My grand-daughter is 6 months old. She is making forays into moving around her yet limited world, trying to co-ordinate the movement of her arms and legs, and discovering just what her legs and arms are capable of in articulating in space. She moves her body into strange tripod configurations, looks between her arms to see what has happened, flops down and rolls over and pulls her legs up to her head and really closely inspects her toes and instep. Losing interest in this after a while, she cranes her neck about to determine what she will attempt to take closer looks at. Once she has decided this, she flips over onto her stomach and begins the concentrated effort to try and move her legs in tandem with her arms. From time to time she turns her head and eyes to guage her progress, and then resumes her gargantuan effort.
She took 15 minutes to reach me from the space of about 4 feet away. She was very determined and looked at me frequently for the come hither signals. Her little mouth set in a grim pout and taking frequent sit-ups for a breather, she crept along and made progress sometimes with three consecutive alternating crawls before losing rhythm and flopping to her stomach. By the time she reached my toes, which she announced by a smart tweak of my stockinged big toe, she uttered the complaining tones by which she indicates wanting to be picked up.
Once up in my arms she was most intent on exploring my face. The first thing she is most attracted by are my glasses – an immediate grab is in order, and into her mouth goes the shiny bit with the glass in it. Doesn’t taste so good, she drops it. But then immediately she fixes upon what I suspect is the shine of my eyes, and tries to extricate the orb from its housing, carefully working her fingers with delicate movements. She leans in to peer closely, very intent and very serious her chocolate brown button eyes mere inches from my faded khaki ones. I wonder, does she see herself reflected in my eye? She looks carefully from one eye to the other and presses my eyelid closed one moment, and pulling down on the undereye the next. She chortles, and progresses to my bangs which she pulls away from my face quite smartly and looks at very closely. She has a huge smile of pleasure on her face as she proceeds to ruffle the hair around my face.
We sit face to face, and I sing her a quiet song, slowly and with emphasis. We gaze at each other and she mimics my mouth movements, and occasionally she will repeat sounds with a wondering expression on her face. She is a quick study! Her concentration is so complete, so quiet. She pats my face with unintended hard whacks, and after awhile leaves her hand on my cheek, poking and prodding. When I lean in to touch my forehead to hers she smiles in pleasure, her lovely chubby face looking almost buddha-like.
There is almost nothing that compares to this marvellous communion with a young infant. It is sheer joy to witness such innocent vision, such non-judgmental gaze, such over-arching curiosity. I think it is so important to go about, at any time of life, with this innocence of vision, to be prepared to be constantly surprised, delighted or wary with the world and what it holds. For certain, having children in our lives is one way to reconnect with this sense of wonder, for children at all stages and ages provide many gifts for our re-experiencing.
Need I say that I am thrilled to be a grandmother right now?