In one of the Green Gables books, Anne famously vows that she will not speak baby talk with her infants. Of course, the actual experience of motherhood undoes her resolution and she finds herself engaging in the habit she formerly despised. Now I have seen studies which suggest that baby talk, or motherese as I’ve also seen it called, is actually beneficial to babies, that a high pitched tone is what they naturally respond to and as such is programmed into the way mothers interact with their children, and that the special way of talking that all adults take on with the wee ones has been found to be instrumental in infants’ acquisition of language. And so I never made any such resolutions. (Though I have made a concerted effort to also talk to my infants and toddlers using full complete sentences, proper grammar and correct pronunciation, modeling correct English as well as indulging in the sort of speech that little children love.)
But I have had my own set of preconceptions that the actual experience of motherhood has dispelled. One of them was that children’s faith in the magical properties of mother’s kisses and bandaids as a panacea for almost any bump or scrape or cut was the creation of silly mothers. Now I have discovered to my chagrin that in fact it is Bella herself who has endowed my kisses and bandaids with healing powers with absolutely no encouragement from me whatsoever.
However with her latest obsession, magical healing socks, there was a little nudge from Dom.
The other night Bella acquired another monstrous splinter while running about barefoot on our back porch. (If we were not planning to move I might complain to the landlord but as he is being wonderfully patient with us on the matter of a lease which expired in June as we continue to search for a new abode, I think I’ll just enforce a rule that she must wear shoes.) In any case, after our experience with the last splinter she got, I knew to expect that she’d insist on renewals of a bandaid and medicine and put up a fuss over bath time for several days after the injury had healed to my satisfaction. And indeed even though she was running and jumping and dancing around the block the next day, she still fussed and fretted about bandages and screamed over getting into the tub.
The other thing is that she has a wee bit of a sock obsession. Even on the warmest days of summer, she insists that she must have socks before going to bed. So somehow the other night I came in after Dom had dressed her in her pajamas and found that he’d declared that her socks were “magic healing socks” and would make her “scrape” all better. She’s now taken that as an article of faith and both yesterday morning and this morning she has insisted that I put her magic healing socks back on after she dressed for the day. She wore them under her sandals today even when I was sweating and her face was glowing red with running about outside.
Now I wonder how long this is going to continue before she gives in and admits that the “scrape” is better and that she no longer needs magical footwear.