I’ll never forget the day my triplet grandchildren were born. They emerged from the womb six weeks early, each weighing a little more than three pounds. As a precaution, they were immediately taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. In a state of near panic, I rushed to the NICU and peered through the window. What I saw provided me with a lesson that regrettably all parents and grandparents have to learn and re-learn.
The caring, competent, highly skilled nurses in the NICU were tossing my tiny grandchildren around like sacks of potatoes. Of course, I’m exaggerating. But the fact is that I was picturing these fragile little creatures who would break into a million pieces if they weren’t handled like delicate pieces of fine china. And the reality was that like all babies they were small but hearty humans who were perfectly capable of enduring – and in need of experiencing – the wonder and excitement of the world around them.
Particularly if you are a first-time mother or father, it is easy to fall into the pattern of thinking that your job is to “protect” your baby. But it is critical to realize that actually is only part of your job. You also have an obligation to help her “participate” in the kind of activities that will allow her to develop optimally and make the most of her potential. If you allow the former to overwhelm and obliterate the latter, you certainly aren’t doing your child any favors.
This is another reason why I highly recommend the Baby classes at Romp n’ Roll and why I personally love to observe them. It is fun to watch the understandable tendency of the parents to over-fret steadily fade away as they see their infants bounce, rock, and roll their way to developmental progress with great enthusiasm and undeniable delight.
Michael K. Meyerhoff, Ed.D. (a.k.a. “Dr. Mike”) is a member of the management team at Romp n’ Roll. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Columbia University, he earned his master’s and doctorate degrees in human development from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he also held a position as a researcher with the Harvard Preschool Project. He may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.