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Monkeyshines

A Week of Firsts

Imagine being so new to the world that you can do three quite ordinary things for the first time in one week. Or, at least, things whose familiarity has made them seem ordinary, even though they are rather amazing.

A Cold

The Little Monkey went to storytime at the local library, and although he is a bit young to appreciate literature, he enjoyed watching the slightly older children hare around and have fun. However, one of the snotty little brats gave him a cold. His immune response kicked in, and he’s spent the week spraying us with sneezes, and grizzling when we try to wipe his nose, although he’s generally been rather stoic about the whole affair. Our adaptive immune system is, I think, one of the most remarkable aspects of human physiology; presented with the ability of viruses and bacteria to very rapidly evolve an attack mechanism, we have a crazily intricate system of defence that can respond on the same timescale. OK, it can sometimes get over-zealous, but it is incredible that it mostly just works, while we pootle along with our lives.

A Swimming Lesson

The Little Monkey had his first dip in the pool, and rather enjoyed it, I think. I got to go in with him, as by this point Mrs. Monkeyshines had caught his cold, but she made an excellent cheerleader on the sidelines. We had a nice splash around, and did some good floating; he’ll be replicating that Nirvana album cover in no time… It is curious that we humans like the water quite as much as we do. My heart says that we must once have been aquatic apes, but I just can’t bring myself to believe it.

A Giggle

We’ve had smiles before, but, despite his sniffles, Toby did some hearty, throaty giggles this week, prompted by some maternal kisses on his tummy. I think it was his best noise yet. In evolutionary terms, laughter is an extremely strange phenomenon; I’ve yet to read an explanation where I’ve thought, “Yes, that’s nailed it”; although inspired by writing this blog post, I did find a recent review (Leavens 2009) that suggests the science has moved on since I last looked into it, so I’ll have to do some more digging around at some point. But really, I’m not sure there will ever be an adequate explanation for me laughing so hard at some slapstick on Everybody Loves Raymond yesterday morning that I almost startled the baby to tears…

Baby’s First… Bathtime

Being a baby must be overwhelming at times; practically every day involves doing something for the first time. No wonder they need to sleep so much. But for the parents, all these firsts are really rather wonderful.

Our Little Monkey wasn’t entirely sure about his first bath; after a minute of concentrating, trying to figure out what was going on, he had a bit of a cry. Probably because his over-cautious parents made the water a bit too cold. He seems to have enjoyed subsequent baths, as much as a baby enjoys anything, presenting a calm, thoughtful demeanour. So look out for him in the 100m freestyle at the 2030 Olympics…

Pensive at bathtime

"Hmmm, what's going on here then?"