The infant in this video will forever banish the common perception of babies as helpless, passive and incapable.
Infants will astonish us with their innate abilities. The hard part is letting them. We unwittingly train our children to be more dependent and needy than they might be by doing for them what they could be capable of doing themselves. Yes, it’s quicker, easier and even feels more loving to hand a baby the toy she seems interested in, but by doing so, we can discourage something truly precious…
What would Ruby have learned if she had been handed her toy? (Raise your hand if you wanted to hand it to her. I did!) Or what if it had been moved right next to her? She would have learned nothing developmentally useful except that there are more capable forces in the world – adults – who will do things for her.
But here are some of the empowering things she was able to experience and discover about herself because her mom believed in her, observed and listened, let her be:
Determination. Perseverance. Tenacity. Enthusiasm. Tremendous effort. Success. I can do it!
Proud mom Amy writes:
I took this video of Ruby (just a week shy of 6 months old) recently and it demonstrates one of the things I love most about RIE — the idea of letting babies have uninterrupted, self-directed play time with simple, open-ended toys. I see Ruby working hard reaching for a toy she wants. She tries over and over. A few times she bats it away by accident, but she keeps trying. She finally gets what she wants, but she doesn’t want a pat on the back (like I would) or my approval. She just wants to chew on that darn thing! When I see this type of “play” I can’t help but think/hope that these are life lessons she is learning that will stick with her for life.
Oh, and I apologize for my Darth Vadar breathing!
Kudos (and thanks!) to Amy and Ruby for this magnificent video!
You’ll find much more about play and raising capable babies in my book: Elevating Child Care: A Guide to Respectful Parenting