As the mom of a 14 year old, there’s always pressure to enroll my kid in the latest “enrichment” activity… Summer reading, music lessons, sports lessons… Fortunately, after a few years, you realize there are only so many hours in a day — and so many dollars in a budget — and you find a happy balance.
But woe to the soon-to-be new parents out there, who are now being told they need to enrich their child before he even has a chance to take his first breath. Take the BabyPlus Prenatal Education System, a product that straps onto Mom’s bulging belly, emitting 16 varied sounds that resemble a mother’s heartbeat.
For $149, your unborn baby has class twice a day for an hour, and the sonic pattern introduces her to a sequential learning process, based on the natural rhythms of the womb. (So the natural rhythms of the womb aren’t enough?) The rhythms of the sounds increase incrementally as the pregnancy progresses. Until what? The baby pops out snapping his fingers, doing calculus and demanding an iPod?
The manufacturer claims the “auditory exercise” strengthens learning ability during the developmental period when the advantages are believed to be most significant. The baby is supposed to learn the difference between the sounds coming from Mom and those from Baby Plus. And this process will build the baby’s memory and learning skills.
The company says there’s plenty of science behind the product, and I don’t doubt that. What worries me is that we’ve become so focused on creating gifted, enhanced, can’t-miss-out-on-Harvard kids that we’ve lost the plot.
Let’s all take a deep breath when it comes to pushing this particular envelope before the doctor even says “push.” Put a little music on the stereo, all you expectant moms, and dance around the living room tonight. And when your child is born (OK, give it a few months before you try this), tango around the room with her in your
arms, singing your own “ta da da da – da – da” tango music. (Don’t forget the dip at the end!) The giggles you hear will enrich you — and your baby — beyond words.
As for the $149? You can always start a college fund.