Home Sociology Infant Observation: Creating Transformative Relationships
Observer in relation to the seminar
When I bring this first observation to the seminar, I am frightened of Mrs. Bick. This fear supersedes my original wish to understand the baby in his family. I, like mother, have fears about the way in which I observe and report my observations. I feel that Mrs. Bick expects me to be a perfect observer and there is too much non-verbal communication, like confetti, which must be caught and then knitted together into words and then paragraphs.
As I describe the initial visit, Mrs. Bick asks questions which on subsequent visits act like a zoom lens of a camera to move the baby into very close, clear focus. Her questions are: "How is mother holding the baby? Where is his head? How close to mother's body is he? Where is he looking? And what are his hands and legs doing when she changes position? What kind of movement or stillness do you see in the baby's body? Show us, we want to know." Through her questions Mrs. Bick elicits more detailed descriptions of the quality of mother's holding of the baby as well as additional comments on the various ways baby "holds himself together." Each week the seminar begins with a reporter's summary of the discussion of the previous week, thus providing continuity between the observations. These are written in a literary style telling the story of the family's emotional life evolving around the baby.
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