Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Oh, What a Feeling

Now that Ryan has gotten better control of his hands, his latest delight is in feeling everything. At first I thought he was just practicing grabbing anything he could reach, but he's begun to show a marked preference for anything soft, or nubby, or lumpy, or otherwise "interesting" feeling.

I first noticed this new interest when I was working at my computer with Ryan draped over my shoulder. He was getting ready for a nap and was just quietly looking around the room when I realized he was repeatedly stroking his hand against the rough nap of my chair. Later that day we were sitting on the couch after he had a bottle and he began patting the soft fleecy blanket on the back of the couch. Curious, I pushed the blanket aside to see if he would continue idly stroking the much smoother back of the couch, but he immediately reached back toward the fluffy blanket.

The next day was a glorious sunny day, so we went for a stroll around the yard and we touched all the different textures I could think of. I gently rubbed his palm against the rough bark of a tree, I helped him to stroke one of the soft evergreen shrubs in front of the house, we very carefully grabbed the crisp, dry branches of the privacy hedge, we even stroked the warm, smooth side of my car. He seemed very interested in each one, occasionally grabbing hold and ending up with a handful of twigs or pine needles. He stared at each object with great intensity, as if trying to make a mental connection between how they looked and how they felt. Or perhaps he was just enjoying looking close up at things we often look at from far away inside the kitchen. But whatever the case, it's definitely true that he was intrigued by the variety of textures and feelings!
Every day he gains a bit more control of his hands - and, I suspect, his thoughts - so I look forward to each new discovery he makes about the world around him through his hands. He touches his toys with greater and greater interest, he examines them with his hands and his eyes and his mouth, he looks at them from various angles and watches what they do when he throws them or drops them or bops me (or himself) with them. I'm fascinated by his fascination. Oh, what a feeling is feeling!

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