Monday, November 28, 2011

Different Ways to Connect

Connection is so very important to children.  It's how they process the world.  As infants, they need a physical connection to their mother.  It's as important of a need as eating.  But as the babies grow, they individuate.  That's how it's supposed to be.  But toddlers and young children still need to check in with mom.

Sometimes I feel like the sun around which my toddler-planets revolve.  Jack has a close orbit.  He's never very far away, and I figure prominently into his play plans.  Gus has a wider orbit, and does well with self-directed play.  But both boys need physical connection at varying levels.

Jack will bounce around the room, from me to a toy, back again.  He did this reliably last night while we were at Family Dinner at my parents' house.  But Gus was intent, caught up in his own world as usual.  Until he came running over to me and planted a big kiss right on my lips.  He told me "Mama kiss."  Then he ran over to Moviedad and did the same thing.  And then it was back to business as usual.  He made the connections he needed.

And I really loved it.

"Mama kiss!"

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Children are People

"Oh, they look just like little people!"  

My then-fourteen-year-old cousin's voice cut through the general hum and buzz of conversations that were swirling around my parents' house.  She was watching Gus and Jack pull themselves up to stand on their very nearly one-year-old feet.  She was delighting in them. I think she meant they looked very grown up.  I knew this and was glad but her comment still irked me.    

Of course they look like little people.  They ARE people!  

It never fails to amaze me that our society doesn't seem to value the person-hood of babies and children. They are devalued at every turn, from cry rooms in churches to adults-only flights.  

Children are people, and as such, they share in the basic human rights every adult would expect.  

It makes me angry and sad when parents talk about those hot-button parenting issues, such as breastfeeding, in terms of purely parental choice.  How different would the conversation be if breastfeeding were seen as a biological right instead of a choice?

I'm betting that every single baby ever born would choose mama milk, if given a voice to do so.  

But babies can't talk, and children are still learning logic and communication skills.  So it's our job to stand up for them and give voice to their rights.  

My little people.