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Martin at six weeks

Martin lay there quietly and looked around, reaching for and patting the tiger on the baby gym. Out of the blue came the continued loud honking of a lorry just outside the house. Martin seemed to jump and quiver, as if momentarily freezing, scrunching up his face and tensing up, seeming to look around and then closing and opening his eyes and grimacing, and he then looked up at me, and on seeing my face looked distressed and began to cry. I felt awful on his behalf. Mother briskly returned to the room calling out, "Oh Martin, mummy's here, what a big loud noise." He looked around and seemed not to know whether to smile and then suddenly his sobbing became a huge outpouring of upset and desperate crying. Mother picked him up and talked aloud to him continuously, "Oh dear, that was so frightening, horrible, horrible, mummy is here now, everything is ok." Mother continued like this for several minutes and slowly Martin's breathing begun to ease, his crying subsided, and he lay his head on her shoulder, whimpered a little and then fell deeply asleep.

Here was a mother who showed exactly what Meins meant by mind-mindedness. She was able to be in touch with Martin's psychological state, talk to him about his feelings, not try to jolly him out of them, but simply stay with him and show that she could bear what he was going through.

As a comparison I briefly describe another baby, eight-month-old Ricky. He was physically a very well cared for baby but both parents struggled to be in touch with his emotional state. This was particularly apparent at the point when mother was returning to work.

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