This video is somewhat surprising at first glance – just about every glance, actually. Even when my 9 year old daredevil son saw it, he exclaimed disapprovingly, “You let her get on the table again?!”
The “table” is actually just a wooden platform a few inches high, a focus of interest and activity for babies in the RIE Parent/Infant Guidance Classes. The 8 month old baby in the video is an extraordinarily agile, athletic and energetic girl with an unusually unflappable temperament. But her choices of action and astounding reactions are really just a demonstration of the way all babies are naturally wired to learn — they risk. They challenge themselves, stumble (literally and figuratively) and get up again. What we might perceive as “mistakes”, they accept as just another interesting life event and a challenge to be overcome (unless, of course, it hurts too much).
It is indeed scary and challenging for parents and caregivers to let babies practice their motor skills as freely as this baby does. But isn’t her determination, perseverance, tenacity, ingenuity (note her figuring out how to pick up the wiffle ball), endurance, capability and self-confidence inspiring? These are traits well worth encouraging, and trusting a baby to explore independently in a safe, age-appropriate environment like this one with minimal intervention is the best way to do that…
Whew! That mommy is a trooper. And a special thank you also to the mom who got there in time to spot the baby’s fall #3!
But this was only the beginning… Super Baby continued her adventures (and testing her mom’s nerves) outdoors. In this next video, she practices pulling up to a standing position and getting down again. Guess which one’s harder? Her mom was concerned because the baby had been face-planting at home, so first I did a spotting demonstration and then mommy took over. Again, Super Baby amazes. Even after getting tired (can’t imagine why) determination wins out. Watch what she does after she cries a little and then finally gets down…
What luck and what a privilege it is to have witnessed (and recorded) these monumental moments of risk, struggle and development in this delightful girl’s life. I have no doubt she’ll continue to grow and thrive with self-confidence, courage and conviction…and an obviously irrepressible sense of humor.
“Learning to fall, getting up again, and moving on, is the best preparation for life.” -Magda Gerber
Note: These video clips are edited highlights from over 60 minutes of Super Baby’s uninterrupted play that day. She experimented with each of the activities we see in the video for an extended period of time (plus many more).
Please share your impressions!