[note for google readers: this post is part of the huggies/blogher series]
babies 0-3 months: where's the instruction manual?josh and i are not really minimalists, but both of us have a thing for the simple. and one thing we both decided long before annabel was born was that we didn't want a house full of baby STUFF. we wanted useful things that would make our lives easier, sure! but babies 30 years ago didn't have rooms piled high with musical/interactive/battery-operated plastic toys, and they seemed to come out okay [or at least i'd like to think so, being one of them!].
but after annabel entered our lives, i started to doubt myself. without a million and one 'educational' devices, i wondered exactly what i was supposed to DO with her. how was i supposed to bond, exactly? what activities were best for her? and what were the most official ways to teach her about the world?
perhaps a little advanced for a 1-month old . . . [image source]
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now annabel actually does enjoy playing with toys and things, though we're still trying to avoid accumulating a mound of primary-colored plastic. but i have to say, though i'm barely past the earliest phase myself, i can already see how little it mattered exactly what i did with her during that time. and i wish i had worried about it less!
because thinking back on that time, i really believe all that mattered was that i was there for her, living life -- and enjoying it! -- with her in it.
when i spent an hour just soothing and rocking her to sleep, it was an hour well spent. [and now that she's doubled in size, i already miss having such a tiny package to hold.]
when i gave her a bath and rubbed her with lotion, i was keeping her clean and healthy.
when i took her for a walk, i was showing her the world outside.
when i called my parents with Skype and let them admire their first grandchild while bouncing her up and down in her chair, she was learning about family love.
when i spent time cleaning up the kitchen while she watched intently, she was soaking things in every second, whether i was trying to teach her anything or not.
and when i sometimes ended the [long!] day with a marathon breastfeeding session on the couch while watching girls on HBO, i was doing what i needed to do to survive. and come on -- she will be no worse for the wear!
so i guess what i'm saying is: just don't think about it so much.
next time [hopefully!] i'm not going to second guess myself -- i'm just going to allow myself to bask in the specialness of such a fleeting time. a newborn will get exactly what she needs from you as long as you love her and you're THERE. just enjoy it as much as you can. because just like everyone says, it goes by SO fast.
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