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Baby Signal System

                            Baby Signal System 

Like any other child at birth, Vivek cried as he was born on a September evening. This was of course sweet music to his parents who got him as their wedding day gift and they had been waiting for him for nine long years. The long journey from the womb to this world had made him tired and hungry. The long cry stopped as he slept after a sip of mother’s milk only to wake up after 10 minutes or so.

As the night progressed he was restless and the cry became longer and louder. Again, the mother’s feed made him stop. It seemed incredible that such a lovable boy could make such a noise. However, silencing him was not difficult, as all he wanted was milk. This way he continued signaling for some days.

Then one day we gave him milk on his cry. He drank some but did not stop crying. Searching for the new signal, we found that the problem was again alimentary. He was wet; we have not changed his napkin for some time. We changed that, and he was quiet. Therefore, as new parents, we decided that we should check each end of the canal whenever we got the distress signal.

However, after some days, neither food nor change of napkin could silence him. His wailing continued as if complaining to the gods in heaven about this cruel world and his hapless condition. We tried all we know but in vain. The childcare books, as usual, were helpful, after the fact than before.

We looked all over him and at each other not knowing what to do. In desperation, his mother picked him up and put him on her shoulders. He became quiet. It appeared that he needed to be burped. Therefore, we added to our signal code that we have to check not only the input-output but also the processing of the great canal. He continued to signal to indicate that, he wanted to “change his position”,” to sit on the lap”, “to cuddle him”, ” he was feeling hot or cold”, Soon we found that he had a signal to decide whom he wanted his mother or me.

Vivek hated the application of oil on his head and body before the bath. However, he appeared to enjoy his bath very much, especially pouring water on his head. It pacified him and put him to sleep. Because of this, we looked forward for his bath more than he did. His mother’s efficiency increased rapidly. She knew that she had only “his sleeping time” to complete her chores and again it was unpredictable.  I knew that from now, the priorities, positions have changed, and I have to take the second rung. We now know that our center of attraction was his activities only.

Vivek still in his lying posture became more and more demanding as weeks progressed. He had a signal to put him in the cotton cradle. I learned to recite the slokas, half in prayer, and half as a lullaby.

The signaling system had become more complex, that every now and then we have to find out their meaning by trial and error method. Added to the audio signal, now we had the video one, the expression of his eyes and face. It seems to convey – urgency, helplessness, displeasure, uncomfort, and so on.

Occasionally we had a positive signal a toneless a..a…a… with pauses. This indicated some contentment as it generally happened after a good feed when we carried him around.

He seems to cry and give a small pause for our response. If we were lax, then the cries became louder and varied and with that, expression in his face made us be guilty. He disciplined his mother to sleep light, to finish her jobs faster, while he made me learn to get adjusted to the new position of the father.

He continued with this rudimentary signal system signaling all pure emotions of anger, hunger, joy, contentment, disappointment, fear, discomfort, irritation, urgency, etc., He then started first of his own movement by turning on his belly and then it appeared that he is becoming independent.

*************Rcay*************

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Navneet Bakshi
1 year ago

Nature is a great teacher. Initially ,the babies have only the cries to draw the attention of the parents. I remember, we didn’t know that the babies should also be fed water. Later when he fell ill, the doctor who was living just next door to us, was surprised to know that we had never given him water to drink even ever since his birth three months ago. He was getting all his needs from the milk. Human beings are still very superior creatures but even the very primitive animals know and understand the needs of their babies.

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