I have had the pleasure of taking care of my new grandson over the last few weeks. Not often but enough so his Mom can make it to meetings, quick shopping trips and doctors appointments. This little guy is now 2 months old. As you may know with little ones they are just starting to strengthen muscles to control that big lovely head of theirs and they are working on smiling and watching the world around them. Oh, they also are eating, pooping and sleeping a lot as well. All good things.
I have been fascinated by this little guys eyes. Our grandson seems to have a great deal of “faces” he likes to use. He is a very expressive little one and the looks he gives us seems to say so much. Now, I know that babies at two month do not really understand the world around them. I know that they are still seeing only abut 18 inches or so away from them and they are really focusing on patterns, shapes and faces. The idea of eyes and mouth are what they are connecting to right now.
I know he is not really telling me with his eyes to pick him up – that look that says “don’t leave me in this swing I like sleeping in your arms instead”. He is not really getting mad at me as we place him in the car seat and he gives us his best stink face – a scowl that just makes you melt. He is just working on using all the muscles of his face but as he does that we adults respond, talk with him, pick him up or show him rattles, pictures or puppets with faces on them. His “faces” stimulate us to interact with him. Again all of which is a good thing.
This all brings me back to how important seeing is in our lives. Looking closely makes a different. For little guy seeing right now is firing lots of neurons in his brain. It is one way he is building his brain and helping himself to know the world. The more he sees the more his brain is working and building new pathway to learning.
So we are taking slow walks around the house, on the deck and into the garden. I find myself standing in places so little guy can take time to focus and see what is in front of him. I have to slow down to give him time to focus.
Interesting enough this slowing down also means that I focus. I am seeing more on each walk around the yard because I am stopping and thinking “what is little guy seeing?” He seems to be in wonderment of large plants and trees that move in the wind. I am sure he is not seeing the leaves but must be catching the movement of the tree since he will watch for a long time. I also know he really only focuses a short distance (the literature says about 20 to 18 inches) but he give a face that keeps bring me back to the trees and plants.
When I go through a simple picture books we stop on each page for awhile and he looks and looks and then will smile once in awhile. He seems to focus on the books about the outdoors, animals and babies. Is this because they are the books I like and I use a more interesting voice? Is it that I tend to pick those up first? Do I pick them up because he smiles at those almost all the time?
The question is who is stimulating who? At times I feel I am learning more from him that he is from me. It brings me back to the nature journal I am working on for him. What am I seeing and how am I thinking of sharing that with the little one as he grows older? How do we slow down to take in the details of life around us?
Do we see all the colors in the morning glories or just the bright blue on the top? Do we stop and smell the flowers? Do they have more scent in the early morning or in the evening? What are the little things we miss with our adult eyes?
If you can I suggest you go find yourself a little one and take them for a walk. The world looks very different from their eyes!