I know I shouldn’t put too much stock in what baby books have to say. I probably should put our stack into the recycling bin. More than one person has told me that the people who read parenting books aren’t usually the ones who need to do so, but yesterday, I did find a good bit in What to Expect the First Year. Normally, when I flip through it, it’s with a skeptic’s eye. The book is so middle of the road, it lives on the yellow line. Any section dealing with anything even slightly outside the mainstream (e.g., questioning the regular vaccination schedule, alternative medicine, even cloth diapers) has an undertone that seems to say, “Well, there are some nutjobs that do this. If you want to waste your time, money, and possibly put your baby’s life in jeopardy, you can try it if you want.” But the section on talking to your baby did help move me forward as a parent. As I‘ve mentioned before, I’m not a conversationalist. People who are have a talent for thinking on their feet. I think on the car ride home, coming up with all the things I should’ve said, but much too late to put them to use. With Violet, I watch Linda, aunts, and uncles hold her and talk to her about a million things. It seems so natural. I hold her and although I can stare at her for hours on end, telling her how beautiful she is and how much I love her, I can’t help but feel like she’s waiting for something more. She looks at me as if to say, “Yeah, Dad. You already told me that like a hundred times. Don’t you have any new material?” I know I’m projecting. She doesn’t even know that she has hands yet, but she will. So the book recommends doing a running commentary, letting Violet know everything I’m doing with her, to her, near her. I can explain why I’m doing this or that and ask her questions, giving her time to respond. It may sound a little silly, but put into practice, it feels completely natural, as if I’m having a conversation with my daughter. Eventually, she’ll start answering my questions, and even though she may get bored of the play-by-play at a certain point, I figure that by then, she’ll be providing me with plenty of material to talk about. So, I won’t quit the books just yet. I’ll just keep them for when I really need them. I swear, I can quit them anytime I want.
38 days old