Thursday, November 22, 2007

There Will Come a Day

If you happen to know anything about geological time, you'll probably know that for an extraordinarily long period between roughly 4.5 billion years ago when the Earth first formed, and about 1 billion years ago, not very much happened.

Oh, all right, lots happened. This is an extremely inexact metaphor; just bear with it.

Life formed. That's a very big thing indeed. It's something of the most monumental unlikelihood that we can't comprehend quite how likely it is. It's less likely than me sitting through an entire football game without getting bored. However, once it developed, it didn't do very much more. Life remained comparatively simple. It did get more complex, certainly, but it did so very slowly indeed.

Then there was a period of some 190 million years (practically nothing on the geological scale) when it's like someone lit a fire under life. The Cambrian Explosion, as it's known, saw an incredible leap forward in complexity and variety of organisms. In just (and 'just' is absolutely the right word) 190 million years, all of the ancestors of the life as we know it emerged. This was a completely unprecedented, exhuberant ullalation of existence and we still don't entirely understand why this happened, though we have theories.

That's all the geology/ evolution stuff over with, except to say that I got in from work yesterday and after spending a few minutes playing with Olivia before she went to bed, it struck me as a halfway reasonable image for how she's developed. From being born until now, there's been a slow and steady progress from simplicty towards greater complexity, but this week she's hit the 'Cambrian Explosion' of baby development. That's how it seems, anyway.

All of a sudden she's mastered a lot of skills. Crawling? Yes. 'Daddy, what are you typing about? I've always being able to crawl this well,' says Olivia. But she hasn't. Until this week, she's done about three or four steps on her hands and knees and stopped. Yesterday, she raced across the room towards the television at a rate of knots. Considerably more than three or four steps. Not only that, she was giggling like mad because I was chasing after her and she thought she might have a half chance of pulling out all the DVD cases and lobbing them on the floor before I got there. It was a naughty, 'I shouldn't be doing this, but I am' chuckle!

She's also mastered standing up (as long as there's an object to hold onto - she's not freestanding) and - as of yesterday - sitting down again.

If you hold her hands, she's now voluntarily moving one foot in front of the other to walk towards someone else. Until this week, you had to tip the whole baby one way and then the next, as though walking a large, unwieldy box along.

When I put her to bed, I laid her in her cot and did the baby sign for sleep; two hands held together, and placed under one side of the chin. She mirrored the sign, and she's also doing 'milk'.

So, that's Olivia's Cambrian Explosion. I've no idea how poor that analogy will turn out to be. Maybe she'll do similar things every so often (though perhaps this would be a 'Punctuated Equilibrium' equivalent), but regardless, her Jedi powers have become considerably more powerful than you could ever know in the last couple of days.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Daddy M.


    Your dtr is beautiful! And growing & learning so fast!