Little people are just that........LITTLE PEOPLE. They have feelings, emotions, ideas, agendas, thoughts, hopes, dreams, etc... All of the psychological characteristics adults have, children do too, and babies. They may not have the cognitive abilities to plan in the long term, or the vocabulary to express what they want, but that doesn't mean that they don't have an idea about what they need and how they want it. Just ask any two-year old.
I have always spoken to my babies in complete sentences because of this thought. To me, they can understand what I am saying and how it affects them, if I explain it to them. They do better when they know what to expect. One experience I had the drove this home to me was when our oldest was in the hospital at 1 month old. He had had an emergency surgery to clean out his abdomen after his bowel perforated (a story for another day). He had been post-surgery 1 week and they were letting me hold him for the very first time since the surgery. He had only been having IV fluid for the week, as his surgery area involved his intestines. As I held him, he kept turning over indicating that he wanted to nurse. I talked to him about what had happened and that he wouldn't be able to nurse for a little while longer until he had healed a little more. I told him that I wanted him to nurse too and that it would all be alright soon, that his little body was receiving all of the nutrients it needed, even though his stomach didn't think so. After our little conversation, the baby rolled over and went to sleep. No crying, no attitude, no more trying to nurse, just acceptance.
My babies have all done better, especially with medical things, if I tell them what is up. "We are going to the doctor today. He is going to check out how your body is growing. He will check your eyes, ears, throat, nose with his little light. He will listen to your heart and to your back. He will poke at your tummy. When we are all done, you will have to have some shots. They will hurt, but it won't last long. If we don't give you the shots, you could get some nasty diseases that could make you really, really sick for a long time. Then it will be all over and you'll get a sucker and we'll go home." If you talk to them, it will help them to process what is happening, even if they don't understand at the moment.
When Drew and I went to Las Vegas for his aunt's funeral, I sat down with Spike, Spike the day before and explained that I was going to leave early the next morning, before he woke up and I would be gone the entire day. Then he would go to sleep and wake up and I would be gone that day. Then he would wake up and go to sleep again and I would be gone all of that day. I would get home late at night, after he had gone to bed and when he woke up, I would be there and we would go to church. He did not understand me when I explained it. In fact, I am not even sure he cared. But when I got home and he was so excited to see me and then was obviously not happy with me because I had been gone, I reminded him that I had tried to tell him what I was doing, but that he probably didn't quite understand what I had said. He gave me a hug and that was the end of it. When I tell him I am leaving, now he will say, bye, bye Mom and I let him know I will be right back, or I am taking someone to school or work. He does better when he knows where I am and what to expect.
Some of you may think I am crazy, but that doesn't matter to me. The little people need our help to obtain their agendas, soothe their emotions and help them make sense of the world around them. The sooner we begin speaking to them like people and acknowledging their feelings, emotions, desires, and frustrations, even as infants, the sooner we will cement the natural bonds between parents and children. And they will know that they can count on us to help them know what to expect and when. They will be more secure and as they grow, they will seek us out because they have known from a very early age that we were dependable and honest.
My littlest man got a hair cut this week end. I miss his curls. He looks like a different boy and I think his wild hair suits his personality....just a little wild in his own right. :-)