Baby Talk

I don’t know what the weather was like where you are today but where I live it was just glorious - or as glorious as January in Scotland can be! Blue sky, bright sunshine and not too cold - perfect weather for one of my favourite things, a good, long walk. Lots of other people had the same idea as me and the local beauty spot I headed for was busy with dog walkers, joggers, cyclists and young families. There was so much to enjoy and appreciate - the low winter sun sparkling on the loch, grandparents with wee ones feeding the ducks, beautiful views from the top of the hill - but the image which stuck in my mind when I got home was none of these things. As I set off on my walk I passed a Mum sitting on a bench with her baby in a buggy, he was about 6 months old and she was spoon feeding him lunch. As she fed him she was talking to him. I didn’t catch all that she said but it was a running commentary on what he was eating, what he could see, what they were going to do. I suppose some people might say it was pretty mundane but there was something about the natural, relaxed way in which the Mum spoke to her child which struck me as truly lovely and which has stayed with me since. There’s so much evidence to show that talking to babies (and toddlers and older children!) is hugely beneficial in terms of developing language, vocabulary and understanding but I think what I noticed today was something else. I’m not deluded enough to think that parenting is always so idyllic but the sense of connection and the Mum’s delight in her baby was clear, and you can’t put a value on that, can you?

Elaine Kent