I used to be an expert on raising kids. I even founded a website with that name.
I was Dr. Pat, resident expert. People emailed me from all over the world with their questions about babies, toddlers and teens. I was a regular on radio and television commenting on parenting matters. I have written five books and appeared on numerous parenting videos. I was in short, a recognised expert on children and how to raise them.
That is until I became a grandmother. Last year, after years of waiting – like the proverbial buses two came along within two months of each other. Now you might have thought that my two daughters would be forever asking my opinion, soliciting my advice, referring to me over a variety of issues. No such thing. Overnight I became a granny and any expertise I might have laid claim to disappeared!
When I ran Raisingkids.co.uk, I thought that internet experts were part of the answer, now I see that in many ways they are part of the problem. There is simply too much information. When I had small children ignorance was bliss. Take the question of weight. I took my baby to be weighed weekly and as long the baby was gaining weight, was lively, looked healthy ate and slept ‘enough’ (what is enough we never asked), I never worried. The issue of the rate at which the baby was gaining weight, either too quickly or too slowly never arose. Now weight is plotted on a percentile chart. If your baby was in the 60th and a month later is in the 30th percentile, well that looks like baby is not keeping up.
I did a quick Google search to see if this issue was concerning parents. And it is.
Here are a few samples:
So i had lo weighed today and he is 11lb9oz at 9w 4d which i thought was quite good but the health visitor said he’s not following his line!!
I'm really worried at the moment. Up until 7 weeks he was steadily following the 75th percentile line, but has gradually slipped down at every weigh-in since. He's now in the middle of the 50th and 25th percentile and my health visitor has worried me saying they need to monitor him and he may need supplementing with formula.
She is gaining weight but not as fast as HV wants. Can a baby drop percentiles that quickly? The HV seemed really concerned & it has got me all worried.
I still have the record book of my first baby, so I thought I would see how consistent her weight gain was as a baby. Did she ‘follow her line’? No she didn’t, in the first six months of her life she moved up and down like a yo-yo between the 50th percentile and the 25th, and not just either side of the line either. Was it any indicator of her subsequent height or weight? Not at all; she is now slim and slightly taller then average, – probably just above the 50th percentile in height and below it in weight.
So, is ignorance bliss? Is too much knowledge is a dangerous thing? or is it that knowledge is power -but only if we know what facts not to bother with?
Umm….I think I need an expert to tell me what ‘facts’ I can safely ignore.