The Innocence of Babes

“Babies, we are told, are the latest news from heaven.”
~ Martin Luther King Jr.

AMEN, Dr. King!  I may be a softie, but I adore babies.  Those little bundles of flesh and saliva can melt my heart with nothing more than a smile.  And when they learn to laugh and start to giggle over something, I’m a goner even sooner.

There is such an innocence and wonderment to their countenance, that it’s hard not to be enamored as babies take in the world around them.  Even when they start learning to make noise and all they can say is “bah, bah, bah,” or some other nonsensical sound, I get caught up in their joy as they discover that they’re the ones who can make that noise . . . WOW!

They’re also adorable to watch when they start working on their motor skills.  At first, their crawling is herky-jerky, with their big, diapered butt moving side to side as they follow the family pet around.  Then, when they start to walk, it’s darling to see how high they lift each leg, because they want to make sure they take a large enough step that they don’t fall.

It’s clear to me that Anne Geddes also finds babies as precious as I do.  She captures the purity and exuberance of them so well in her work.  I bet even the hardest heart couldn’t help but lighten a little when looking at the bright eyes and happy smiles captured in her photos.  I personally can’t stop the escape of an “awww” when I see her pictures of sleeping infants; if they’re so small that they can fit in someone’s large hand, an even bigger “awwww” comes out.  And the bright cherubic face in her work titled “Waterlily” (shown right) brightens my day every time I look at it.  I mean, she looks so happy sitting there in the water, surrounded by lily pads!  I love Anne’s work so much that my personal checks are of her photos.

When babies get older, they become wonderful question machines.  Yes, their thirst for knowledge can sometimes be exhausting, but there’s a wonderful blank slate-ness about them.  They have no preconceived notions of what’s good or bad.  No prejudices over people.  No set beliefs clouding their brains.  Right now, they just want to learn about things and take in as much as they can.  All we need to do is answer their questions and let them form their own opinions.

My mom tells a story of an instance while grocery shopping.  I was a toddler and noticed another baby nearby.

“Look mommy.  Isn’t that dirty baby cute?”
“That baby’s not dirty, honey,” my mom answered.  “That’s the color of his skin.”
“Oh.  But isn’t he cute?”

My mom agreed that he was a cute baby, and in that moment taught me to think nothing of the difference of his skin’s color . . . just that it was.  She wasn’t embarrassed by what I’d said, either, because she understood that I didn’t mean my comment to be offensive, because up to that point I only knew that the color brown was also the color of dirt.  Most children’s questions aren’t meant to be offensive, simply curious.  So if you answer their questions with similar frankness, they generally accept your response and move on to the next thing that interests them.

Kids will be indoctrinated into this wonderfully complicated world soon enough.  So I think it’s our responsibility as adults to help them retain their childlike innocence for as long as they can.  And, even when they’re grown up and forming opinions and judgements, there will be other babies soon enough, and other opportunities to enjoy their innocence.

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13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Dolly Chamberlin
    Feb 10, 2012 @ 07:42:59

    I found the relationship with an exploring and discovering child very rewarding. It can definitely keep you on your toes, ;} but I always saw that as a good thing. My children helped me grow in soooo many ways, & I continue to thank them for that.
    LOVES 🙂

    Reply

    • Alyx Morgan
      Feb 10, 2012 @ 08:23:34

      That’s definitely the other thing to take away from children…they can teach you just as much as you can teach them. You just have to be open to the lessons.

      Thanks for visiting, mom. 🙂

      Reply

  2. Cindy Sample
    Feb 10, 2012 @ 08:32:53

    There is no greater responsibility than bringing a child into this world. You need to love them, lead them and nurture them. As Dolly mentioned, sometimes they are teaching us as well. I have to admit that although I was thrilled by some of the monumental stages my kids went through such as taking their first steps, there is nothing more rewarding than when your adult kids come to you for advice.

    Reply

    • Alyx Morgan
      Feb 14, 2012 @ 11:04:28

      I agree with you, Cindy, about children being a very large responsibility. I think too many people have kids without realizing that, which can (unfortunately) lead to parents stressing out, & not taking the proper time & care in the raising of children.

      Thanks for visiting!

      Reply

    • Kaye George
      Feb 14, 2012 @ 11:07:49

      You’re right, Cindy! It’s amazing to me how my intelligence level has fluctuated as my children mature. I count my 3 amazing offspring as my greatest achievement, although the credit is theirs as much as mine and their dad’s. Now we’re getting amazing, incredible grandkids! I’m so glad I didn’t kill their parents, looking back on it. (That’s a joke!)

      Reply

  3. Maddy
    Feb 10, 2012 @ 08:47:42

    I think the main trouble is that childhood and its innocence is so short these days.

    Reply

    • Craig
      Feb 10, 2012 @ 09:15:57

      Right Maddy. And what I think Alyx was alluding to, is that if the ‘grown-ups’ respond to a toddler’s questions with judgement and stereotypes, that it shortens the innocence phase that much more. Now the toddlers have to figure out what judgement and stereotypes are all about, and how and when to use them or not.

      Reply

    • Alyx Morgan
      Feb 10, 2012 @ 09:22:06

      It certainly can be, Maddy.

      Thanks for visiting today.

      Reply

  4. Dana
    Feb 10, 2012 @ 10:17:58

    My favorite baby stage is the “I am Godzilla stomping through Tokyo!” part of their learning to walk. It never fails to make me laugh…

    Reply

  5. Kaye George
    Feb 12, 2012 @ 13:31:49

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    And their colorblindness. I wish we could all keep that! The only trouble with babies is that they don’t stay tiny for long enough.

    Reply

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