Saturday, October 29, 2011

Strange Encounters of the Infant Kind

The other day at work, I was looking at photos of my daughter when my phone rang. The caller ID indicated it was my wife. I picked up the call but it cut off, so I rang back.

"Baengy dialled your number, she was sitting on the phone."

While that little moment was the first definitive attempt at First Contact, there have been other occasions where I felt communication was attempted. Unfortunately the language of babies is cryptographically advanced and nobody I know has the cipher key.

From what I can tell, babies communicate through a combination of hypnotism and semaphore. They'll stare straight into your eyes, intensely but blankly, conjuring some kind of abyss that penetrates the mind. At the same time, they'll wave their arms around mechanically in simple morse code. When the receiver fails to decipher the message repeatedly, tears and wailing break out, which subside only when the baby is picked up and comforted.

The other day when this happened, I realised what the original message was: "It's time to hold me!"

One of the advantages of the Bumbo is that it allows the preparation of food.

Immobilisation of a baby is a marvellous thing, and is situationally more advantageous than having half your DNA rolling around on the living room floor.

It's rare these days for Heather and me to be able to enjoy a nice sit down meal at home. We're either exhausted or out of groceries. Luckily, this crafty chef knows that chopping a lot of veges and a bit of boiling can be passed off as cooking to an unsuspecting clientele.

I'm convinced beyond reasonable doubt of a supernatural link between babies and grandmothers. In some parallel world where babies are rockstars, grandmothers could be their hordes of adulating fans. This revelation struck me when I realised that rockstars often greet delighted fans with an air of nonchalance, while being generally dismissive of other rockstars.

Rockstars and fans also wear very different kinds of hats.

Hmm, yes.

Definitely some kind of rockstar.

We went for a walk in Geumjeong Park not so long ago, where I was witness to an historic event. Three generations of women from the Jung family, engaged in the ritual of babyslinging, Korean style.

Baengy enjoys being slung. She'll keep an eager watch from her new vantage point, like some kind of autonomous periscope scanning from left to right.

And I've noticed that she doesn't seem to stare for any specific purpose. It's just staring for the sake of staring, especially at passers-by. It has reaffirmed my belief that all humans, if stripped of social entrainment, bias and knowledge, would probably spend most of the day staring at other people's faces.

Baengy's head recently surpassed average Korean Pear size. That was a big milestone in our books.

We hope it stops somewhere between grapefruit and watermelon.

The first thing that a baby probably learns about themselves and other youngsters is that they're less adept at motor control than adults.

Luckily Baengy has learned to blink. Cousin Yujin will often launch an affectionate assault with very little warning.

And to round out this little post is a short task for our dear readers (and leaders?)

Match the emotive descriptions to the facial expressions above:

a) Delight
b) Accomplishment
c) Disgust/Horror

Good luck and see you soon.


Kevin Kim said...

I'd love to see a bundle of these insights published in book form-- maybe a Korean-English book published by Hollym and marketed in both the US/Oz and Korea.

Lee Farrand said...

Haha, thanks Kevin. Maybe I'll consider it when the blog finishes... that's in around 30 years time.

MsCaroline said...

Wow, she's getting so big! Love the baby sling! We had a backpack for our boys, who both loved the high vantage point, but I often realized they would be making contact (eg, eyes) at adoring ladies over my shoulder without my being aware of it. At some point I would suddenly notice some kindly grandmother apparently making googly faces at me that were not actually directed at me, but rather at my little rider. I guess that's the role of the parent anyway - to step back and let the rockstar take center stage!

RR said...

Ha! Delightful and amusing, as always. Thanks for sharing! :)

Danu Artha Putra M said...


genderist said...

I was going to go with category 4 poop instead.