Thursday, 9 June 2011

Can you 'spoil' your baby?

Is there a way not to over indulge your first child? And is it a problem if you do? I don't mean completely spoil rotten, just over indulge in a way that I'm sure doesn't happen with any future siblings (correct me if I'm wrong on the latter).

I'm talking about the fact that we accept Mabel won't go in her cot in the day and find ourselves rocking her to sleep in her pram ("that isn't bad, 10 minutes rocking for a good hours sleep," G Kisby reassures me. Hmmm, the very talk of an indulgent first time parent).

And if it's not sleep then it's something else.

She has so much of our attention; we make up games for her, sing rhymes to her, create personal renditions of popular hits for her (Phil Collins, "greasy baby" to the tune of 'easy lover' following her regular basting with olive oil, for example)
We rotate her toys almost daily, we allow her to demand being carried around (sometimes, not always. Or is this on her terms? Oh no now I'm unsure), read up on the stages she is reaching and are constantly inventing new ways to help her develop.

I thought we'd struck lucky with a baby who rarely cried (though it has to be said not lucky enough to have one that sleeps during the day. Yep, on our return from Spain she is back being trixy as ever). But something Fee said in passing as an observation made me wonder,
"It's hard to hear her screaming because it doesn't happen very often - you don't let her cry".

No wonder she's content, the world revolves around Mabel.

Is this a bad thing? And can you really avoid it with your first since it is all so enjoyable and new in many ways for us too. 

A friend mentioned that their second was much better at entertaining herself where the first, even as a 6 year old, required much more attention. 'Ooh I'd like Mabel to be able to entertain herself' I thought to myself. As if. I can see the pitfalls ahead but somehow can't avoid them, perhaps because I don't want to? 

Unbelievable, are we yet again being played by our 4 month old?
She looks at me all innocent when I suggest this:
Right, I want a self sufficient, confident, independant child. I am going to work on this indulgence thing. 

Just as soon as I pick up that toy for her...and as my back is turned...


  1. Note to self: need to watch such throw away comments! (FYI stand by it!)
    my opinion - since you asked your general readership - yes you can over indulge, yes you probably do pay for it, yes it's hard to avoid, yes she's playing you (both), yes #2 and defo #3 will happily amuse themselves. Will she be any less confident, independant, self sufficient in the long run? No - look at Alfie!

    Better to over indulge (in time and effort) than under - but always good to be aware!!!

    just remember the mantra - noone wants a 2 year old playing you...
    fee x

  2. Ooh, it all rings so true! Especially as my mum will occasionally say 'do you ever let her cry for, you know, a few seconds?'. Errrr...


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