25 November 2009

The sound of two hands clapping

I got sick of looking at my ugly mug up there on my banner, so I exchanged it for a side profile with big hair, and then added some fancy duplicate paneling I ripped from my old digs. You like? You will, when you get here.

This morning I made an executive decision and turned the television off. Hartley is much more likely to engage in play if there is something to distract him from the fact that he is not on my breast or eating dead leaves off the welcome mat, and so I usually pander to his love of brightly coloured moving images set to music that, given enough time, would make your sweet old Nan turn to throttle the nearest fluffy quadruped.

But today I said: enough! In my brain I said that, and Hartley seemed much more invested in the floor from that point onward. We sat together amidst piles of giant Lego pieces, and for a while he held one in each hand, bashing them together rhythmically for the noise and the sensation. Then, for reasons unknown probably even to him, he set the blocks down and started to clap his hands in the same rhythmic fashion: bash bash bash begat clap clap clap, and so it was.

The hand clap is a momentous occasion in a baby’s development, partly because their fists have been permanently clenched for so long, but also because it shows they understand the difference between object and subject; work and play.

I encouraged him to do this a few more times to make sure it wasn’t a fluke, and once he got the hang of it, he could hardly bring himself to stop. He’d be in the midst of pulling himself up on the sofa when, suddenly, he would have to sit down again in order to free up his hands for a clap. Or he’d be gumming on a teething biscuit and end up flinging it aside as the clapping spirit took hold of him.

Just as when he learned how to mimic using a brush and then tried brushing the side of his head with my iPhone, a DVD case, a shoe, or what have you, he still doesn’t really know what clapping is for. But he’s added this new talent to his roster, and will now do a convoluted series of mouth, arm and hand movements that most outsiders would find perplexing if they didn’t know that he was proud of each and every one of these, so why not do them in succession?

He’s also cutting a new tooth, an eye tooth I think, on the upper left side. He’s had two bottom teeth for ages, and now his gummy smile is erupting with small, white welts that suggest the emergence of more teeth. I’m going to miss those little gums an awful lot, but trust that I have even more to look forward to in the coming months.


Ariel said...

That's too funny! What a coincidence. I have been in the habit of leaving the TV on in the background and now Ozzy is always looking for it. It's a distraction for both of us--distracting Ozzy from his play and exploration and me from catching all those wonderful moments. Today I coaxed him into scootching half-way across the living room floor.

Amy said...

I think you owe the interweb a video of the clapping! Ok, you owe us nothing, but we would very much appreciate it.

Friday said...

I keep meaning to record it you know, but I'm usually in the middle of a nappy change, lunch and/or running out the door when it happens. Which is basically all the time. I'll give it another shot!