Celebrate the senses, celebrate Mother’s Day!

 

Congratulations, mom-to-be! Pregnancy is such an amazing experience, even in times like these.

And there’s one big benefit to these days of social isolation: the less focus you’re putting on the world out there, the more you’re putting on this mysterious little creature in here. This is a wonderful time to bond with your baby-to-be!

Thanks to decades of research into fetal development, it’s become clear that babies can hear, taste, smell, and feel from inside the womb. This means that you are already communicating with your baby through the food you eat, the fragrances you smell, the touch of your hands, and especially the sound of your voice. According to Deepak Chopra, sharing the experience of your five senses with your baby “creates a nurturing environment” for yourself and baby, before birth and after.

So cherish all this extra time at home, and use it to make that multisensory connection as your unborn baby grows. Really taste your breakfast, your smoothie, your snacks and meals! Really smell the flowers, your coffee, your soap! Notice all over again the pictures on your walls, the views from your windows or in your back yard. Try out all the comfiest spots for curling up or lying back as lazy as can be.

And while you’re there, start reading aloud! This is the very best way to bond prenatally. Hearing is the sense that is most highly developed in utero, and the one that gives you (and Daddy and big brother/sister-to-be!) the most direct connection with your baby.

So many studies have shown that babies in the womb hear, recognize, learn and remember their mother’s voice (and others’!) and respond to it after birth. This means your familiar voice will calm your newborn baby, and she’ll even recognize stories she heard you read — the best way to raise a book lover and a kid who loves to learn.

Meanwhile, nurturing yourself and your baby right now will help to release endorphins, or feel-good hormones, which will communicate to you and your child, “All is well and calm and safe. Rest, relax, and grow, and soon you’ll join us in this beautiful world.”

What better way to wish yourself…

Happy Mother’s Day!

 

And the winner is…

You can do it, everyone!

Best sibling bonding ever when you read to the bump together!

 

The Belly Books Giveaway ends today! 

Click here for all the info!

Relax and get cozy

Take some Me time and read to the bump!

 

Don’t miss the Belly Books Giveaway! 

Click here for all the info!

Hey, gorgeous!

Read to the bump —
and do it with flair!

 

Don’t miss the Belly Books Giveaway! 

Click here for all the info!

Got some time on your hands?

Read to the bump —
multitasking allowed!

 

 

Don’t miss the Belly Books Giveaway! 

Click here for all the info!

Both of you can do it anywhere!

 

Bond with your baby-to-be — read to the bump!

 

 

 

Don’t miss the Belly Books Giveaway! 

Click here for all the info!

Giveaway!

Enter the You Can Do It! Giveaway on Twitter and Instagram to win a $100 Amazon gift card, two Zillion Bottles onesies, and signed copies of Can’t Wait to Show You and Hey, Little Baby! Drawing Friday, April 17.

Enter Now:

Retweet and Tag on Twitter!

(Follow for a bonus entry)

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You can do it anywhere!

Read to Your Bunny

H A P P Y  E A S T E R !

Ah, that new-book smell!

When Susan’s youngest son was around three years old, he made a pronouncement that is beautiful music to any teacher or mother’s ears. He had been sitting among a pile of his favorite titles, Polar Bear, Polar Bear by Eric Carle, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff, Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel, and the classic Pat the Bunny. Engulfed by books, with his favorite, an oversized Richard Scarry book called Busy, Busy Town open on his little lap, he announced “I love books!” Then, holding the book close up to his face, he added rapturously, “They smell so gooood.”

Although this same little fellow had been known to chew and lick books during his toddler years, we should not dismiss the message in his innocent wisdom. For children, reading is without a doubt a multisensory experience.

In this age of digital books and e-readers one can’t help but wonder, will the children of the future ever know that wonderful smell of a new book, the sturdy feel of a hardcover novel, or the soft sound of turning pages? Will the clichés “that was a real page turner” or “he always has his nose in a book” become obsolete? And what will become of the scratchy Daddy’s beard and soft bunny fur of Pat the Bunny? It’s just not the same, is it? The image of Susan’s young son smelling a Kindle comes to mind. Hmmm.

Think of the books you loved when you were a child. Do you remember reading One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish over and over, always finding something new in each whimsical Dr. Seuss illustration? And what about Robert McCloskey’s Make Way for Ducklings, with its full-spread illustrations, artistically placed text, and adorable ducklings marching across each page?

Every children’s picture book has its own unique design and reflects the thoughtfulness and inspiration of its author and illustrator. We are left wondering what the result will be when these well-loved titles are transferred to a digital format. Will the tangible, tactile, and multisensory qualities get lost in translation?

Chris Van Allsburg, author and illustrator of many favorite children’s books, including The Polar Express, said “on a digital platform they all get ground into the same thing.” He is referring to the uniformity of text and illustration on an e-reader, which imposes a standard font and page size. The thought of each picture book illustration being the same shape and size, shrunk or stretched to fit a standard screen, is a little unsettling for any children’s book enthusiast, or for anyone who treasures the idiosyncrasies each author and illustrator bring to a story.


Now, I’m sure you’ll agree that all reading is good reading, and that there may be times when an e-reader is appropriate for children. When traveling, for example, it might not be practical for a family to bring a child’s collection of favorite books. An e-reader would make it convenient to continue an established reading routine even on vacation. The future of digital reading in classrooms is also an exciting possibility; volumes of books could be made available to children who might not otherwise have the opportunity to read them. And if you’re reading to your baby in the womb, she won’t know the difference! From inside the womb, an e-book sounds just like the traditional one. Uploading a fun selection of rhyming and rhythmic stories to share with your expected child would be quick and easy, and if this is what you need to get started, then go right ahead.

But once the baby is born, and she’s snuggled on your lap to hear that familiar story, your Kindle or Nook is just going to look like a rectangular hunk of plastic. Of course, the familiar story read by your unique voice will calm and sooth your baby, and that’s always a good thing. However, by sharing a real book with your newborn, a book with turning pages and bright illustrations, you will get both her auditory and her visual attention. You’ll also be setting her up with those prereading skills that we mentioned in earlier blogs, such as holding a book right-side-up and reading from left to right, to name a few.

Again, all reading is good reading. But if you want the very best reading experience for your baby in the womb or your newborn, there’s no substitute for a real, touchable, hearable, smellable book. It’s the total sensory experience that just might lead your child to joyfully exclaim someday, “I love books!”