Hagen was a brand new baby when the movie "Babies" came out. It is a documentary that simultaneously tracks the early development of four babies from different parts of the world. The movie takes the viewer from each baby's first breath to their first steps, all with very little, if any, dialogue!
I treated myself to watching it last night, and finishing it up today. What a treat it was! I'm glad I watched it alone, as I'm not sure anyone else in my family would have appreciated it the way I did (although Hagen may have).
I was so happy I had a baby in the next room sleeping while I watched, because watching this film would have made me ache for another! My favorite of the babies was Ponijao from Namibia. What a fascinating beginning this baby boy had, so different from my baby, yet similar too. This little sweetie crawled around in the dirt and played with flies. He was a happy little guy who loved to dance and smile although the only "toy" in sight was a tin can that he balanced on his head. His Mom nursed him, sang to him, egged him on while he danced, and her eyes glistened with love when she looked at him.
I also loved Bayar from Mongolia. It was as if he was meant to fend for himself from the very beginning. If not protecting himself from his bothersome older brother, it was the livestock both inside and outside the family home he must look out for! He often crawled on top of places too high for a baby, was strolled out into the pasture to watch the cows for who knows how long, and was even tethered to a bedpost in one scene to keep him out of trouble.
I won't bother to comment on Mari from Tokyo, or Hattie from San Francisco. Although they were completely adorable, their beginnings were much like all the babies I am familiar with. They slept in cribs, ate in highchairs, went to playgroups, and were surrounded by manufactured toys and stimulation.
I was relieved to see that it is not necessary for me to entertain my children 24/7. It is okay to let them explore on their own, and create their own toys. It is okay to let them get dirty, and to explore high places. It is okay to let them feed themselves, even if it makes a bigger mess.
This movie is inspiring, and I recommend it to anyone that has children, or that plans to.