Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Baby Human Tricks

Anna is up to new tricks -- every day, it seems.

Trick 1: While getting a clean bum, lying on her changing table, she rolls onto her side, crosses her legs, arches her back, throws her head back, and reaches over her head to knock the vaseline off the table and onto the floor. Then she giggles at the clatter and looks for other items to toss. She has become a perfect sculptor's model for torsion. In art history, they didn't explain that the development of classical statuary, from straight up and down to contrapostto, followed the patterns of baby human development.

I urge you all to attempt to change a baby who is lying on her side with her legs crossed and her back arched all the way back. Anna's dad, who can paint eyeballs onto angels on the heads of pins, throws his hands up in the air in despair when dealing with our dervish.

I should never have told her that the vaseline is made from "dinosaur trees." It just spurred her on.

Trick 2: While standing around at her grandma's house, supported under the arms by her Aunt Andrea, she loosened up her formerly rigid knees and lifted her right leg like a high-stepping horse on parade. And forward she stepped. She kinda only "stepped" in this way with her right leg, which means she mostly spun in a circle. Practising pivots for basketball, perhaps?

Trick 3: Yesterday, while I was folding the clothes on the bed, I propped Anna against some pillows. From a position leaning back on the pillows at a 45 degree angle, she pushed her elbows back and raised herself to sitting. She toppled over when she got overexcited because of the praise being lavished on her for her strength and ingenuity -- but she went on to repeat her little sit-up six or eight times -- until her father came into the room to see, and then she wouldn't do it again. She was too busy gazing adoringly at her father.


Today, we also played with her little toy drum and little toy xylophone, but her movements aren't quite subtle enough for those toys, yet. She can grab the little toy mallet and aim it at the instrument well enough, but she hits it with an almighty, unmusical force, then draws the mallet back and bonks herself on the forehead with it.

Anna still always wants to do the next thing. She's very reachy, grabby, and lean-forwardy this week. In yoga, pushing too far forward suggests a preoccupation with the future, and I guess babies have to be future-oriented to some extent -- but we're all enjoying the moment, moment to moment, too, and we hope she'll enjoy her journeys as much as her destinations.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

A Good Day

Some mornings, Anna wakes up and it's as though she has done weeks' worth of developing during her sleep. This morning, she got up early with her Dad while I slept peacefully through the news I had stayed in bed as a pretext for listening to. I missed some of the action, but I can still attest that she ran the full repertoire of her tricks -- rolling over this way and that, holding her bottle by herself, laughing and giggling and babbling, trying to chase the cat, kicking and grabbing her toys, drinking water out of a glass, trying to pet the cat, drooling on anything inanimate enough to get into her clutches, testing her gag reflex with her fingers and thumb (still works!), throwing and then reaching for her jangly soft blocks, trying to lick the cat.

She was so happy and so pleased with herself -- not frustrated that she couldn't do more, just excited by what she was accomplishing. What a sweet little butter bean.

In fact, she only managed to do one thing to break down her mother's resolve: she looked beautiful and glowing in her little suitie. Now, I've been resisting very strongly the enforced Wearing of Pink for Girls. I try to put her in other colours when we go out in public. But I'm more resistant to buying new clothes than I am to avoiding pink, so the pink hand-me-downs come out fairly regularly, for all. And, to the great amusement of anyone who knows my convictions, Anna looks fantastic in pink. All shades of pink. All patterns of pink. She just sits there, looking stunning. In pink. Of all colours.

Monday, February 5, 2007

The Further Adventures of . . .

Anna Sophia is growing and changing faster than we're able to keep track. She continues to be a bright and active baby who only cries when she knows she's starting to fall asleep and might have to miss something. As she goes through life, she will discover . . . that she's not missing much. Her parents live boring lives when she is asleep and tend to fall back on DVDs of Corner Gas for entertainment. And let's not even mention American Idol.

As I write, Anna is lying on her back on her play mat with one hand in her mouth and a toy mirror between her feet. She intermittently kicks her toys or grabs them with both hands or dandles them between her feet. She sometimes rolls over onto one side to look at Moon, the cat, to see if she's still asleep.

When the cat wakes up, she walks and jumps around and around the room for the baby's entertainment, but she knows to stay just out of reach. Anna wants to pet the cat more than anything in the world. The few times she has succeeded, she has been gentle, but Moon is wisely wary and is enjoying the time she still has left to be in control of the situation.

Anna is never satisfied to do what she already knows she can do and is always keen to do the next thing. She doesn't bother to roll all the way over, except when comfort requires it -- she's too busy trying to sit up. And if she's propped up in a sitting position, she's launching herself forward over her feet into a crawling position. As always, what she loves best is to stand up and hold her own weight. She still can't do much from a standing position, but nowadays, rather than just standing rigid, she experiments with bending her knees and leaning forward as far as she can. Leaning forward is a big theme in any position. When we sit at the piano, she tries to play it with her head. So much for those long, elegant fingers.

This week, Anna is eating everything in sight, whether it is food or not. Everything goes into her drooly mouth. And everything gets chewed. She doesn't suck her thumb, she gnaws on it. The soothie is rarely used for sucking -- just for chewing. She can pull it out of her mouth and put it back in, now, but she usually likes to put it in sideways or backwards, the better for mashing between her gums. On Friday, she discovered that it was particularly fun to put her soothie in her mouth and pull her bottom lip over the bottom edge of it and then chew. She has done this several times since.

Anna is fascinated when her parents drink from a cup or eat real food. She makes a grab for cups, especially, and has great success with glasses of cold water. She likes to steady the glass in her little hands and gum the edge to sip as much water as she can get. I've decided that it isn't too horribly unhygienic to share my glasses of water with her in this way, considering everything else she chews on. I've tasted her fingers, for the sake of science, and they don't taste like distilled water in a clean glass. They taste of floor.

Funnily enough, while she was sucking back a glass of water at lunch today, I decided to see if she wanted to drink a little bit of her formula from her glass. Nothing doing. She pushed it away (and spilled the whole sipful in the cup all over her sleeper, something she never does with the water). Her look clearly told me that glasses are for grown-up drinks, not baby drinks. Bottles are for baby drinks. I had made a categorical error. Luckily, she knows I'm still in training, so I got off with a reprimand and an order to launder her wet sleeper.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

The Failure of Philosophy and Science in the Face of Baby

Anna Sophia makes a liar out of me. Not that it takes much. Lying is an inherited, endemic family trait -- tho' we usually like to think of it as "storytelling" at best or "embellishment" at worst.

For all my claims that Anna was not eating well last week, she is growing normally, healthily, beautifully. What she wasn't doing well last week was making a transition. This has happened before -- the week before making a big jump in her eating or sleeping or any other big change to her regular routine, she hardly eats at all, and she fusses about her food, and she resists all interventions -- then kaboom, she suddenly starts to eat everything in sight. Anna woke up on Monday morning and started to eat like a ravenous animal.

It turns out that babies dissolve the part of your brain that is capable of making rational assessments on the topic of Baby. (People who generalize this brain deterioration and claim that women become irretrievably irrational when they get pregnant and give birth can go directly to hell, but I will grant that when it comes to the topic of my baby, my ability to think logically might be a little bit compromised.)

I acknowledge that last week, my concern about Anna's eating was illogical. And by illogical, I mean based on faulty logic. In fact, I mean based on two contradictory premises. My thinking went a bit like this:
Premise 1: She's putting on weight, which should mean she needs more food, but she's not eating more food, so I really should be worried.
Premise 2: She's not putting on weight, even though she's growing, which should mean she needs more food, but she's not eating more food, so I really should be worried.

I'm not sure how I managed to hold simultaneously on to the thoughts that she needed more food to grow and that she was growing so much she needed more food.

For what it's worth, I still insist that my concern over her eating last week was Justifiable. How could it not be when I went to such lengths to justify it?

(Ah, grasshopper, the tautologies grow more taut.)

Stephen, the type who bases conclusions on evidence rather than logic, was no less tripped up by last week's lack of appetite. He hypothesized that Anna was not eating because the calcium build-up in our sterilizing pot tasted bad and was turning her off. He stopped using the pot, she started eating better, and -- voila -- hypothesis proved. In his mind, anyway. Never mind that he ignored a number of important variables in the experiment: for instance, the fact that her soy formula tastes like ass with crushed up vitamins, anyway.