Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I stick my tongue out at thee, sir

Robert is going through another growth spurt, I think, but not a physical one. Rather, he's leaping forward in his mental development. He seems to be able to see farther, focus more carefully, and pay attention to something for much longer, than he could even a week ago. He plays what we call "the faces game": I stick my tongue out at him; he does the same. He grins at me, I smile back. I laugh. He laughs. Etc. Repeat for maybe five minutes at a time. It probably doesn't sound like much, but in its own way it is amazing; suddenly, he recognizes the relationship between the tongue in my face, and his own. He can stick his tongue out, not to lick something or as an unconscious reaction to hunger, but intentionally. When we first brought him home from the hospital, he barely opened his eyes during the first several days. Everything he did then, was reaction, reflex. So much growth, so fast... he is moving from merely reacting to external stimuli, to actually acting from within. He's thinking.

While this is fascinating and fun to watch, it's also exhausting; so much is going on in his little head that he can't seem to deal with it all, and it makes him cranky and difficult to handle. It's harder for him to settle down, and to sleep. He has a new cry to go with his new thinking phase: a loud, pissed-off, angry, wailing, scream. A purposeful cry. He is trying to learn to suck his thumb. This is harder for him than I thought it could be; some babies do it right after birth. He can purposefully un-fist his hand, wriggle his thumb, and open his mouth, but when it comes to making contact, he just smacks himself in the face... repeatedly. The only times he's succeeded, so far, were when he was asleep on his side, and it just happened. I guess those instances were enough to let him know that this is something he wants to do, so it seems that whenever he's awake and his arms are free, he is waving them furiously, and hitting himself in the mouth. At the moment, he is asleep with his arms tightly swaddled. He didn't get much sleep last night (nor did I, of course), and seems to be catching up. I'd be thrilled except that he's missed feeding time, and pretty soon I shall explode like a milk-filled pinata.

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