The babies are slowly learning how to use their hands. If you hold something in front of them they move their arms very slowly in its general direction, looking as if they are struggling to control new mechanical arms. When they do finally manage to get a grip on the desired object, eyes crossing in concentration, they will usually toss it immediately onto the floor. Otherwise they will very slowly and deliberately bring their arms, while still gripping the object, in the direction of their mouth. As one hand approaches their mouth the other usually joins, and it is the hands, not the object, which makes first mouth contact. They then suck on the hand while still maintaining a grip on the object, looking thoughtful. And that’s really a day’s work right there.
What a strange feeling it must be, to slowly discover that you have a whole body, and then learn to use it piece by piece. How did they conceive of themselves before, if not as a body? They have been focused on faces for months, but I think it is only now they are discovering that those faces don’t just float in a blurry sea.
Yesterday M was lying in my lap. I turned to look at her, caught her eyes and she startled. I looked away again, then looked back and she startled again. Something is taking shape in her mind.
At the same time, their learning to connect to their bodies is giving me a strange feeling about mine. How strange that arm control is something we must learn. How adeptly I now control these arms, this skin for my mind to live in.