What I Knew All Along

I ran across this article from Newsweek in my internet travels:

Reading Your Baby's Mind

The gist of the article is that new research is showing that babies are far more complex emotionally and intellectually than once thought.

Well duh. With a healthy dose of parental bias thrown into the mix (My babies are brilliant.), this article confirms what I've always suspected. There's a LOT going on in those little heads.

As parents, Lowell and I have tended to operate under the assumption that our little ones understand a lot more than they let on. And even with that, our munchkins will often catch us off guard by demonstrating an understanding of something far beyond what we expect.

Right from the beginning we've always talked to and made conversation with our babies, not just talked at them. I remember that within the first week after being born, Katiana would stick her tongue out at us when we stuck ours out at her. Better yet, we must have been doing it a bit much because shortly after, she'd stick her tongue out as soon as she saw us! LOL.

I hope that more of this kind of research is done and published. Maybe it'd get rid of the prevalent 'Babies as Pets' attitude that bugs me so much. You know, the one that assumes that they can and should be handed about and fondled at will by anyone who desires. That they should be carted around like so much luggage and basically have no will or opinion of their own.

Back to the article...

I also found the information about 'gaze following' being an important milestone and predicter of future social, emotional and language development interesting. I'd like to see some follow through as it relates to teaching babies sign language. Studies have shown that babies who sign often learn to talk sooner and have more sophisticated language development at an earlier age than babies who don't. Because of how signing encourages babies to pay attention to what the 'signer' is saying, I could see how sign offers early and more frequent opportunity to practice this skill.

I love the way the article finishes up:

"Children crave—and thrive on—interaction, one-on-one time and lots of eye contact. That doesn't mean filling the baby's room with "educational" toys and posters. A child's social, emotional and academic life begins with the earliest conversations between parent and child: the first time the baby locks eyes with you; the quiet smile you give your infant and the smile she gives you back. Your child is speaking to you all the time. It's just a matter of knowing how to listen."

I think I'll just leave it at that. :) It'd probably be too much to expect that we'll someday be able to find decent toddler toys that don't teach the alphabet, but one can always hope.


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