Little Naiagua has been staying for 5 weeks, and yesterday I waved good bye to her and my daughter Lua (her mother) as I headed off to run a group and they go back shortly to the Canary Islands. I saw her passport yesterday. It is a proper Spanish passport with her funny little brown 5 month old face rather crossly gazing out of the page.
She has changed since she first arrived. Her skin was browner then and her face more serious. Recently she has started to talk much more and sometimes shout and screech with delight when she sees us, kicking her little strong legs vigorously, dancing with joy. Joy sweeps through her uncontained and within a second it might change to concentration or a quieter, more inward feeling, or sometimes distress, irritation or frustration. Absolutely nothing is held on to. Her attention moves freely to what is most interesting in any moment. And there is SO MUCH to be interested in!
I love to see the fascination with which she explores objects with her little hands and her lips, tongue and gums. Her mouth is investigating everything and loves to find new textures and shapes to check out, whether it is a wooden spoon, a plastic donkey, a jam jar lid or a spatula. Best if it can fit into her mouth. Sound is also fascinating. She has learned to hurl things across the room which sometimes make a satisfying clattering sound. And she likes to scratch surfaces with her little nails to see how they sound. The sofa is a good linen surface which we sometimes scratch together. And music! Oh, how she loves music! Sometimes she will go very very quiet and simply listen with her whole being. A moment before it started, she may have been winging and bored, and suddenly she is still and silent letting it soak into her. And if it is more rhythmical her little legs kick in time to the music and her arms open and close alongside it. When she is held and danced with she will sometimes screech with delight and properly dance too. She has also learned that she can SHOUT to get someones’ attention.
She likes to explore my face or fingers with her little hands and mouth. She cannot sit up on her own yet but if you put her on her back on the floor she will flip round onto her front and kick her little legs and hold herself up on her upper arms; I reckon she is keen to move and yet hasn’t figured out the muscle groups required to propel herself forward from her legs and arms, so she just kicks and gets easily bored after a while.
I shall miss her. It has been an utter delight to share this month with her in her growing and witness her discovering the world and gaining confidence and dexterity. And to be reminded of how wondrous it is to be born into this world in a healthy body surrounded by loving care. There is so much to discover! So much to enjoy! So much to be upset by!
It also makes me realize acutely how much an infant needs and how often those needs cannot be met adequately in so many circumstances and the consequences of that in the early growing in terms of whether the world appears as fundamentally benign or threatening.
But most of all I just feel grateful for this opportunity to accompany, witness, enjoy and share an abundance of love with this new beautiful person.