What comes after the triumph of birth and the very first meal? When an athlete is named MVP of the Super Bowl, his next stop is a celebration trip to a famous theme park. When a couple gets married, they often enjoy a honeymoon to celebrate their new relationship. A friend of mine named Ann Douglas, a parenting author chock full of practical wisdom, recommends a babymoon to celebrate your new family.
I like her name for this important idea. On a honeymoon, the couple sets aside ordinary responsibilities to focus on enjoying each other and building a foundation of closeness for the years ahead. During a babymoon, the couple likewise sets aside other work and home responsibilities to focus on learning about and establishing the new family. Both can be magical, unique times, building memories to last a lifetime.
But I contend that a honeymoon and a babymoon are also very different. While honeymooning, your time is spent on some combination of intimacy, adventure, relaxation, and indulgence. It’s a very special kind of vacation. But on a babymoon, time is spent in the seemingly ceaseless cycle of the most basic bodily tasks, feeding and burping and changing diapers. It’s a very special kind of work.
A honeymoon is a going out, a break from day to day life. A babymoon is a drawing in, a narrowing, a concentration on the very core of day to day life. And as you get to know each other in the mundane, you grow a new dimension, a new depth.
One of my vivid memories from childhood (back before DVD’s and Tivo), is watching The Wizard of Oz on TV. (Don’t tell – I used to hide behind the couch during the flying monkeys.) I remember my wonder at the sudden transition from the dull, sepia beige landscape of Kansas to the dazzling 3-strip Technicolor of Oz. And I had mixed feelings about Dorothy’s insistent longing to leave the boldly colorful magical land, as she repeated, ‘There’s no place like home.’
A babymoon is entering Oz and Kansas rolled into one. It’s learning to see you’re a hero on a quest, while stuck in one place with a burp cloth on your shoulder. It’s finding vibrant color and magic in the everyday world of home.
This is an excerpt from: From First Kicks to First Steps: Nurturing Your Babys Development from Pregnancy Through the First Year of Life, McGraw-Hill, 2004, Pp. 197-198
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