Sunday, 1 February 2009

Molly at 18 weeks

Molly continues to develop rapidly and is amazing the difference that just a few days can make. At nearly eighteen weeks she seems to be more in control of things for herself and although still entirely dependent on Sally of course she now seems to decide for herself little things like when it is time to feed and when it is time to sleep or not. She has some movement too and she can shuffle herself around on the floor by kicking her long legs and wriggling her bottom, which has filled out and is much more fleshy now. With very little effort she can now switch her position to be able to see what she wants to see and to be a part of front room life. She doesn’t have to move very far of course because she is still the centre of attention and front room life is almost exclusively about her.

She smiles constantly now and so it is no longer necessary to try and encourage her to force it because it just comes naturally. She has the most delightful little smile that lights up the room. And she is a good mimic as well and will try hard to copy when we do adult things like blowing raspberries or making other silly noises. She really seems to want to communicate and will string together two or three different sounds as though she is desperate to tell us all something.

Her little head must be filling up with new and complicated information everyday because a baby’s brain is continuously in the process of development during the first few months and years of life. At this time the capacity to hold things for recalling also increases and the memory is structured gradually to store greater amounts of information for longer than before. Apparently, the earliest memories begin from around three months of age when the child feels the parent’s touch, hold, and other pleasurable memories that have been source of comfort and protection. Sadly it seems these memories cannot be consciously reproduced in later life and they are lost almost immediately after they occur (a bit like a heavy night on the beer).

I have been thinking about that and trying to see how far I can remember back. The inability to store early memories must be true because I really can’t get back to anything before about five years old and there isn’t a great deal of that left either. I can remember John and Michael Sparks who lived across the road, bits about our house, the Ravenhurst infant school and my first teacher Miss Bird but there is nothing at all before that. And that’s a real shame because I probably had a very nice first five years and there is nothing left of it to share with people.

As you might expect the study of memory has interested people far more intelligent people than me and in 1885, Hermann Ebbinghaus, a German psychologist who pioneered the experimental study of memory, discovered the exponential nature of forgetting and this is his formula:
Where R is memory retention, S is the relative strength of memory, and t is time. And that’s really interesting because before I read about this I had always put memory loss down to alcohol! We still forget things of course because we put a lot of things into a short term memory because they won't be needed again and that is one of the reasons that decided to write my journal so that I can recall later some of the things that I have probably forgotton.

So we all take lots of photographs of course and just as for everyone else this will have to be the only memory that she will have her first few wonderful years of life.

She has a strong grip now and she will hold things for herself and when she is lying on the floor she holds my fingers tight and tries to raise herself to a sitting position which is where she likes to be best of all because that way she doesn’t miss out on the activities. We cannot tell yet of course but we wonder if she might be left handed like Sally, my dad and my brother. She seems to lead with her left hand and even as young as she is she seems to have more control to the left hand side. I will let you know about this when I know more myself.

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