Monday, June 16, 2008
Keep Your Baby a Butterfly
Our five senses are as much a gift as our intellect and intuition, but like intuition, taking time to understand and enjoy them is often the first thing we eliminate in our quest to become civilized, cultured, efficient and productive human beings.
From birth to around age five or six, there is nothing we surround our little ones with that isn’t designed and intended to stimulate every one of their senses with tastes, scents, and textures that are varied and appealing. With great intent, we buy things that feel good to the skin, look interesting to the eye, smell pleasant, taste appealing, and sound soothing. From the very beginning we wrap our children in a loving, sensual cocoon in an attempt to make their young lives pleasurable and happy.
And then, somewhere around six or seven, we rip away the cocoon and quickly turn our sensual butterflies into busy bees. This happens around the same time their lives become a series of scheduled events just like ours and time is of the essence. Nothing is done for sheer pleasure anymore, we must now accomplish something. There simply isn’t time to flit and meander sensuously. Can’t stop to smell the flowers anymore. Our kids, just like us, have places to go and people to see and play dates to attend. Long, playful tub time is replaced by quick bird baths and showers. High-chair food fests become car seat meals in an effort to get to Gymboree on time. Music becomes a mere tool to pass the time or to beckon the Sandman. Visual stimulation now comes in the form of learning. Sensory delight is replaced by academic pursuit.
Around the same age something else happens to strip our children of their God-given gift of sensuality. They discover self-pleasuring, we begin to associate sensuality with sexuality and things change drastically. Suddenly, sensuality is discouraged and becomes something ‘adult-like,” something we pull out of our trick bags when we want to spice up our sex lives.
Think about this scenario for a moment. You walk into your seven-year-old daughter’s room one morning and find the pajamas she had on when she went to bed are on the floor and she is sleeping happily nude. ‘Why?’ you ask. ‘Because the sheets feel good on my skin,’ she says.
Raise your hand if you would be shocked and bothered and insist that she sleep with pajamas so she wouldn’t catch cold or some other concocted reason? Would you feel any different if it was your son instead?
Now ask yourself: Why is sensuality considered a birthright, an imperative in infancy and the toddler years and then snatched away before puberty?
Give your kids back their cocoon. Teach them to revel in their sensuous world and see the amazing impact it has on their capacity to enjoy life now and later.
What do you think?