Wednesday, April 7, 2010

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Ever notice how children, especially babies, are completely fascinated by each other? When we’re out for a stroll, Ryan pays no attention to people walking dogs, but if someone has another baby in a stroller or a toddler alongside, he’s rapt. He reaches out to touch other children in a way he rarely reaches for adults. He seems to recognize the kinship, the sameness, of shared babyhood.

And older children are just as fascinated with babies. In a world where everyone is bigger than you, is allowed to do more than you, is ABLE to do more than you, it must be a powerful feeling to find someone who’s littler and more restricted than you. So it came as no surprise when my college friend Suzanne came to visit with her three young daughters that Ryan was an absolute hit.

The girls were all eager to hold him, feed him, cuddle him, and coo to him. They were fascinated to watch him bounce in his jumperoo, curious to see him play on his tummy, and delighted when he laughed at their antics. And he reveled in their attention! He spent the entire dinnertime bouncing in his chair, watching the girls eat their dinners, pausing every now and then to listen to the unfamiliar childish voices, and giggling at the faces they made for him. Mommy, Daddy, and Auntie Suzanne were just taking up space, for all he was concerned. He had found some new friends who were not quite as much bigger than him as most people he meets, and he didn’t want to miss a moment of their company!

He’s still developing a personality, so he can’t look for friends who are similar in temperament to him. He hasn’t figured out how to do much yet, so he can’t look for friends with similar hobbies or interests. But he’s little and curious and cute as a button, and he’s managed to find some new friends who have that in common with him.

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