It is 7-months since we first attended baby group. At that time, Reindeer was the youngest baby there by almost 6-months. He would lie on the floor, taking in the sights and sounds, but not really doing anything.
Now, he is the eldest in the group – the rest of the babies are aged between 5-weeks and 8-months. He’s standing, crawling and grabbing at everything. Squeaking, talking and laughing. He wants to pat the babies on their heads and snatch the toys that make jingling sounds away from them.
Today, the area in which the group meets was cordoned off by furniture. This is to stop toddlers/over-1’s from running over the babies. The 2-year-old child of the group organiser was in the segregated section, playing happily with the more advanced toys. Reindeer was with me, in the baby section. He kept pulling himself to standing on a tray table (part of the barrier) to play with the toys on top. My attention was divided between watching/playing with him, and chatting to the other parents in the group.
I became aware that he was amassing a pile of doughnut-shaped toys by his feet. Toys which I hadn’t noticed on the play table. I decided to watch more closely to see where he was getting them from. What I saw was a small hand appear from under the toy table, deposit another doughnut, then disappear from view. The intrepid 2-year-old had found a way past the blockade and was delivering a supply of these rings to Reindeer, who they clearly felt was being deprived!
Towards the end of the session, the toy-smuggler was sat in the baby section, playing with a mirror-and-jingle toy which Reindeer loves. As soon as he heard it he crawled straight across the room and tried to stand up using their shoulders as he wanted to share the toy with them (or possibly steal the toy from them – I’ve chosen to assume the more socially acceptable motive!). Someone asked me a question and I looked away to answer. When I turned back some 20 seconds later, I could see that Reindeer had left a soggy mouth imprint on their shoulder – the same as he does to me. He is clearly fascinated by this other child who has so much more independence.
I’m hoping that continued interaction with children either side of his age will encourage him with his movement and social skills as well as providing him with some good examples and ideas of how to play.
He’s fast turning from a baby into a little boy. There are exciting times ahead I think!