I had to observe Priya, my neighbor’s daughter. Her father is Hispanic while her mother is Indian. It is interesting to see the cultural differences here. The father was raised in Mexico while the mother was raised in India. The father has been in the United States for longer time than the mother, however. Priya was born in 12th May, 2010. At the time of birth she weighed 7lb and 5oz and was 20 inches in length. Her heart rate, appearance, pulse, and activities were normal at the time of birth. Priya was born naturally.
I asked Priya’s parents for permission to observe her and they agreed happily. We set a date on Saturday morning or afternoon, all dependent on Priya’s sleeping schedule. Her mom called me at around 11.00 am when Priya had just woken up from her slumber. Her mom told me that she would feed the infant and then leave her to play with her younger brother. I quickly walked over to Priya’s house, which is a few blocks away.
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Reaction to people
When I arrived, Priya was being fed by the grandmother. I went noiselessly and sat a few steps away from her grandmother. She paused to look at me attentively. She then resumed what she was doing. Priya seemed to fit quiet easily around strangers and didn’t really seem surprised or scared at all.
Priya was having boiled rice, carrots, beans, tomato with salt and grinded. Priya seemed to like the food a lot and would always open her mouth to swallow when her grandmother brought the spoon near Priya’s mouth and said ‘uh’. Her fingers were banging on the high chair table where she was seated, and her legs were kicking constantly.
Priya seemed to have some perceptions, action and interaction with the surrounding. When not doing much she sucked her thumb. She has an affordance of falling. Seated in a high chair she was afraid of falling down and therefore seemed to have a depth perception. However, she could be urged over the high chair by the grandmother, whom she trusted a lot as compared to a stranger like me.
Priya came across to me as a very active child. After eating to her fill we moved to the living room where she was left to play with her toys. Priya’s legs were constantly kicking and moving, and kept reaching for and grasping her toys and other items sprawled around her. Her grandmother had to adjust her severally to secure her sitting position due to her eager movements.
To test this I place a mobile phone a few inches away from Priya. Once she spent less time looking at it (habituated to it), I moved it a few more inches away. She instantly recognized this change and got more interested. However, when I left the object in the same position and instead moved her away, she didn’t respond much since the object remained in the same position. This activity became boring after a few minutes.
To see whether Priya could look for hidden objects, I took one of the objects she was playing with and hid it behind her. She seemed to be annoyed at first but then realized that I didn’t have the toy. She looked around her and when she could find it, she crawled around looking for it until she found it. This shows Priya’s uncanny ability to identify hidden objects and try to retrieve them. I was quite fascinated by this as most children usually lose interest when something is hidden, or start to cry loudly. I however realized that this only took place when Priya had built trust with someone. If a stranger took her item from her hands and hid it, she would start crying.
Priya’s temperament was normal. While she possessed some fear for the strangers, she quickly got used to them. She was not withdrawn and seemed to socially competent at her age and likely to develop a health social relationship.
During the eating session, I noted that Priya expected her grandmother to talk and interact with her each spoonful of her meal. After I went, for the first spoonful, her grandmother said ‘chellakutty’, which means ‘open your mouth’; Priya hands hit the high chair table and her leg kicked in the air. She then opened her mouth and swallowed her food. This is an indication that she could vaguely understand the language that her grandmother was using and was responding well to it.
Summary and Impressions
My contextual view is that early perceptual development of Priya will involve growing knowledge of affordances, which will be acquired through her active interactions with people and events.
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