I know, “Break-Dancing Baby” sounds exploitive and contrived to me, too. This isn’t. It’s a genuine example of a baby freely expressing herself — an exuberant celebration of natural gross motor development and creative child-directed play. I’ve never seen a baby do anything quite like this.
My wife Kristin mentioned that you might enjoy this little video of our 11 month old Siena doing some unique play.
A couple of things personally fascinate me about this activity of hers. She didn’t pick it up from anywhere; it just came out of nowhere. She truly enjoys it in the moment even if she has to take brief dizzy breaks. And there seems to be no particular functional skill she’s working on, no objects or external stimulation cues inspire her to spontaneously do this. She just needs a flat surface and goes at it for the joy in and of itself. It looks like a very pure example of “play” in my eyes. She’s actually gotten much faster and tighter spins since this video was taken.
Siena freely expresses herself through play because her parents appreciate and respect her self-initiated activities. They allow her plenty of time each day to enjoy moving and playing independently. They don’t interrupt unnecessarily.
You might be thinking, “Yikes! She’s rolling around on cement pavement! Won’t she get hurt?” Interestingly, when we allow gross motor skills to develop naturally, provide plenty of time for babies to practice and don’t interfere, children can be trusted to know what they’re doing. Awareness is extremely high, both in terms of body awareness and awareness of the environment.
Not a milestone
Siena’s spinning won’t be found on any doctor’s checklist. This is no typical milestone — it’s one child’s unique discovery — and that’s the beauty of it. Children need our appreciation and encouragement for their creative choices, which for babies usually means the way they choose to move. When we focus on milestones we miss the magic.
I’m really glad that Joe and Kristin documented this, because chances are this stage will disappear, as most transitional moves do. Siena probably won’t be spinning once she starts walking, unless, of course, she does end up a break-dancer…and I wouldn’t put that past her.
Does your baby have unique moves? I’d love to hear about them…
Kristin, Joe and Siena, thanks so much for allowing me to share your video (and photo, above). You all ROCK!