The warm heart of my family

Reading the latest The Parental Intelligence Newsletter I came upon this article that struck a cord with me – Why African Babies Don’t Cry
by J. Claire K. Niala

It reminded me of some of the childhood influences on my parenting that I treasure the most. As a child I lived in various countries – most notably for a couple of years in Malawi. It was a time in my life that I loved completely – warm sun, heavy rain, good friends and family all in the warm heart of Africa. It influenced my view of the world and in recent years has heavily influenced my parenting choices.

We had a cook – whose large family was very important to me. Their two year old daughter in particular was the only child before I had my own that I have ever felt maternal about. Whilst we were their her mother had another baby daughter. And between them both they taught me some of the most important lessons for my own parenting.

First – there is nothing strange about co-sleeping – although given a family of 11 people, and two bedrooms you really have no choice. But that normal, happy children co-sleep and it can be a completely normal part of the human condition.

Secondly that toddlers don’t have to throw tantrums. The only times I ever saw my friend cry was if she was hurt or at wash time – now that she hated!

Thirdly babies don’t have to cry, and the most normal place in the world for a baby is attached to its mother, in a chitenge or what ever other baby carrier comes to hand. The little one is also the only baby I can remember seeing breastfeeding up close.

These special memories stayed with me for years – ready to help make breastfeeding, cosleeping, babywearing and multi-age communities of children seem like the obvious choices for my own children.