Saturday, August 2, 2008

Ezzo Chapter One, Redux

OK, having dealt with the obvious flawed premises, logical fallacies, and internal contradictions, I promised to unpack the subtext of this chapter as well. Let me start by simply laying out relevant quotes, and see if you follow these to the same conclusion I did.

"The husband-wife union is not just a good first step toward child-rearing. It is a necessary one. Too often, parents lose sight of this fact, getting lost in a parenting wonderland of photos, footsteps, and first words."

"Marriage is unique - totally without parallel. It transcends all other relationships."

"Where the marriage is intact, keeping this relationship a priority is your starting point for successful parenting."

"Too often when a child enters a family, parents leave their first love: each other. The spotlight shifts to illuminate the children, and the marriage gets lost in space."

"Date your spouse. . . . Continue those loving gestures you enjoyed before the baby came along."

See where I'm going with this? And don't for a minute think that Ezzo is concerned equally with each spouse's happiness. It seems very clear to me that these are exhortations to a new mother not to focus too much attention on her new baby, but to make sure she keeps her husband satisfied. See: (emphasis added in all quotes below)

"With child-centered or mother-centered parenting, parents intensely pursue the child's happiness." Seriously, he just throws "mother-centered" parenting in as an equivalent of child-centered parenting, without explanation.

"When you become a mother, you do not stop being a daughter, a sister, a friend, or a wife. Those relationships, which were important before the baby, still must be maintained."

"Date your spouse . . . The baby will not suffer separation anxiety from one night without mom."

"If you buy a special something for baby, select a little gift for your mate as well." Who generally buys items for the baby? Yeah, Mom. Or maybe I should call her Wife.

Oh, and I almost forgot this bizarre statement: "Since infants are entirely dependent on parental care, their dependency creates for new parents a heightened gratification." What the hell? I can only guess, but this seems to be another jab at mothers being "overly involved" with baby care (i.e., taking appropriate care of a newborn), as though properly responding to an infant indicates some pathological need on the part of the mother. If someone can explain this non sequitur, please enlighten me.

I'll just quote here the marginal notes I made when I twigged to all this: "OMG! This is written by a man who feared/resented having his boobies/mother figure taken away. What a weak, fearful, grasping man."

Really. This book seems to have been written by a man so insecure, immature, and petty that he is jealous when his wife buys a present for their baby. So sad. And sadder still that he has conned thousands of people into following his, "NO, I want to be the baby!!!" philosophy, under the guise of responsible parenting.


Rachel said...

While I don't buy into all of Ezzo's parenting philosophies, I found the eat/wake/sleep routines to be incredibly helpful in getting my babies on regular schedules and sleeping well at night. Whether the babies need it or not, I am a mom who craves and thrives on predictable routines!

Cogito said...

Thanks for your comment!

I'm glad that you were able to read Ezzo with a critical eye, and (as they say at La Leche) take what works and leave the rest. And I can't resist saying, even a broken clock is right twice a day.

Unfortunately, I have heard too many stories of parents who take every word of Ezzo as gospel (almost literally), and march in lockstep delusion. My good friend knew someone who was a contact person to help people do Babywise, and her baby had failure to thrive. Of course she blamed everything except the baby training method - that was beyond questioning. So sad.

Erin said...

I have a friend who is a doula, and she said she's received phone calls from panicky moms about a crying baby, or a baby who isn't gaining weight through breastfeeding, only to be rebuffed at her suggestion to breastfeed on demand because they're following Ezzo's method.

When I got pregnant, I knew I was giving up a lot of things. I knew schedules would be out the window for awhile, and I knew that I'd be nursing a LOT. But you know, I didn't have a child so I could train him like a puppy.

I wandered over here from PMomma's blog, btw.:)

Cogito said...

Hey, Erin! Is that a stapler in your pants, or are you just excited to be here? ;)

Your comment makes me think one thing I should do as I parse Ezzo is make sure to cite specifically each place where he says to feed your baby if he's hungry. From skimming, it looks like the 2006 edition does include this advice, and it would be useful for us saner folk to have chapter and verse (so to speak) to cite supporting feeding your baby as necessary!