I think I first noticed how much Baby L. loved black and white designs the day she was born. In the hospital room she stared and stared at a card that somebody had given me that was a black design against a white background. She was mesmerized by my mother-in-law's black and white striped shirt. A few weeks after she was born she began to screech with joy at the set of black and white paintings my husband and his friend had made. When I realized that black and white would make her smile - that's when I started to look for black and white things to show her.
Who knew there was a whole cottage industry of black and white products for babies? It makes sense. Doctors, scientists, and mommies have known for a long time that babies see high contrast images best, and that they see best when something is 6-12 inches away.
One of L.'s favorite things to do these days is to stare at these lovely cards from Wee Gallery. A mommy friend gave them to me one day at one of our meet-ups at the Williamsburg Y when Baby L. was just seven or eight weeks old. She loved them then, and now that she's three months old, she still enjoys them.
She loved the cards so much that I made a trip to one of my favorite baby stores, Mini Jake, and got the wall decals to match and hung them over her changing table. Now whenever she's being changed she smiles, coos and screetches at the lions, zebras, and giraffes keeping her company.
When she's looking at the animals, I talk about the designs using my best exciting baby-friendly voice (but not nonsense words or baby talk). In theory, I'm teaching her lots of vocabulary when I talk to her like this - plus, it just seems natural. What else would I do - hold the cards up silently? That would be kind of weird. Also, I noticed that she has a pretty long attention span when it comes to the cards (compared to other things) and I know that it's good for kids to learn to study things closely and carefully and for long periods of time from early on. Mostly though, I'll just do anything to make her smile. What mommy wouldn't want that?