For a while now I’ve been wanting to write a post on Joel’s language acquisition. I have lots of things to say about Andrew’s at the moment, but in some ways Joel’s is even more fascinating right now. In the past couple of months he’s gone from making just baby sounds that I blogged about here, to producing sounds that are syllables with a consonant and vowel, and repeating these several times in a row – he’s reached the babbling stage. I find this so fascinating because it is the real beginnings of a recognisable language; of course he’s a long way off speaking English (or French or German – still trying to speak bits of these to the boys), but the sounds he’s currently making at least sound like a real language rather than just gurgling or crying.
Although he’s been babbling for a while, I haven’t got round to writing about it because I’ve been trying to catch it on camera but I’ve hit the Observer’s Paradox so many times! Point my phone at him and any babbling that was going on immediately ceases in favour of looking at the pretty colours (with cover) or shiny surface (without cover). With a fair amount of patience and loads of videos that turned out to be silent or just me in the background trying to encourage him to talk (which never works), here’s what I eventually managed to capture.
After lots of laughing at the start (as if he was saying ‘ha ha Mummy, I’m not going to talk for the camera!), we do get some talking eventually near the end of this video.
He’s absolutely desperate to crawl and now can go backwards, side to side and around in circles but not quite forwards; often his attempts are accompanied by frustrated vocalisations, as we see in this video.
He often does some lovely talking when he’s bright eyed and bushy tailed at 5.30am, when I’m less keen on encouraging talking until I realise that it’s actually quite cute, as was the time that I took this video.
I’ve been meaning to get round to this for a while, but it never quite seemed to get to the top of my list of things to do on the laptop whilst feeding – possibly because I thought cropping the pictures would require 2 hands on the track pad rather than the one that I’ve come accustomed to typing with. But in th end it turned out to be easier than I thought using just one hand.
So here is a video of my bump shots from week 17 to week 40, showing how it went from tiny to big, sped up from 23 weeks to just 7 seconds! I thought about taking a picture of me in this position holding baby after the birth, but once Joel arrived I completely forgot about this in all the busyness of having a new baby. I think it’s a pretty cool record of my pregnancy, and one day I can show it to my boys too.
Erm, yes, I know that, I hear you say. Isn’t that the point of these pregnancy diary posts? Yes indeed it is, and it’s through writing these that my blog was found by a TV production company, Firecracker Films, who are producing a documentary for BBC3 called “We’re having a baby”. The idea is that instead of having a film crew come and live with us, we will do the filming ourselves, using a home video camera – a handy flip cam the size of a smartphone, which, thanks to recent advances in everyday filming technology, makes pretty decent quality footage. We’ll send this to Firecracker Films, and they will edit it, along with all the other participants’ footage, into a 90-minute documentary. You can read more about why the BBC is getting into such user-generated documentaries here.
The description that I’ve been given of “We’re having a baby” (or WHAB for short) is as follows…
Young couples between roughly 16-30 years old, from across the UK, at various stages of pregnancy, will film their own remarkable journey. This will be their story, in their own words. Whilst we see a lot of pregnant young people on television, they’re all too often portrayed in a negative way, or condemned as victims of a hopeless predicament. Through this documentary, we want to challenge those stereotypes and show that even though young people may face challenges, they can also have real spirit, strength and determination. We hope this film will help increase understanding about what being a young parent really is and help raise awareness of the challenges and rewards.
Notice how often the word ‘young’ occurs there! I like it! Even at age 29 (just), and Tom at 28, we’re still classed as ‘young’ parents these days 🙂 I guess that’s true, given the stats that I talked about last week (I promised no more graphs this week, so I won’t go on about it!) It’s not just because of this flattery that we agreed to take part in the documentary. Since writing these pregnancy diary posts, I’ve come to really like the idea of documenting our pregnancy journey. It’s something I never thought about doing the first time, mainly because I didn’t blog then. I’m not sure how many others in the documentary are first-time or non-first-time parents, but I hope we can show that our pregnancy journey is positive for the four of us involved, as is the intention of the producers. Of course our journey will be different from first-time parents, because we already have some experience of what will happen, though I’m aware that two pregnancies, births, babies and toddlers are in no way guaranteed to be similar!
So far it’s been fun recording little snippets of life on the flipcam (that we were loaned by Firecracker). It’s just a few minutes here and there, mainly filming everyday activities that we would normally do, describing what’s going on with us as a family as we prepare to welcome a fourth person into our lives. For example, we’ve filmed the three of us playing at the park, me breastfeeding Andrew, where baby will sleep (i.e with us for a few months before he/she is ready to go into a cot in the room where Andrew currently sleeps), and a weekly bump shot with me describing how I feel each week. We get guidance and suggestions from Firecracker about things that we might like to shoot, but ultimately it’s down to us to capture what we think best shows who we are and what we’re doing in this pregnancy.
They are interested to learn about our parenting ‘style’, which I see as something unique from family to family. Although there are several things that I do as a mum which might label me as doing a particular type of parenting (e.g. Attachment Parenting), I’m not a massive fan of such broad labels, precisely because I think parenting is a very personal thing which manifests itself slightly differently in every family. It’s interesting that by doing something like this filming, it’s made me think more about who we are and how we come across to others as parents and as a family. I’ve actually learned a lot about myself and how this comes across in my parenting since Andrew has been in our lives. I had some ideas about how I would mother him before he came along, but it’s only since being his mum that I’ve really figured out what kind of a mum I am and why I like it that way. For example, I never thought about extended breastfeeding in pregnancy – I thought I’d give it a go, get to six months if possible, and that was when you were supposed to wean the baby; but over time it just seemed like a carrying on was the most natural thing to do, being as we both get a lot out of it, and I learned from others that you don’t have to wean baby yourself at 6 months.
It’s great that we get to keep all the footage, so we’ll get this as a diary, as well as the finished programme with everyone else’s story in. I’m looking forward to doing more filming over the coming weeks, as well as writing these posts, to document our pregnancy journey. If I get round to it, I’ll post a few video snippets on here where relevant, so you get some idea of what I’ve been filming. Quite a short post (for me!) this week, but I’ll be back with more news next week 🙂