Don’t be deceived by that stunned appearance. This little dude has got it all figured out. Lurking beneath that babyish exterior is a growing consciousness of who, where, when, and what caused what. After months of being accustomed to the pleasure of deceiving and manipulating our sweet, foolish baby, we woke up one day and realized – oh hey, Michael seems to… know stuff now?
He knows when we’re hiding something, because he can track it as fast as we can move it. He knows when we even think about preparing his bottle, coz duh, guys, you’re inching closer to the sideboard where the bottles are kept, do you think I can’t see you??? He is constantly swiveling to check that he’s not missing out on anything important. Holding him facing inwards is something he refuses to endure for more than one minute, because… the world, mama! I need to see. He lurches and lunges and twists and I frequently cannot hold on tightly enough. I have no idea how I’m going to handle him when he becomes a toddler, because well. He’s already toddler sized.
He knows that screaming at maximum capacity for 45 minutes is likely to sabotage his nap, which has led to epic napping battles of late. Where he used to go down for his nap without a peep, these days there’s a good chance that he will fight it with all his might. I’m usually on tenderhooks after I place him in his crib, crouching and waiting to see if he will fight or succumb this time. We’ve thrown out all previous assumptions about his schedule and awake times and now we just watch him to make sure he is truly tired before attempting to put him down. We’ve learned from sorry experience that putting him down a little too early means that he may never go down at all.
He aspires towards mobility, but is still painfully ill-coordinated – in fact, more so now than ever. He moves slow as molasses, heaving himself here and there, muscle groups operating randomly. Which results in various complicated positions, entirely unintended. It looks like clumsy yoga: The Downward Dog, The Plank (both regular and sideways), Knee to Nose, Cobra and The Peeing-Dog. Ok the last one isn’t yoga. It’s just been kinda rough for him, physically.
But me, I figure this is the honeymoon period of babyhood. The horrific newborn era is now well behind us, and the aggravating toddler stage is still several months away. He’s retained the best of his babyness – the feet grabbing, the chubby thighs, the cross-eyed focus, the excited puppet-like arm pumping… and added some cool new tricks. In particular, I sometimes think that he reaches for me, when I come close. And while he takes my presence for granted throughout the day, on the days that I’m away from him for more than a few hours, I return to a look of intense glee: Oh there you are. Hiiiii mama. Hi hi hiiiii.