Monday, January 26, 2009

Things I'm not going to talk about...

I am not going to talk about the beautiful wedding we went to on Saturday, mainly because I drank a lot of Cabernet on an empty stomach and don't remember a whole lot of it. Whoops. No more drinking in Grammaland, seriously.

I am not going to discuss the deceptively small looking but large volume containing wine glasses at Aberdeen.

I am not going to share anything about the fabulous "bed and breakfast" we stayed at, which included free childcare and dogcare, because if I do everyone will want to stay there when they visit Grammaland and we'll never be able to get a reservation.

Further, I am not going to try to convince my cousin to transfer to the college down here and live with us - she knows that I would take her in a heartbeat!!

I am going to talk about something completely unrelated to all of the above: massage.

Do you remember being a teenager? I don't anymore, either, but one thing that I can't forget is how much growing hurt. It hurt a lot. BJ actually had a condition called Osgood-Schlatter's because he grew so fast that it screwed up his knees. My growing pains weren't so bad, but I remember that my legs ached badly sometimes.

And if you think about it, we don't grow as fast when we're teens as we do when we're babies and toddlers - we just don't remember what it feels like as babies and toddlers because we were so little.

That's why I am a firm believer in infant/toddler massage. I rub Claire's legs and feet almost every night before bed. It helps her settle down to sleep. Mary Grace still likes to have her back rubbed, too.

Here's the thing - you don't have to read a book or take a class, although those things don't hurt. All you have to do is apply gentle pressure to your baby's muscles. Claire likes to have me "play piano" on her feet - I put her foot in my hand and alternate pressure on each of my fingertips, as though I'm playing the piano. She also likes it when I squeeze her little legs, just a bit.

Massaging a baby's head can also help with the pain of teething. Just run your fingers through her hair, play piano on her forehead, and keep trying different motions until you find one, or several, that your child is soothed by.

Beyond the obvious benefits of helping to induce sleep and soothing pain, I think that infant massage is beneficial simply due to the awesome healing power of touch. Researchers have done experiments with monkeys, and those who aren't touched go crazy. Babies who are massaged gain weight better, are more socially adjusted, and are more equipped to thrive than those who aren't. So, next time you're having a rough night with your kids, try a massage. Head, back, legs, feet - it doesn't really matter. Your technique doesn't matter. What really counts is a loving touch. A touch that says, "I want you to feel good," louder than words possibly could.

3 comments:

Jen said...

I heard it works for wives, too!

B.J. said...

hey, Jen. I hear the professional massages in Grammaland are particularly good for husbands.

Anonymous said...

Can your dad help your cousin land an internship this summer? Then she could help out when your regular sitter is off on summer break. And I think you'd be a good influence on your cousin -- expose her to a different family life, city, etc. Let her dad pay her college expenses; she needs to rack up different experiences which include not necessarily getting work for pay at this point.