I have not blogged since the second trimester of my pregnancy... I was busy enjoying myself in other ways :-) But now, my baby boy, Tejas, has brought me back to my blog again. Watching him grow is unbelievably exciting! I have known writers feeling sorry for themselves after childbirth, saying they feel so dull doing the same nursing and cleaning routine over and over again, resulting in a mental block that prevents them from writing, etc... sorry, I don't feel sorry for them anymore... because so far my experience has been very different... it is so wonderful watching a baby grow, there are so many things to think and write about... the baby becomes the stimulus and the inspiration to write!
Anyway, coming to the subject of this post... I think watching a baby grow is enough to make even an atheist start believing in God, or at least the existence of some kind of superpower. I believe in God, and yet I feel excited and surprised at every development... I wonder: How does a child know to suckle from the minute it is born? Who teaches it to start looking around, to vigorously kick about, and to cry? Why do so many expressions -- from laughter to fear -- cross a baby's face when it is seemingly fast asleep? How does a baby suddenly learn to smile one fine morning? How does a baby entertain itself when nobody is around, and when it cannot read or even understand words? We sit and talk to a baby but it cannot understand us, yet it has the decency to smile and make us feel comfortable -- how does it know this courtesy, if I may call it that? How does a baby learn to swallow? How does it recognise its mother? How does it start acquainting itself with other people? How does it learn to move its limbs? Without words, without symbols, how is the baby able to make us understand if it is hungry, sleepy or unwell?
Well, the structure of a baby, its features, etc, may be programmed in us as genes, as we've learnt in our biology lessons? But when a baby does things exactly like its dad or mum or other close relatives, it still immerses you in immense joy, surprise, and inevitably the question arises -- how? How does a baby form habits so early -- my son for instance refuses to cover his legs when asleep -- he will kick away the blanket with an irritated look and then drift back to blissful sleep, he knows when it is time for his raisin juice and will not drink milk at that time, he knows what games each of the family members plays with him and reacts accordingly, and so many such habits... and he is just two months old!
My aunt was telling me about a recent research that proved that a baby can form habits as early as three days old -- they tied a toy pigeon to a hook above the baby; there was a string tied to the pigeon, the other end of which was tied to the baby's toe; whenever the baby moved it leg, the string was pulled and the pigeon made a sound. After three days, when the researcher brought the pigeon and tied it to the hook, the baby immediately started moving its legs up and down in the usual rhythm!
I keep questioning 'how', and despite being an 'educated woman' and despite reading so much literature on the subject in the Internet, etc, I am not convinced that it is just simple biology. I think there is a Power above all that. I like to believe in grandma's theory that God speaks to children and plays with them -- that's why they go into a trance quite often and laugh and play even when nobody is around. God teaches the baby the basic life lessons (and the complex lessons too, later in life!), He soothes it when it is scared, He helps the baby understand the emotions we show towards him - thereby forging the bond, He protects the baby from negative emotions and other scary things, in short, it is He who helps the baby to even start learning the things we teach him -- God stands as the first building block in the baby's life. I am thoroughly convinced. May He be with Tejas too!