Baby Wonder

Teaching mom how to observe curious surroundings.

Journeys President, Robin Weber Pollak, talks about her latest adventure: becoming a mom.

In early May my son, Jacob, was born, and I became a whole new kind of person — the kind with a child.

There are a bazillion things that are different about how I experience the world now. Just to name a few: I spend a lot more time on the floor. More of my smiles are goofy grins. I frequently drive circles around my destination while my son finishes napping. It will be awhile before I can easily grab my passport and backpack again and jet off on Journeys adventures. And, unexpectedly, I am much more attuned to the variations in the world around me.

Though he won’t be joining a Journeys trip for awhile, Jacob is stocking up on appropriate attire for such an occasion.

My husband and I marveled the other day at how wide Jacob’s eyes open when we take him into a store. We don’t go shopping together often, so the supermarket is still a foreign world to him. As soon as we roll through the automatic doors, he gets quiet and looks up, slowly taking in the colors, the sounds, and the dozens of people swiftly stalking past him with carts and baskets. I had never really thought about the distinct hum of the grocery store. The buzz of the neon lights and refrigerator cases echoes off the hard walls and floors. The ceilings are so high and the space is so artificially bright. The rapid changes in temperature can be jarring. What must it be like for a baby who is just trying to build the cognitive scaffolding to sort out all these inputs and to understand why these sensations occur together?

Moving though the world with Jacob gives me fresh eyes. His presence removes the patina of experience from my perspective. I think this is what many of us seek when we travel — a setting so new that we become fully aware again. Kids can be our inspiration to ask the most basic questions of what and why and how. I look forward to adventures with Jacob in the years to come, in places near and far, as we learn and wonder together.