfeeding (see Thrush, above).
  • The organic, all-cotton mattress. Baby mama read an article about how some New Zealand researchers are pointing to cheap mattresses as a factor in SIDS. So we ditched our cheap mattress for a $300 fancy mattress. Which baby mama justified by saying that it was still cheaper than the one the salesman was pushing at Buy Buy Baby. Hmm.
  • The crib. It’s a Muu crib, and while we got it for about 1/3 the price (as a floor model), it’s still a high crime no matter how you slice it.
  • The Mobi. Yep, when we’re not walking the kid around town in the pack-n-go, he’s in the Mobi. It’s a hand-me-down from a friend, and it’s awesome, but it’s pretty PS-standard issue.
  • The Website. Yes, documenting your parenting experience is intrinsically a crazy parent thing to do. I’m not sure it means your kid won’t be normal, but it’s a good bet the kid won’t be normal…

And the evidence for normalcy? There’s that, too. We didn’t buy a changing table, opting for one from a friend that just sits quietly on our existing dresser. We can’t manage a nursery, much less a fancy, painted, delightfully designed one, because all of our crap is crowding out the office where it would be. All of the kid’s clothes are hand-me-downs, generously donated from post-newborn-raising friends. Clothes, the stroller, the boppy pillow, a skip-hop, etc. And the kid wears a plain white onesie about 95% of the time.

But I would say that on balance, we’re being corrupted by our environment. The fancy-pants parts of the baby’s newborn childhood are exactly the things that are available in our current neighborhood. C- today, and I’m a little edgy about the future…

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3 Responses to “Can you raise a normal kid in Park Slope, early assessment”

  1. livingoutsidethescreen January 5, 2011 at 10:23 pm #

    Can’t wait until you write about your tutor search for the 4 year old BB prepping for the city’s Gifted & Talented test. I’m ignoring that diaper comment, because getting creative is just what normal people have to do when they don’t have la-de-da doulas coming over to their homes.

  2. Peter January 6, 2011 at 12:50 am #

    So apparently one danger of clear-eyed self-assessment is that your friends get to kick you while you’re down…

  3. Alan January 6, 2011 at 9:34 am #

    I’d give you a much higher grade than C- (and of course I’m a real expert since my kid is a full 2 weeks older). Nothing wrong with having a bit of help, and I like your crib, so those don’t count as evidence against you.

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