Many, many years ago, when I was a wee slip of a girl (18? 19?), I worked in the infant room of large daycare center whose owner was quite adept at preventing reality from intruding on her worldview.
Hence, rules like this: all the babies have to move from the infant room to the toddler room during the week of their first birthday.
Also: no babies may move from the infant room to the toddler room until they are walking.
The fact that only about half of all babies are actually walking by their first birthdays? Why, those babies who don’t walk are allowed to be lazy! Their parents carry them everywhere and they have no motivation to do the hard work of learning to walk!
See what I’m saying about reality?
My first run-in with this set of conflicting rules had to do with a baby who I’ll call Jana. She was an adorable baby, with thick, dark hair and thighs like giant slabs of beef. Oh, she was a juicy chunk. But she crossed the magical 12-month mark and she was still crawling like the lazy little slug that my boss’s worldview said she must be.
Liz (my boss) started hounding us constantly, “Teach that baby to walk!”, so although I knew it was a ridiculous thing, I started holding that baby’s hands and walking her all over the baby room until my back screamed at me to stop. Jana didn’t mind a bit, but when I let go, she crawled away, which all but enraged Liz.
Not long after her birthday, Jana’s parents asked Liz when she would move to the toddler room. They wanted her in the more stimulating environment with the other one year olds. In the baby room, there was only napping, eating, and the waving of rattles, whereas in the toddler room, there was napping, eating, and the smashing of crayons onto pieces of paper.
Liz told them that their deficient and lazy baby would not be allowed to move until she got up on her hind legs and walked there herself, at which point Jana’s parents joined in on the relentless harassment. “Walk, baby, walk over here and give me a kiss!”, they begged. We tempted Jana with cookies and shiny toys. Her parents bought some kind of harness that Jana wore while an adult held the straps. Our backs breathed a sigh of relief, but Jana did not walk.
Read the rest at Hopeful Parents.