asphodellium

Posts Tagged ‘standing

In the early months, most of the unsolicited parenting advice I received revolved around breastfeeding and having enough milk. Lately it’s all about … standing?

See, Ashelyn mastered pulling up at around six months. She loves being upright, loves to stand and walk while holding onto our fingers. I’ll set her down in the crib or playard, and three seconds later she’s peering at me over the edge.

So I’m getting a lot of flak from people who say that it’s too early for Ashelyn to stand, that because her legs aren’t yet fully developed standing will cause them to become crooked. And then I’ll have a bow-legged child. Once I was even told that any standing before the age of one would stunt her linguistic development.

Seriously, where does this stuff come from? Because my understanding was that it’s normal for babies to be a little bow-legged from being squished inside the womb. And that the legs will straighten soon enough – helped along, in fact, by the redistribution of weight that comes from standing and walking!

Besides, how am I supposed to keep Ashelyn from bearing weight on her legs if that’s what she wants to do? Am I to push her over when she pulls up? Because I can hear the resultant screaming already.

That’s my complaint about this kind of alarmism, I think. New mothers tend to have pretty fragile psyches, and words like that – well-intentioned as they may be – stoke issues of fear and insecurity. Then, in the drive to be safe over sorry, to do everything right, all the joy is drained out of baby’s first year.

That’s a lot of joy to be cheated out of, really.

So I discard a good 95% of what people tell me, without guilt, and I’m able to relax and savour this brief time. I heeded my midwives, I trust our family doctor, and I have a robust filter for internet misinformation and pseudoscience. And I know my daughter.

She’ll be fine.

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Early this month, at a friend’s house, daddy was making you chase our old iPod Touch to and fro across the carpet. This was great entertainment for everyone, and soon you were surrounded by a ring of iPhones. After a moment of WHOA! MOTHERLODE! you went for the one with the camouflage patterned case. (To be clear, all the others were black.)

Bright, shiny objects catch your attention – jewellery, cell phone screens, faucets, the metal legs of the loveseat at grandma’s place.

You hate it when I sit in front of the computer. I’m thus in a perpetual state of being behind on my correspondence.

The sounds you make are freaking hilarious. There’s the scream, and the squeal, and the squeak. There’s the simba growl. There’s the mocking babble, just like the teen tuning out the nagging mother: Blah blah blah, whatever. (I promise not to be a nagging mother …)

I’ve noticed that you go, “Uuhn uuhn uuhn!” when you want to be picked up. You also started doing the outstretched arms thing this month.

You’ve got a nasty, all-fingers-at-once pinch. And a nasty habit of pinching the boob that feeds you.

You’re trying to stand on your own. Or you forget that you can’t quite do that yet, and you’ll let go of whatever you’re holding onto for support. Then you fall on your butt, and the shocked expression on your face is priceless.

On the solid foods front: tofu, papaya, and cantaloupe have been the biggest hits. You’ve also had avocado, broccoli, banana, zucchini, shiitake mushroom, bits of rice and noodle. You weren’t a huge fan of egg yolk or pomelo. Whenever we introduce a new food you make this sour gollum face, like, “What the heck is this?” but usually you’ll eat it anyway.

This month also marked your second cold. Most likely you caught it from daddy. It wasn’t really his fault, because even though he tried to be super careful, I wasn’t. I need an extra set of hands and eyes sometimes, alright? So I can do normal human things, you know, like shower. Also, antibodies. I have high hopes that you inherited the impenetrable Zhou immune system; you were only snotty for a couple days and well again within the week.

You like to mess with daddy by kissing mama but refusing to kiss him, eh heh heh. Instead, you’ll give him the hand. And smirk.

Dear Ashelyn,

You’re six months old! You don’t look much like your newborn self; your complexion has lightened considerably, for one. Do I even remember how to handle a floppy infant?

You haven’t been floppy for a long time. A couple weeks ago you surprised us by pulling up into a standing position in the bassinet … and almost pitching over the side. Is sitting up not enough for you? You’re really good at that now, no more toppling over. Now you want to hold onto our fingers and do squats. Girl, I can barely do squats.

You’re a robust one, for sure, brimming with energy and eagerness. Lately you’ve been working on your crawl. Though it’s still in caterpillar-shuffle territory at the moment, I’ve a feeling that won’t be for long. You’re hitting every milestone so early I have to remind myself it doesn’t mean anything beyond bragging rights for the parents; all babies learn to walk and talk in the end.

I still think you’re a genius, though, of course. That’s my prerogative as a mother.

Two favoured syllables have surfaced from your abundant chatter. One is “ngar,” the happy word. I like to watch you say it, the odd way you work your tongue to shape the sound. The other is something like “nya” or “yeh” (as in, “Nya nya NYA NYEH YEH!”), clearly a complaint along the lines of, “Why aren’t you picking me up?!”

When you’re really excited, you scream. And sometimes you’ll beat your arms against your tummy in accompaniment. You know your uncle David, the one who’s always all up in your face? He’s your future drum teacher.

I’ve seen you cross-examining your fingers, slowly clenching and unclenching your fist. Undoubtedly scheming what to snatch out of our hands next, how to stuff it into your mouth before we can stop you. Already you’ve swiped one of my mugs off the counter, where the handle broke off against the kitchen floor.

Last Sunday you somehow managed to give your father a nosebleed, WHILE YOU WERE ASLEEP. Apparently you were napping in the sling when you entered thrash mode and attacked his face. One of your fingers went up his nose and scratched a little too hard. When I arrived at the scene of the crime, you were still sleeping innocently, and your father? He rolled his eyes at me, a wad of bloody tissues in his hand.

See, this is why daddy sleeps in the spare room. Unfortunately you aren’t the greatest of sleepers, though I wouldn’t say you’re a terrible one either. You haven’t slept more than eight hours in a row; recently it’s been closer to four or five, occasionally less. We might want to do something about this soon.

Anyway, you make up for that by pooping in the potty! So far I’ve caught five and missed one. Yes, that’s six poops total over a span of three weeks. Yesterday you pooped twice, perfectly normal peanut-butter poops, after ten days of complete pooplessness. Even I was close to calling the newborn hotline. Except you were still so happy! If this is how your plumbing works, well, let’s just say it’s not far from my normal but very, very far from your father’s.

Also, even though I can’t tell when you pee, we’ve caught five in the potty. Easy catches, like after naps. The cool thing is you seem to have made the necessary associations on your own. And you’re so proud of yourself afterwards.

For better or worse, motherhood has awakened a part of me that will always be aware of your existence. Even when someone else is looking after you, there’s a corner of my psyche preoccupied with where you are, how you’re doing. I wonder if this ever lets up. It’s alright if it doesn’t, because you are a delight.

Love,
Mama