Baby Choreography

infant choreography, imitate your baby

This is hard to admit because it sounds entirely weird, but it was such a powerful experience that I now look back at it as a sort of ceremony.  Give baby choreography a try if you too want to step into an infant’s world.

Let me explain.

First time motherhood confounded me in a way I could not, still cannot, put into words. The new life in my arms astonished me. I’d never before looked so many hours at one face, day after day. I’d certainly never been simultaneously exhausted, enthralled, and overwrought for weeks on end. All the ways I knew to understand another human being were muddled, beyond what the heart knows and the eyes show. So I asked my body to teach me how brand new Benjamin perceived his world.

When just the two of us were alone, I set him on the carpet and lay down next to him. Then I imitated every single movement and sound my seven-week-old baby made.

  • Pursed lips.
  • Open lips.
  • Wrinkled brow.
  • Wide-eyed gaze.
  • Arms sweeping across the air.
  • Arms held tight to the body.
  • Feet and toes turning, flexing, flailing.
  • Arms and legs jerking.
  • Coos and bubbles.
  • Hands in fists.
  • Hands open, waving,
  • Side-to-side wiggles.
  • Long pauses of full-body stillness, with a wondrously calm facial expression.

I thought I’d indulge in this for only a minute or two, but I kept it up longer. Something about it transported me to my own bodily memory of infancy. I felt, from the inside, a sort of freedom from the physical template created by years of upright posture and acceptable facial expressions. I felt helpless, yes, but also expansively connected — as if my being didn’t end at the boundaries of my skin.

I got a message clear as spoken words that our bodies, mine older and his brand new, were temporal gifts. Our souls were the same size.

I got up from the floor humbled.

 

Originally published by Mothering.com. 

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10 thoughts on “Baby Choreography

  1. “I got a message clear as spoken words that our bodies, mine older and his brand new, were temporal gifts. Our souls were the same size.” – Just beautiful, Laura. Just beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You opened your mind to baby experiences for the first time in decades. It’s a powerful thing, leaving behind all your learned behaviours and just being open. I think it also gave you a much stronger sense of his ‘personhood’; if this is so for me, then it is so for him, and he is an individual, not a helpless squirmy bundle I must feed, hug, change and watch over.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful essay, Laura. I have shared it with many. One of my first thoughts on seeing my eldest child for the first time–many moons ago–was, “You’re an old soul, aren’t you?” This thought surprised me and stuck with me. Your essay brought that moment to mind. I do wish I had thought to try following my baby’s choreography–and I had two more chances after that. There will be grandchildren someday. Thanks to you, I’ve another reason to stay nimble.

    Like

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