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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Little mommies: when you know they've been listening!

You know they've been listening to mommy.

I have to tell you all about my wonderful afternoon with my youngest daughter.

As a mother, I've always tried to be very open with my children and talk to them honestly and straightforward.  As an Activist, I've always spoken to my kids about what I'm doing, about why mommy sometimes spends a lot of time on the computer or on phone, and how mommy is trying to change things.  But when you're talking to kids, you always wonder how much they are listening, KWIM?

Today I realized that my kids really are listening in on all those conversations about birthing and breastfeeding, about loving our babies, and about human rights.

It's been a long week this week (yes, I know it's only tuesday, please don't remind me). Feeling rather burned out, I was sitting on the couch struggling to nurse my 4 month old son (which many times is kinda like trying to dress a squid), while deciding whether to do the dishes or fold laundry... if he ever fell asleep that is.

Out of the corner of my eye I notice my youngest daughter (Keira, 5) coming down the stairs.  She comes into the living room dressed in her usual quirky fashion (today's outfit consisted of grey woolly tights with black and silver snow flakes, jean shorts, and a hot pink tank top with a white sequinned bolero jacket over top), wearing her little sling that I made for her when she was just 18 months old with her baby in it.

She sits down on the couch next to me, crosses her legs- very lady like- and strikes up a conversation.

"Hello, my what a cute baby you have.  My baby is just 3 days old and he is very small and delicate.  He was born out of my vagina, because that's the way babies should be born, but I came out of my mommy's tummy because she didn't have a midwife then.  We're waiting for our midwives to come and visit us right now."  all the while she's rocking her baby in the sling.

So we chatted for a few minutes.  She told me about her baby and I told her about my baby- you know: Mommy talk.  After a minute or two she very gently takes her baby out of the sling and says
"Oh he's hungry.  Don't worry baby , mommy's got lots of milk for you" and she pulls up her shirt and  makes sure that her baby's mouth is exactly on her little nipple and holds him securely in a perfect cross cradle hold.  While we nursed out babies together (one of which was far less wiggly), we continued chatting.  She told me that babies needed to be breastfed and that bottle were not necessary. "Babies just need boobies and to be carried and hugged.  Skin to skin is the best way, but I can't get my shirt off right now."

After the babies finished nursing (one of which didn't belch up a mouthful of milk all over his mother), we sat and bounced our babies on our laps (one of our shirts was already covered with milk, so the bouncing wasn't likely to make it any worse.) and she told me about how her baby nurses and sleeps with her, and that she loved to carry him around in her sling.  "Oh I think he has to have a pee! would you mind holding him while I get his potty?"  (then proceeded to tell me that I wasn't supporting his head well enough...good thing she was rummaging up stairs in her toy box for the little potty and didn't see my baby goobering all over her baby's head!).

When she returned she held her baby over the potty with perfect practised poise and made the "pee" noise, praised her little one for have a big pee in his potty, and then got him dressed again and put him back in the sling.
(Around this time her younger brutish three year old brother came running and yelling into the room and at that point the "mommy mirage" disappeared and off they ran together to see if Sesame Street was on TV).

The entire time we sat together, just two mommy's bonding with our babies, I couldn't removed the huge grin that lit up my face. As she ran off to fry her brain in front of the TV all I could think was:

"It worked!! We've changed the next generation!!!"  I know that I'll have home birthed, breastfed, babyworn, attached grandchildren... sometime a long time from now!

So next time you find yourself wondering if your little ones are really listening, take heart: they hear and they are listening.  We will change the next generation- one child at a time.

...although don't get your hopes up about their fashion sense.  A lost cause is a lost cause!
 My little mommies- Quinlin 4 and Keira 18 months, wearing their baby slings I made for them!