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December 26, 2012

Bringing up baby in the 60s. How did we manage to survive Dr. Spock?

WHAT I GOT FOR CHRISTMAS. Memories of the Sixties.

Guess what I got for Christmas: a 1968 edition of Dr. Spock’s BABY AND CHILD CARE. And guess who the previous owner was: Harvard University, Department of Social Relations. Department of What? Would that be the forerunner of Facebook?

Here are some nuggets of wisdom from Dr. Spock:

•WORKING MOTHERS. Usually their children turn out all right. WHEW! I’M SO RELIEVED.

•ROAD TRIPS WITH BABY: LET HIM ROAM! The leg space for the back seat of a car can be filled with luggage, so that a crawling baby or small child has room in which to roam...If children insist on standing, they should stand on the floor, not on the seats.

•COMIC BOOKS: OK, NO VIOLENCE, NO SMUT. But the question remains: Will comic books that are merely vulgar or preposterously heroic... ruin their taste for good literature?

•SEX IS BAD. Idealism and creativity of human beings is related to the inhibition and sublimation of sexuality.

•DIAPERS. First fold lengthwise so that there are 3 thicknesses. Then fold about one third of the end over. As a result, half of the folded diaper has six layers...a boy needs the double thickness in front. NOW WATCH OUT AND DON’T PIN THE DIAPER TO THE BABY! When you put in the pin, slip two fingers of the other hand between the baby and the diaper to prevent sticking him.

•HOURS OF FUN IN THE PEN: Let him out of the playpen when he insists...I don’t mean at the first whimper, for if you give him something new to play with, he may be happy there for another hour.

•EARLY TOILET TRAINING IS CRUCIAL FOR YOUR CHILD’S CAREER. It is the foundation for his lifelong preference for unsticky hands, for clean clothes, for a neat home, for an orderly way of doing business.

•WOMEN ARE EVEN MORE CRUCIAL. Men’s idealization of woman [and their drive to create] are the main inspiration for their creativity in architecture, engineering, technical inventiveness, scientific discovery, literature, drama, music, painting. EVEN ENGINEERING? WOW!

•THE REASON WHY WE HAVEN’T TAUGHT OUR CHILDREN THEIR PLACE IN THE WORLD: Most of us are not clear about our own place in the universe or about the meaning of human existence.