Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Learnings of Parenthood III

After an overwhelming response to “Learnings of Parenthood part I and II” we are pleased to present the sequel part III. This is summary of learnings in first 4 months of parenting. Any resemblance to your experiences of parenting is not completely coincidental.

Different Perspectives

Biggest learning after first 4 months can be summarized by an HSBC ad. It is a completely different way of looking at the baby. Different perspectives govern actions of different parents.

Mothers Point of View

(all intellectual property rights acknowledged. This article has no commercial value hence no royalty charges are payable)

Father’s Point of View

This difference in perspective brings in a whole new way of looking at things. Faster you learn this better is your married life.

Baby’s Crying

This is perhaps the most noticeable, most feared but often underestimated activity baby performs. One tends to get carried away by decible levels and physical manifestation of it. I have learnt that there are 3 phases in babies crying

1. Crisis phase : Babies often commence crying in this phase, It is characterised by high pitch, shouting like sounds and vigorous movements of hands and legs. Babies close their eyes and high decible level that they create ensures that they are not able to hear anything else. They tend to get into an endless If-then loop. (If you hear crying, then cry even more loudly….thats the only thing they can hear).

Impact on Parents : When parents are exposed to this phase their body starts secreting certain harmones that energizes them and improves their concentration by dampening distractions. They drive away any sleep or feeling of tiredness. It helps them to face the next phase boldly without panic.

2. Challenge the Paradigm Phase : After a while babies feel tired and they reduce the decible levels to check if parents have identified the problem and whether any solution is proposed. If none of this is true then they create even higher pitched sounds and change their skin color to either red or purple or their favorite color.

Impact on Parents: Exposure to this oscilating high decible sounds seems to trigger a lot of harmones in right brain. These are often termed as creative juices. Parents often start getting bright ideas at a speed of several dozen per minute. That trigger left brain who commences implementation without bothering to check whether it makes sense or not. This phase is very important for the parents who are keen on challenging their abilities. There are cases when parents have been able perform singing, dancing, creating undescribable sounds, holding babies in positions that none has ever thought of. The possibilities here are endless. Parents tend to reinvent themselves in this phase.

3. Reward Phase : Babies tend to be in the previous phase till they find a satisfactory solution or distraction to their problem. Parents with sharp learning curves tend to reach this phase faster and faster. Babies start making descending crying noises and often smile amidst crying. Some scientist think that such actions are involuntary but we think that this smiling amidst crying is designed to reset the harmone levels among distressed parents faster. We are still conducting experiments to determine whether parents laughter is contributed majorly by babies actions or they are actually laughing at the solution that they proposed to baby which got accepted.

Things to remember

  • Every crying has an end.

  • The end lies either in a solution (if you ever believe you have found one) or designing suitable distraction

  • Probability of finding distraction >> probability of finding a solution

  • You don’t necessarily have to know the problem to find a solution

  • Babies still don’t know law of marginal utility. So, if something works keep employing the same solution. You will be surprised with the results.

  • Babies tend to follow inverted bell-shaped curves for their problems. Probability of problems occuring at either ends is more than 3-sigma. Most problems are either input or output problems.

Types of Cars and Parents

Singapore has a concept of weekend car. These type of cars are allowed to run on roads after 7 PM on weekdays and on weekends only. These cars are 30% cheaper than normal cars. Babies quickly figure out that their fathers are like weekend cars and mothers are like normal cars. They are also able to assign appropriate valuation fairly quickly.

Learn or Unlearn?

We often tend to think that we are born first and babies are borne later hence we are smarter, more intelligent hence babies need to learn from us. But this not necessarily true. Babies have far better abilities than us. If you think otherwise, please try following

  • Try to influence actions of each and every individual in the household 24X7 without uttering a single word and making “gggrrrlll” “ooooo” “bbbbaaaaa” sounds.

  • A baby can stare at the most scantily dressed co-traveller, smile at her, wink at her and still get a kiss in return. Want to give it a shot? Even females are welcome to try this.

  • Try to communicate each emotion just through body language without using words

  • Try this. Lie down on the floor face up. Raise your left leg up vertically, hold it with your right hand and pull it hard to put the toe in your mouth. And Smile.

  • Have your meal while you are completely asleep.

  • Hold you both legs up and perform cycling action for 15 minutes continuously, take break for a couple of minutes and then do it for 20 minutes more.

  • Cry loudly till skin color changes to red / purple. Smile in between and cry again.

Conclusion: Babies have far superior physical, emotional and leadership skills. We try our best to help them unlearn these skills so that they become inferior to us and we can manage them. We term this process as “parenting”

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