Since my new granddaughter was born, everybody in our household has been reading baby advice books like crazy. And last night when it was my turn to spend quality time with the tyke, I started reading to her from a book called "The Happiest Baby on the Block," by Harvey Karp, MD.
I truly believe that babies need to be read to from the day they are born so there I was, happily following my own advice and reading aloud to the latest member of the Stillwater family. And baby Mena was happily listening away and looking very concentrated, as if she was understanding every word. And about six pages into the book, even I started focusing on just what the author was talking about -- something call The Calming Reflex.
According to Dr. Karp, "Never again will you have to stand by while your baby cries and cries! There is a way to calm your crying baby...in minutes!" All you have to do is use the five "S" techniques. And they are:
1. Swaddling -- wrapping your baby up tightly.
2. Side/Stomach -- laying your baby on her side or stomach.
3. Shushing -- making loud white noise; repeatedly telling your baby, "Shhh, shhh, shhh, shhh".
4. Swinging -- rhythmic, jiggly motions.
5. Sucking -- sucking on anything from a nipple or finger to a pacifier.
And there you have it -- Dr. Karp's famous "5-S" theory. And this stuff works on my granddaughter like magic! Baby Mena stops crying in mid-wail! Honest. Why? Because, according to Dr. Karp, babies are born three months early because if they weren't, they'd never make it through the birth canal. But they really DO need a fourth trimester in the womb -- hence the need to create a womb-like atmosphere. For instance, the sound of "shhh" when repeated rhythmically simulates a mother's heartbeat.
Hey, I'm getting really good at this stuff! Got a crying baby? Send him or her to me!
And Dr. Karp has also written another book called "The Happiest Toddler on the Block". And guess what he says about toddlers? "They should be thought of as pint-sized cavemen! The key to effectively communicating with toddlers is to speak to them using their own primitive language."
Hey, if the Calming Reflex works so well on babies, maybe we should practice all these soothing techniques on our politicians and world leaders as well. Next time Bush and Cheney or bin Ladin or Olmert or the Turks and the Kurds or the Iraqi car-bombers or the heads of greedy corporate conglomerates feel the urge to bomb Darfur or blow up Iran or make a toxic dump site out of an Amazon rain forest, maybe we could practice the "5-S" cure on them as well.
"Shhhh, Georgie," we could say. "Let me swing you and swaddle you (Leavenworth or San Quentin would be nice!) until your Calming Reflex finally kicks in, you give up your temper tantrums, get over your colic and just freaking RELAX." And as for talking to our George in his own primitive language? Never misunderestimate the power of that!
From calming car-bombers in Baghdad to pacifying sleazebags on K Street, we could be onto something here.
Let's strap the world's out-of-control leaders into rocking chairs, play some chants in the background, swaddle them into the lotus position and stick a pacifier in their mouths. Voila. No more temper tantrums. No more spinning out of control. And no more "war". We'll have the happiest leaders on the block. And then maybe the rest of us can get some peace and quiet and even be allowed to occasionally sleep through the night.
PS: Yesterday baby Mena, who is usually the most well-behaved newborn in the county, didn't like being strapped into her carseat and she started to yell. Geez Louise! You could have heard that baby from three blocks away! Who would have guessed that a five-and-a-half pound baby could yell that loud?
PPS: According to a recent article by Wayne Madsen, the Pentagon has just opened AFRICOM, its branch office in Africa -- and pretty much squelching any hopes harbored by African nations that they might possibly avoid being owned, controlled, colonized and run by the globalization crew.
According to Madsen, "The spirit of John F. Kennedy's Peace Corps, a civilian program without any ties to the U.S. military or intelligence community designed to help steer newly-emergent nations, mostly in Africa, to self-sufficiency and development, is officially dead." Oops. Definitely time to haul out the swaddling blankets!
Someone needs to go to the Pentagon ASAP and gently rock those generals back into being more calm.