A dear friend of mine who is having a baby in the next few days recommended a book that she had recently read. I borrowed this book from our local library and read it in 3 hours. The moment I picked up the book I felt a great connection and could not stop reading until I finished it. There are pictures in the books that speak a thousand words. The book is called “Dance with me in the Heart” by ” Pennie Brownlee” who is a New Zealand author. She has a facebook page (Dance with me in the Heart) that she updates daily with quotes and astonishing pictures (drawings) which I find very inspirational.
In this post I will be sharing some of the main key points that I found close to my heart and mostly very much in line with Montessori’s writings.
Brownlee refers to Emmi Pikler philosophy in her book and talks about parent-child partnership, a relationship in which the child feels safe, loved, and respected. These are baby’s three wishes. She likens this relationship to a dance partnership in which the parent is the senior partner and her feelings, emotions, and heart rhythm affects their dance choreography.
A peaceful pregnancy, a natural birth, and breastfeeding are the main three keys for a successful partnership head start. Brownlee explains in this book in depth how to establish a respectful relationship which helps both partners to dance together in the heart. This includes:
showing your baby each step of the dance from day one, (telling your baby gently what is going to happen, so he can pick up your cues , anticipate what will happen, and participate in it, in other words, to do things with your baby not to your baby).
A touch of respect (how to hold the baby, handle him, and how to do the care moments in a way that the baby’s three wishes are granted)
Full attention at the care moments (feeding, changing, bathing, dressing), love in action
Not to get in the way of Dacne of Life by putting babies into devices (e.g. exersaucers) that obstruct their free movement. Not to put children in positions that they can not get into and out of by themselves such as on their tummy when they can not roll yet, supported sitting when they can not do it by themselves, standing them up when their body is not yet ready and they can not pull themselves up, and holding their hands to walk when they simply can not take steps by themselves (to respect the baby’s unique timing).
A word of respect, the way we talk to our dance partner, to respect their feelings, describe and acknowledge them.
In regards to sleeping, it is the child that leads the dance
Feeding time should be a pleasurable experience for the child. If we view children as free equal human being we never forcefully feed them, trick them into eating, and be in charge of how much/when/and what to eat. This is how a feeding dance partnership must be like.
“Will” should not be an obstacle for the child to overcome. But in an equal dance partnership the senior dance partner invites the child to exercise his will. This is the dance of two equal wills.
Pictures are sourced from Dance with me in the Heart facebook page.