Did you find that you already possessed (or hoped to possess) some “French” parenting characteristics? Did the book make you want to adopt some? Do you prefer the “American” way in any of the parenting areas the book covered?
Since I don't have my baby just yet, I haven't seen what my parenting style is going to be like. There were a number of "French" parenting characteristics that I would love to try. The biggest one for me would be 'the pause', especially at night. I do not do well at all without sleep, so getting up every few hours is going to be the hardest part about having a newborn. I don't even like the fact that I have to get up once or twice to pee since I've been pregnant. So that's one of the first things I'd like to try. Maybe I can avoid the issue of sleep training altogether if we get that to work. 'The pause' also shows up elsewhere, and I've used it a number of times with kids when they fall down. More often than not, little kids fall and then look around to see if anyone noticed. If you go running, they start screaming as if they're dying. If no one appears to notice or you don't make a big deal about it, they usually can pick themselves up, dust off and go about their business.
The issue of scheduling feedings struck me as interesting, but I'm not sure I could do it. It's been a few years since I've been in the day care business, but I'm pretty sure there are some guidelines governing how often they offer milk to the baby. And I'm pretty sure it's more often than the schedule. I could definitely see if working a.) once I'm done being pregnant and b.) when little one is bigger. Once she is eating more than just a bottle, I could totally see that working. It's not a bad idea for adults either. Although I wonder how well that plan interacts with the current eating trend of eating smaller meetings more often.
I love the idea of talking to babies about what's going on. I do that anyway just because it's good for language development, but I'd never thought about it from an intellectual 'they have a right to know what's going on' kind of way.
As for independent playing, see below.
I will try to add more tonight, but I don't have the book with me at work, so I would need to page through to see what else I'd like to try. There were more than this, I do know that.
“…[a french mother] also teaches her kids a related skill: learning to play by themselves. ‘The most important thing is that he learns to be happy by himself.’”
What do you think of leaving young babies (6-12 months) alone for a fair amount of time (20-45 minutes), if they are playing happily on their own? Neglectful, or smart parenting?
I don't think there is anything wrong with letting a baby entertain herself for brief periods of time. It does teach independence, and that is important. I would make sure I was still in the room or at least nearby to her, but the world is not going to entertain you. You will eventually have to find something to entertain yourself. I have talked with my mom about how she never had to worry about me being bored. I was always able to come up with a game or find a book or create something to do. Now, my younger brother has always had a sibling. He didn't have the opportunity to learn that skill, and is constantly bored and jumping from thing to thing, even as an adult.
I wouldn't say that it would be wise to do this all the time. You can't just feed and change her and then leave her to her own devices all the time. Babies need interaction as well. But they can also become over-stimulated, just like adults, and need time to decompress.
Other posts regarding this book can be found here: Bringing Up Bébé Book Club.