This past Saturday, I spent a few hours at a fun event aptly called “Mamacon” at my very favorite bookstore, The Voracious Reader. Have you been to The Voracious Reader? You should go. You should go if you’re a book lover or if you want to encourage your babies and kids to be book lovers, for sure. But I gotta tell you — Francine’s got much more going on there than just books. Amongst the shelves and in the adjacent tea shop, she has created a space that serves as a community hub for young readers of all ages and their families, offering reading clubs, workshops, story times, author signings, and all kinds of celebrations of connection and community. You may remember that she hosted my “Back to School Mini Sessions” back in September, where we attempted to bottle up that feeling of newness and excitement that comes with each new school year. Since then, every time I’ve entered her shop, I’ve been introduced to a kindred spirit or a new idea or, of course, a great new book for one of my kiddos. (Or myself! I seem to be a tiny bit addicted to young adult literature. Anyway …)
The Mamacon event delivered on its promise to be a celebration of baby connection. Fifteen babies attended (one still riding in mama’s belly), and with their moms and dads and babysitters, they listened to a line-up of speakers whose focus is nurturing connection (or in my case, capturing connection to enjoy again later!). Debra Aronson of C.A.S.L.E. Inc. spoke about baby sign language, taught parents some simple signs, and shared guidance about how to gradually introduce signs as a way to communicate with their babies. (I still remember Emmett, my late talker, doing the sign for “more” — truly amazing). Gabrielle Mason of Lucky Duck Infant Massage shared bonding techniques ranging from touch to dance to song. Beth Gibney-Boulden of Creation Yoga got everyone up on their feet doing yoga poses designed to stretch, tone, and calm both mamas and babies. Finally, Francine talked about the many benefits of reading to your baby, and read the beautifully lyrical “On the Day You Were Born” to the group. I loved the advice she passed on from a former client — bring your child to a bookstore so that he can explore and discover what he loves. And I personally think it’s awesome that Francine cried at the most poignant part of the book — no doubt remembering reading it to her own daughter many years ago. Funny how a book can bring you back …
My talk, of course, was about my quest through lifestyle photography to freeze and keep some of the moments and connections that are the happy result of all this wonderful baby bonding. I like to think of my photos as a sort of tangible souvenir of this fleeting time, a memory that you can hold in your hand and share with your future self and show to your baby when she’s all grown up — “Look at how I loved you.” I’m including the short slide show from my presentation here because I think it’ll make you smile, and because really, who doesn’t need a little Tiny Tim in their Wednesday?
As you’ll see, the babies LOVED all the presentations!
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and I think these clearly show that the event was a success — parents left equipped with lots of new ways to connect with their babies, and connected with other families as well. I’d love to do it again some time for another round of new families. Thanks for looking!