April 2018

Friday, May 21, 2010

NL #25: Babies

NL #25: Ann and I saw the movie Babies last night. I highly recommend you see it. The film follows four babies in four countries (USA, Japan, Mongolia, Namibia) from birth to two years old. There's no narration, though there is a little music. It's hilarious.

The film groups growth into categories and you see the four growing children from that lens: toys, food, siblings, pets, baths, learning to walk and so on. You notice the categories, but it's not tedious.

On of my favorite scenes is of the Japanese child who gets frustrated when she figures out how to get a stick through a hole in a disk, but then the disk slides down the stick and it's off again. She is beside herself. She tries again--unsuccessfully--to get that disk to stay on the stick, then throws her body back in frustration and kicks to the sides and wails. She tries again and throws herself back again. And so on. The film moves on but keeps cutting back to her tantrum.

In the USA, a little blond-haired and blue-eyed child is playing by herself when she hears someone come in the front door. "Mommy?" she asks timidly. Then, "Papa?" and her excitement grows to the point that she runs out of the room: "Papa! Papa! Papa! "

Another favorite scene is of the Mongolian child who's taking a bath when a goat comes up to drink from his tub. When we watch this child stand on his own for the first time, the music and the camera angle are reminiscent of Rocky running up the congressional staircase.

My other favorite scenes are of siblings, and they reminded me of how lucky I am to have been born first. The Mongolian brothers, one a one year-old or so with his older brother of around four, are hilarious. In one scene older brother is swatting younger brother with a towel and younger brother begins to sob until his elder gets in trouble. Younger brother stops sobbing, seeming to listen to his older brother getting chastened, and, when the mother begins to relent, the younger brother starts again to howl. In another scene, we see older brother dragging the stroller in which younger brother is sitting from its place by the door out to the cow pasture to bother the cows. Older brother's clearly had enough of this intruder.

In Namibia, there seems to be about a year, if that, between two brothers. The film starts with the younger brother trying to take some sort of drumming tool from his older sibling. When younger brother is rebuffed, he starts crying giant tears that course down his stomach. Bless his heart.

I have two younger siblings, but I was always loving with them, like my nephew Sam who, when his younger brother was still so young that he was lying around. Sam used to stop playing to come over and pat Willie on the head. "So cute," Sam would coo at Willie. I was just like that.



  1. I recall a story that my parents used to tell me about a conversation they had with our family doctor several months after I was born.

    Parents: The older sister seems to be jealous and resentful of the baby.

    Dr: That's completely normal and to be expected. She will grow out of it.

    Parents: Great. How long might that take?

    Dr: 20 - 30 years?

  2. reading this, i thought you were going to tell the story that mom has told us about trying to take a nap shortly after i joined the family. i was screaming for all my newborn lungs were worth. you were leaning over my crib, repeatedly smacking me. when mom finally showed up, you told her that you were trying to make me quiet so that she could nap. and that's the real story!!


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