Stickin' To, Watchin' Over, and Gettin' With: An African American Parent's Guide to Discipline

By Howard C. Stevenson; Gwendolyn Davis et al. | Go to book overview

2
Walking the Walk and Talking the Talk
of Preschoolers and Toddlers

The egg teaches the hen how to hatch.

Can a parent spoil a three-month-old baby because she holds it too much? 1 remember coming home with my first baby and trying to figure out why he would start crying every time I put him down. He was changed, fed, and clean. What else did he need? My mother and other people warned me not to hold the baby too much for fear I would spoil him.

One day when one of my friends was visiting, I put the baby down, and sure enough, he started crying. When he started getting louder, my friend asked why I wasn't responding to him. I told her there's nothing wrong with him and what my family said. That is when she gave me a wonderful gift.

She said, “You can never spoil a new baby. He needs to hear your heartbeat, feel your body warmth, and smell you so that he can be at peace. That baby spent nine long months inside you, and everything else outside of you is alien to him. Hold your baby close, tie him on your back while you clean. He knows only you, he needs only you, and it's gonna be that way for a while. And never, never let anyone tell you you're spoiling your child. You, my sister, are mothering him, loving him as God would want you to. Only people you see putting their babies down the hall with a monitor is White folk. You'd better stop copying them people.”

Not only did I take that advice, but I noticed many women from all over the world held their babies close to them and nursed them even as

-55-

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