To the untrained ear it probably sounded like an indistinguishable babble. However, when my son, Jonathan, playfully prompted my adorable baby granddaughter Natalie to say the word “Grandma” over and over again, she responded in kind by saying, “Gmmmahhh!”
Watching the interaction on Facetime made my heart flutter. I’ve been a big fan of mirror neurons for quite some time. And, over these past 10 months since Natalie was born, I have developed a deeper appreciation watching those mirror neurons activate and fire in the developing brain of our youngest family member.
Watch a really fascinating video on mirror neurons from PBS and Nova HERE.
For the first few weeks of her life, I delighted in making facial gestures and was surprised and excited to see them imitated back to me along with an adorable soundtrack of gurgles cooing, and laughter. A few weeks ago, Natalie discovered the joys of clapping, which quickly became a staple in her repertoire. She has started saying her own name (which comes out as “Na-na”) and other bursts of noise which are the rudimentary building blocks of words. The most interesting part of this progression is watching and participating in conversations that evolved from eye contact and touch to more elaborate gestures and imitation and then now to the beginning of words. They say that babies don’t come with instruction manuals, however, they do manage to convey their wants and needs quite effectively.
Sometimes it’s nice to turn off the continuous loop in my brain and just listen to instrumental music or be silent. This is considerably easier to do when I am in Miami, away from the urban soundtrack that is my NYC soundscape. The loudest continuous loop on my natural playlist consists of the squawking of seagulls accompanied by the hypnotic soundtrack of the waves rolling in and out. After being here for 25 days, my brain and body are easing into an easier rhythm.
I’m sending you strength and love,