What’s new in the baby business
This is what my friend Cari always asks the babies (she has a wealth of Cari-isms that we love, including calling baby boogers “bats in the cave”).
Baths: How I have not mentioned bathtime before? As soon as the water starts running in the tub, all three make a beeline for the gate that looks into the bathroom, yelling excitedly over the torrent. We tried having all three in the tub at once, but the tub is not big enough for three movers and standers, so we assembly-line it: two babies to start, and when the first one comes out, the third one goes in.
It is at minimum a two-adult operation. All three love standing (Jamie has started trying to walk) in the tub, which makes bathtime more stressful than fun at the moment–no one has gotten injured yet, but it seems imminent with all the slipping and crashing. The baby being physically held in a seated position lets the neighborhood know how unjust the situation is.
Addendum: this past weekend we have switched to a one-baby-at-a-time assembly line, and it is much calmer for all involved.
Ergo: good Lord, I love my Ergo. Being able to carry a baby hands-free is fantastic (and allows me not to leave a baby in the stroller in the garage when I’m by myself–which I think they appreciate too).
I also love the sensations of carrying each baby. Audrey likes bouncing, so we bounce behind the double jogger (mostly downhill). Theresa often falls asleep on my back, so I feel her little hands on my ribs, holding my shirt or one of the straps, and her head resting between my shoulder blades. Jamie cranes around me to see what’s ahead. Recently he has discovered trees (especially since we learned the sign; he signs “tree” over and over), so we stop to let him touch different trees on the sidewalk.
ET: at mealtime, they love touching one pointer finger to an adult’s pointer, like in E.T. Jamie thinks it’s hysterical when he wraps a hand around my finger and I twist it in his palm.
Talking: I always thought it appalling that my mom could not remember my first word. “I think it was ‘dad,'” she said when I asked her many years ago. Now I understand that first words are not abrupt proclamations but rather evolved imitations of adults’ speaking.
Jamie, who loves trees, says “eeee” whenever he sees a particularly interesting tree. Audrey has been imitating the tonal pattern and consonant sounds of “thank you” (and the sign, but she does so when she gives something to me, because that’s when I say “thank you” to her). Theresa says what sounds like “keeee” when Callie arrives in the room.
Maybe, though, we should count “dada” as their first word, because they certainly use that term correctly and with enthusiasm.
Signs: ball; light; shoes. For “bike” we use a huffing-and-puffing sound, because we were reading it in a book of many vehicles (and frankly it’s fun to think up what sound to use for helicopter). They make that sound every time they see a picture of or an actual bike.
Specifics: Audrey now crawls into my lap for storytime if I am sitting on the floor. She has also started shaking her head “no”–sometimes correctly for the context, and sometimes not, like when our new nanny asked her if she wanted more chicken, and she shook her head “no” while reaching for and then ingesting said chicken.
Theresa also has mastered the refusal: she not only pushes away the cup or food with an outstretched arm, but she also turns her whole body away from the undesired object. She needs a lot of mommy or daddy time recently; we are not sure if it is due to illness or fatigue or strong emotions, but she likes to be held a lot, and gets very upset if the parent holding her needs to put her down.
Jamie’s new favorite book is Frog’s Friends, an Easter present from Nana and Grampy. He walks around the room with it in his outstretched hands like an offering to the gods of storytime. Often, when I attempt to take it from him to read it with him, he refuses to let go and walks away, still hanging on to the book. This book kept him relatively quiet but more importantly still during Mass this past weekend.
In the past few days, they have started noticing each other and waving to each other like they do elsewhere (they are great wavers, Audrey and Theresa especially; they wave hello and goodbye to people, animals, places, plants…). This seems like a milestone.
On our walk this afternoon, we ran into a neighbor, Glenn, who walked with us for eight blocks or so. I was reminded of how much I love our neighbors and neighborhood.
Grampy note: My dad, king of dramatic reading for children’s literature (see Grover’s The Monster at the End of This Book), ad libbed some scat for Baby Beluga. We would like him to know that the “boogity boogity boogity” and “boom boom boom” bridges are still sung every time.