One of my new year’s resolutions was to read more books, and I even made a list of the different kinds of books that I’d like to read this year (a book by a female author, a book with poor reviews, a book published this year, a book published over 100 years ago, etc). This has made me more open to reading different kinds of books as I come across them. I can’t say I’m actively going and looking for books over 100 years old, but when one comes across my path that piques my interest, I’m much more likely to pick it up.
One such instance is the book I’ve chosen to meet the requirement for “A book based entirely on its cover”. We were at the library with the kids, and I saw a book sitting out in the parenting section that piqued my interest: “Into the Mind of Babes: How Screen Time Affects Children From Birth to Age Five”. After warily reading the back cover and sleeve summary and deciding it WASN’T a book with the sole purpose of making parents feel guilty, I went ahead and checked it out.
I’m only 1.5 chapters in, but its already got me thinking. It spends a lot of time debunking fear-mongerers, while still showing the basis behind their arguments. Overall, the book is arguing for moderation, which is how Jordan and I tend to approach parenting in general.
One thing happened today that I’m looking at with renewed eyes now that I’ve read part of this book. I was sitting in my blue chair trying to finish my latest novel because it was getting good (“A Pledge of Silence”), and Jaylee came in with my phone which was playing her show. But it interested me because I realized she was watching something in another language. I think it was Hindi since the character were dressed like Indians, but there were arabic-looking letters on the screen. So I could be wrong.
Regardless, Jaylee was watching the show and narrating what she saw. There was a baby crying, and a teenager singing her a song, and then a mom came in and picked up the baby and snuggled her. So Jaylee was narrating with the saddest voice of empathy you can imagine coming out of an almost-three year old. “He’s crying!” “Oh no! What happened to baby? He wants his mommy!”, and then at the end when the mommy returned “He loves his mommy!”
It got me thinking. Here’s a show where she couldn’t possibly understand any of the dialogue – or even the way the characters are dressed, most likely. But she could still understand the human emotions, the tears of the baby, and take a reasonable guess at what was going on. And she’s not even three! She’s learned so much in her short life, and she’s a lot more observant than I think I’ve given her credit for.
The book I’m reading mentions how children under the age of 5 can be actively engaged in the programming they’re watching (debunking the “kids turn into zombies” myth). And I think that totally applies to Jaylee. She often narrates or imitates the programs she watches. And apparently she’s learned quite a lot, even applying it to situations where there are no recognizable words like “mommy” or “baby”. She’s still able to interpret and respond with empathy to what’s going on on the screen.
This is probably not a huge revelation to anyone else. But I’m so interested in how the human brain learns, and I just love getting to observe my babies as they learn and experience new things.
It doesn’t hurt that they bring unmeasurable joy to my daily life as well.