Source: Before you ask
I found this blog post interesting. Especially the analogy of the randomly assigned colours.
However, I would suggest just one thing: don’t ask a new parent how their baby is sleeping! And unless you are prepared to sit and listen to the birth story in all its detail, don’t ask. If you are stuck for something to ask:
“How are you?”
“What can I do for you?”
” I would like to make you a meal, Do you have any food issues?”
and if they already have children…
instead of referring to big sisters/brothers and little or baby sister/brother, try:
“Would you like to play a game/do a puzzle/have a go on the swing?”
And whilst visiting with a pregnant person, avoid “do you know/will you find out the sex?”
If they want to know and share, they will.
And on a tangent: “do you have any names yet?” – don’t go there! You’ll be told if they wish to share.
When my first was born, I had mostly blue clothes. I like blue.
When I was out and about, comments would be directed at my baby:
“aren’t you big and strong”
“hello, I bet you are clever!”
spoken in even and equalising tones.
Sometimes I would dress my baby in ‘feminine’ colours, and the comments would be:
“oh, aren’t you pretty”
“Hello, what a little princess”
spoken with coos and gushes, in patronising tones.
It is normal to focus on the physical appearance when you are making small talk. But these seemingly meaningless comments shape the persons view of themselves, their place in the world and how they are perceived by the world.
When I meet a baby, I like to try to address them…
“I bet you know all the secrets!”
“you are very alert, taking it all in”
and “how are you today?”
sometimes I pretend they gave me an intelligent response, and reply:
“oh, yes, you are quite right!”
“really! tell me more!”
“what else do you know?”
I’d love to hear what you think.