Friday, May 21, 2010

A Ride on Mother's Back

Recently my mom and I went to see the movie “Babies.”  Of course we loved it! I like seeing the different ways babies are cared for around the world, especially in cultures where children are considered a blessing. I bought this book when Madeleine was a baby. The slip cover is torn and some of the pages are bent- we used to read it a lot (we didn’t have as many books then, so the few we had got heavy rotation).

 A Ride on Mother's Back: A Day of Baby Carrying around the World
Emery and Durga Bernhard 1996

All around the world babies love to be held close. And parents everywhere need their hands free to work and play. Lifted and carried by someone who cares, young children ride into the day. How do different peoples carry their babies? What is it like to ride on mother's back?

I read it the other night and had to point out to Madeleine how many of the pictures show an older sister carrying the baby. Twelve countries are represented, the end pages give more information about each culture and a map shows where the families are from. I have to admit, the net used by the Papua New Guinea mother looks terribly uncomfortable.

It is a chilly dawn in the mountains of Guatemala. Smoke from the fire hangs in the air, curling up into the blackend thatch roof of the hut. Newborn Rosha snuggles in the folds of the shawl tied around her mother. She rides safe and warm, close to her mother's body. Rosha nurses and sleeps, nurses and sleeps.

It is midday near the coast of West Africa. Tumani's mother returns from the well with Tumani tied onto her back and a heavy bowl of water balanced on her head. Lulled by his mother's stead gait and soft humming, Tumani has fallen asleep.

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