I love babies – their chubby cheeks, trusting eyes, and their drive to explore the world around them. I enjoy cuddling them and hearing them laugh. And don’t get me started on that special baby smell. I admire their eagerness to try new things. Fall down? They get right back up and try again.
Babies are new life. New life represents pure potential. We hold this pure potential from birth. The wonder is that we lose it and spend so much time later in life trying to find our way back.
Without knowledge, babies interpret the world intuitively. They have a sixth sense of who they feel safe with. I remember our babies did NOT like sitting in Santa’s lap. Who was this strange man with a white beard holding them apart from the safety of mama?
Babies use non-verbal senses to get what they want. They communicate by crying, putting everything in their mouths, gurgling, reaching with arms outstretched for a hug.
Theory of Mind
Babies teach. They don’t just learn. It’s a reciprocal relationship. Think about it. Does a baby know what she wants? Yes, in spades. Does a baby know who she is? While they lack self-awareness, they intuitively know they are of “one mind” with the universe, something that gets lost as the theory of mind develops in early childhood.
Did you know that a child doesn’t understand he is separate from others, meaning he has his own mind and can think distinctly, until he’s at least three years old? I remember a time when our son ran down the street as I was preparing dinner. He was three. In his mind, of course I knew where he was going (he was heading toward the park) because we are of one mind. He taught me a lesson I wasn’t expecting on mindfulness with no effort on his part!
What babies teach us
Babies grow. They evolve at a faster pace in the first two years of life than they do for the rest of it. Who hasn’t been startled at the changes in a baby you only saw a few months ago?
Babies gain knowledge. I remember our eldest daughter teethed on an orange starfish. One day, we put it just beyond her reach … and she decided she wanted to crawl to get it. “Starry” was important to her and she was going after what she wanted!
Babies connect the dots. My dad always said our middle child was an engineer. You may not be surprised to hear that my dad was an engineer so he was partial to finding engineer traits in his grandchildren. Our little engineer had two pieces that needed to fit together. Instead of jamming it every which way until they fit (which would be my non-engineer method), she looked at each piece carefully and figured out how to connect the two pieces in one shot. She connected the dots.
The greatest gift babies bring us is they epitomize love. Babies are love magnets. They bring out the best in us. I’ve seen it time and again. We rise to our better selves when we hold a precious baby.