Image: Else Berg
“Don’t you ever think he might be lonely sitting there all day?” asked Ellie to her friend May.
May looked across at her son Marcus sitting in his play pen pulling on the ears of his fluffy rabbit.
“Goodness no,” replied May. “Marcus is only a baby and has everything in his pen to stimulate him and assist in his growth. He’s doing fine.”
May pulled another cup of tea as Ellie continued to look at the child who to her reckoning was frustrated and bored out of his mind.
“Why only last week, “continued May. “I was reading that over stimulating your kid can take away their independence and I would never want that of my child,” she said looking fondly at Marcus who continued to pull on the rabbit’s ears.
Marcus was not a demanding child. He rarely cried and he sat in his pen day in day out from whenever it was he first remembered anything. That was his world, is refuge where he felt safe. Even when you picked him up he was quiet for a few moments but soon started to pull towards the safety of his play pen.
His mother had stocked it with every imaginable soft toy. He was in so many ways the perfect baby. May would brag to anyone who’d listen about her child who was no trouble, ate what was fed to him and slept through the night.
Ellie had seen enough of May and Marcus in action to fear that at a young age Marcus was already institutionalized. He was for the most part left to his own devices. May didn’t chat with him as she’d argue he found his own level of stimulation within the play pen.
May of course loved the child she had created. It allowed her to pursue her own likes and desires. The television was always on and Marcus could see the images across the room. When May watched her soaps so did Marcus. What May was never aware of was that Marcus took everything in.
Ellie was very aware that Marcus was a smart child. She could see in his eyes that he craved more than he was given but when she spoke with him May would often cut her off if Marcus looked half interested. The little boy would look away and once again pull on his rabbit’s ears.