I am talking to my 5.5mo baby as she is playing with a toy.
And I begin naming the things that are on it.
And I name the lady beetle.
Intentionally not using the term “bug”.
Because lady beetles are not true bugs.
Then I explain this in a perfectly serious voice.
To my 5.5mo baby.
And suddenly I flash back to my first child at that age.
And how I used to wonder what I should talk to him about.
Everything. Talk to your baby about everything.
Describe things as verdant green.
Fingers and toes as pudgy digits that each have names.
Talk like a book.
Talk like yourself.
Explain things the way you would to a two year old.
A nine year old.
Talk about the marvelous things your baby is learning.
And about all the things they will do when they are bigger.
Talk about the potty and poop and pee and how their body will tell them they need to do certain things.
Run your finger inside their little chompy chewy mouth. Trace the gums. Name what teeth will come in where.
Or confess that you never learned their names, but that you should learn them so that you can teach them later.
Sit in silence and stare at their face with the same wonder they are staring at yours.
Say their name in hushed awed tones. Spell it out. Introduce yourself.
And tell them how ridiculously happy you are to have them here with you.
Then be quiet, too. Carry them in your arms and wander through your life in silence as they look at things.
And let them speak. In high pitched squeals and squeaks and babbles.
They are telling you how ridiculously happy they are to be here. With you. In your arms.