Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Baby Phase

Any Scrubs fans will probably remember the exchange that I'm about to describe:

Dr. Cox and Jordan, who have been divorced for quite awhile but had a child together because they continued to hook up, gave expectant nurse Carla all of their baby stuff from their son, who is now about 3, as a shower gift. They rejoiced at the fact that by passing off the baby paraphernalia, they are freeing themselves of the "relationship-killing nightmare that is the baby phase" (and if you know the quote better than I, please correct me).

Until, of course, Jordan finds out that she is pregnant again.

Don't worry, I'm not pregnant again. At least not to my knowledge.

But I've been working this particular entry in my head for a little while (and you'd think I'd come up with something better, or at least get the quote right). The Baby Phase. What exactly does it mean? When does it end? I used to think that it would end at 1 year because I would then have a walking, talking toddler. Ladies and gentlemen, my son will be a year old in 10 days, and he neither walks nor talks. We need to come up with some better criteria than just age, as he doesn't have the sense of irony to start doing both of those things on his birthday. At least I don't think he does.

Is it when they have mastered the sippy cup? That, the ultimate toddler prop? Doubt it--The Boy has been drinking water and juice from the sippy cup since he was 6 months old. I guess mastery happened at closer to 7 months, when he also got the food concept down. But that was a personal preference, to serve him his meals with a sippy cup at the table.

What about when they can feed themselves? Doesn't work--again, a personal preference for not wanting to play the airplane game and instead letting The Boy explore his food as is developmentally appropriate.

Walking? Perhaps. But how good do they have to be? And does that even matter? Hepcat and Chynna's daughter has been walking since she was about 9 months old and was able to run for the doctor at her 1-year checkup. Yet, she is still a baby. There's no doubt. If they can take 5 steps does it not count, but 6 steps and they're a walker?

Talking? Well how much do they have to say?

Maybe it's a little later on. Perhaps "toddler" is an arbitrary distinction based on walking ability and appearance but very little really changes except for the amount of chasing you have to do and the overall skill level. Maybe it's...potty training.

I don't know about that either, because I've seen plenty of kids who definitely didn't seem like babies to me running around the playground with that old familiar plastic and paper sticking out of their size 4T bluejeans.

It's so interesting to watch the progression. The Boy's relatively average gross motor and verbal skills don't compare at all to his great fine motor skills. If we actually were to give him Cheerios, I doubt he'd drop a single one unless he were doing it on purpose. He picks up peas one by one. He caught a ladybug about 2 months ago. It was moving, as ladybugs tend to do. He still managed to pounce on it and get it in his mouth. Ew.

So do tell me, when is the baby phase over? I'm going to miss it quite a bit, because The Boy is one cute baby.

I guess it happens a little more like this, as this mommy writes in her blog, where you look around and all of a sudden you realize that your little baby is now a little boy or little girl. I know that it hasn't happened for us yet although we can definitely see in his face and his mannerisms what kind of kid he's going to be. Even his appearance has changed. Those cheeks, while still chubby, come out from an otherwise angular face. His face is shaped like mine although he has a distinctive chin. His eyes...well, those have been charming people since the day he was born. There's a photo somewhere among our computers here from the day that he was born, in which he was looking right at the camera and saying, "That's right, I'm handsome--take my picture. Yes, take my picture because you just can't help yourself."


Chuck, Sarah and Emily said...

Wow--I was just thinking today how Em is growing up too fast--and she's only 7m--your post reminds me again to savor every second of it--because it will be gone in the blink of an eye! Hope the beginning of the year goes well for you :)

Musical Daddy said...

Don't forget - he's got my family's nose, also.