The Mommy Factor
When discussing whether or not infant education is appropriate or not, one cannot forget about the Mommy Factor. When a woman becomes pregnant, she is inundated with unsolicited advice from friends, family members and even concerned strangers. Bottle feed, breast feed, attachment parenting, cry-it-out, day care, and stay at home...the list is endless. It is up to the Mom and her good judgment to decide which advice to listen to and which will not work for her family. The difficulty comes in the first year of the baby's life. Most moms are desperate to do everything right the first time around. Moms and Dads stress about which formula to use, which baby food is best, even which detergent to wash Junior's clothes in. When a product or service is offered to a new parent with claims that it will make their baby "perfect", chances are parents will immediately sign up, no matter what the cost or consequence.
We're all guilty of it. If we were not, websites such as BrillBaby.com and companies such as Baby Einstein would not exist. Parents are desperate to give their child a leg up. If that means flashcards and videos with classical music and mind-numbing wooden toys dancing around the screen, then we, as concerned parents will pay almost any amount of money for a chance at making our baby the best he can be. Never mind that his brain will make the same connections if we read him Goodnight, Moon every night before bed. Or that his sponge-like infant brain will respond the same way to a human voice singing "You Are My Sunshine" as it will to a CD of classical music.
Why do we behave in this manner? Peer pressure. If our neighbor down the street tried those videos and her child was potty trained at the age of six months, we'd exclaim, "why that must be the magic bullet!" It is the key to a happy baby, a happy family, a happy life. Our quest to be the first, the best, and the "most" is beginning to trickle down to our children, even our babies. The competitive nature of parenting is causing us to go a little haywire and it is our babies that are suffering the (yes, mild) consequences.