Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 2, Issue 60, Tuesday August 30, 2005




Letter To The Editor

About mothering

Dear Editor:
This is with regard to the Special Feature "Mothering: The highs and the lows" by Ms. Kavita Charanji that appeared in the Lifestyle section of The Daily Star on Tuesday August 23, 2005.

I find Ms. Charanji's article to be very one-sided and not very well researched. Instead of being called a "Special Feature", it can, at best, be described as "an Opinion".

When I gave birth to my son, my mother-in-law left everything and came to be with us for almost two months. During that time she ensured that I was well rested, well fed and most comfortable. When our son arrived, she taught us (with extreme patience) how to care for and nurture the little soul. She taught us to hold him, change him, bathe him, feed him, burp him and gently sing him to sleep. She stayed up nights as we struggled to come to grips with the responsibilities of parenthood, and held our hands when we had to suffer the irrational fear of our baby's first vaccination.

My husband, too, steadfastly stood by my side every step of the way. He did as much to look after the baby as I did, including changing, bathing and waking in the middle of the night. To this day (our son is almost two years old) my husband shares (daily) in all the responsibilities that make parenting such a roller-coaster ride. Father and son share a refreshingly wonderful bond of love and friendship.

My husband and his family (along with my own family) made my transition into motherhood one of my most joyous rites of passage. Surely, that is what a committed marriage and a loving family are all about!
With kind regards,
Fahima Choudhury

Dear Ms. Fahima,
I congratulate you on your luck. You are a part of an educated, cultured and enlightened family. However in Bangladesh there are still a great number of people who are very educated but not yet enlightened in this regard. It is not only the mother-in-laws, but husbands as well, who will not support or understand the blues that a new mother would face. If she is a working mom the tension multiplies. We have scores of such cases to prove our point. Unfortunately there are only a handful of positive stories like yours. I only wish people would read your opinion and grasp the depth of it and be mature enough to take up their responsibilities.

Thank you so much for reading Star Lifestyle.
Raffat Binte Rashid
Editor, Star Lifestyle

Special feature

Your baby is trying to say something

Babies can be real cute until they poop all over the place. Heck, they have an annoying habit of remaining cute even after they make a mess simply by giving a dashing smile. But in reality they are probably just laughing at you. Did you know that babies can actually tell you when they are about to test your cleanup skill? Actually they can give you a lot more information than simply when they are letting go of their stomach contents. Your young child has secret tools for getting the comfort and care he needs from you!

Evolution has provided babies with wonderful ways to get the loving attention and care that they need from you. A baby's cry is the most primitive and powerful tool. Often it's enough to bring a grownup to tears. Think of the parents who stay up all night because the baby won't stop crying. When they cries from distress, you know to nurse them, change their diaper, have a cuddle or call up the grandparents because you can't take it anymore.

But by the time your baby is 2 or 3 months old, he/she has a new nonverbal gesture that is just as powerful: a dazzling smile or crooked grin that melts your heart and brings you great joy. Of course, the next moment they poops and spoils the moment.

There are other nonverbal tools your baby devises to communicate his/her feelings and to feel safe and secure.

"Hold Me Close"
Have you noticed how babies don't want to let go when you pick them up? That is unless they don't like you or you have had a bit too many onions during lunch. Look at baby primates -- they clutch and hold onto their mothers' furry bodies with all their might. A human baby also uses clutching to feel safe and secure. They tugs on your hair or touches your neck. It's also the time they start to pull at your hair mostly because it is fun to see you scream. Babies will curl a tiny hand around your finger to feel the security of your presence.

By 9 or 10 months, your baby will express pleasure in getting to know you by trying to feed you, poke fingers into your mouth, or pull at your eyeglasses to see what is actually part of you and what is not. As you endlessly untangle your hair or necklace from baby fingers, try to stay aware of and appreciate his/her vigorous efforts at getting acquainted. At this stage, your baby is getting ready to paddle off and become a separate person. Learning about your clothing and adornments is one way for your baby to keep the memory of you secure as he/she crawls bravely toward unknown adventures.

"Show Me, Tell Me"
At 9 months, your baby brings you a toy so you can make it work. Your baby might also bring you a cockroach for that matter. Or he/she puts your hand on the toy they wants to set in motion. With this clever gesture, they ensures that you will make the toy move -- something too difficult for the baby to manage.

Be proud that your infant understands cause and effect! In other words, they knows that in order for a toy to work, there must be an agent. And if he/she cannot manage the toy alone, your baby realises that they can use gestures to get you, their very own special adult, to be that helpful agent. Soon they start pointing at things they want and before you know it they will be doing the same thing with your car keys and wallet.

"Read My Moves"
Babies under a year old have few words including the assorted 'ga-ga' and 'goo'goo'. Using gestures is an important way for them to communicate their needs and interests. By 10 to 12 months, your baby lifts her arms to say, "Please pick me up and carry me over to see what's happening!" By 1 year, she will wave "bye-bye" in response to your verbal request. If you put on music and urge her to dance, she might happily do so. Your prompt attention helps your baby feel competent making you a wonderful play partner. But it's not time yet to ask them to help you operate the new DVD player. That's what teenagers are for.

"Walk This Way"
Once your child learns to walk, he is able to show you clearly where he wants to go and what he wants to explore. This is how they end up getting stuck under low sofas. Watch where he toddles: He may be determined to get to that interesting toy in the corner. Identify it for him and cheer him on.

Sleepy toddlers often rub their eyes, blink, and whine. Notice when your child suddenly wilts and needs you to cuddle and soothe him to sleep. Hungry toddlers are frequently cranky. Be alert to wordless signals that indicate your child needs a drink and a nutritious meal or snack. When you're sitting on the floor next to her as she plays, she may crawl all over you to show affection. It's a lot like new born puppies actually.

Sometimes they dash around and fling toys and food -- they're not yet skilled at controlling wrist and arm movements. Teach gentle motions. Lightly hold your hand over your child's hand as you demonstrate how to pat the doggy gently. In the same way, show her how to hold her wrist so that her food stays on the spoon.

Most importantly toddlers use body language to communicate fear. Is your toddler somewhat uncertain with people or animals he doesn't know? If he stands solemnly in front of something with his hands protectively in front of him, he's giving you a sign to go easy. Notice his wary feelings and respect his desire for a slower, more cautious introduction to the unfamiliar. But don't' take advantage of this fear to use it during feeding times. The kid eventually grows up paralysed with fear at mundane creatures like little cockroaches and spiders.

Toddlers respond to many words with gestures. Be encouraging so your child gets lots of practice. Use your words and cheerful requests to investigate and enrich your child's gesture repertoire, and she will get the message that you hear exactly what she is -- or isn't -- saying. In no time they will learn to speak and tell you exactly how much money they want.

By Ehsanur Raza Ronny
Source: Parent & Child Magazine
Amazing Baby Videos, Discovery Channel


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