Happy Birthday Ava
Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear Ava, Happy Birthday to you!
It is my niece’s first birthday today. It’s hard to believe a year has gone by so fast. It seems like no time at all since I met her for the first time, gave her a cuddle and helped with her first bath! Ava is my first and only niece, and having her as an addition to our rather large extended family has been such a joy. I’ve also really enjoyed watching my brother and his partner in their new roles as mummy and daddy. They are both such natural and compassionate parents, that it is little wonder that Ava is such a placid, happy baby.
I just love being around babies. I would have been content with a tribe, but we had to stop at 3. There is something so wonderful about being with them, caring for them, learning with them. So, in honour of Ava’s birthday I have put together a list of things that babies do instinctively, and that we, as grown ups (or pretending to be, anyway!) need to incorporate into our experience of the world.
* Wonder: That look of complete surprise that widens eyes and drops jaws seems to be an almost permanent expression on babies’ faces. Everything is new, or is seen in a new way, whether it’s a goldfish suspended in a globe of water or the piano key that sings with sound. I think our lives would all be enhanced if we learned to look with wonder again.
* Curiosity: Anyone who has wandered in to find the entire contents of a handbag strewn around the living room floor, while a contented baby presses all the buttons on your mobile phone, knows exactly what I mean by this one! Babies’ curiosity is insatiable; they just have to know what’s in where? what happens if I do that? what does it taste/feel/smell like? Curiosity is a wonderful trait to cultivate, but it’s definitely one we grow out of.
* Unconditional Love: To love unconditionally is quite possibly one of the hardest things to do, and yet it is something we are all capable of. The love that we experience as babies is the kind of love that we all aspire to as we get older.
* Determination: Learning to sit, crawl, stand and finally walk takes an incredible amount of determination. No matter how many times a baby topples over, they continually get up and try again. Failure is not conceivable to a baby. If they attempt, repeat, attempt, repeat, they will ultimately achieve their goal!
* Playfulness: The joy of just playing is something that begins at around 4 months and continues well into childhood. Some of us are lucky enough to ensure that we retain a certain amount of playfulness in our lives, but so often we wake up one day and wonder where all the fun went. Give yourself permission to play. Have fun!
* Instinctiveness: Babies rely upon their instincts much more than adults do. As we grow and develop, we acquire different skills which help us to evaluate and formulate responses. For small children, though, they are tuned into that frequency which tells them more about a person or a situation than all our acquired skills put together can achieve. And yet, I do believe that the frequency doesn’t disappear; it’s still there for us to tune into when we need it.
Ok, so that’s my list. Are there any that you would add or, indeed, remove? What have you learned from babies?