The Inspired Guide
Being Around Emma Sophia or Other Babies From My Perspective & Experience
I notice many people aren't sure of how to be around infants/children these days (which is understandable - we live in a VERY different world than 20 years ago), so I was thinking of ways to best explain to people how to approach Emma (or other infants for that matter)... because if you do it wrong, she will cry, and some may think this is because she doesn't like anyone but her mum and dad but this just isn't true.
Emma is a social butterfly and thrives in public places, at meeting new people and being around strangers which she has proven over and over again (such as in the busy line at Kmart, with marketplace buyers coming to our house and at her welcome to the world party).
I often just say, think of yourself in her position and how you would want to be treated - which is simple, but is it enough? (and it also depends on your own personal boundaries).
I was also thinking of describing her as a timid adult or as a wild animal - to be approached gently - but those are often fear-based characteristics and that is not her... she is not afraid... she is curious and wisely cautious.
She uses her senses to assess the environment - the energy; the sight, sound and smell.
How does the energy feel... does it feel light, safe and comfortable or chaotic, heavy and scary?
Does it look, sound or smell familiar, soft and homely or loud, smelly and new/different.
We are sensory beings experiencing physicality and there is no human more sensitive than a baby - they FEEL EVERYTHING and collect, analyze and integrate environmental and sensory data faster than anyone or even machine - we underestimate them significantly.
Just as any adult human she wants to be respected and not treated like an idiot, or like a monkey on display for our entertainment.
She wants to be interacted with in an agreeable way, rather than imposed upon (eg. talked at, sang at, touched, etc.).
She doesn't want to be held by people and have her movement and physical freedom restricted.
She doesn't like to be kissed or touched by strangers (everyone except mum and dad or the primary carers are a stranger to a baby) - she has healthy boundaries (which many adults do not).
She doesn't need to be played with constantly. She likes her space and ability to do what she wants when she wants without restriction - at her developmental level. (It's actually much more enjoyable to hold space for a child and to observe their joyful play and inquisitive exploration than it is to make them play with us).
She is safe in my arms - and in feeling safe with me she feels safe to explore this world and all that is in it.
So I guess it's simple...
Acknowledge her. Say hello; introduce yourself and then go by her cues - just as you would with any other human... and other basic human interactions like: wait for her permission before touching her things and speak quietly to her at a respectable distance (if you need to speak at all).
Until she can speak, ask the mother/primary carer because as a mother we have an undeniable link to our children. When they are born they are a symbiotic part of us, and us them. Our brains are rewired to be in tune with them; to know their needs and to protect them above all else. We are their voice until they can speak for themselves. We are their light in the darkness until they realise their own light. And this is worthy of the deepest respect.
How much we respect and love ourselves, how worthy we know ourselves to be and how healthy our boundaries are will be what our children learn.
So respect the baby as you would respect the mother. As you would respect yourself. Simple.
The Inspired Guide