Thursday, June 15, 2006

Parenting skills

Being around animals a lot, I see many of the same behaviours in them, both good and bad, that mirror human parenting skills. Or do I just want to see them to try to understand their actions and find a common ground for comparison?

Technically, there is a base of instinctive emotion that over rides all else in most humans and animals. There will always be exceptions to the rule due to internal and external factors. The difference perhaps being in how animals abandon or kill the weak or injured while humans continue to preserve life no matter what the quality or danger to the individual.

My own parenting skills were at zero when my daughter was born. I knew nothing about babies, had never held one or even seen one close up for that matter. They may as well have handed me a puppy for all I knew about what to do with it. There was an instinctive nature to protect and care for, but it took quite awhile for love to develop. It was not a 'love at first sight' affair. I think I took her to baby clinics weekly just for confirmation that I was doing something right. I was young (22), I had no relatives and few friends nearby, having just moved to the area, and my husband left for work in Madagascar when she was a week old. I spent a lot of sleepless nights, not only to tend to a crying baby, but worrying about her and me.

But she did survive and turned out well as did her sister, despite unorthodox lifestyles and parenting skills that were hit or miss or led by Dr. Spock.

What has made me think of this is the birth of a baby making someone a grandmother (no, not me). The discussion was of the practical skills in raising a baby. To bath the infant daily or not; to put it to sleep on stomach or back; to have natural feeding times or schedule them (that's what really floored me...would you really wake a sleeping baby to feed it??) It seems the art of child raising goes in circles with myths and discoveries being passed around. Through it all children survive and thrive no matter how helpless we feel or what a terrible job we think we are doing.

Children are resiliant. So are parents. Just as well, huh?

My drawing over the last 24 hours has been simple line drawings of more animals, plus another self portrait (yep, I'm on a roll) Here are a couple of the drawings, one of the Muscovy ducks. They are so unique and strange looking. It makes you realize how they create these amazing science fiction characters. No imagination needed, just look around yourself at the interesting animals.

The second is a Belgian hare. A large, sturdy looking animal. Hares and rabbits are always appealing to me. Their softness yet they have a manevolent stare sometimes...

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