Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My two month old daughter and I love to talk with each other. With this being my third baby, I've been amazed at how much more I understand what she's saying to me than I did with my firstborn. After the crazy struggles we went through with our firstborn, who was a high-needs child, I greatly credit learning about attachment parenting for my growth as a parent. I can easily tell what my squirming infant needs 98% of the time, to my great surprise and delight. Going down the usual checklist of changing, feeding and checking for itchy clothing tags is no longer a constant necessity.

Connection certainly wasn't a perfect science when we first started out. It took practice, and lots of it. Babies, I found, take effort and getting to know, just like every other person in the world. I'm not the perfect mother by any stretch of the imagination. I think I'm just a normal mama who was lucky enough to have been made aware that babies really are miniature little people with relational capabilities and very real emotional needs.

It astounds me how many of her cues I'd likely not even be aware of if she'd been left repeatedly to cry until she falls asleep, or if I had let her become completely distraught before responding to her every time she needed something. I used to view infants, to my embarrassment, as cute but rather vacant vegetables who cried mysteriously from time to time. Now I know better. Learning to watch her carefully before she began to wail like a hot tea kettle taught me a great deal about miniature humans.

She tells me things with her face, the nuances of her body language and tone of voice. She mimics my faces, and I mirror hers. She gets excited and pumps her legs and grins when I ask her, "Hungry?" When I can tell she's overheated in the damp, southern summer air by her serious baby grunts, I strip her extra clothing and she grins with gummy relief. She gurgles at me flirtatiously with raised eyebrows, asking me to echo her favorite noise, and squeals with pleasure when I indulge her. My daughter talks to me. I'm so thrilled to not have missed it.

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