Now for some fun. When he’s at the point where he’s held, fed, contented and you sit with him on your lap, position him so he can see the ceiling and watch his eyes… you can tell what he’s thinking. Preemies, more so than normal newborns, are very alert and problem solve. (newborns are not that alert until about 4 months. This is because all the while these NICU events have been going on the preemie has been figuring them out.) The artist’s foundation of IQ is pre-cognition, finding the problem and then solving it and, applying this theory to everything in life, these preemies become masters at it at about 26 weeks. I have hundreds of stories.
While watching hundreds of babies during thousands of feedings over 20 years in NICUs, I’ve come to believe that we are all born genius and what happens to us from birth on determines if it’s supported and nurtured or harmed.
Preemies and newborns focus on straight lines. Watching their eyes as they look at a large square black and white checkerboard you see that they are doing two things, they trace the outline of the shape and then compare one to the other. Always in that order. Then they recognize perspective. If you place the grid so one edge is in their direct vision, they will see the perspective and begin to compare only the closest and furthest. You will also see that their attention span is very long. I would time them and the range was from 18 to 26 minutes.
Our NICU ceiling was about 10 feet above the baby in my arms and it was made of white acoustic tiles set into a white metal framework. After the first intense minutes of sucking, he began tracing the shape of the closest, then the one next to it and kept going… learning that they were smaller each time and continuing to the point they would arch their backs to see further down the line. Then they would compare the very smallest to the one above their head, recognizing perspective White on white, ten feet away. (the warm-nummy theory in America about how life works is that the baby can only see as far as the mother’s face. What nonsense.) The edge of our NICU had a narrow ridge of lights behind white louvers extending 40 feet and with this they saw a bold example of perspective. So their vision extended to at least 40 feet.
Eventually I began to wonder about the socio-economic standing of the family and learned that this brilliance included all babies who were not drug effected.
When you take him home, videotape him as he examines his surroundings. The living room for example. Then watch him every time you bring him into that room. He will reexamine it all, again and again until he knows it all. Then sit in a different place in the room and watch what he does.