Watching Forrest grow is a pretty amazing gift. He’s made of the same parts in the same places as me (with notable gender differences…) and all those bones and muscles and organs grow daily, I know. I also know that someday he’ll be bigger than me but right now he’s my little guy and that’s where he’ll stay.
But there’s one aspect of his growth that hadn’t really crossed my mind until recently – his brain is growing SO much right now, not just in size but in function. Each day he learns new things. Each day he makes new connections – all of this without words, or words that I can understand. I knew this was the case, of course, but didn’t realize how enjoyable it would be to see it happening, practically see those gears turning and synapses connecting and firing…
He knows I’m telling him not to chew on the highchair buckle during dinner but he tests me out anyway – I can see it in how he reaches behind himself to grab the buckle then slowly moves it toward his mouth, all while staring me in the eye. Oh so slowly he’ll start to bite down then “No, Forrest,” he’ll put it back behind him and smile, like “What? I wasn’t doing anything!”
He used to notice that toy was out of reach, look at it for a bit, then move on to something closer. Now he’s doing his darndest to get to that toy and he’s *this close* to crawling right over in triumph to grab it again.
Forrest, like most babies, has always enjoyed dropping things off the side of this high chair or my lap, wherever he is, but now he drops them and watches intently to see what happens. If you’re not paying attention he’ll launch himself off your lap because he wants you to hold him upside down to grab that toy off the floor as he giggles with glee.
When we talk to him he’s paying much more attention to the sounds we’re making, how our mouths are moving, our expressions, all of it. Like most babies he loves to play back and forth with sounds, especially if he’s leading that train.
He’s noticing that his toys with bells and whistles and sounds do specific things with specific actions. He’s playing with them with intent not just the basic motor skills of yesterday.
These are all ways that babies in general grow and develop but I’m getting a front row, daily, detailed show watching *my* baby grow. Isn’t it magic? Isn’t it a wondrous thing? He’s probably learning more now every day, certainly in the first year of his life, than I will for the rest of mine. Except now while he’s learning I’m learning, about him and about ways I forgot to see and play and interact with the world… I think that’s a fine way to grow for both of us.