I have never had the chance of observing a new born from close quarters. Any kid that I started observing were over 6 months of age from the time I started interacting with them. So, it is a huge natural setup for me to observe my kid from the time she was born. (I definitely miss being with her daily, more on this in a later post). From the time I first heard her over the phone, one question I have is, How does my daughter know me? I mean how the hell does she know what I am to her?
A child knows her mother through sense of smell, touch and later through sound. There is a strong history of relationship (over 36 weeks) she builds with the mother even before she is out in the world. And it is not surprising that she knows her mother from the word go.The only possible interaction they have with the father is aural when they are still in the womb. Given this, I seriously doubt if the father occupies any space in baby's mind except possibly as a foreign object with which she regularly has an olfactory, tactile, and aural association.
My new born behaves more or less like consequence of Newtons first law.
- She will not cry if I am holding her given she was not crying before I took her.
- She will continue to cry even after holding her, if she was crying before I took her.
- A third observation which is true most of the time, the duration for which she stops crying when I hold her and comfort her seems to be inversely proportional to the distance her mother is at that instant (Given she was crying earlier for non hungry reasons, now God knows what they are!).
If the above behavior is exclusive for me, that would give me a clue that she recognizes me, but it is the same for her grand mother or great grand mother or grand father and to a very small extent a new comer (someone who is holding her for the first time).
Another thing that perplexes me that her attention holds a candle to a rank lifeless object "a ceiling fan", which gives damn to her and not to us. No complaints though.
Coming back to the question I started with, How and When does my daughter know me?
Why is the answer to this question important to me? As of now, it gives me an understanding into my mind (mind you not her mind). I am of the school of thought which believes that Nature has built great capabilities into us which we deliberately and structurally limit and destroy as we grow. It is a great joy and astronomical learning to observe how the new born finds its way in the world. On thinking further the question that jumped out of mind without any thought has a lot more philosophical bearings.
Those of you who are parents, fortunate enough to observe lot of children, How and When did the child know you?
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