Thursday, March 13, 2014. No, this wasn’t baby neglect, even though I do know the interaction – or rather, lack of interaction — I had with my nearly 20-month grandson this afternoon was very unusual. In this small apartment I could hear everything that went on as baby went down for his nap at 3:30 this afternoon in his crib which is placed on the other side of the living room wall where I sat listening to him babble as if there was no tomorrow in the (quite crowded with craft supplies) bedroom next to me.
I read research a few years ago that describes how babies have been found to engage in entirely different babbling when they are in a room alone than they do when they are in a room with other people in it. Those researchers believe that BOTH KINDS of babbling are essential to a little person’s brain and its language-building abilities. But this little guy talked loudly, clearly as a babbler expert could talk as he animatedly engaged in his one-sided conversation for 2 ½ hours!
I listened carefully for any signs of distress or discomfort that baby might make. He didn’t call me as he would have if he wanted “up.” He gave no indication whatsoever that he was anywhere but in total babble heaven.
In my younger years I would have known as I listened to this miraculous baby talk that he was carrying on a conversation with the angels. In my older more pragmatic years I didn’t think any such thought until I was trying to describe those hours to my daughter when she came to pick her baby up.
I can’t imagine that this kind of solo-babble can go on in daycare centers, nor is it likely to go on in homes such as baby’s is where another older (but not that much older!) sibling monopolizes everybody’s attention – verbally – every moment whether baby is present or not. Obviously children end up talking unless something serious prevents it, so whatever kind of babbling baby did today could have been spared without harming his later language.
But still – how absolutely miraculously marvelous it was to listen to a little person having an absolutely fantastically joyous time – in there all by himself! He needed nothing from me except what I provided. The rest was all up to him on his side of the wall. I did not need to interfere in any possible way.
His intonations and inflections and pauses. The rises and falls of his expressions. Changes in pitch and tone and the length of his “sentences.” The variety of rhythms. LONG and seemingly very complicated thoughts were being communicated FROM him to??? His beloved fuzzy stuffed little kitten? I did hear a variety of his highest-pitched mews. I suspect at those times kitty had something of its own to add to that conversation. The prosody of his language — the perfect music of it!
I feel blessed having been present to listen to this. What a privilege. What a miracle human development is.
And this is what I have been hoping to help him achieve: A complete sense of himself as a separate and fantastically unique person who can be completely comfortable alone with himself – with perfect joy — while also being completely comfortable with other people, as well.
Two wings of a bird. In balance. And OH what tales he told today in there without another human being present. I don’t think he could have enjoyed himself more in what I named the oratorium!
Just another sign that baby is being allowed to build peaceful calm as the set-point for the balanced equilibrium of his nervous system through safe and secure attachment. YAY!!!!
“Babbling is the first sign of human language. These vocalizations do not generally contain meaning or refer to anything specific. Human infants are not excited or upset when babbling, but instead they will babble spontaneously and incessantly only when emotionally calm.”
Does Baby ‘Babbling’ Lead To Faster Language Development? Surprising New Research Challenges Traditional Advice
By Lizette Borreli — January 7, 2014
Understanding ‘Ba Ba Ba’ as a Key to Development
By PERRI KLASS, M.D. — October 11, 2010
Babbling babies – responding to one-on-one ‘baby talk’ helps master more words
January 6, 2014
Summary: “Common advice to new parents is that the more words babies hear the faster their vocabulary grows. Now new findings show that what spurs early language development isn’t so much the quantity of words as the style of speech and social context in which speech occurs.”
And – for those of us who were traumatized in absolutely unsafe and insecure attachment environments from birth – I betcha WE did not get to babble away in baby heaven! Yet another possible link in my thinking about how the brain and nervous system developmental changes that happened to us probably created many pathways and circuits that were/are similar to autism:
Babbling delay may be early marker of autism
By Laura Geggel — 18 February 2014
On this blog:
+SOME PRIMARY LINKS ON INFANT VERBAL ABUSE
September 24, 2010
Here is our first book out in ebook format. A very kind professional graphic artist is going to revise our cover pro bono (we are still waiting to hear that he has accomplished this job) – what a gift and thank you Ben! Click here to view or purchase:
It lists for $2.99 and can be read by Amazon Prime customers without charge. Reviews for the book on the Amazon.com site are WELCOME and appreciated!
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2 thoughts on “+BABBLE BABY HEAVEN”
Great post! This is truly what makes your huge sacrifice in moving worthwhile. Thank God for Grandmothers. I’m pretty sure mine is the only reason I’m not as screwed up as I could be.
I know! And hearing him do that yesterday has given me a whole new lease on this project of mine! When Dr. Siegel talks about integration being the goal of healing our self in our life story (!!) — how much more perfect the process is if it gets off to a great start in the first place! I was/am thrilled at the “gift” the little guy gave me yesterday as he in his own way let me know — this is WORKING!!
Such a seeming simple thing! JUST to have peaceful calm built into the center of our PHYSIOLOGICAL being at the start of life! Of course I am not doing this alone, certainly — but I still believe daycare experiences do much to disrupt this kind of peaceful-calm development for little people.
I added onto the post links about brain damage caused by verbal abuse. I know this baby babbling is all about those same circuits in the body-brain that can be so altered in environments where verbal abuse — to anyone — is present during early life. Being able to fully express ourselves without threat/harm even before we have words is part of what we need to grow into a person who can integrate experience throughout life!
have a great day up there!!