Part 2 in a 3 part blog series on the art of story telling in utero, to baby, and to toddler.
It’s made its way into the cultural collective: the word “love” scrawled on water bottles. Hand-written notes taped to Sparklet’s jugs in restaurants. “Joy.” “Gratefulness.” Ideas from Dr. Emoto’s groundbreaking books on how water changes when exposed to the vibrations of different words.
I hadn’t made the connection, until a friend who didn’t have kids was watching me nurse one time and said “You could say stuff like that to your milk, what would THAT be like for the baby?”
It made me consider the words spoken while nursing, when the baby was taking in everything I was giving hungrily and soulfully and completely. What a chance to forward this continuum: to make a connection between life before breath and now finding the rhythm IN breath, in words and silences. Belly stories to Milk stories.
It’s a perfect time to tell your baby a story, maybe that one you told to your belly, perhaps now with a little more embellishment, even more animation, for now those eyes that you imagined looking at you really are looking! You can make your voice deep and slow, bright and energetic, and full of all the love you’ve been saving up to share.
The vibration, the intention and content of what you say – all these things that emerge out of you while baby is drinking, flow into them just as easily as the milk.
Stories nourish the soul while the milk nourishes body and they intertwine.
And it gives them a sense that their beloved grown-up sees them and wants to share energy and time. It’s setting a routine to bring stories into your sacred time together for years to come.
The structure of the narrative in a story can help you continue to talk to your baby longer – if you allow yourself to get a little lost or a little creative with the telling, the pleasure and nourishment will be for both the teller and the receiver.
This is also a good time to continue the narration of daily activities, the stream of consciousness expression, sharing your thoughts about things you find silly or amazing or moving. This is the birth of yourself as a teacher and narrator of the world for this beautiful new thing that is with you.
I sang the same songs, too, and played that old Scottish song on the flute when I laid him down. It made me happy to be sharing something I loved in that moment with this little friend I had so longed to meet.
This is the time you make the bridge between the physical womb, and the extended womb of the first few months of warmth and safety with the family. A powerful link for your baby to that comforting dark place- to hear the same songs and stories, over and over.
I was walking with my partner one evening; he was carrying our baby in a Bjorn. It was the twilight, the “gloaming” time, which as a storyteller is my favorite time of day – neither dark nor light – when possibility lingers in the air. I just started singing that Scottish song.
My husband looked at me smilingly, a little question in his eyes.
“I’m showing him the world is safe on the outside too,” I said.
In my professional life, I continued to perform the Giant from Scotland story, as I had when my baby was in the belly. I have a very clear memory of when he was somewhere less that a year old, of me wearing him in the Bjorn, dressed again as a sort of fairy, telling the story to a group of moms and babies, and I was reaching my hand way up in the sky. Everyone started laughing, not at me but at my chest. I looked down and saw he was dong the same gesture, reaching way up to the sky.
Milk stories. They remember!
It was just last week I went with him to get some chard from the store. We were experimenting with green smoothies, much to my motherly pleasure to see him excited about this. Somehow a little ladybug got transported on the leaf. We put him outside. I got a tiny peace of the chard and brought it to the bug, after I had set her on a fichus leaf.
“What are you doing?” he asked
“So she’ll feel at home,” I said. “It must have been a long trip.” I laughed realizing I was continuing this same work. He went and got a piece of chard for the bug, too.
Stories can do the same for our babies. Make them feel at home. They’ve made a long trip. They are in a new place and not going back. And our voice and eyes and words help them know they are safe, and a good adventure has just begun….
Photography by the uber talented Ron Hamad, all rights reserved. Please contact him for usage inquiries.