I get letters. Lots of letters. This one from a mom in Horsham, Pennsylvania and really touched me – both for her kind words about “No Regrets Parenting” and for her creative applications of its principles (excerpted with her permission):
Dear Dr. Rotbart:
Thank you for your book, “No Regrets Parenting.” I have a new baby and I’m already reading your work, trying to lay the foundations for time well spent with my son. I’m already putting into practice my own methods for making the most of my time with my baby. When he was first born, I’d sit him in his bouncy chair and go about my business — making dinner, making his bottles, washing dishes, etc. I’d turn my back to him, obsessed with an endless “to do” list. He was also born this past December, so I had cards to write, presents to wrap, baking to do, the usual holiday activities. Once I received your book, I thought, WAIT A MINUTE. I can be making special memories with my baby just by including him in my daily tasks (in addition to special activities with him such as stories, playtime, etc.). So I moved that bouncy seat right next to me as I did dishes, showing him the different utensils, how to turn on water, how I wash, dry, and put away. I make his bottles and show them to him, put his hands around them to pretend to “shake” the formula. I show him the food I buy at the store at as I put it away, moving his hands to feel texture, showing him color, maybe even putting some things under his nose! Of course , this is all a lot of work. It would be easier to sit him down in his chair, or put him in his crib, and go about my tasks. As I’ve read in your book, it’s ok to occupy kids to “pull the house together” or get other things done, sometimes we parents have to. But your book caused me to switch my thinking from “he’s just a baby” like there wasn’t much I could do with him, and now I involve him in everything. There are so many ways to make memories with a baby, in the everyday things. It takes more effort but it’s worth it. The day feels much fuller and richer and doesn’t go as fast. He’s only 3 1/2 months old but already I’m worried the time will go quickly.
I look forward to get more ideas to practice as he gets older. I’m having children later in life (40!) and I want to make the most of my time, even when I return to work this May from my maternity leave. It’s so funny, he was a newborn and I was Googling, “how to slow time down,” as if it were possible. But your book is a wonderful start for laying a foundation for a childhood and adolescence full of “not wasted” moments and opportunities for engagement.