Babies documentary

Good morning, and happy Monday!
Jem’s taking a few minutes to build with blocks on his own—yes! Lately he’s been a little clingy; missing his Papa, unsure of change, discovering his limits. He’s also been bursting forth with new words, expressions, and points of personality and is pretty much hilarious. While everyone’s ready to meet his new baby brother, we sure are enjoying these last days soaking this little man up as the sole baby of the house.
(That said, in the few seconds it took to write this he had a total meltdown and is now chilling out in his room. Oh silly little boy….)
(and now it’s night time…what a DAY!!!)

Anyways. I mentioned awhile back that I wanted to share some thoughts on the Babies documentary. Have you seen it? I was super excited for it to come out and watched it the night we arrived here in the Valley to await this next baby of our own. It stirred some interesting conversation between J’ and myself and I’d love to hear your thoughts as well.

Basically, Babies is a quiet documentary following the first year or so of four separate babies around the world: Africa, Mongolia, Japan, and America. It doesn’t hold a lot of dialogue or any real commentary, and the viewer is in kind of a ‘secret observer’ role, peeking into daily moments, rituals, and experiences of each family. Common points such as sibling interaction, discipline, potty-care, feeding, toys, and developmental milestones are contrasted as the view shifts from one baby to the next.

Maybe not?
There are two potential reasons not to view this film. One, if there’s the possibility that you or a fellow viewer are uncomfortable with shots of nursing or exposed breasts. Within this first few minutes Jer commented that, “Hm…probably good that you didn’t end up watching this with my dad….” Thanks hon 😉 The other consideration is that some viewers might find it a bit slow. Personally, I didn’t as I was fairly caught up in the contrasts, but J’ ended up working on something in the midst of it and half-viewing as we discussed. So, for what it’s worth….

Why it’s worth it?
In my opinion, the great value in this doc’ comes in the contrasts of cultural values and which are presented. I laughed and groaned out loud as the view shifted from the stark yet contented environments of the little African and Mongolian babies, to the overwhelming and over-stimulated environments of the Japanese and American babies. Talk about a push into a discussion of toys, parenting strategies, and materialism!

Good questions:
In the end, we were left with a few days of discussion and questions. The key things that came up were a closer examination of the things we deem ‘necessary’ for raising our babies, as well as our current environment and collection of possessions, toys, entertainment, and community. We haven’t totally come to our conclusions, though we have renewed our desire for consuming and holding onto less material goods, and increasing our focus on community/family interaction. We are still asking ourselves:
– If this works in Africa, why not here? Is it just impossible here, since we live in houses of stuff, in massive ‘villages’, in a whole different world? Or is that just our own making and, consequently, our own excuse.
– How are we transmitting our cultural and familial values to our children? Do we even know what those are? How can we incorporate literature, religion, song, art, etc., within our family in a manner which is honest and valuable, and not just ‘filler’ or trendy or senseless?
– What’s the line between discovery and freedom and just living in the day…and danger? Especially in an urban setting?
– How can we incorporate our ‘real world’ into our children’s world of play and development?
– What are we missing? What do we need to look into further?

Anyways. That’s that, for now. What do you think? Again, I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on the documentary as well as the whole challenge and beautiful journey of family and babies and relationship in this culture in general. Let’s chat!

In other news. I’m not in labour, but it’s coming. I keep thinking we’ll see some action by Wednesday (which is the second due date). I’m feeling patient ad at peace, though physically I’ve hit the uncomfortable stage. I don’t think my rib cage or belly-skin will ever be the same…. Then again, I guess life in general will never be the same! All I’m keeping at the forefront right now is that coming perfect moment when I’ll lift him onto my chest and kiss his hair and know he’s breathing. Once he’s in my arms, I just don’t think I’ll be putting this baby down. Never have I felt such a perfect impatience to embrace a new life…..

3 Responses to “Babies documentary”
  1. Lola says:

    I loved it and have lots of comments on it but I just don’t have time to write my novel now so I won’t. My favorite part was when they compared the little Japanese girl, overtired, throwing a fit in her toy crammed room with the Mongolian boy tethered to his bed, playing with toilet paper.

    The only thing I have to say that was a little scary to me was the little M boy all alone in the middle of the cattle. Or when the rooster came in when he was just a baby… roosters peck shiny eyes out 🙂

    But I loved the movie! And I think it has so much to tell our “progressive nations”. And as someone who practices Elimination Communication part time, I loved it… just wondering if you plan on wiping the new little boys bum on your knee and wiping it off with cornhusks… 🙂 cause I’d be super impressed.

    ps. I could just like the whole movie because I don’t feel as bad now that my children are constantly dirty and sometimes naked.

    • Dea' says:

      Ha! Great comments Lola! And many of my favorite contrasts were the same– fun! (But…I’ve got no intention of going the knee/corncob route. Not just now anyways…!)

  2. Kit says:

    I”m gonna go look that doc up! Sounds interesting!

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