To Get or Not to Get
Our daughter is 9 months old, so she has spent more time outside the womb than in. I feel it’s an apt time to review her progress by looking at what she does and doesn’t get.
Food Her forays into the world of culinary taste acquisition leave a lot to be desired. We try immensely hard through experimentation to get the right nutrients and variety of taste into her system with marginal success.
But she’ll always without hesitation put non-food products in her mouth such as wax and paper. One time I bought a large ironing board and jokingly put it on her lap as she sat in the pram. She then had the audacity to attempt to shove the board in her mouth.
Why she won’t taste a simple biscuit though is beyond me.
Expensive Toys Brightly painted hand-made wooden toys, designed to please any child, should represent in Alika’s world the pinnacle of human accomplishment. I have watched my daughter crawl halfway across a room, leaving these toys untouched, to play with and be amused for hours by some dirty scrap paper that you could find in a rubbish bin.
Depth perspective A weird one, because she has good eyesight, once recognising her mother walking towards her from 100 meters away. But place her on the edge of a bed, couch, or cliff face and she can causally crawl without hesitation towards the abyss with little expectation for the coming important life lesson that 10 centimetre drops or more are painful.
This should change soon as apparently babies develop the notion of fear at around 9 months.
Parental authority Nuff said.
Physics When you hold something it falls, and then someone picks it up after you. One day in a shop a lady gave Alika a helium balloon. When Alika let go of the balloon it floated upwards.
I expected Alika to say, “woah, what the …? Huh? It went up. Nothing goes up! This is amazing. SOMEONE EXPLAIN THIS TO ME! That’s so cool. I wonder if my stupid parents have seen this.”
The event – one that must have questioned all her observations of the physical world around her – was barely met with a shrug.
People are not the same Over one hectic four-day period, my wife and I with Alika in tow went to a couple of weddings in Italy and Austria.
In Italy she stole the show. She was the centre of attention, got taken away by waiters in restaurants to display her to the kitchen staff, people stopped her in the street to get down to her eye level and acclaim what a cutie she was, smile and shake her hand and pinch her cheeks. She loved the attention, giving back smiles and cuddly expressions to all and sundry.
Our next stop was Vienna. As my wife was pushing her through the airport terminal, Alika’s arms where extended out in a welcoming embrace for the new country and trying to catch anyone’s eyes. After a while, a look of confusion and bewilderment settled across her face – one that she kept for a few days – as suddenly she wasn’t getting the level of adulation here that she had become accustomed to from Italians. She’ll carry that scar for a long time.
Conceptual Continuity In the distant past a few months ago I was somewhat proud of the fact that I could pretty much read our daughter like a book, easily gauging her moods and knowing the appropriate action to take to suit any situation. I knew well what action would produce the desired outcome should she be tired, grumpy, bored, hungry etc.
Well, I’m never taking her for granted again. Greater mood variations occur that do not correlate to past observation, which in turn do not match previous causation, and situations cannot be ameliorated if there is a problem according to intervention that had worked before. Yep, she’s becoming more female everyday.
Locomotion There was a time I could put Alika on the play mat in the middle of the lounge room and go have a shower, maybe a coffee with a friend outside and a bit of shopping, come back and she’ll be exactly in the same position as I left her.
Nowadays, she’s got the crawling thing down pat – her first attempts at crawling generally resulted in her going backwards arse first into a wall – and there is nothing too uninteresting that can’t be crawled towards and investigated, especially…
Stairs She loves stairs. It’s the ultimate trip for her, a multi-levelled challenge and each small altitude change brings an unexpected new view across the room. The trouble is that she is yet to learn that stairs also go down – sometimes very fast.
Sleep When someone asks how our daughter sleeps, we usually reply with an innocent “10-hours-a-night-thanks-for-asking-is-that-not-normal-really?-yours-doesn’t-gosh-yes-10-hours-a-night.”
Unfortunately that smugness may come back to bite us as she’s regressed slightly and wakes up now in the middle of the night crying loudly several times a week and will only calm down once she’s placed in our bed.
Which all just goes to show that what she gets and doesn’t get is fluid. My bet is the most fluid will be her understanding of parental authority.