Re: DSM: pre-Sudbury parental conduct

Rayner Garner (
Mon, 08 Jan 2001 13:31:06 -0800 wrote:
> So how does one treat a baby when one espouses the philosophy of Sudbury?
> Do you clap and say "Good job!" when the baby hits the peg on the head or
> goes potty, or do you just look at them stony-faced? Somewhere in the
> middle, I would think, but what is that? I'm interested in hearing how
> people who have been through this with their own babies have experienced it.

There are lots of alternative ways. We used a method that didn't require
either approval or faked disinterest. We were living in an area where we
had to rely on rainfall for water and waste disposal was a hole in the
ground. (Hawaii) So we made a portable miniature potty out of a cube of
rigid foam. This was constructed with a sliding drawer at the bottom
made from a plastic tray that had held tofu.
Rather similar to the sliding floor of a bird cage that you slide out to
clean the droppings. We lined this with toilet paper and found it very
easy to clean.
We just put this in the sling we had designed and out daughter was quite
happy to sit on it while she was being constantly carried.

She hated wearing diapers or indeed any clothes at all. We had read
about many indigenous cultures such as the aboriginal peoples of
Australia that were able to adjust their body temperature to cope with
extreme heat during the day
and freezing conditions at night without discomfort or illness. When
missionaries concerned about their nudity and health insisted on their
wearing clothes or using blankets at night many died of pneumonia due to
the dew soaking their clothing and chilling them.

The Inuit and other tribes in Antarctica would deliver their new-born
into a hollow scooped out of the ice. While this may seem to be barbaric
to us, this
ensured that their immune system got invigorated and would prepare their
temperature regulating system to deal with very harsh conditions. In
those days of
course, health care facilities were non-existent and a weakly infant
would be an
intolerable burden on a tribe in terms of survival.

In terms of choice both our daughters hated wearing clothes let alone
diapers. We
found that their bodies in very cold weather were always toasty warm,
even hot
by comparison with the surrounding temperature. In very hot and humid
which would often leave us somnolent it never seemed to bother them.
Until we
started to put clothes on them their temperature regulating system

The only problem that we found was in reassuring well meaning and
passers-by who were horrified to see a naked infant being carried in a
sling without
any protective or waterproof covering in all sorts of inclement weather
by a well
wrapped parent! We avoided charges of child abuse by simply showing how
her body was and by her obvious delight in being untrammelled by
restrictive clothing.
It was very disconcerting for people to see a obviously happy and
healthy infant beaming
at them through cold, sleeting rain without protective rainwear or

As this post is getting somewhat long I will leave it to the next post
will explain how we introduced them to adult toilets.
Rayner Garner

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