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Before the first steps

This week my first child is eleven weeks old. It is amazing the amount of “firsts” that a person has. When a baby is born they can’t really do much beyond flail around and hope that something edible/suckable is placed into their mouths when they are hungry. While my child can stand (with assistance) he doesn’t have any mobility (yet). A few weeks ago we purchased some wrist rattles for him. They are soft balls, dressed up like an animal’s head, with a velcro wrist straps. This allows them to be attached to the baby, allowing the baby to create rattling sounds by shaking their arms. No hand coordination required. My son has yet to catch on with idea that shaking his arm to make noise might be fun. At the moment he’s just too oblivious to the concept of “things” and how his hands might be able to control/manipulate said “things”. This generally results in him hitting himself in the face with a rattle, should we try to get him to hold one.

The other night was a first though, he seemed to be actually playing with one of these wrist rattles. It wasn’t strapped to his wrist though; we were able to get him to grab onto it and he held onto it. He wasn’t shaking it around, rattling it and making noise, but he wasn’t disinterested in the rattle either. He’d look at the object in his hand and then work it towards his mouth. Not always successfully, but frequently enough. He’s then lick it, or try to gnaw on it, and then look at it again. It was very interesting to be holding him while he went through this process. He did it for about twenty minutes. It felt like the first time he was discovering something and we were witnessing it. It was certainly the first time he was doing anything which could be described as “playing”. Up until now he hasn’t played before! While baby’s first steps are a major accomplishment that my wife and I have yet to enjoy, watching his first playing made us feel quite proud.

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