That’s just impossible. Everyone says “they grow up so fast” and “savor every minute — it will be over so quickly!” — which, to me, always feels like, “Happy birthday! You’ll be dead soon.”
And then, of course, it turns out to be true. That was the fastest seven months on record. The weird thing is how much I *can’t* remember. I look at photos of Dominic as a newborn and think, “…I don’t remember him looking like that. Was he really that small and wrinkly? I thought he was the most beautiful baby ever.” Maybe that’s the ongoing curse of parenting: you get objectivity only in retrospect.
Though, of course, he really IS the most beautiful baby ever.
But I don’t have the perspective to know which of the seemingly ordinary things now will be gone in just a few weeks, so that I’ll know to record them. Here are the things that strike me today:
1. He whispers to us a lot. I’ll go to get him out of bed after a nap, and if he’s well-rested and happy, he’ll greet me with a smile and a string of whispered consonants, like he’s just continuing out loud a conversation he was having in his head before I came in.
[Update: I think this is actually what’s going on. I heard a strange sound on the monitor today after nap time and peeped in his room to investigate. I saw him turned towards the wall, fist in his mouth, whispering to himself.]
2. He has suddenly started babbling in an insanely high-pitched voice. I cannot even begin to match it. His angry cries have also begun changing — instead of simple crying sounds, he has begun making short! exclamatory! noises! with every consonant-vowel combination he can come up with. He is really testing the full range of sounds he can produce, as though he’s desperate to begin talking.
Also, he is into exuberant self-expression in public. All throughout Mass today at the basilica he made a joyful noise that Daddy compared to a dying pterodactyl. He made this same sound — less joyfully — last night when I was changing his diaper and NOT feeding him, as he had previously demanded. Not so charming, baby. What happened to the babbling and cooing?
[UPDATE, 3/26: As of today, the Pterodactyl Rant now includes long segments of gargling! He sounds like he’s being strangled.]
3. He has begun reaching for things he wants, like toys that fall out of his bouncy seat. But better yet, he has begun reaching for *us*. Last week I went to pick him up from his activity mat and stood over him with my arms extended for an extra second or two to see what he would do; after a pause, he lifted his hands to mine. It was like choirs of angels started singing in my head.
Now if one of us is holding him and the other parent comes near, Dominic will often extend an arm and lean into the unoccupied parent. This has started the inevitable “Who’s your favorite?” war between Mommy and Daddy. [NB: a few NSFW words in the beginning of that clip, for you parents reading this with children.]
4. He can sit up! And not even that slumped forward, propped-up-by-locking-his-elbows thing of *last* month — I mean full, erect, upright sitting! (…with a little swaying in the breeze. Still have to pad the floor around him.) We haven’t even been practicing — I just sat him on the floor one day and he stayed like that. Who knew?
5. We HAVE been practicing rolling over. For about three months. Durn child just refused to roll! The doctor kept assuring us his muscle tone was fine and he’d roll when he wanted to. We were not convinced. So every day, Tummy Time included Rolling Practice, which mostly consisted of Daddy rolling him over and Mommy clapping enthusiastically to give him the hint. He seemed to find the whole process mildly amusing, but didn’t show any inclination to do it on his own. This week, though, something clicked, and he has been rolling onto his stomach almost as soon as he’s laid down on the floor. Whether or not he makes the full 180 degrees or gets stuck at 175 by a trapped arm, he still beams with obvious pride and expects Mommy to make a fuss.
6. He started eating baby food last week! Pears came first. Daddy dipped his finger in the bowl and let Baby suck on it, which he seemed to like. After a few rounds of this, we moved to the spoon. Dominic didn’t quite seem to know what to do with this thing in his mouth, but after a few trials he began opening his mouth enthusiastically and leaning into the spoon. Success!
…or not. He hasn’t wanted to have anything to do with either pears or bananas since. He makes very clear “get that stuff away from me” expressions with frowns and pursed lips and, if mommy doesn’t take the hint and finds a way to shove the spoon in regardless, she is rewarded with an emphatic “THHHHHHHHHHHHHBBBBBBBBBBT!” and a spray of pureed fruit.
7. Dominic has begun initiating games with us. He recently started doing this odd little thing where he will rapidly rock his head from side to side when he’s lying down. The first time I did this back at him, he stared at me for a second, then giggled. He did it again, and I repeated again. We did this back and forth until both of us were laughing out loud. It felt less like entertaining a baby and more like sharing a joke — he was genuinely cracking me up! Now, when he’s on the changing table or in his car seat, he’ll wait to catch our eye, then wag-wag-wag goes his head until we do it back to him.
8. Despite my complaints about sleep training and Dominic’s inability to fall asleep on his own in his crib, like we want, he has been all-in-all a very good sleeper — wakes (usually) only once in the night to eat, and takes 2-3 good, long naps.
Until this week.
I have had a few marathon nights of trying to rock, sing, shush, and nurse a baby who seems to be fussing for NO APPARENT REASON WHATSOEVER and nothing works. Once he gets to sleep, he still sleeps pretty well, but Oy! Getting him down for the night has been taking 4-5 hours some nights! It seemed so arbitrary at first that it was hard for me not to start taking it personally — he’s just being ornery! He doesn’t want mommy to miss out on the joys of stomach ulcers! Last night I collapsed in tears and took refuge in alcohol.
As usual, Daddy was a bit more objective and reasoned that something had to be bothering him and eventually we’d figure out what it was. A growing suspicion was confirmed this morning when Daddy tried to get our shrieking banshee to be quiet in Mass by letting Dominic gnaw on his finger. He pulled it out abruptly with a yelp a moment later and checked to see if the skin was broken.
There’s teeth in that mouth!