Thursday, 22 December 2011


I met my brother's baby girl, my little niece. I suppose in the normal run of things one just doesn't encounter little babies very often. I was struck, just like I was by my nephew when he was tiny, how wierd new babies are. I can't remember what philosopher it was who said that we can never know what it's like to be a bat, but I could make a much better go at imagining a world defined by clicks and twilight flying than imagining what it's like to a be a little weeks old baby. They look so alien, and they can't touch things or see much. They go dark and stiff when they're angry, and cry like small animals coughing, and they have freakily tiny necks. My nephew is clearly finding the adjustment a bit frustrating, though he's generally being good. My niece needs most of the attention of at least one of her parents at all times, and sometimes both, and she's too young yet to do anything which would engage my nephew's interest. He strokes her head very gently, but it annoys him if this doesn't stop her crying. I expect he'll find it easier once she starts smiling and sitting up, and generally being more human.

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