Do you know why peek-a-boo is no longer a fun game for you?
If you answered, “Because I’m not a baby,” you’re pretty much exactly right. Brilliant, I know. So the real question is, why do babies find peek-a-boo so delightfully, giggle-inducingly fascinating?
Because, when they can’t see you for that brief instant, they think you disappear. That’s right. All you have to do to become a Houdini-class magician to a baby is hide your face with your hands. Enjoy it now. You will never be entertaining so easily ever again.
It’s a pretty big deal in child development. Mommy doesn’t cease to exist simply because she stepped into the hallway. Daddy is actually continuing to live and breathe when he’s not being monitored by the watchful eyes of the baby in the crib. That stunning revelation has a fancy psychological name: object permanence.
It doesn’t take us too long to realize that other people exist when we aren’t around. But, for most people, it’s much harder to deal with the idea that we exist when we’re not around.