Wednesday, November 26, 2008

More than just wakeup woes

Just when you think things are getting better, they get worse.

That pretty much summarises our plight with Sonny at the moment. He may entered his eighth month, but the little fella's now a right nightmare upon waking up. From the evidence of his infant care centre carers, it seems he will immediately start bawling at the top of his voice, rousing every other baby unless food is rushed to him. We've noticed this turn ourselves: He's sleeping less (apart from one thankfully extended snooze during the wee hours) and vindictively vocal once his eyelids flutter open.

The thing was, there was a time when Sonny learned to husband his energy. Left to his own devices, he would suck his thumb and peer about, choosing some new item on which to lavish his attention and saliva. But with greater maturity comes greater crankiness, or so it would seem. But perhaps there is more going on here than we realise - that there is some fundamental language barrier that he is becoming dimly aware of as his mind gains potency.

Imagine if there is now stuff that Sonny would like to say, if only he possessed the linguistic tools with which to construct thoughts. We all know how frustrating it is to have a thought linger at the very anteroom of our mind, refusing stubbornly to cross over to full exposure. We stamp our feet, grind our teeth and say, "There's this idea that's at the very tip of my tongue". And everyone showers us with sympathy and cloying advice like, "Oh, leave it and it will come of its own accord". But at least, for us, there's a chance that it will come.

For a child, however, things are far worse. He encounters so many weird things, and sounds, and sights - and with time, there must be this urge to say something about some of them. Except, of course, he lacks even the ability to express something as primitive as "I like that", or "That's no good". He can smile or turn his head or tear up, but these are pretty much instinctive responses. A baby cannot congratulate himself on having communicated his annoyance or pleasure.

If such is his predicament at just over seven months old, we must imagine Sonny waking after each sleep bursting with the inchoate wish to talk, without being able to nail down what it is he desires. This mental netherworld must drive him wild, and we would do well to forgive him his temporary testiness - while awaiting the time when he begins the climb to language mastery.

Then again, of course, he could simply be a grumpy baby...


Anonymous said...

trust me I don't miss days like those or that whole stage when it comes to kids... ofcourse you could be teaching him how to ride his bike with out training wheels - like i am doing with my 4 year old. I think I had a moment when I forgot about being a dad and thought "wouldn't it make a great you tube video if he crahed or something??" I'm so bad.. check out the short clip.

Cloudsters said...

Clips on YouTube: Yes, that's the logical next step. It's just that we're uncommonly lazy... we keep telling ourselves to hit the video function on our camera, but then succumb to the 'Next Time' syndrome.