I had always spoken to my own babies and clients' babies as people, as equals, but what Patti was doing took it to another level. "I'm going to put a diaper on you now (pause)..." She provided ample time for the baby to take in her request and respond. She was asking the baby to be a partner in a conversation, right from birth. She was also modeling a wonderful slow parenting method which the parents then continued with their baby as he grew.
Rudolf Steiner stated that a newborn is a "sense-organ" (she is a sponge for touch and sound and movement and taste). Parents should pay close attention to the sensual input surrounding their newborn, limiting their time outside in loud traffic or having noisy toys in the first years. Babies take some time to "come into their body", so our words and movements and their environment should be respectful and calm. I especially love Rahima Baldwin's book, "You are Your Child's First Teacher", which points to practical ways to bring this gentle Waldorf approach into your home. It was only after about two years that Jack and Finn were able to process the overwhelming sensory input of a crowded space. Slow and quiet outdoor green spaces were more their style, and we respected and honoured their needs by keeping the pace slow for a few years.