Tuesday, March 30, 2010


There are two types of people when it comes to pregnancy literature. Some eat all the books they can find and some are proud of not having read a single page. I do admit that I had too many books which were mainly given to me by friends. So I started reading here and there and figured they all basically say the same. But NONE tells you anything about parenting. Most of them go on about pregnancy, birth and the first few weeks with the baby. They all give you the same information and half way through pregnancy I put them in the shelf cos I thought I knew enough to go through the last months.
But if I wouldn't have been given the advice of thinking about parenting before the child is born I might have forgotten about it. It's not the first thing on your mind, it is not mentioned in any of those thousands of books and you think this is something you come up with along the way. And this is the problem!

You can read about premature contractions or best ways to start labor when you get to that point. But you cannot educate a child "along the way" without having at least agreed basic thoughts with your partner. Plus for him it is much more interesting to talk about something you both have no experience in. With pregnancy he might always feel a bit behind because it's HER who's growing, who's carrying the baby, who's feeling all the changes. He is scared, he gets thrown into the whole thing when the baby is born.

One thing I really wanted to clarify with my husband were basic situations in parenting. Such as "Do we use a pacifier?" "Does the child need a certain bed time or not?" etc. His parents and mine are like day and night so I figured he must have been raised a different way than I was. So I needed to make sure that we will find a basis on how we will raise OUR own child. But this came along with the interest in Pikler and we started reading and talking and fortunately agreed in most cases. Of course there will still be situations we are not prepared for and we will have to discuss. But there is a safe basis we've laid out.

Another problem with parents who do not talk about parenting before having a child is, that they might end up making mistakes more often than others. I'm not saying we will do everything right just because we are in the safe haven of Pikler but without having any thoughts on some basic parenting questions they are more likely to do something wrong. They will discover difficult situations they haven't thought about more often and they will be nervous. And once something went wrong it will be much more difficult to adjust, to fix.

I can only speak for me - but those evenings when we sat together, looking forward to the wee ones arrival, discussing how we will raise it, teach it, watch it and enjoy it - gave me the security of us being in the right place. And after all the discussions before I got pregnant of if and when I knew we were ready for it, I knew we could do it. I knew we could do it TOGETHER.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


A few weeks ago I had friends over with their little 1year old daughter. Another friend came along with their 2 year old boy.
We weren't too fuzzed about what's gonna happen. Both kids are in kindergarden already. They kind of know how to socialize. At least that's what we thought. It turned out that the boy simply did not want to play with the girl which was fine. She did not care too much anyway. But every time she got in his way he would push her away quite harsh. It happened what was supposed to happen - eventually he pushed her so hard that she fell on the floor and hit her head. It was not that bad, but of course she started to scream. Her dad got really mad at the boy and tried to get him to apologise. His mother just hid him from that mad man and very soon she left.

Nobody really talked to each other but of course both parents have talked to me about it.

I do have my opinion but I am not the person to contact. I don't even have a child. yet. What am I to say ? And even if I say something it is most likely that they don't like it. Or at least one of them won't.

It is a difference if somebody comes and asks you for advice because he or she really needs it because he or she has a problem. But when both parents think they are absolutely right what can a person with no child tell them ?

So what do you do? So far I got myself out by mentioning that I can't say much since I don't have a child and won't know how to react in that very situation.

But I am annoyed because I have my strong opinion and I usually like to share it.
That I think is a big problem in parenting. When it comes to relationships or work problems - anything - people do listen to your opinion. Even if they don't like it. Well at least good friends do that. But when it comes to their children this is not possible. It's a really fragile topic. But this is a topic with a big impact on people's future! So really - what do you do ?

Sunday, March 21, 2010


I have mentioned how I came across Emmi Pikler and that I never really considered any other parenting method at all. How can I know that it's right what I am doing ?

Well - first of all I don't. You never do until you see the result. But I trust myself. As much as I have trusted myself through the whole pregnancy. I never really thought about what to eat and what not to eat. Because my body told me anyway. From the moment I knew I was pregnant I had this craving for fruits. Fresh fruits and vegetables. All fatty food made me want to hug the ceramic so that's what I avoided. I just listened to my body. Later on I had a craving for milk and dairy products. It was about the time the baby developed its bones. Again, my body told me and I listened. I never got into the whole vitamin pill eating because I felt that I knew what I needed and I trusted my body would continue sending me the right signals.

As a person who is quite often concerned and has no problem believing she could have all the bad illnesses there are out there I have been very calm and quiet throughout the pregnancy. I have been to a couple of prenatal diagnostic testings without freaking out about it. Which believe me I am actually good at.
In week 31 I was submitted to the hospital with a short cervix. It was two days before our wedding so I was a bit stressed what was gonna happen now. For a couple of days I was in bed with an infusion. Nothing changed. Then I realised that all I had to do was calm down, stay in bed for another 2 days and everything would just be fine. The wedding was off anyway and it wasn't a big deal after all. So that's what I did and the next exam showed that the cervix hat relaxed and I was allowed to go home.

What I am saying is that it's always in your mind. You know what's right for you. You know who to trust. And believe me: it's yourself! Follow your instincts. In every aspect of life. Of course you should also trust your own instincts when it comes to parenting. But there might be ideas and principles out there you didn't know but that actually go along with the way you think, the way you live life. That's what happened to me when I first read about Emmi Pikler.
And even if you don't agree with everything she is saying - that's fine because you shouldn't do anything that doesn't feel right. But at least open up your mind for it. And maybe you don't go either way, then you still can find your own way.

So when I heard about Emmi Pikler and her methods I just knew straight away that this is right. It makes sense, I can see myself doing the right things and I believe that it'll help our wee one do develop in its own time and pace. My husband and me talked about it, we are sure. So why waste time on considering other methods when we enjoy dreaming and thinking about what we feel is right ?

So if you ask me why I chose Pikler I will say: "Because I trust myself."


When I first tried to explain the Pikler method to non German speaking friends I realised how little information there is in English. Only through thorough research I found out about Magda Gerber and RIE - The Resources for Infant Education. Still I found it quite hard to gain proper information on the internet about the actual ideas behind those parenting principles. It's the same problem with Pikler, if you don't read her books or attend some very rare seminars you hardly find any useful information. I see this as the problem why still so many parents have not even heard of either Pikler or Gerber or the RIE. In times of daily internet use it is difficult to convince somebody of "this method out there" when there isn't much information available online. People don't buy books just like that anymore. They want websites, podcasts etc. This is why I started this blog and put a whole Pikler section up on my website.

Of course this isn't much so I am still trying to find out more - which there is. But you really have to look for it. But to be honest - who is thoroughly looking for a website about something he or she hasn't even heard of? Exactly.
For example there is Janet Lansbury who is a RIE Associate. It's a very interesting blog considering lots of problems parents nowadays have with their children. It gives logic explanations and should be read by all parents in the world. RIE though does not have much information up on their website, just advertising their classes which not everybody in the world is able to attend.

So I guess it is still up to you to find useful information and in the end you should just buy those books by Pikler or Gerber available. I can only recommend them, it's easier to go back and flip through it again than trying to find that website again you where read something about something...

Now you still might have one question - what do Pikler, Gerber and RIE have in common? It's easy, but also something you don't find out about on either website. Magda Gerber was Hungarian and learned from Emmi Pikler when she became a mother. Gerber emigratet to the US in 1957 and co-founded the RIE with Tom Forrest in 1978. It's all about the same - infant education to Emmi Pikler's principles. Now considering how long they have been out there it's a shame they are still so hidden and unheard of.

So if you are interested help spread the word. Follow the links posted or for a start just their twitter accounts:
Janet Lansbury
Nadine Hilmar

Help make sure more parents learn about Pikler so that more children can be raised according to THEIR needs!

Friday, March 19, 2010


I have been watching a woman with her 4 month old boy for a while now.
The wee one is really easy going, most of the time just lying around watching the world above him checking out his hands and tiny fingers. Every now and then he starts "talking", commenting on what he sees, then again just sucking on his hand. And this is where mommy comes back with her big hand putting the baby-soother in is mouth. He wasn't crying, certainly did not ask for it. But now he's got it, first he wonders and then obviously starts sucking a bit. A little later he's back on the talking, the dummy falls down. He doesn't even care, keeps talking. And yes... it won't take long and mommy is back with the soother.
WHY ???

I do kind of understand that parents get frustrated with their screaming kids, I see why they use the a soother to keep it quiet although I am not a big fan of stuffing your child's mouth. But why do it when the little one clearly does not even care about a soother, when it does nothing but talk to himself? How come that the soother has become such a necessity ?

I know, I'm still not in the situation to completely judge. But I am wondering. I for myself have decided to try it without, rather see my little one with the thumb in his mouth when he feels the need for it. Makes him less dependent on me picking up his soother all the time. Just to mention one great advantage.

But maybe parents have a very good reason? So far I have not heard a convincing one. Do you ?

Thursday, March 18, 2010


In between all those good advices and informations from friends there was only one that I actually listened to. I'm sorry to say that, but it was my boss, father of 4 kids himself, that told me in my 8th week of pregnancy: "The most important thing to start thinking about right now is the education method according to which you want to raise your child to. For me the most exciting moments during my wifes pregnancy where the philosophical discussions about early education."
This was when he mentioned Emmi Pikler. I never heard of that woman so I started to research, bought some books and that was me being convinced that this is the right way to raise a child. Let it discover the world in its own time and pace. Do not interfere. Instead focus on the daily care, provide a prepared and safe environment pay undivided attention when you are with the child.
Well this all sounds pretty natural at first. But there is more behind. With the Pikler method - there is a lot you can do wrong. But there is not much you have to do, to make it right.

I realised during my research, that there is some information out there. But you really have to look for it. There are Pikler toddler groups everywhere, but you have to know about Pikler when you want to join those. This is what I am missing - the information about early child education for parents. They learn all sorts of stuff about pregnancy, birth and the first few weeks. But nobody actually takes care about how so many parents raise their child. And let me be honest - it wouldn't harm if at least a FEW of them would actually get some information. It's good to follow your instincts, but it doesn't mean they are always right.

I would like to use this space to bring a bit more information about Pikler to the public. I'm doing that in English because here the lack of information is even bigger.
In about 3 weeks I will give birth to my own child and I want to share my experience with the Pikler method. I'm looking for other parents and their opinions too. Pikler or not - it would be good to also share comparison!

In the meantime I have put up some information about the Pikler method on my website www.madamekunterbunt.net since that blog here is only for the experience log.