Real Development

Exhausted after a social afternoon with no nap, Felix conked out early last night, waking up at five this morning full of energy. Stifling my sleepy grumbles, baby and I retreated downstairs so S could get some sleep. I plugged in the string lights in the living room–a lingering trace of my childhood Christmas fanaticism–and laid him on my lap. He’s now able to swivel his head and focus on the lights. As I held him up closer to them, he arched his back, stretching up, and brought a hand around to touch one of the glowing masses. He broke into one of the biggest, goofiest, most beautifully sincere grins I’ve ever seen.

A nurse told us that baby development happens from the head down. First they develop neck control, then they learn how to grab things, then with trunk strength they sit up, with hip coordination they crawl, and finally they’re on their feet. My non-baby-tested self took this literally, thinking I would check one thing off before seeing signs of the next. In reality, Felix is an active cloud of development.

He can’t quite hold that huge head of his up, and when he does keep it steady a minute or two later it drops back down, usually with some force. He doesn’t seem to mind conking it about. (Daddy, on the other hand, often lets out an “ow” when baby headbutts his chin. It smarts!) Simultaneously, he’s learning that he has hands–touching things and occasionally taking hold of them. And he’s already playing with his legs. One of his favorite activities is being supported in a standing position. His bent knees straighten as he pushes off of my stomach, and when I support his upper body he pumps his thighs up and down in a mock-walk.

So don’t be deceived next time you see an infant. Wiry muscles are hiding under that baby pudge!

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