For the second in our themed series of 52 Blogs posts the topic is ‘Something New’.
This isn’t a parenting blog post, nor is it a fawning post about my kids. It is, however, about babies and since my main frame of reference for that subject is my own kids I may as well share who I have in mind when I write this.
Above are my two boys: at the time of taking this photo one was five, the other was a few months old.
Having a second child really brought home something to me that I was only partially cognisant of first time around: babies are brand new people. It sounds obvious, but a baby is almost a blank slate (I say almost because there are always genetics and various inescapable environmental factors that will have their impact).
A baby has no favourite football team, doesn’t have any interest in politics, doesn’t care if you’re black or white, male or female, gay or straight. It can’t do anything for itself, it knows barely anything (other than when it’s hungry or tired or when its nappy needs changing). All of this is for us to teach.
It’s worth repeating: we teach babies almost everything they think, know or do.
What’s more: from the baby’s perspective, everything is new. I believe it’s important to try and look at things as if you’re looking at them for the first time. When you watch a baby looking at things that’s exactly what’s happening: they’re looking at things for the first time, or using words for the first time, or working out how to do a puzzle for the first time. Everything’s a first!
I think there’s a lot of people out there who could do with remembering that we don’t come out fully formed and that one of the very first things we learn to do is how to change. We should never stop doing it.