Into The Thicket Of Dreary Oranges

Back in February I mentioned the "fourth trimester" in the context of appreciating the grace period nature allows parents to get their shit together before the clock starts ticking. In short, in general, for the first three months babies' brains are sufficiently undeveloped to the point that you probably won't screw up anything too badly.

I don't believe in "intelligent design," and I don't even think I understand what that term means, but I love how brilliant anthropology is. Or at least how brilliant human physiology is, in the sense that it's great that human pelvises are small and that babies are born with underdeveloped brains which ends up giving us this grace period to figure out what is going on.

Sometimes when I talked about this idea it was in the context of conveying a faux modesty about how we weren't really doing anything that impressive by keeping Animal fed and diapered. The idea being, under three months no real parenting is happening — none of the heavy lifting like you see in tender moments in the final minutes of a sitcom, for example, or maybe The Road or whatever.

So anyway, for a while we had that to fall back on. And then the other day Animal reached the end of his "fourth trimester" when he turned three months. And now I'm scared.

What has changed? I was looking at pictures we've taken during the past three months, and he's definitely cuter. He smiles all the time now, and not just after urinating in his diaper. He responds very favorably when we say the word, "noodlehead," almost laughing.

Just the other day we had an unconfirmed report from Animal's grandparents that he grabbed his foot. I've never seen him do this. When we give him "tummy time" — that sadistic rite of passage in which babies are plopped down on their bellies and forced to lift their heads — he turns about 40 percent of the way onto his back. I am convinced he is mimicking me when I point with my index finger. I spend an inordinate amount of time point-point-pointing at Animal. Lately he has started to grab my finger. This will do.

Anyway, there are all manner of milestones that we think we've seen Animal reach, all of which are completely boring to anyone outside of about six relatives of ours. Well, except for one thing — those weird spit bubbles are apparently a developmental milestone, too. That was funny to us.

Speaking of saliva, Jen mentioned the other day that if she had one word to describe her life now, it would be "damp," what with all the spit, drool, pee and whatever else. The drool is really something. I mentioned "tummy time" before — and I know it's important for his head strength and whatever else — but what he's really good at during tummy time seems to be drooling. So much so that one of his latest nicknames is "Loord Drool."

Three months . . . wow! "Wow" happens to be one of the words I'm "teaching" Animal — for two reasons: One, it's fun, and two, I have this idea that he's watching my lips and learning how to speak, so it's good to have a variety of words/mouth movements. The latest project involves getting a jump on words that tend to be difficult to pronounce, so I spend time on tricky phrases. "A thicket of dreary oranges," for example, and old standbys like "perilously placed nuclearized wasps' nests."

Today Jen forwarded me this Charlie Brooker Guardian piece about him witnessing his wife's C-section. She thought it was nice. The other day I mentioned that our friend Emily said that it's a thing when you finally meet a baby smaller and younger than your own, this march of time that sneaks up on you. I haven't seen a younger baby than Animal, but I suppose this might count? He is three months you know.

Oh, and yes, we're keeping him. The hospital did have a great 90-day return policy, but now that that's passed, he is ours to keep.

Posted: April 2nd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: The Cult Of Domesticity | Tags: , , , , , ,

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