I have been with my Dad again. Back to my roots in his vegetable garden. In my element!
More about that in a later posting. Now I want to talk about the highlights,.most of these will feature in a “weeding holiday amongst the onions” posting. Here I will concentrate on just one. The highlight that I am sure will be the highlight of all my trips to the UK for many years to come: Aimee, my great niece.
My delight in this gorgeous little girl astonishes me, as I am the most “un-baby” person I know. It is also a delight to see the joy in the eyes of her parents, and her grandparents too. Most of all it is the smile that I see on my Dad’s face, and the sparkle that has returned to his eyes, that I delight in. There is a bounce in his walk and a loving tone in his voice as he talks to his favourite little girl, and it is there too when tells his friends all about her.
It is two years since my Mum died and for the first time in his life my Dad is alone. Aimee is the best thing that could have happened to him.
When I see him with our Aimee, my Dad appears to be so happy again, and Aimee loves him too. She responds immediately when she hears his voice, always giving him a big smile and a giggle. She just loves him tickling her tummy, showing this by peddling her legs like riding her bike, as Great Granddad Ken calls it. And all I do is sit and watch them enjoying each other so much, a three-month-old baby with her eighty-three-year-old Great Granddad.
Babies, littlies, middlies, teens and adults
Babies have not featured much in my life, except for my sister’s two. At work I did a stint in the mother-and-baby group at the Petö Institute, and picked up my worst mark of my four years there! Later, I did a more successful stint here in Germany with the babies, and I enjoyed that I enjoyed this much more, I even learnt to sing!
I began to realise that it is not so bad really to mix with babies, despite all the noise.
As a conductor, however, I have remained deep down inside a specialist in the upper age-ranges, although I do have a soft spot for ten-year-olds, especially when they are into witches, dragons and/or dinosaurs.
As our conductive centre here in Nürnberg has decreased in size from eight conductors to only three, my repetoire regarding age of clients has increased. I have become a Jack-of-all-Ages! I am responsible for all, from age zero to one hundred years old.
I still feel most comfortable with my adult groups and the teenagers but, as you can see from my postings, the littlies grow on me as the blocks get under way. Once I get started, my enthusiasm for my work, for conductive upbringing, pedagogy and lifestyle, takes over. Age doesn’t matter, it is finding the right conductive fit that matters
Back to Aimee, the love of our lives!
What has that three-month-old littlie got to do with all of this?
Her Mum always asks me: ”Wouldn’t you like to hold her? Don’t you want a cuddle?”
And the answer is always: “ No thanks, actually I really do prefer to watch.”
I am fascinated by her every move and I can not see this if I am cuddling her. Through watching her I have realised just how important the work is that conductors do in the premature baby units in Budapest. I was very fortunate to witness this during my training, and it is something that I shill never forget. Does it happen anywhere else I wonder?
I was fascinated by those visits, just as I am now by Aimee. I observed mums and conductors working side-by-side with the tiniest of tiny babies. I watched the mums learning how to get the response that they wanted from their child, eye-contact, a grasp on a finger or a turn of a head towards a voice. Those babies shouldn’t even have been born yet and their conductive upbringing had begun.
Aimee’s upbringing began in the same way, with Mum and Dad slowly learning how to get their baby to respond. Seeing her respond to their voices, to their caresses and their soothing noises, they realised they were doing it properly.
Aimee was three weeks old when I first met her and even then she was turning her head towards a noise, and recognising voices. Now she bangs a toy and when by doing so she discovers that it makes a noise, she does it again. Sometimes she misses but she also has success, so she is already motivated to try again and again and again. That’s what I watched the mums in Budapest doing, learning how to motivate their babies to try again.
When Aimee hears her Great Granddad Ken she giggles, then she turns and smiles at him as soon as she hears his voice, encouraging him to go over to tickle her tummy and make her giggle some more. She is learning fast and so is Great Granddad, he already knows what this little girl likes.
Aimee needs lots of stimulation. If she had not had parents, grandparents and two great granddads making her giggle and peddle, she would not be as active and smiley as she is.
Unlike the premature Budapest babies I met, Aimee didn’t need her head held in position to make eye-contact, or have her hands brought together to discover her own body or Mum’s face. She does not need help to peddle her legs, although Great Granddad is sure that one does go faster than the other!
What Aimee did need was all those peaople around her, stimulating her to be active, talking and touching and playing, and simply being silly with her. All the time unconsciously encouraging the next move.
The premature babies' mums needed teaching how to encourage the next move. This is what I find so fascinating when I watch Aimee. I am learning so much and beginning to think perhaps it is time to get working with the babies again.