20 November 2012

My Baby Bear

Later this week Allen and I will be going down to collect our little Baby Bear, and bringing her back to stay with us for the weekend. This will be only her third visit without her parents. And though she keeps us on our toes, there is nothing but fun and joy from her 6am wake-up until bedtime about 12 hours later. (And she has a good nap at least once a day, so we get to put our feet up then.)

Hooray indeed! BB is 19 months old and has a vocabulary that's expanding every day. I must try to video her giving us a rundown of all the words that she recognises the meaning of, and can say in some fashion (e.g. parts of the body, important people in her life, favourite foods, ABC characters – Angelina Ballerina being a particular favourite, but which as yet consists mainly of vowels ("aa--ii--aa). Ditto Bananas in Pyjamas! Studying her language development is even more interesting than the linguistic courses I loved all those years ago.

BB's facility to remember details is equally astounding. When she arrives here it may be more than a month since she and her parents last visited. Even so, she will go directly to the things she remembers from a previous visit – the drawer containing plastic containers she's allowed to play with, the glass-fronted bookcase whose door she's attracted to though she knows she isn't allowed to rattle (looking at me guiltily while patting it), a bunch of display baskets she's allowed to take off a shelf, a set of dominoes that she loves to move from one container to another, a collection of garden labels taken off plants I've planted in my garden. These she will load and unload into a basket, studying each label intently and 'reading' the text on the reverse of each picture. Exposed to books since birth, she clearly knows that print contains a message. And in a sing-song babble that only she understands, she will 'read' aloud from each label.

Perhaps because Allen's memory is slipping away, and it's so hard (almost imposible) for him to learn new tasks or remember instructions, I am fascinated and overjoyed to watch BB's young brain making (and retaining) dozens, maybe hundreds, of new 'connections' every day. Hers is a healthy brain displaying plasticity in all its wonders. What a welcome antidote to the experience of living under the cloud of Allen's deteriorating brain.

1 comment:

The Blog Fodder said...

This brought back memories of when my kids were little, doing the same things. They have an amazing capacity to learn.
The video of BB didn't show up - says unavailable.

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I started this blog in 2009 when I became a full-time caregiver. My husband had been diagnosed a few years earlier with primary progressive aphasia. Over the next four years until his death in 2013, we went on a journey of discovery about this rare condition. My blog is about what I learned, how we both coped and how the journey deepened our love and appreciation of each other. Allen’s journey is over, but mine goes on.