Wondertime is, undoubtedly, one of my favorite parenting magazines. I look forward to each issue, knowing that it will have something useful for just about any and every parent. The newest issue has a very interesting article about learning to “read” your newborn and his or her attempts to communicate with you. I wish I had had this article when I had my firstborn! It only confirms what I’ve long suspected. The problem wasn’t with my baby – it was *ME*!
“See the slight pucker on her brow and her clenching hands?” baby researcher J. Kevin Nugent asks about 1-day-old Tess. “She’s saying, ‘Wait a minute. I’m still getting organized. Soon I’ll be relaxed enough to really look at you.’ “
It took about a week after I brought home my first baby for me to transmogrify from an unflappable globe-trotting journalist into a hormone-addled zombie weeping on the shoulders of strangers. Extreme sleep deprivation and hormone spikes were part of this alchemy, but the most potent ingredient, for me, was what psychologists call cognitive dissonance, that uncomfortable state of tension that results when two conflicting realities collide. This creature I’d made from my own flesh and nurtured for months inside my body — the very definition of an intimate familiar — had been revealed to me as a stranger.
He cried. He squirmed. He shuddered. His tiny face crumpled, stretched, and contorted, and sometimes his eyes opened so wide that I could see the top crescent of his sclera, the “white” of the eyeball. He pedaled his flaky, wrinkled feet, then stared off moodily into the middle distance. I could decipher none of these strange expressions and gestures. For those first few weeks, life with my beloved child felt as discombobulating as a Fellini film in the afternoon.
To read the rest of this article, please visit Wondertime here.
For further information about understanding your child’s “babyspeak”, check out the Babyspeak Decoder.