I last wrote an age-related piece about Charlie when he was five months, and when I was seriously smitten with every sweet baby curl on his head. I still am, of course, but now he’s double the age and has had double the time to learn some bad habits, I figured I would let new parents whose kids aren’t there yet what they have in store. My parental public service announcement, if you will.
He is chubbier. Bubbas at 5 months are still a bit skinny for my liking; I love a fat thigh to nibble on as much as the next mama. If your bubba’s yet to pork it on, never fear: the pudge is coming.
He plays properly. Charlie’s favourite thing right now is to crawl away really fast, turn around and grin cheekily at me so I’ll crawl after him. I have never crawled around on floors more than I have in the last month, but the loud chortling and the fact that I get to tickle his tubby tummy is worth all the knee pain later.
He talks all day. The gurgling, the chit-chat, the ‘Oh!’s and the ‘Oooh!’s and the trying-to-imitate-you noises … it all reaches peak cuteness in the tenth month. Mr Chick and I could sit there all day and just listen to him bleating on about nothing or talking to his books and toys, or watch him bashing things with his fat paws. Invariably though, one or both of us feels he is too cute and must submit to a new tickling session so we can hear his delicious laughter for the 7689th time that day.
He has teeth. If there is anything more adorable than a baby with curls and two bottom teeth I want to know about it. Actually no I don’t. Let me live in my obsessive bubba love bubble a while longer.
Mealtimes are… interesting. It’s good being able to hand him chunks of stuff and let him have a gnaw rather than having to puree night after night. But then there are the times Charlie won’t eat anything. Or he’ll eat an entire orange at the supermarket then never eat it again. Or you’ll spend half an hour making fried rice only to have him refuse even a spoonful. Or, he’ll put something in his mouth, chew it, then open his mouth and let it fall back out. And don’t get me started on his habit of bashing all the food on his tray like a butcher. Sometimes he’ll bash it for a while, then do a clean sweep with one chubby hand so it all ends up on the floor. So that’s dinner.
They get a whole lot more adventurous. I heard this from so many parents, and it’s true: once they’re on the move you are screwed. Yesterday Charlie climbed on top of a shelf that was just a little lower than his high chair. I turned around and there he was, sitting on the shelf. I nearly had a heart attack. Similarly, I lost him the other day, only to finally locate him under the coffee table. He’d just crawled under there, gotten stuck and couldn’t get out. He did the same under a dining room chair. He was like a freaked-out baby contortionist who’d thought it was a good idea at the time, then did a massive three-sixty after the audience was assembled.
They fall over a lot. A friend of mine said it’s not a normal day unless her baby has bumped his head. I totally get that now. I realise how good I had it being able to just plonk him anywhere and have him stay there.
They get fixated on things. On any given day, we will look at the photos on the fridge and talk about who’s in each one about 100 times a day. If we’re near the front door, he has to inspect each panel of the stained glass window slooowly. I can’t get the Bonjela out without him wanting to gnaw on it (and I live in fear of him somehow getting the lid off and swallowing it). We have to read Peekaboo Farm about 25 times a day and every single time I have to remind him not to yank on the pop-up animals because they just won’t survive another sticky-tape surgery session.
Arching the back tantrums. Give me explosive poo, give me PURPLE crying, I’ll even take the eye gouging stage over the arching of the back phase Charlie’s in. He does it in the pram. He does it in the highchair. He does it when I put him to bed. It is quite tricky wrangling a baby that is trying to go stiff as a board, and when accompanied by a high pitched screaming, it’s doubly awesome.
Daddy-related tantrums. He cracks it if daddy walks out of the room. He cracks it if daddy’s cuddling him and puts him down. He cracks it if daddy returns from somewhere and doesn’t acknowledge him immediately. Basically he is a total daddy’s boy sooky la-la.
No-you-can’t-have-my-phone tantrums. I was an idiot to ever introduce him to Talking Carl.
Are your kids the same age or older? What have I got to look forward to? And WHAT can I do about the back arching thing? It is seriously doing my nut.