Newborn, week two
Just in a single week the baby Juli had grown quickly, gaining weight and height. Nights were sleepless. Feeding was a marathon. Yet, these labors were overshadowed by abundant flow of love and joy.
Imitating movements and cooing
It has been known that when an adult sticks his/her tongue out at their newborn within 72 hours from birth, the newborn is able to imitate by his/her tongue out. Researcher Dr. Andrew Meltzoff, PhD, discovered this ability in hospital nurseries.
Newborn is born an avid learner and is ready to imitate. However, if you snap your fingers or smack with your lips, the baby couldn't imitate either of these. Her/his brain is not developed with complex motor skills yet.
Eventually the newborn's arm and leg movements lose some of the jerkiness present in the first week and the newborn may figure out how to use these arms.
At this time, her vision improves slowly. Baby always prefers to gaze at their parent's face above anything else. Baby may respond when you talk with her in parentese or baby talk. She loves to listen.
Juli in the video clip above appeared to imitate or at least attempted to imitate manual movements. It may be also a form of manual cooing. Or, both.
An ASL-native mother once uploaded her video on YouTube where she signed milk to her baby within the first weeks from birth. The baby responded with a faint imitation.
This is something that hopefully one day research studies will be conducted in a native signlan environment with newborns and infants.
Gesundheit! Every time the baby Juli sneezed, we uttered health to her. In the video above, Dude repeated the signed word health several times.
As the baby moved her handshape onto her neck, the father showed another word embarrassed to show a different ASL production (equivalant to pronunciation) that the baby was making.
Some common ASL words that I used lately with Juli were as follows: milk, bath, more, health (after sneezing as she sneezed often), mother, father, "I love you", beautiful, sweet, and some more.-->
Granting a signed name
We've given Juli a full name on birth certificate; thank goodness, this difficult task was over. But, I have not given her a signed name yet, the honorable part.
Personal naming in our ASL culture is parallel to the First Nations' way of naming. It takes some time to decide the right name to fit a person. Gifting a signed name is usually done by members of the ASL/Deaf community.
For me, to produce a new signed name for Juli takes some consideration of the aspects: a handshape, a location, whether one- or two-handed name, and uniqueness. Then movement and the palm orientation then would easily follow.
At birth, babies see in black and white and shades of gray. Color vision isn't well developed.To help devleop baby's vision, high contrast black-and-white images or flash cards can stimulate baby's visual development. Use a simple set of handmade black and white flash cards. Draw any shapes you can think of. Draw some black-filled shapes on white background or some inverted. It's fun and creative.
Or, for a busy mom, print out and show some black-gray-white photographs. Easily prepare during pregnancy.
For a busier mom, there are some books that can help develop vision for newborns.