OBJECT PERMANENCE: “Object permanence is the understanding that objects continue to exist even when they cannot be seen, heard, or touched.”
I remember learning in my college Developmental Psychology class about this concept of “Object Permanence,” which is a person’s ability to understand that even though one cannot see an object, it still exists. I forget when, exactly, this develops in a child, but Julia certainly does not yet have it. In watching her and in observing her interactions with the people and things around her, I’ve realized that there are certain things that must be so strange for a baby who has not yet developed Object Permanence. Certain things also must seem so magical and supernatural! Here are some of those things:
1) When she’s sitting in the car-seat facing backwards, and therefore cannot see me driving or Ken in the passenger seat, but she can hear our voices!
2) Also when she’s in the car seat, if she becomes upset or distraught and one of us reaches around to put the pacifier back in her mouth… she can see Ken’s arm or his hand but not the rest of him!
3) In the mornings when I shower, I put her in her bouncy seat in the bathroom… it must be very strange for me to disappear behind the shower curtain and then to suddenly reappear!
One of my favorite things, so far, about being a parent, is watching Julia’s face and eyes light up with amazement as she learns something new, or as she experiences something for the first time. The bouncy seat we have is a hand-me-down from my brother-in-law and sister-in-law. It has sensors where the baby’s feet sit that, when kicked, start the music and lights on the bar that goes across the seat. I don’ t think Julia yet has control over the movements of her arms and legs, but when she kicks the bouncy seat and the music and lights start, she gets this look of absolute amazement and excitement on her face! It’s the cutest thing in the world!
On another completely separate note, I think that the fact that we have a baby is still settling in sometimes for both me and for Ken. Ken still says to me sometimes, “I can’t believe we have a baby!” or “Can you believe that we made her?!” That just goes to show what a miracle it is! I don’t want to get all religious or anything, but it really does seem miraculous that we have created a little person who is growing and developing into her own personality! And to think… a year ago today, I wasn’t even pregnant yet. She really didn’t exist at all! We also are constantly amazed by how absolutely cute and adorable she is. Ken often says to me, “She is so cute!” and it’s true… she’s the cutest!