Friday, January 12, 2007

Of Babies and Bushmen

Today I learned that the cloak that doubles as a carrier that the (Kalahari) Bushmen use to carry stuff in is called a "kaross".

"Traditional gathering gear is simple and effective: a hide sling, blanket, and cloak called a kaross to carry foodstuffs, firewood, or young children, smaller bags, a digging stick, and perhaps a smaller version of the kaross to carry a baby." --Quote and picture from
Wikipedia article .

The above excerpt reminded me of two books I have read. The first is a book called "The Attachment Parenting Book: A Commonsense Guide to Understanding and Nurturing Your Baby" that I believe references the Bushmen as an indigenous population who have used the "baby sling" to carry their infants and children for eons. Forgive me if I'm wrong, its been at least 13 years since I read it.

At any rate, I believe this reflects the current shift of parenting from the Victorian "hands off/don't spoil/let 'em cry its good for their lungs" style of parenting back to a more natural, instinctive approach to parenting including an emphasis on natural birth without drugs, on demand feeding, wearing baby in a sling, homeschooling and so on. All great stuff in my opinion.

The second book it brings to mind is actually the first in Jean M. Auel's "Earth's Children" series. In book one, The Clan of the Cave Bear, Auel describes the Neanderthals as a hunter gatherer society who use the same tools as the Bushmen. Although Auel uses a great deal of artistic license, the archaeological and anthropological details are well researched and the story line is truly enthralling. I recommend the series for more mature autodidacts, maybe 17 years and older due to sexual content and some evolutionary dogma.

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