The magic of DNA is profoundly manifested when you have kids. You and your spouse put your DNA in the martini shaker and pour out the DNA cocktail that is your child. It is one of the greatest miracles and mysteries of life! Every child has unique qualities and attributes that may not resemble the parents! The Nigerians have a beautiful word —Amachi-– roughly translated means "Only God knows what this child brings". Locked inside of this tiny person are all sorts of possibilities and talents. Parents then go through the amazing and challenging push/pull dance of nurturing the nature or vice versa. How much guidance do I provide to allow this child to become who they were meant to become? And for those of us blessed with more than one child, you learn quickly that the operator's manual is different for each and every one. No matter how much equity we want to apply as parents, we realize real fast that appreciating the differences is far more important. For if we don't recognize these unique qualities, we will miss the genius within. Like a box of crackerjacks, there is at least one prize inside each child a unique talent, skill, idea, a way of being that yearns to be discovered and appreciated.
Do the mysteries of a baby–how to help the child realize his/her potential–tell us anything about how that baby develops relationships? Are the seeds of networking planted during those early moments of infancy where the brain is an evolving grey mass of possibilities and the manifestations of the secret blend of DNA emerges?
Nonverbal tools for communication between parent and baby include:
- Eye contact and facial expressions. Eye-to-eye contact between parent and baby is key to feeling connected and developing a secure and loving bond. A warm smile goes a long way, too. Babies also like to imitate facial expressions, which can be a fun way to play with your baby.
- Feeding. The act of feeding can be very soothing to a baby. Watch for cues that your baby is still hungry or if s/he needs to be burped during feeding. If you are breastfeeding, you will naturally be holding your baby close. If you are bottle feeding, make sure you are holding your baby, ideally cradling him or her while feeding- don’t “prop a bottle”.
- Gentle handling. Avoid rough, abrupt movements in very young babies and be sure to support a newborn’s head. Older babies might like more active, playful movements at times, but check frequently to make sure they are comfortable.
- Rhythmic movement. Babies love rocking, swaying, swinging, and even gentle jiggling (notshaking). They may enjoy “dancing” with you.
- A soft soothing voice. Talk or sing to your baby. Your baby can’t understand what you’re saying, but he or she can enjoy just listening to you. While you are also building language skills, the reassurance of your voice is very important in building secure attachment.