Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Hazel Waxes On About Blueberry

Let me tell you a bit about Blueberry*.

I'm not sure which of the following is true of all/most babies or is special to her, because I don't have any other real experience with newborns. But Stanley's parents, who have been staying with us the past couple of weeks, have sort of implied that many of these are aspects of her personality, so I'm going with that.

When she's awake and not hungry or eating, which seems to be about 5% of the time, she contemplates sights and sounds in a calm, concerned way. Sometimes she furrows her brow while she contemplates, which I like to think is a sign of intelligence.

We've sometimes had some difficulty figuring out if she's hungry or just wants something to suck on; often, if she's recently eaten but asking to eat again, if we put a finger in her mouth, she's perfectly content and sucks on it, and stops crying. This is often followed by a nap. Before we discovered this, we were constantly, unsuccessfully trying to feed her and trying to keep her awake so she would eat, since we figured, she's hungry, she's gotta eat, and I can't sit here all day. The finger thing works fine if you have nothing else going on, but if you're trying to eat a breakfast that is happening way too late for your liking, or if it's 3:00 in the morning, it's a bit of a drag. I didn't want to consider a pacifier, but we looked into it and apparently, if you get the right one, and you watch to make sure it doesn't interfere with breastfeeding, it's not bad. Better than the thumb, because you can take away the pacifier, but you can't take away the thumb. Well, technically you can, but come on.

So Stanley bought a couple of them. The first one was too small and she kept spitting it out in disgust. The second one, she seemed to like, but only to a point, as these two videos demonstrate. She is sitting in Grandpa's lap.

Ain't she cute!! I just love her so much.

She says "neh" when she's hungry. This is apparently universal among infants, according to Priscilla Dunstan's theory on baby language. I happened upon this factoid purely by chance during a google search related to breastfeeding, and I am so glad because it really cleared things up during her crying. She'll start to cry and I'll say "Neh?" and she'll say "Neeeeeeeeh!!!!!" Dunstan's ideas haven't been scientifically tested, but anecdotally, I'd say she's on to something. Here are 5 sounds infants make, and their meanings (pasted from Wikipedia).

Words (sound reflexes)

According to Dunstan, the five universal words (or sound reflexes) used by infants are[3]:


I'm hungry - An infant uses the sound reflex "Neh" to communicate its hunger. The sound is produced when the sucking reflex is triggered, and the tongue is pushed up on the roof of the mouth.


I'm sleepy - An infant uses the sound reflex "Owh" to communicate that they are tired. The sound is produced much like an audible yawn.


I'm experiencing discomfort - An infant uses the sound reflex "Heh" to communicate stress, discomfort, or perhaps that it needs a fresh diaper. The sound is produced by a response to a skin reflex, such as feeling sweat or itchiness in the bum.


I have lower gas - An infant uses the sound reflex "Eairh" to communicate they have flatulence or an upset stomach. The sound is produced when trapped air from a belch that is unable to release and travels to the stomach where the muscles of the intestine tighten to force the air bubble out. Often, this sound will indicate that a bowel movement is in progress, and the infant will bend its knees, bringing the legs toward the torso. This leg movement assists in the ongoing process.


I have gas - An infant uses the sound reflex "Eh" to communicate that it needs to be burped. The sound is produced when a large bubble of trapped air is caught in the chest, and the reflex is trying to release this out of the mouth.

Blueberry does use "Eh" reliably when she has to burp, which is really useful. So far I've noted her using all of the sounds in proper context except "Owh", and I'm guessing that's because she doesn't need to tell us she's tired, because she can sleep anytime; we won't stop her. Maybe when she has more predictable nap times or a bed time, "Owh" will come into play. Or maybe she has used that sound and I just haven't noticed.

She startles and flaps her arms when you touch her while she's sleeping.

She sometimes snorts when she cries. It lightens the mood immeasurably.

And in the name of one-upsmanship: My friend Amacrine (who writes the blog blackbirdnight, link on the right) noted that her new baby smells like spicy vanilla, and her breath like vanilla yogurt. Well, Blueberry's poop smells like apricots. SO THERE!

*All names changed.

1 comment:

Amacrine said...

Amacrine wouldn't trade her baby's vanilla breath for apricot poop, but she would trade the poopy poop for apricot poop.

My baby says 'gah' a lot. And 'hoew'.

Little Blueberry is adorable. Really. My MIL thinks I'm crazy for letting the babe suck my finger. I don't care. I guess it's a good thing she's (the baby, not the MIL) not a 'sucky' baby (as one of my books calls it) or I would not get as much done.