Reflections on motherhood...


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

What we're reading (and doing): Getting to Know You

In this digital age, when [almost] everything humanity knows can be found online, and reading is something you do on some handheld device, I sometimes wonder how kids of today (and the future) will fall in love with books, and by extension, reading.

That love affair must start as early as possible, with simple, easy to read board books.  Babies must learn the something special smell of a new book, the texture of its pages, and the thrill of discovering a story as the pages are turned.  It makes me sad to think there are children in New Zealand who will grow up without books in their house.

Lately, we've been reading Getting to Know You.  Published late last year by Niche Books, it's the perfect book to read to your new baby.  The book centres around the routines that characterise life with a newborn - and reminds us that these routines are not to be treated as tasks to be ticked off - they are opportunities to enjoy some space with your new one, inside that weird parenting bubble that envelopes a house for the months after a baby is born.
"change and chat while the world whirls..."
[translation: next time you're changing your infant and you're focusing on not getting shit everywhere, take a moment to take a breath - through your mouth mind - look up, make eye contact with that gorgeous baby and have a chat]

The text has a gentle cadence and rhythm, and is memorable enough for a toddler to learn so that they can "read" it to a younger sibling.  Milkbaby's favourite line - the one he always skips to - is:
"take my time / to breathe you in"  
As you can see, there is poetry here.  This is a board book with a story, albeit a simple one, and it beautifully and thankfully goes beyond those boring name-the-object books you see everywhere.  You can guarantee if a book is boring for you, it'll soon be very boring for your baby.

It's well known that babies are fond of looking at photos of other babies - and this little book will satisfy these cravings.

The Sailor, 10 weeks old, growing brain cells
and falling in love with books.

What's best about these photos is that they're photos of real people, and real babies, in their own environments.  I can say this because Milkbaby is one of those babies in the book, and he was definitely photographed amongst the mess of our own home.*  Heather has a way with babies, and an eye for capturing those moments of 'mutual gaze'.  You can almost see the baby brain cells multiplying.

If you want to know more about mutual gaze and getting to know your baby during those early baby days, watch this gorgeous video.

And if you want to get your hands on a copy of Getting to Know You (go on, you know you want to!),  ask for it at your local independent bookseller or order it here.

*Disclaimer: neither myself nor Milkbaby have any financial interest in the success or otherwise of this book - but it's been a hit in this house so we want to see it do well!

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