ESP, baby, 123.

*So I published this post last night, as is, and today it was bothering me-- and I realized that I need to contextualize it a little better. I haven't read the comments yet, just so you know.*


I have been reading and thinking a lot about human evolution. I find the vision of an ancestral environment very moving-- up until 10,000 years ago or so when humans developed culture, language, institutions, religion. I'm intrigued especially by the traits that we usually wouldn't call biological- the cultural, the religious, the familial. Recently I've read a really stupid book --Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters-- that completely ignores culture as an impetus for behavior-- and a really wonderful book --A Natural History of Parenting-- that will inspire you and blow your mind. Both illuminate the surprising evolutionary roots of common human stuff. Trends, choices, behaviors can be seen through that lens in a fascinating way. Re-seeing aspects of your life is, to me, a good project. So I feel it is a useful question to ask of my experiences: how could this or that be adaptive?

I want to clarify that I'm not trying to ignore God, or culture, or explain away religion or belief. I'm also not saying that my late-night mutterings are Capital T True. I'm just interested in seeing things through evolution-colored-glasses.

*End Contextualization, begin original post*:

The other night I was vegging out in front of hulu, the kids were both asleep in bed, and I was enjoying a moment of late-night mindlessness. Suddenly I felt an interior slam of urgency: Check on the baby!

I ran down the hall and saw that the baby had somehow tucked the blanket over her face, tight on both sides, down to her chin. I pulled the blanket off and sat on the edge of the bed for a while, watching the two sleeping bodies, easy breathing, my little charges. Charges like lightning strikes...

I am wary of magical thinking. Mother's intuition? Does that mean subconscious awareness of things like almost-silent changes in breath and movement sounds? Does it mean that statistically, I check on the baby often enough that one of these times she's bound to be in some danger?

Maybe there is intuition-- a precognitive, reptilian, instinctual way of knowing when our kids' lives are in danger. If there was such a thing, even just a teensy bit of a hint of knowing beyond logic, it would surely be adaptive. And mothers who could "tune in" to that primal panic would raise more babies who would pass the ability along... Intuition could easily evolve; generations of women could use an alogical way of acting that would allow them to preempt disaster...

In the dark, watching my babies' mouths move in their dreams, I am grateful for any slim help I can get in keeping them alive. Generations of sensitive women watching their babies-- they can be my angels.


  1. Mike and I are big believers in the connectedness of families between this world and the next. While we do believe the Holy Ghost testifies of God's reality and Christ's divinity, we also think that our families are anxiously watching out for us, and able to help. I believe we do have an innate sense evolved from generations of sensitive women from our past, as well as their active help now. It's an aspect of those verses in Malachi that I hold dear. So glad it turned out all right that night, my friend!

  2. I like the idea of the mother-child connection thing. Something like your story happened to me once. And also on another time when I was in the backyard and suddenly started running into my kids room where Sam's head was stuck in the toy box and the neighbor kid was bouncing on top of the lid over and over trying to make Sam's head pop like a watermelon. Good times.

  3. Katie and Sam, you may be right. I think I may have come off preachy the other morning. So sorry about that, Becca.

  4. I heard a talk many years ago of who our "guardian angels are"....that they are our families that have been to this earth, those that may come to this earth through us...they have the most interest in us. Listen to the Holy Ghost, "he will teach you all things.........." also to see if you WERE listening...and followed. like exercising a mussel of "check 'em NOW"....and you did. you'll be more open for when you do need to check for REAL....and these feelings do not leave you........even after they have grown up...and that happens wayyyyyyy too fast.


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