“We call the early years formative. What is firing the brain? It’s nothing less than a sense of self. How does it feel to be me? How does it feel to be human? That’s what’s forming. Our sense of self and our sense of the world.”
I see your joy. You sit up with a straight back, surveying the world from a perspective you’ve never seen.
I see your deliberation. You make a bee-line for the dog bowls every time we set you down, already knowing that if you do so stealthily enough, you’ll find a prize.
I see your intensity. You move from room to room and object to object, patting, squeezing, raspberry-blowing, all with an astonishingly palpable focus.
I see your relentlessness. You already possess an uncanny sense for the moments your parents most need a break, and will do just about anything to ensure you have our undivided attention.
“Learning isn’t having an agenda. It’s forming associations, recognizing when they discover. When they put things together they’ve never put together before.”
Most of all, I see your connection-building. You are already laying the foundation — with a magnitude I can scarcely comprehend — for the learning that will take place for the rest of your life. These connections, these moments of comprehension, are like golden threads criss-crossing all over our home, constantly reinforced as you feel your way across them again and again.
“The most important ingredient is the people who interact on a regular basis with young children. A baby does something, and the adult response to what the baby’s doing. It’s this back and forth responsiveness that’s absolutely essential for brain development.”
That I am an integral part of this process is humbling. You are reminding me of the connection between learning and relationships; of the need to learn when to set down the lists and sit down with the people. In this way, you are strengthening my ability to connect with those around me — as a parent, teacher, and human being.
So, little one, although I wish you’d sometimes slow down, I look forward to all we will continue to learn together.
Quotes from the documentary, The Beginning of Life, (streaming on Netflix) by filmmaker Estela Renner.
featured image: DeathToTheStockPhoto