They glide by as part of our accepted way of life, but some of them... some of them make no sense at all.
The fact that 'everyone does it' shouldn't prevent you from questioning your motives and looking for alternative perspectives.
And personally, I like the perspective of evolutionary precedent. (I have a PhD in Bioinformatics. This love of evolution isn't just a passing phase...)
If you can link an idea to an evolved purpose, I'm sold. I find the whole concept fascinating, but walking the wire between cultural acceptance and full on monkey mode is always something of a challenge. Especially when it comes to deciding what's best for my own four children.
You see, babies are compact little nuggets of evolutionary experience. They come pre-programmed with the best in 85 million years of mammalian natural selection, 55 million years of primate evolution and 50,000 years of 'modern' human development; and, in the light of their innate expectations, we subject them to some pretty bizarre stuff.
I'm Born Ready Jenn:
Scientific thinker; Enthusiastic do-er; Chaotic non-housekeeper; And Solver of Problems you didn't know you had.
Let's start with one of my favourites: The Curse Of Modern Nappies.
To my mind, nappies represent a good idea that's got way out of hand.
They were once used to catch something unpleasant so that it didn't create more mess elsewhere. Now they're used to store it. For hours while still strapped to a child's bottom and hundreds of years once removed.
And this has become such a cultural norm, that (a) we don't find it utterly repugnant and (b) we don't even realise, that in the space of two generations, we've lost the skills that once kept our children (and our nappies) a whole lot cleaner.
I want to bring that knowledge back!
You don't need to confine 'unpleasantness' to a nappy! You can catch it a potty instead. Or a toilet. Or an old ice cream tub. You can do it from birth and you can make it a normal part of your everyday life.
For four children and seven years (so far).
It's a practice with a strong evolutionary and cultural history and the fact that 'other people on my street' don't do the same is neither here nor there.
You could do it too. This website explains exactly how to go about it.
When my first child was born, a friend said to me "as soon as she starts solids, start sitting her on a potty" and that's what I intended to do.
But when the magical day rolled around, she didn't want to sit on the potty because she liked to 'go' standing up. So I turned to google for advice.
There I made the forehead slapping realisation that I should have been using a potty forever. So we left conventional nappying behind and we haven't look back.
As it happens, I was almost pottying her intuitively.
I'd used simple cloth nappies from The Beginning and I'd known almost from birth when she was going to 'go'... but, to my eternal shame, it had never occurred to me to hold her over the toilet.
For six whole months, I had encouraged her to soil her nappy, only to take it off moments later.
And yet, I'd been using baby pottying techniques without even realising it. I'd been observing; anticipating; recognising; encouraging; responding; expecting an open air wee at every change... The only thing I wasn't doing was holding her over a receptacle of some kind. So when I read about baby pottying I was in a great position to run with it.
And run with it, we did! For the next six months we had barely a handful of soiled nappies. And, of course, with the next three children we ran with it again (and again, and again).
In 2010, enthused after pottying my second baby (from birth this time), I finally set up the Born Ready website. I wanted to wave my arms in cyberspace in an attempt to Spread the Word across the ether. To provide a foundation for those interested enough to read on, rather than simply boring all the parents in my local park.
Plus, it helped me redress the balance.
WHY was this such a well kept secret?
And why hadn't I thought of it for myself?!
It's completely illogical to watch a child soil a nappy only to spend the next 10 minutes (and a wash cycle) cleaning up after them!
I could blame baby brain, I suppose. I mean, I've locked myself out of the house as many times as the next person, but this didn't feel like forgetfulness so much as cultural brainwashing.
How could such a ridiculous idea seem so completely normal? It's baffling.
So now I'm on a mission to open your eyes and show you how to reconcile logic with real life - one tiny bottom at a time.
Baby pottying is fabulous. It's clean and green and makes perfect sense. But, conventional clothing is nothing but a hindrance.
I invented Flaparaps for use on my second child, refined the design with Child Three and by the time Baby Four came along we'd decided to try to help others with the same baby pottying predicament.
Trip on over to the Flaparaps page to find out what you're missing.
I've spoken to scores of people about baby pottying and my words have reached thousands more online. When I get a response, it's overwhelmingly positive. But a passing conversation often isn't enough to inspire action... Even an entire website of information can't always bridge the gap between a good idea and a real life - filled as it is with friends and family and poppered sleepsuits.
So I now offer online classes to propel people over the first (and highest) hurdle between convention and common sense: I'm aiming to inspire the confidence to remove that nappy and offer the pot.
All it takes to get from mildly curious to wildly evangelistic is walking the talk one step at a time. If that first step feels more like a leap, you need to join me for an online workshop. Let's get you started!
If you have specific questions - whatever your stage of pottying - I'm sure I can help. Send me a three line email with your question and I'll see what I can do. If it's a one line answer, you'll get it. If I can point you to a webpage that will help, I'll do that. Or if it's more complicated, we can arrange a 'virtual coffee consultation',via skype, for the price of a fancy hot chocolate and a piece of cake.
Bring on the mainstream revolution!
If you fancy chatting with me about baby pottying, objecting to my views on night time toilet training, figuring out evolutionary child raising, following the rickety rise of The Flaparap Business, and every now and then getting a cartoon for good measure, stick your email in the box below and keep pace with my soon-to-be blog.
in oh so many ways.
I am not a hippy.
I am a Scientist.
I am not a hippy a heart.
I am a Scientist at heart.
Heart, Soul, Head, Hands. Scientist.
Why is this the best kept secret in (Western) baby maintenance?