During the first month babies seldom make enough major changes to write grandmother bout. It is a stage of becoming organized, discovering to whom she belongs, and learning to fit into her new home. It is a time for parents to recover from birth, survive on less sleep, and adjust to life with a new baby. In the second month you are, in the words of surviving parents, “over the hump.”
The second month is baby’s social debut — the coming out of herself. She opens up her hands to greet people. She opens her vision to widen her world and her mouth to smile and make more noise. The feeling of rightness and trust developed during the first month opens the door for baby’s real personality to step out.
The Great Imitator
Baby’s intense interest in your facial gestures prompts her to mimic your changing facial expressions. Like a dance — you lead, baby follows. Nothing can entertain a baby like a face. Walt Disney capitalized on this observation by creating cartoon characters with big and exaggeratedly round eyes, nose, cheeks, and ears. The best of these, Mickey Mouse has survived the longest.
When your baby is in the quiet alert state, try this face-to-face game: Hold your baby within best focusing distance (around eight to ten inches/twenty to twenty-five centimeters) and slowly stick out your tongue as far as you can. Give baby time to process your antics, then repeat two to three times a minute. When baby begins to move her tongue, sometimes even protrude it, you know you’ve registered a hit. Try the same game with opening your mouth wide or changing the contour of your lips. Facial expressions are contagious. You may catch your baby mimicking your yawn, or vice versa.
Mom, the mirror.
In playing face-imitation games you mirror your newborn’s expressions back to him. When a newborn frowns, opens his eyes or mouth wide, or grimaces, mother instinctively mimics her newborn’s expressions and exaggerates them. Baby sees his face in his mother’s. Infant development specialists regard mirroring as a powerful enforcer of baby’s self-awareness.
The fleeting glances of the first month evolve into ten or more second of engaging eye-to-eye contact that captivates caregivers and mesmerizes babies. These penetrating stares and facial-welcoming gestures seem to say, “Hi, mom and dad!” In the first month baby mostly scanned your face; now she studies your face in more detail.
You will probably realize that when baby is looking at you, he scans your face very methodically and systematically. He seems to be studying my face. He will start out looking at my eyes and from there he will look up to my hairline and follow the hairline all the way around, then come back to the eyes, down to the mouth, up to the hairline and back to the eyes. He will study my face like this for long periods of time.
Eyes and head move together.
As you begin to walk away, notice baby’s eyes can now follow you for a few moments. Unlike the asynchronous eye and head movements of a newborn, baby’s eyes now move more smoothly, and head finally catches up with her eyes to move together. She’s more able to track your face or a toy moving side to side, perhaps even a full 180 degrees.
Last month baby showed little interest in the world beyond her reach. She could not see it clearly. This month brings about an increase in her intimate space, and more of her ever-widening world is now in focus.
As if given a better camera at two months baby becomes interested in many of the goings-on elsewhere in the room. She studies your face for a while, shifts her gaze to focus on something in the background, scans the room, pausing momentarily as if to snap the pictures she likes, and then shifts back to peer at your face — still her favorite picture.
Eye-catchers. To spark the interest of a curious two-month-old, here are the sights that most delight. During the early months babies like black and white better than a rainbow of colors. The prefer patterns that contrast with each other rather than soft colors that blend together. Even two-month-olds have selective visual tastes. Rather than synthetic patterns and pastel designer wallpaper, they prefer the colors of nature: bright flowers in the garden, reds and yellows of changing autumn leaves, and bare tree branches silhouetted against a winter sky. Babies often get bored indoors. Take her outside where the rhythmical movements of trees, clouds, flowers, and even automobiles open the eyes of everyone. babysitting jobs