I recently brought home Desmond Morris' gorgeous book Amazing Baby from work and i've been enjoying learning from a biological/zoological perspective about the development, anatomy and growth that occurs in a baby's first two years.
It's so crazy what their brains are up to! They work like sponges, soaking up every bit of information, finding uses for this information, putting it all together. "In the brain of a newborn there are about 2,500 synapses attached to each of the ten billion neurons. In the brain of the two-year-old infant, this number rises to 15,000 synapses per neuron, more than we find in the brain of an adult human." This exuberant peak of neural stimulation lasts until about middle childhood (age 4-8) and has been set in motion largely due to mental stimulation occurring in the first year of life.
Most of all I am excited and encouraged to read about how the opportunities and environment of those first couple years really does shape the adult human being. Morris writes about "neophilia," or the love of the new, as a craving that is stronger in humans than in any other species.
"Given a rich, varied and friendly environment, every toddler will spend hours every day trying out new things and exploring different possibilities, as she feeds her growing brain with a variety of sensations and experiences. If she enjoys these activities they become more and more essential to her existence. If she is positively rewarded by her parents for her neophilia, then seeking novelty becomes a basic part of her personality and should last her a lifetime."
I can see all this happening right before my eyes. This child of mine has always been curious but her wild side that has developed since she turned one has led her into whirling energetic explorations that engage her every sense and perception. She is on the move constantly and it is all I can do to just hang on for the ride, keep her safe, and help narrate and facilitate the discoveries she's making.
Here she is smelling the rosemary.
She has discovered the dynamic wonder of the changing season. I can see her delight at the leaves falling, the squirrels dropping their acorns, the eagles and vultures soaring overhead, and the shape and feel of a pinecone in her hand.
Our tree out front is bright red with leaves for about two weeks only before they all fall. i am loving the view out our window, especially with the passersby: deer, bluejays, finches, woodpeckers, squirrels, towhees, skunk and raccoon at night.
Lucy wore these absolutely perfect fall overalls gifted from Kerry back when she was first born. I couldn't wait to get them on her and now I can't believe they already fit so well and she's growing out of them. I know I've said it before: overalls are the perfect article of clothing.
I wore a vintage tent dress thrifted in Reno last year before I knew I'd be pregnant this fall. It is perfect for my big belly and the fabric is magical with a print of animals that I like to think are astrological figures like Aries (the ram) and Capricornus (the seagoat) and Leo (the lion).
28 weeks along, (now i'm 29) and i can still honestly say that i love being pregnant.
more Desmond Morris....
"The more talking, the more music, the more visual excitement, the more social interaction, the more mental stimulation and the more physical activity that an infant experiences, the better are her chances of growing up to be a lively, intelligent, sensitive and responsive adult. And the more playful and exploratory the daily life of an infant is, the more likely she is to grow up to become an imaginative, creative adult."
on that note, we took Lucy to her first art show, which was her own dad's! Darin displayed photography and a couple pieces of art as well as screened a short film he made of time lapses of the stars.
an extremely busy one-year-old at an art show is a good idea in theory. however, she did not make it through our author friend Doug Rice's reading. it seems her more sophisticated literary pursuits might have to wait a bit.
for now, it's running wild and spinning around, and being a neophiliac!
a look at our growing bellies...me at 28 weeks, emily at 23. i'm wearing the dress mary sent me last time, filling it to maximum capacity these days.
any thoughts on neophilism or neophobia (the opposite, a fear of the new, which can result from constant caution, trauma, or inhibition associated with new experiences) or their own effects in your life or your children's? and speaking of the new, bringing forth a whole new life has got to be the most mind-spinningly provocative experience i could have ever imagined. i think about this all the time as i grow another new life inside. i trip.