Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Talk to Your Babies

by Christina VanGinkel

Standing in the checkout line at the grocery store the other day, I realized the young mother in the aisle next to me was a friend of my daughters. The last time I had seen her she was expecting the baby she was now holding, but that had been early on in her pregnancy, and if I had not known she was pregnant, I never would have guessed it.

She was holding her daughter, now eighteen months old, and was talking to her, carrying on a full-fledged conversation. When she turned and saw me, she immediately introduced me to her daughter, which her daughter responded to by giving me a big grin then tucking her head into her mom's shoulder. Her husband was with her, and she handed their daughter to him,

We chatted for a few minutes as our groceries were being scanned and bagged, then parted with me telling her that my daughter was coming home this week for the long holiday weekend. I was able to relay this information because even though my daughter and her family travel for work, we talk daily on the phone.

I sometimes forget how grown up my older children are. Even though I am officially a grandmother, I still think of them as just children themselves. Upon further reflection though, I am reminded not only are they grown, but they are quite well adjusted grownups also. Like my daughter's friend in the store, and my daughter herself, they seemed to have grasped this motherhood thing quite well. They are vocal about having their husbands help with the child rearing; they treat their children well, and enjoy spending time with them, clearly shown by how well they interact with them.

Thinking back, I reminisced with myself my early years as a young mother, of not always seeming to have someone to share the trials and tribulations of a screaming infant, especially when my husband was on a late shift at the foundry, where he worked at in the early years of our marriage. However, as soon as he got home, he would take the babies and tell me to take time for myself. I would head outside if it was summer and take a walk, read a book, whatever, If it was winter and too cold to go out, I would lock myself in the bathroom and take a hot bath, all the while he would take care of the kids for an hour or so while I regained my sanity. We were both talkers, and were able to relay to each other what it was needed from each other.

I partly credit my daughter being such a good mom with the fact of how we did raise her. Even though we were young parents, we were consistent with our discipline, talking to our kids about why they were being punished, and we talked to our kids about why they were being praised. We talked to them! We loved them, and we were not afraid to tell them so. This in turn let them grow into the well-adjusted, confident adults they are today.

Talk to your babies and toddlers today, and keep talking to them as they get older, and use some of that talking to let them know how much you love them. It does not cost a thing and you will be thankful later on when they grow up and still call you to talk, because it is just the normal thing to do!

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