Way before baby boy was born I banned electronic toys. I decided that we would live without the jingling sounds of digital pianos, singing key rings and speaking teddies. Family and friends were informed as politely as possible in an attempt to prevent any “inappropriate” gifts from entering the house. My close friends just laughed: “It’s inevitable!” they said. “There’s nothing you can do! Your house will be taken over by an army of plastic doo-dahs, gizmos and gadgets that beep and blink every time you bump into them at night. Count your blessings if they have an off switch!”
But I held firm. Seven months in and, except for a couple of offenders from relatives who just didn’t get the message, our house is still jingle-free.
Now, I’d love to say that I have all these lofty reasons for banning electronics. Perhaps I’ve found some killer research explaining how the batteries emit waves that damage our brain cells, or how babies who only play with pure, organic toys are guaranteed to be the next Einstein.
No such luck. The only reason I’ve banned those toys is because I cannot stand the sounds they make. Yup. I have deprived my baby of all this beeping fun, simply because I don’t like it. I don’t think there are any studies linking blinking lights and tinny noises to faster development, but even if there were I wouldn’t budge.
Is that perhaps a bit selfish? Yes. Do I think that’s okay. Yes Yes Yes.
I believe that it’s really important that parents feel free to put their foot down when something doesn’t feel right to them. Whatever that may be.
For example, this mother decided she wouldn’t even try breastfeeding because it made her uncomfortable and would get in the way of her relationship with the baby. Now some might say she should remember that breast is best and tell her to “do it for the baby”, but I happen to think the lady is spot on!
Every parenting decision we make involves a risk-benefit analysis. There is no golden standard, no rule book that guarantees our kids will be happy, healthy and successful. And sometimes the risk benefit analysis needs to include the simple “this would drive me insane”, be it beeping toys, co-sleeping or not having more than one child..
I’m proud to confess that I’ve designated our home a battery-toy free home for the sake of my sanity. Some people might think I’m mean, or anti-technology or a bit of a fuddy-duddy but to me I’m just making a decision based on what’s best for my family. Both my husband and baby deserve a calm, happy mama and not a sound-polluted wreck with her nerves on edge.
Plus, I’d better grab as many silent moments as I can before someone gives him a drum kit for Christmas.