Do babies need toys? Watch this – and see

13 Oct
The gorgeous Ponijao, from Babies

Capturing the joy, delight and excitement of a baby’s first year of life is terribly difficult. Believe me. I’ve tried. It goes like this. Baby does something hilarious/exciting/new. You reach for the camera. By the time you’re rolling. Boom. It’s over. Baby is back to being a blob. The show’s over. It takes a hell of a lot of time, patience and battery power to capture something worthwhile. But that’s exactly what French film director, Thomas Balmes, managed to do. Over 400 days, he filmed the first year of life for four babies – Hattie in San Francisco, Ponijao in Namibia, Bayar in Mongolia and Mari in Tokyo. The result? A delightful, life-affirming, cinematographically gorgeous and thought-provoking documentary, called ‘Babies’. It runs for 80 minutes and there’s no dialogue. It doesn’t need it. My husband and I watched it last night and were mesmerised, in between hoots of laughter. Watch the trailer for a taste. While it’s all cute and wonderful, there are also some pretty important messages here. While the overall message is that babies are babies, wherever you live, there’s also nice contrast between how kids are raised in developing nations, versus highly developed nations. What did I take away from it? Babies don’t need toys, TV, or a clean environment – what they love is interacting with other humans (and animals- the scene of the baby licking her dog’s tongue is incredible) and exploring this wonderful, wonderful world where everything is new and exciting, to them. I’m sure it’s available on DVD – we watched it on Foxtel. For a serious cute injection, watch this video of the beautiful Namibian baby Ponijao, falling asleep while sitting up. I defy you not to smile.

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