From the moment your baby is conceived, he or she is all senses. He bathes in the sweet sound of mama’s voice and heartbeat and the rushing of blood through her veins. Her little fingers tingle when she touches her skin or the insides of your womb. He is cradled by your every move and smilingly surrenders to that kinetic lullaby. There are no words, no boundaries, no inhibitions and no distractions.
When your baby is born, she continues in this sensual mode of living. She craves for your touch, she won’t sleep but with the sound of your heartbeat, she latches onto your breasts with the most succulent sounds imaginable.
A little later, he will discover the whole world by touching and tasting. Literally everything goes into his mouth. Followed or preceeded by an extensive exploration with his fingertips. He smears his food delightfully over his whole face, his arms, his legs. What a sensation!
Touch is the sense par excellence related to sensuality.
Fingers and mouth are the tools par excellence for erotic pleasure.
Your baby is immersed in the erotica of being alive.
All this has nothing to do with what we usually call sex. We’re talking about an energy here that is innate to humans and leads us to pleasure, enjoyment and fulfillment. It’s an energy that actual sex is only a tiny expression of. I call it sexual energy. You can also call it sensual energy or erotic energy or creative energy but it all comes down to the same: the spark inside of us that makes us glow, from birth till death. It’s the spark that conceived us in the first place. It’s our origin and our force, not something that arises at the first sexual act.
If we let this energy flow naturally through our body, we feel carried, safe and treasured and we can create anything we want. It’s an energy so naturally and complexlessly present in babies. But when we grow into toddler age, the natural presence of this energy is generally kicked out by all kind of prohibitions and taboos.
Last week, I was eating a chocolate covered rice cracker with my 3 year old daughter. Within seconds her hands were as covered in chocolate as the cracker itself. First thought that went through my mind: I should teach her how she can eat without drabbling herself. But then I saw her sliding her fingertips over the ribbed structure of the chocolate layer and I realized she was enjoying to the fullest her eating experience. She engaged taste, smell ánd touch. What did I want to teach here? That that kind of exquisite delight is forbidden or at least far less vital than having clean hands?
Or should she rather be instructing me? Look mom, you’re writing about sensuality all the time but here you have it, real life! Walk your talk now!
I decided not only to take on her lesson but also to let her bask in her sensual food experiences without intervening. I can only imagine that it will benefit her sense of healthy sensuality and body image later on.
We can raise our children to a healthy body experience long before they are teenagers and thrown in the claws of the media. They are actually naturals when it comes to being comfortable with your body and all its delights. It’s our task to guide their natural ease instead of controlling and forbidding it.
When pregnant, our baby might feel we are comfortable with the changes in our body. When our baby is born, we can offer utter body safety by holding and carrying her as much as we can. We can let our toddler have all those glorious bodily pleasures like eating with his hands, putting everything in his mouth, touching his own body and moving his body around as he pleases.
Switch off your social education mode for a while and take a new look at your baby or toddler.
Let your child teach you how to enjoy life with all your senses.
Children often know so much more than us adults. Let us be apprentices for once too.