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The Black Stars

During one of our several pediatrician visits, Gwen’s doctor gave us a piece of paper with printed black shapes on it. I’m not being elusive, or purposefully obscure in describing writing; they were shapes. Some stars, a couple spirals, a chess board pattern on the one side; while on the other side the patterns were a little more complex. Triangles inside triangles, complex angles and such.

I suppose you all thought I was going to review an episode of Doctor Who or something.

We grabbed the sheet and asked the doctor what it was. She replied that it was something designed to keep babies interested while the parents do some cleaning (i.e. baby cleaning). In my many readings I have acquired a basic understanding of infant psychology. It’s pretty interesting because there really isn’t much psychology there. They are Locke’s tabula rasa a completely blank slate that is hit by information as it comes in…obviously I’m an empiricist.

The purpose of the shapes is to get her mind to develop. The body is lazy and the eye is drawn to white. For babies their gaze will naturally go to white space unless something grabs their attention. Since their eyesight is pretty much shit, their memory capability very low whatever is going to grab their attention has to be visually striking but simple enough that they can take it in. Hence the black and white patterns.

I should say this: Gwen doesn’t smile at me. She’s content enough to fall asleep on me, spit up on me, and generally make little noises and arm flailings when I hold her. I’ve seen her smile once when I was holding her it was like she suddenly remembered who i was and then quickly suppressed it. It might be because I refer to her as “the little monster” but I digress.

For the last week or so we have been putting her on the changing table and noticing that she turns her head toward the shapes. Her memory is beginning to form  which excites me. It’s her activities with the shapes that puzzles me and creeps out lux. Today I took a two minute video of her talking to the shapes (she obviously can’t speak but she makes enough noises), then she pauses as if waiting for an answer and continues to make little noises.

She has some new friends it would seem. I wonder what it is that the little monster is hearing from the black stars? I have a theory:

“Fthagn” (curious that word doesn’t come up wrong on my spell check).

It causes me much curiosity to view what exactly keeps her attention and what doesn’t. Despite her odd like of the show “Oz,” she screams during hockey games except when there’s a fight. She doesn’t like it when I play cartoon games on the XBOX (I downloaded a couple for her to watch) but when Call of Duty 4 is in she seems to be attentive. She can crawl now, slowly, but without assistance which I’m told is remarkable for someone barely over a month old. She keeps her butt down which is nice because then it won’t get shot off. There’s that and her new favorite chew toy, daddy’s nose and it’s starting to hurt a bit. I better get her back to the black stars.

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