Object permanence

Dear Ronin,

Around one month after you were born, we started playing peek-a-boo. Often, we would cover our faces, or toss the blanket over you and shout “Where’s Ronin?” Even at this young age, you were delighted by the game.

Several months later, you learned to pull the blanket off without any help – essentially proving that your intellect had surpassed that of the cat (no really, she can’t find her way out from under a blanket!)

Just a few days ago, you started to initiate the game – though, without a complete understanding of the rules. You will place your hand on your head (not covering the eyes) and wait for us to say “where is she?” You then remove your hand and squeal in joy. Here is a short demonstration.

The game of peek-a-boo is an excellent example of your continuing cognitive development. It shows that you understand the concept of object permanence – that the objects in the world remain, even when you can’t see them.

This is obviously a concept that cat does not grasp. She will often hide her head behind objects too small to conceal her body. In her mind: “If I can’t see them, then they can’t see me”.

Another example of this struck me the other day when we took you to the local movie theater. Sitting on my lap, I started to place small pieces of unsalted popcorn in my open hand. After the first piece, I noticed that you would reach for the popcorn without taking your eyes off the movie screen. You didn’t need to look each time to know where the popcorn was. If a kernel was not in the same location, you would move your hand around searching – again, without having to look.

Your Verbose Father,

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