True, Patriot Love

Remember The Canadian Mother’s Book by Helen MacMurchy, MD, from two years ago? I had a yearning for it the other day and dug it out of the bookshelf. Today is election day in Canada. I bring to you more choice selections that you might feel your patriotic spirits rise. (of course non-Canadians may read as well.)

In case you were wondering what one looks like, here is a primer on The Good Baby:

The Good Baby has bright eyes and a contented expression. His skin is red for the first few days and then gradually becomes a clear soft pink colour. He feels “light” and “springy” in your arms. He sleeps peacefully with eyes and mouth closed.

On Saving your Country by Nursing Your Baby:

The Mother is the leader, but the Father, the Doctor, the Nurse, the rest of the family and all of us Canadians must help the Mother to make Maternal Nursing the Canadian Way.

The Doctor, of course, depends on the Nurse to manage the nursing. But the Doctor is responsible for seeing that the Nurse manages it properly and advises the Mother wisely. Nursing by the Mother is the One Best Way to save the life of the Canadian Baby.

When we are done nursing (at 9 months) we wean:

Milk is the indispensable food for children. They cannot do without it. The cow has been well called “the foster mother of the human race,” and she must have green food, fresh air and sun.

And eventually, we may feed a variety of jellies, including barley jelly:

Soak four tablespoonfuls of well-washed pearl barley in a quart of warm water for an hour. Bring to the boiling-point, and keep almost boiling for three hours. While hot, strain into a freshly-scalded jug. Cover and set in a cool place. Make fresh for use every day.

I guess they didn’t have TV back in the ’20s so what else would you have to do but spend 4 hours of every day making your own barley jelly that your baby would probably spit out all over the floor. Or maybe that’s just my bias talking.

But I think my favourite page is the one containing this vignette entitled: The Golden Opportunity.

At 5:45 am steal to the mother’s door. Is she sleeping? She stirs, she speaks.

“Is that you, nurse? Where is my baby?”

Carry in the little Canadian – looking so sweet – and give him to his mother. This baby is a Canadian boy, but the next will be a Canadian girl and just as welcome. He sleeps on as you lay him in his mother’s arms.

It is well for him. Pre-natal life is behind him and post-natal life, with all its greatness, is before him, and we must do our best for the “infant soldier.” He has helped his mother to fight for her life and his, and now he sleeps.

(The Canadian Mother, of course, does not sleep. She will never sleep again with the responsibility of the Canadian Child’s Upbringing weighing so heavily upon her shoulders.)

(Plus there’s all that barley jelly to make.)
(and Gossip Girl to watch. Oh. Just me?)

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