Your baby. Sometimes you look at them and see their future – their home, their spouse, their children. You know you’ll do anything to support them reaching that future. Just one little hitch: it means you’ll have to let them go. The great news is that you get to start small by helping them to see themselves as their own person, separate from you. This process is called individuation and begins somewhere around 4 or 5 months.
The process of individuation does not really end – anytime you have thoughts about ‘re-inventing’ yourself; or notice that you like (or dislike) something more (or less!) than at a previous time in your life; or perhaps are adjusting to a change in your daily dynamic (like say, becoming a parent!) – you are working on the idea of who you think you are as an individual. As an infant your baby lives by instinct and reflex. Eventually they begin to notice that they are… not… you. That you are… over… there… and they are… over… here.
One of the simple Kindermusik class rituals which support the beginnings of this process are the hello and goodbye songs: musically greeting everyone (and bidding them farewell) by name. Yup – I meant very simple! You may think: meh. That can’t really be so valuable. Well, you can see it – you can see on the faces of the children that they know when they have been acknowledged – or when they have not.
A handful of years ago, a pair of twins named Sydney & Lindsey came to be members of the Baby Steps Giant Leaps community and shone a light for me on the power of singing the names of babies.