Babies Are Preverbal, Not Idiots

Of course we can readily see that loud, sharp or deep voices cause a newborn to jump but are you aware that a newborn will turn to look at a voice he remembers hearing in the womb? It was still amazing to watch my first grand-daughter turn towards her mom’s and dad’s voices when she was only hours old. When her parents held her, she calmed down right away because she had been constantly reassured of their love and devotion while she was still in the womb. Now out in the world, she knows that she is safe and protected especially in their arms.

Conversely, all babies are sensitive to the approach of a stranger.The most blatant personal example I can remember is my six-month old Mary. I was holding her when a tall, slender, older priest, dressed all in black, gently reached out to hold her. He smiled and patiently waited while Mary tensed her little body, drew back and looked him up and down very suspiciously. She drew back a second time,even further, and once again glanced from his head to his feet and slowly looked back at his face again. A third time, Mary repeated the process and then suddenly she relaxed, broke out into a wonderful smile and reached her own arms out to lean forward so Father could pick her up.

That baby was receiving unspoken messages from Father’s facial expression, tone of voice, body language and emotional and spiritual ‘vibes’ that radiated from his inner spirit. In short, even though Mary was not talking yet, she was not an idiot. We tend to forget that.

Michael and I were lucky because we somehow understood, right from the start, that we were relating to another human being when we communicated with our babies. I stopped and listened when they cooed and then I answered them . It might sound, foolish but I believe that this attitude instilled respect for themselves and others.

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