the art of up

40 weeks

You’ve officially been on the Outside longer than you were on the Inside, which seems infeasible to me since my pregnancy with you was interminable (at least looking back from this end), and you were born just yesterday. Only 12 weeks until you hit the big one-year mark. Twelve weeks! I’m finding myself, more often than ever before, trying to dig my heels in, to slow down time. These past few months–since you were six months old, I’d say–have slipped by inordinately quickly.

And now that summer is upon us, the weekends are chock full of things to do, places to be, pools to swim in, swings to try out. I’ve been trying to steal minutes here and there to work in the yard–the mulching has yet to be done–but it’s slow going as your nap time is limited and you require constant watching and interacting while you’re awake. Daddy and I did finally get the deck stained. We dedicated Memorial Day weekend to the project, and after spending nearly the entire three days off slaving away on it (the effort was doubled this time, as we had a ground-floor deck built this past winter) and spending very little of it with you, we decided we’ll never do it again. Next time, we’re hiring someone.

You’ve become a regular at birthday parties–we’ve been to two over the past two weekends–and it’s become clear that you’re thrilled to be there if we simply put you down on the floor and let you go, much like a windup toy. You are extremely mobile, and you love exploring your surroundings: under tables, between legs, into corners. You half-drag yourself along, still not getting up on all fours to crawl except for a few paces here and there, using both forearms and your left foot and leg in a kind of one-sided horizontal Running Man. You’re remarkably efficient and spectacularly speedy, given how awkward the movement is.

Your newest thing, though, is not moving forward but moving up. On May 18, when you were home sick with the Neverending Cold that actually turned out to be a secondary lung infection immediately following a double ear infection (it was as fun as it sounds, believe me), Daddy went into your room to retrieve you after a nap only to find you standing up in your crib. Just like that: Bam! Vertical. We immediately lowered your mattress (now to the third lowest level), and you popped right back up again. This time, though, there was no chance of you toppling over the front rail.

Since then, you have perfected the art of up. You do it effortlessly now, nearly jumping up onto two feet. You do it everywhere you can: in your corral, on the kitty condo, on whatever piece of furniture happens to be nearby and, most of all, on us. You’ve become highly skilled at crawling all over us if we’re sitting or lying down next to you. You’re also now a pro at transitioning from all fours to sitting and back again, and even moving from standing to sitting never seems to be much of challenge for you. Sure, you’ve landed hard on your tushy a couple of times, but you’re so resilient, you just pick yourself up and try again.

All this mobility means you’re not very happy contained anywhere–and especially if it’s not with us, wherever we may be. Mornings have become particularly challenging. Daddy plays with you until he needs to get ready, and then he’s always put you in your crib with your toys so you can play until he’s done and able to get you dressed for daycare. This is unacceptable to you as of a couple of weeks ago. You cry until you scream and then you cry some more–unable to calm yourself down, not even when Daddy goes in to get you–and it’s become stressful for all of us. Daddy had tried putting your in your corral (no better) and turning on the TV (not interested), giving you a teething ring and teething tablets (no effect) and so on. In an act of desperation earlier this week, I decided to take you downstairs to the kitchen with me while I pulled things together there before leaving the house. I plopped you in your high chair and talked you through my morning routine–and wouldn’t you know it? Not one tear. Not one tragic “you-left-me-alone” scream. When I’m ready to leave the house, Daddy collects you and takes you upstairs with him. Our blood pressure is back to normal, and days start on a better note for all of us.

We’ve also begun to focus on serious child proofing. You’re safe in your corral in the living room, but (reference previous paragraph) you do not want to be left alone there. I can understand: It’s tucked into the far side of the living room near the front door, and you can’t see us when we leave that room. For as much as it provides more space for you to meander than a Pack N Play, it’s not nearly enough for a baby who wants to GO everywhere. You get frustrated. So we’ve devised a plan to give you full rein of the living room. It will require some significant reorganization on our part but nothing impossible. We’ll dedicate the bottom two rows of our IKEA modular bookshelf to your books and toys, and we’ll do the same with the coffee table and side table, both of which have cubby holes in which we can store more of your books and toys. We’ll unfurl the corral and use a four-panel section to gate off the kitty condo and stairs and to keep you contained in the living room, since the dining room is a baby-proofing nightmare: too much glass, ceramic and alcohol that we really can’t put anywhere else. In the meantime, we’ve plugged all the open outlets after you began showing a remarkable interest in poking them with your index finger.

I didn’t walk until I was 14 months old, but I have a feeling you’ll figure it out imminently. You seem to be able to piece together steps to physical development so quickly. One day you’re doing something for the first time; three days later, you’ve perfected the movement, executing it with grace and speed. You amaze me. My favorite thing is watching you grow, observing the process as you figure things out and then practice them. Human development is so awesome.

We’re off to the beach next week, our first big adventure away from home with you. Aside from the early onset panic related to packing for this mini-vacation, I’m very excited about having a solid chunk of time with you (as the I-spend-less-waking-time-with-him-than-his-daycare-provider guilt has been settling in lately); getting away from our normal, frenzied routine; and, best of all, watching you discover a new environment–with new smells, sounds, food and animals. I hope you love it. I hope you dig sand between your toes as much as Daddy and I do. I hope you don’t eat it.

This Month in Guppy Growth

  • You LOVE to eat. You get very excited when you see food coming, kicking your legs and clasping your hands together in the sign language indication for “more.” You eat much of what we eat. Recent favorites include pizza, cheeseburger, peanut butter toast and endless summer berries. Most exotic stuff of late includes burrata and sticky rice with mango.
  • You’re now very capable of drinking from a handled sippy cup by yourself, and you’ve also mastered sucking through a straw. You like water almost as much as you like food.
  • For a brief moment, you were roaring like a lion in response to us saying, “Roar!” Now, when we roar, you look at us like we’re crazy.
  • You babble and squeal up a storm. You’ve got all sorts of consonant sounds, and you’ve even got some compound ones (nnn-GAH is a favorite), but so far there’s been no “mamma” or “dada” that actually refers to us.
  • You’ve learned how to “jump” on your bed. You stand holding onto the front rail and bounce up and down with so much exuberance that I don’t have the heart to tell you that jumping on the bed is a no-no. We’ll get there eventually.