Monday, June 02, 2008

Heartbeat Bear Stole Her Baby!

Tracy also works at the LCC math department.

A few days after my son was born she told me a great story about her first child's first night home from the hospital.

A few companies make stuffed animal bears (two examples) for a newborn's crib that have some electronics inside to make noises that are supposed to be like the sounds inside a womb, which supposedly helps newborns fall asleep. Most of the adults I have talked to that have used such a thing have nicknamed it "Heartbeat Bear" since the dominant motif in the sounds is a heartbeat.

My baby was given one such stuffed animal as a baby shower present, but as a newborn did not show any notice of it or its noise. Tracy, however shared that her son was quite resonsive to their Heartbeat Bear.

The first night he was home from the hospital, when she woke up in the middle of the night and went to check on him in his Moses basket, the baby was gone! Her husband was still asleep and in bed. Where was the baby? She panicked, and looked all around, and finally found him. He was still in the Moses basket but had become hidden. Tracy had put the Heartbeat Bear inside the Moses basket, far up at the "head" side, way under the overhanging shade. She wanted it to be out of the way while making its hopefully soothing noise. Her son had managed, at three days old, to wiggle all the way along the length of the Moses basket to snug up against the bear and was sleeping peacefully.

Tracy followed up her story by noting that her son, as an infant, seemed to like and be soothed by any loud and steady noise. "Especially the vacuum," she said. "I vacuumed a lot those first weeks."

I share this story now because my son, at eight weeks, has suddenly taken a liking to his Hearbeat Bear's noise. But not for falling asleep...

During the past two days he has made a notable bit of developmental progress, from being able to fairly routinely put his fist randomly against his mouth to able to very regularly get his thumb in his mouth to suck on.

The occasion on which he most regularly sucks on his thumb is after I change his diaper. I move him from the changing table to the crib, so he is safe while I go wash my hands. Now he finds his thumb, looks at the "other baby" in the crib mirror, and makes noises at it while sucking his thumb. If we turn on his Heartbeat Bear, he becomes even more talkative. My guess is that he thinks the noises are coming from the "other baby" as part of the conversation.

He also finds loud and steady machine noises to be interesting and soothing: the vacuum, blender, mixer, etc. Why do many toddlers become afraid of these noises when infants find them soothing?

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