I have a teacher’s heart. I’ve known it since my seventh-grade algebra teacher let me substitute teach our class when she was out for a day. I loved the subject. I loved explaining it. I loved it when the other students understood the fascinating concepts I was explaining to them, one twelve-year-old to a class of twelve-year-olds. I took to tutoring some of my classmates. I loved watching one of them move from a C to an A in the class. I loved how Ms. Langley would yet at the girl I was tutoring when I would whisper clarifications about the lesson in her ear. “Don’t bother Jessica!” Ms. Langley would shout, in her deep, resonating, Nigerian accent. We’d save the rest of the explanation for after class.
So it shouldn’t surprise you that I’m eager to start my daughter’s education, three-weeks-old though she may be.
It happened during tummy time yesterday. For some reason I decided to pull one of the black and white contrast blocks from Aria’s toy bin.
All of the sudden, Aria stopped moving.
Her eyes locked in on the foreign object.
Just to be sure, I moved it to see what would happen. Her eyes followed the block.
She started wiggling towards it. She can’t move very fast unassisted, but slowly she made her way.
Then it happened.
And I was the one gaping in amazement.
Aria reached out and touched the block.
Then she just stared. I started video taping. Watch her eyes. See how they are just trying to take it all in. Then after wiggling around some more, she gets frustrated. I don’t know if she was overwhelmed by the image or tired of being on her tummy. I don’t know what she thought about the stripes.
I didn’t get it on tape, but I started rotating the block from its stripes, to its checkers, to its polka dots. With each turn, she looked so surprised and fascinated. I wish you could’ve seen it. It was incredible.
Who said newborns were boring? I’m sure some people told me that.
So of course, teacher in me got waaaaay too excited. I rewarded Aria with some breast milk while I scoured the internet for black and white “visual stimulation” images. I compiled a word document full of them:
I printed them on white card stock and then used a permanent red marker to add a third contrasting colors (from what I understand, babies can’t perceive much more than the colors black, white, and red for the first several months of life).
Later, when Aria was neither eating nor sleeping, I surrounded her! One small step towards early pattern recognition, learning letters and numbers, and enrolling in Harvard!