German Philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer said, ‘at the height it must be lonely.’ From there comes the saying, ‘It is lonely at the top.’
Keenly observing our son in the last 3 months, I also think that as it is with the top, so it is with the cradle. Early childhood can be lonely, first the child is adapting to a new environment, and he/she is trying to understand and acclimatize into the same. I think it is also often lonely to be a newborn, infant, toddler, who have minor and major needs, existing from the womb, but he/she is only blessed by nature to communicate the same in a way that only the observant caregivers, who are deliberately committed to acquiring the required knowledge, skills and attitude can comprehend and respond to. It is lonelier when the child’s only verbal cue of communication is to cry and make sounds and the rest is shrouded in a plethora of body languages, which is only interpretable by the initiated. The child’s loneliness is aggravated when many of us assigned to take care of him/her are not aware that we are not meeting his/her needs because we are not initiated into his/her world not to talk of knowing that we need to be initiated. Yet real care cannot take place except there is clarity of communication between the one who cares and the one he/she cares for. With every cry, every sound, every movement the child is either communicating a request or satisfaction and observing our responses or reactions. His/her ability and commitment to become more expressive is first governed by our acceptance or rejection and his/her observation of the same. Our acts or omission of acceptance or rejection accelerates or slows down the cognitive developmental processes. Therefore, care begins we with understanding the child, and understanding the child begins with studying him/her. Such study begins with accepting that we may not know the child and his/her needs. Accepting the foregoing begins with the humility to move away from the crowd and the tyranny of ignorance or objective knowledge to the comforting reality of the subjective knowledge of the child.
We have in the last 12 months submitted our objective knowledge of childhood as only a guide to the subjective knowledge of learning from Tieriayooluwa. Every child is unique, and his/her needs are often subjective, due to a myriad of factors, ranging from nature to environmental.
January 25, 2022, Tieriayooluwa crossed the 4th trimester, and it is our commitment that he must not be lonely. If he is lonely at all, we want to reduce the period of loneliness and get him to feel at home, settle him into life as fast as possible.
I am Taiwo AKINLAMI, #the50plusdad, enrolled in the school of early childhood development, doing my practicals with the son of my twilight, who is now the son of my youth because his presence renews my inner, mental and physical strength under God.