Monday, 2 August 2010

Not the Ronettes: Be Our Grandbaby

Marlie frowning, July 2010

Marlie, Half-smile July 2010
Photos courtesy of Rich and Helen

Marlie at about 10 weeks. It doesn't take much to turn a frown into a smile, or even a half-smile as we have here, but you never quite know what that 'not much' is. Sometimes it's a noise, sometimes it's a movement, sometimes it's a face, sometimes now it is her own face in the mirror. But you never know, because the same things can frighten or upset her. She loves looking at Rich, her father, and he can tease her by hiding.

I still haven't quite got used to being a grandparent. But then I am not sure if I have ever got used to being anything. Often it is as if consciousness were sitting in another chair near mine, taking it all in, and there's this body thing that it has, sometimes reluctantly, to get back into. I say the whole boiling is strange. Sometimes other people say: don't believe your eyes and I reply, but what else am I to believe? But it isn't the eyes that are doing the replying - it's the consciousness in the chair.

As for little Marlie, her consciousness flitters about her like a moth, and sometimes it lights right there, in the middle of the brain, and that might make her smile, smile back at the mirror, while we too flit about her, strange, large, more or less necessary objects, because, after all, what else is there?


charles said...

Before you leave it too long and have to rush through the book to catch up, Charles Fernyhough, The Baby in the Mirror (Granta): the cognitive development from zero to age 3, written by a child psychologist about his first-born (will she ever forgive him?). A little too much science-for-the-layman, but balanced out by love. An obvious tidbit: an infant’s vocal cords are capable of making any any sound required by any language, and the options diminish as he/she becomes bound in to a particular culture. Learning – to survive, to flourish – as a process of diminishment. But right now, Marlie’s potential is pretty well, as far as the human species allows, infinite.

George S said...

Thank you, Charles. I'll look out for that.

Pauline said...

I'm on the other side of the mirror, as it were, being an ancient mother at 47 with my 6th child - and in the cloistered world of exclusive breast-feeding. No literature on this I can find. Plenty on motherhood generally. But my new baby is 5 months. There is so much in this wonderful and terrifying observance of infanthood. My daughter makes remarkable vocal sounds already.

George S said...

Ordered Fernyhough, Charles.

That is quite an age to be having a child, Pauline. I imagine it is difficult to find books on it because until recently it would have been very rare, though I understand it is a growing phenomenon. Congratulations. I hope you are both well.

Marlie's vocal sounds are limited at the moment to happy grunt, slight niggle and full blown wail. That is those I have heard myself.

Pauline said...

There's a kind of sustained singing sound that babies do - or rather, I've noticed it with my children and Simone started it about 4 months. Oh it is an ancient age to be doing this - I know how St Elizabeth must have felt although hoping Simone isn't expected to be a prophet. I'll have to re-read Anne Bradstreet, I think.