I am excited for Katharine Holabird’s—author of the wildly popular “Angelina Ballerina” series—return to CMEE later this month to read from her new book, “Twinkle!” We conducted a brief interview with Katharine that you can read here. One of the questions we asked was, “What is the best piece of parenting advice you have ever received?” Katharine responded, “Enjoy every moment.” I try to keep this in mind even as my son, Bennett, is bawling at 3am because his gums hurt from teething.
One of the best pieces of parenting advice I’ve received is “listen to your baby.” This can sometimes be a challenge considering Bennett’s vocabulary currently consists of one consonant. The biggest obstacle I’ve encountered in listening to my son is that his primary form of communication is crying. Thankfully, the tears only come when he’s hungry or tired.
Just as we encourage parents to do at CMEE, I’m trying to allow my family’s life to become more child directed. If Bennett starts to rub his eyes or squirm around, we make time for a nap regardless of what else is happening. I also make sure to plan out our day so that he has 3 hours of naptime (at minimum!). If Bennett follows in his grandfather’s footsteps and decides to run in a lot of New York City marathons, he’s going to need plenty of sleep. Considering his current physique is closer to a sumo wrestler than a runner, it’s safe to say that we’ve got plenty of time before that happens.
I also try to listen to Bennett’s vocalizations and respond like we’re having a conversation…even though he mostly sounds like everyone’s favorite Wookie, Chewbacca. Studies have shown that this interaction helps children develop language skills later in life. Like Han Solo, I really enjoy spending talking and hanging out with my “Chewie.” I also love bringing Bennett to CMEE because everyone here eagerly engages him in conversation (and not just because I’m the Executive Director).
When Bennett isn’t asleep, he and I hope to see you for all of the great programs we have scheduled at CMEE this month. In addition to Katharine Holabird’s book reading, we are hosting a performance by the Shinnecock Dancers and we’re collaborating with the Parrish Art Museum on their Scrollathon Festival.