Being responsive is more than the ability to respond sensitively to your environment.
It is the ability to take responsibility for your life, to refrain from blaming circumstances and other people for everything that happens in your life. This is also a “grown-up” principle to practice, because often it certainly appears that circumstances and other people are responsible for a lot of what happens t you. But you are responsible as well. The challenge is to take responsibility for your part in whatever happens, and to see the part of you that must change in order for the externals to change.
If you have been subjected to a lot of shame and blame in childhood, this principle may be difficult to master. There may be unconscious processes going on that you don’t even understand that help create problems for you — still, putting the responsibility for them squarely on your own shoulders is the first step. The beauty of it is that you also get to release the things you are not responsible for to those who are.
We are not responsible for the words and actions of our parents. Yet, we can only blame our parents for so long if we cannot control our temper. At some point, we have to take the responsibility to learn how to do it, and then to teach it to our children if it was not taught to us. The same principle applies in many other areas of life, physical, emotional, and spiritual.
BEING RESPONSIVE TO YOUR BABY
Massaging your baby daily, or every other day, after birth until at least the crawling stage is the best way to keep “in touch” with your infant, to learn what your baby’s body is like when it is tense or relaxed (and to teach your baby how to relax), to help his internal organs function properly, and to increase the emotional and spiritual bond between you.
Mom and Dad might want to take turns massaging (only one parent should give the massage during any given session, though). Regular massage increases healthy weight gain and help develop the nerves in the baby’s brain, thus readying your baby for the intense learning and growing that happens in the first two years. Human babies are not fully developed at birth, so massage is a natural activity — one which we as humans have for the most part forgotten — that helps stimulate the development and healthy functioning of internal organs.
Colicky babies benefit from massage because it tones the digestive tract and helps their bodies eliminate more easily and not trap painful gas bubbles in the lower intestine. See a cat licking her kittens; getting them clean is not really what she’s doing. She is massaging them, kick-starting their digestive, respiratory, and circulatory systems.
I created a routine for this specific purpose, and for massage in general, in my book Infant Massage, a Handbook for Loving Parents, because I believe so strongly, from massaging my own babies and from over twenty years of teaching infant massage, that there is no better way to continue the bonding process, which is so important to your connection with your child later in life.
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© 2015 Vimala McClure