Philosophical Monday: Baby CPR and Other Attention-Span Disasters

So, after discovering that though both of us desired kids, yet neither of us know how to change a diaper or even keep a baby alive in any way, shape or form, CH and I decided that it would probably be in our pending newborn’s best interest if we took some infant care classes.

babycpr-david silver

Also, there were no black babies in the CPR class. Then again, I was the only black person taking the class. Wondering if interest or supply was the issue.

The first class was Baby CPR last Monday at this place called The Pump Station in Hollywood. Though I am eagar to keep Betty alive, I had somehow forgotten what a bad student I can be at times.

Basically, I have the worst habit of falling asleep when I’m bored, which has gotten me in trouble since I was a kid. I’ve been chastised about this at my Lutheran elementary school, my public high school, my Massachusetts’ undergrad, my Chinese study abroad program (Beijing and Nanjing), and my Pittsburgh grad program — however having fallen asleep on everyone from Paul of Damascus to Mao Tse-Tung to Brecht, I can honestly say I have never been more bored than I was in Baby CPR.

The problem with this class is the same one that I have with most non-fiction geared towards explaining something to you. For whatever reason, boring writers just love to say in tens of thousands of words, what could easily be explained in a few thou, and in some really extreme cases a few hundred. I call this the successful essay syndrome. Someone writes a well-received essay and gets a book deal, despite the fact that everything they needed to say was in the essay, so then they’re forced to stretch out the information into book form, when they’re really not interesting enough writers to pull off this feat.

Anyway, Baby CPR was 2 1/2 hours, when it really only needed to be one. The teacher was very, very thorough. Going over each and every item in his suggested emergency medical kit and explaining everything in the workbook he had given us ad nauseum, even though it was a workbook and I read and understood it myself in under 10 minutes. Yet, I couldn’t fall asleep, because every twenty minutes or so, he was giving us information that we actually needed.

So I doodled to stay awake while he droned, and after an hour and a half, he finally let us work on the CPR dolls, which was actually quite informative and interesting — all the stuff that made it into the essay, before it was turned into a book.

Despite the boredom aspect, I would highly recommend Baby CPR for everyone. For one thing it also teaches you to give CPR and Heimlich to adults and children, and f you, like me, took it in college or even five years ago, so much has changed that CPR barely resembles what we were taught to do back in the day. Now the pumping is really emphasized with less breathing, no nose-holding and there are all sorts of things that make it more efficient and more likely to keep the person receiving CPR alive until the paramedics come — in other words it looks almost nothing like what you see on TV and in the movies anymore.

I hope I never have to use what I’ve learned in Baby CPR, but man, am I glad that I have the information — especially since as our teacher pointed out, a lot of people don’t take Baby CPR and Heimlich, so if a baby starts choking or nearly drowns at an event you’re attending, often times you might be the only one who will know what to do — dramatic for sure but also scarily true.

Also, if you’ve already had your kid or want to become a nanny or a babysitter, it’s still worth taking the class. There was one guy in there who had a two-year-old and one women, who had just gotten a job as a nanny with a family.

However, it was somewhat disconcerting that the well-being of my child wasn’t enough to keep me alert and interested in a super-boring class. Also, I’m reading this fascinating book right now called Bright from the Start by Jill Stamm, which basically says that if you want your kid to be intelligent, educational DVDs and fancy computer programs don’t work nearly as well as paying tons and tons of attention to her and playing lots and lots of games with her while her neural pathways are forming from infancy to the age of three.

Hmm. Have I mentioned that I don’t like being bored and that I don’t have the greatest attention span?

So, along with my usual writing goal, I decided to make my next Tri-Weekly habit improving my attention span — yeah, I know it’s a little late to start working on my attention-span at the age of 32, but better late than never, right?

So for the next 21 days, I’m only going to do one thing at a time, which is a lot harder than you’d think it’d be. I actually had to close my email program and Facebook window while writing this, b/c I’m having such trouble with this concept. And  I’m still not sure how I’m going to handle eating without doing anything else and (shudder) actually paying full attention to the programs I watch on TV w/o my beloved laptop or iPhone to distract me from weak plotlines and slow pacing and the like. It’s going to be a long 21 days.

Still, wish me luck, and if you have any good ideas for improving your attention span, please let me know.

100% Resolved,


. photo credit: David Silver