Peekaboo – Explaining baby’s thoughts

“I will share a secret: this is how talents are bestowed. Before newborns open their eyes, we circle them, appearing as brilliant colors, and when they clench their tiny fists for the first time, they are actually grabbing the colors they find most appealing. Those talents are with them for life.”

This excerpt from Mitch Albom’s bestseller “The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto” beautifully theorizes how babies are blessed with talents.
Like Presto’s ideology, there could be a number of other theories that explain how and what babies think. But most of it will remain mysterious to us because infancy is a stage of life we can barely recollect or explain. In this article we muse on the deeds and misdeeds of these tiny tots and the probable reasons behind them.

Mystery behind the mother’s touch
Upon birth, the baby experiences discomfort. It is welcomed with clogged ears and exposed to blinding light, and wails out in disapproval of its new world. But the moment it is nestled into its mother’s arms and feels her love, all pain and doubt vanishes. From this point in time, the world for the baby is like an ideal spinning top – an entity brimming with happiness. No wonder a mother’s hug is always reassuring.

Why do some people make babies cry?
Babies perceive people as different sets of eyes, noses, colours, ears and hands. However, they identify things better by touch and sound. A baby identifies people by pulling their hair, poking their eyes, rubbing their ears and patting their cheeks. While the baby coos to some sounds, it raises a loud alarm to others. Is it caused by some discomfort or fear or because babies are very smart and choose targets accordingly? The baby by now knows that constant crying is an annoyance to people and out of fear for upsetting the baby, they would do anything to make it stop crying. We believe babies exploit this vulnerability of elders and prank them for fun.

Why do babies fall?
Every baby experiences physics first hand. In the process of finding their centre of gravity, many a times, babies have tripped stairs, fallen on their backs, and on their faces. But why do they fall so many times even though it is painful? A new found freedom and independence which allows them to discover new things and plan mischief at higher grounds alleviates the pain they experience. As to how they fall so adorably, no one can explain.

Why do babies have strange eating habits?
There are times when babies puzzle you the most, especially when they don’t eat the most delicious items offered or don’t eat on the most edible surfaces. There are times when they like eating food on the floor, from the dog’s bowl, or even a pigeon’s mouth. We’re guessing it’s their way of creating heavy competition for restaurant ideas and staging a protest against dining etiquette.

Why do babies make so much trouble?
Mischievous little ones aren’t they? Be it poking fingers into the socket hole, pulling cotton out of the pillow, or continuously banging the rattle set on the floor, these tiny tots have a lot of amusing pastimes. A zillion thoughts and ideas are running through their minds. What could possibly exist behind the socket? Behind the television? Ooh! Long, thin threads, let me pull them! What happens if I continuously hit my head on the wall? Most of these activities- we believe – are performed to attract the undivided attention of their parents and companions. Babies don’t want to trouble us, it’s just their way of keeping us entertained, showing us their love and earning our approval.

What are their dreams made of?
The ultimate respite for a baby from a long tiring day of changing nappies, crying and being pampered is sleep. But what kind of dreams and nightmares do they have and how do they experience them? The simplest assumption is that babies think of their time in the womb when they’re asleep, curling and posing in cute positions, but in a much larger sample space.

As they sleep, the spinning top slows down and threatens to stop. But it’s a flitting moment, the top will continue to spin for many more years, from infancy to old age.

By Shruthi Srinivasan, Seshasayi Rangaraj, Sai Sudhir

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The official media house of NIT Trichy.

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