When I was pregnant with Hudson I got the best unsolicited advice I never knew I needed. It was from my mom’s client at the time and she had recently had her first baby. Her baby was about six months old, and she wanted to pass along some pearls of wisdom from another new mommy.
One of the things she said to me was, “Talk to your baby.” I thought this was funny because, obviously, I would talk to my baby. Don’t we all expect to talk to our babies?
But she was right and her words stuck with me. When Hudson was so tiny that he was just kind of lying on his play mat or sitting in his bouncer, I realized it was up to me to give him some meaningful interactive time.
So I talked to him. When I was cooking supper and he was in his bouncer just looking at me, I’d tell him all about what I was doing. Of course he didn’t understand anything that I was saying. He didn’t know what I meant when I said I was chopping onions or when I told him that the onions are white. He didn’t know what I was saying when I’d tell him why I was washing my hands, but I told him anyway. Just so I could talk to him.
And he’d just look up at me with wide eyes and give me the occasional grin. Eventually he started to “coo” back at me.
When we’d go to the grocery store he would be in his infant carrier and he’d just be looking at me. We’d walk down the canned foods aisle and I’d talk to him about pasta and green beans. When we got to the produce section I’d show him that the cucumbers were green and the carrots were orange. I’d tell him how many carrots I picked up.
I can’t say that this taught him how to count or helped him learn his colors, but it just gave us some interaction with each other. Because he was my buddy. He was my constant companion for outings. He was my cooking buddy and my walking buddy. So I wanted to talk to him about our day and what we were doing. I wanted to tell him all about where we were going and let him look at the dogs we passed on our walks.
At first I thought it sounded silly that this girl advised me to just “talk to your baby.” But it turned out to be a great piece of advice.
But my most favorite way to interact with my babies happens at bed time. When we’re sitting in the rocking chair in the nursery and reading bedtime stories, singing songs, and saying our prayers. Those little moments will be in their memories and especially mine as something we always did together starting when they were just newborns.
What are some meaningful ways that you interact with your babies?