We had been waiting to see this movie for sometime. The trailer was dear.  The topic right up our alley. What's not to love? The wait was over Wednesday night when we were able to see a screening at our favorite theater company- Arclight! at their newest location- Pasadena! Oh this movie! How perfect it is! Here is the thing, we are pretty sure it's possible for nearly everyone to go and see what they want to see, so is the nature of the open-ended stance the filmmakers took. Nothing but glorious footage of four babies from different corners of the world- being babies. No dialogue, no voice over, no subtitles. Loved it!
We feel like the filmmakers were making this film for us! Showing the world our point of view. Completely egocentric, no? But at the very least, this film in so many ways allows us to articulate our philosophy so clearly.
Take the very first scene in the film (which is featured in the trailer above)-
Watch it. Now imagine these two young children were in a middleclass back yard in Ohio.
How different would that scene look?
This is how we see it going in the average home.
First, adults would be thinking... " Babies and rocks- ridiculous. They'll smash their little fingers. Or worse yet each other. We can't have that- better make them plastic rocks."
And when the young lady on the right, bites the young gentleman on the left, an adult must step in and reprimand such inappropriate (albeit age appropriate) behavior lest she think that it is an acceptable way to express herself. When the young gentleman responds, by slapping back, we must then reprimand him with  "We don't hit!"and "Use your words", as it is vital for children at this age to understand the importance of verbal communication. They would then be promptly swooped up and moved away from each other before any greater harm followed.
Instead, these two young children are trusted and allowed to play and engage in a struggle without an adult intervention. We can't promise that we would have trusted the situation to be handled as beautifully as it was. We probably would have stepped in when the bite happened. And pointed out how much he didn't like it. We would have stayed close and mentioned when he swats back that she didn't like being hit and we won't let him do it again. And what we learned from this film is this: all of that language is for us. Not them. They were fine. Did their relationship look broken by their interaction? In fact did either of them seem to carry that interaction with them longer than 30 seconds? 
While we are not suggesting that we all abandon any semblance of safety in the lives of our wee ones, or that we miraculously shed years of cultural indoctrination,  but maybe this week just wait a little and start slowly when intervening. Check in and see how it felt to let the struggle go for a little while. Were they able to find a solution?  And then next time- wait longer :)
For more reading on the subject of children and struggle try:
Siblings Without Rivalry and/ or How to Talk to Your Children So They Listen and Listen So They Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
For further reading on the competence of infants try:
Your Self Confident Baby by Magda Gerber and Allison Johnson

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