Doctors, psychologists, and scientists can study child development until the cows come home, but no one will know your child like you do. All the hypotheses and scientific methods in the world will never add up to the experiences that a child has with its parents.
Today, I took the kids to the park to meet up with my friend Emma, her partner, and their newborn son. The little guy is two days shy of a month old. In the past 29 days, these parents have become incredibly adept at moving this fragile little being around with the utmost care. They are engaged and attentive to his every need.
It struck me how instantaneous this knowledge comes. These “primal” instincts kick in for some as the baby is being delivered, mother reaching down between her legs to catch her own tender child. I’ve seen people who struggled with daily living find connection, strength, and complete confidence in the handling and care of their child.
It is downright traumatic when that feeling of competence doesn’t kick in right away or is dented by fear. I was so worried that I would drop my newborn that I stayed away from railings and stairs whenever possible. My husband and I sat on our couch for hours because we hadn’t developed that sense that she wouldn’t slip through our arms or wriggle away. As my hormones balanced out and time passed, things got easier.
Husband and I were reminiscing tonight how nice it was to have my mother stay with us after both children were born. After our first child was born, she was our go-to person when we had exhausted all options to soothe the baby in the middle of the night. Those seasoned parenting hands rubbed a gassy belly or relaxed her tired grandchild back to sleep. My mom was in her glory, and I suppose it was just as instinctual for her expert grandparenting skills to kick in.