Monday, April 19, 2010

Art doesn't always imitate life

Isabelle and I settled into her bed with a book she got out of the school library (ie: one that I did not have a hand in choosing). The story was roughly how being a big sister is more fun than being a baby brother. Cool by me.

In the day to day, I mostly live my life in circles where babies are routinely born at home, breastfed until they are 2 and beyond, sharing their parents bed(s). The babies in my world are carried, not strolled and their mothers worry about the pattern of their next sling, not the crib bumper. It's easy for me to believe this is the norm. I try hard when chosing books that address family to find stories that look like our home. This is a handy bibliography from LLLI that I've used: not sure if there's anything more up to date out there these days.

So, page two of our happy book sees Daddy preparing a bottle and Isabelle says, "That's right - big girls eat food, but babies drink from bottles." WHAAA? Deep breath. I try not to freak out and just focus on bringing this back to our experience. "Did Tom drink from a bottle?" "No, he had na-nas: he never drank from bottles ever." "Do you think you drank from bottles?" Tough one, since she doesn't remember, but she's getting the drift of this. "No, I think I drank just milk from na-nas too.... (lightbulb) So, just the baby in the book drank bottles, our babies drink milk from na-nas." I like the way she says our babies.

Next page doesn't improve much - a separate nursery with a crib for baby. Isabelle loves the mobile! "But Tom never slept in his crib." "No - he slept with me and Daddy. And so did you. Sometimes you still do!" "Yes, I think it is nice to sleep cuddled with your Mommy." Me too, kiddo.

And so it goes through the book. The stroller. "Do all babies ride in strollers?" "Sure they do - that's how they get around when they are too little to walk!" "Did Tom always use a stroller? Do you remember his favourite place to be when he was baby?" "Oh, yes. Your red sling! He was so cute." "Yup - you rode in a sling too - Daddy carried you a lot too." "Oh really. Yes, I remember I loved my sling." (Not likely, but I'll take even contrived memory).

So, the pause, then the question. "Our family is not much like this family is it?" Well, sure they are: they have a mommy and a daddy and a big sister and a little brother. They even have an aunt. But there are lots of ways our family is different too - and I'm ok with that reminder.

No comments: