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The Fine Art of Baby Wrangling

Theron turned seven months old yesterday. This means, among other things, that I'll soon be able to start giving his age in years instead of months. (Anything that involves me not having to do so much math is a welcome development.) The predictions I made in the pre-Christmas entry were a bit premature: Theron still can't quite crawl. (Maybe the house wasn't crowded enough?) On the other hand, he did have a wonderful time chewing on  the wrapping paper - so I was half right.

The Podling has reached an interesting intermediate stage in his development: he's actually more interested in trying to stand up than he is in trying to crawl. Friends and family have assured us that this is fairly normal, and doesn't mean that he'll {gasp} bypass crawling altogether and go straight to walking. A few of our friends have pointed out even if he does, it isn't a very big deal.* As far as I'm concerned, it's basically a good thing. Now he doesn't have to spend all his time being frustrated that he can't quite crawl; he can spend his time being frustrated that he can't stand up, instead.

Even so, he's frighteningly mobile. He gets around using a combination of wiggling, lunging, sitting up, pulling himself forward with his elbows, and grabbing anything handy to help himself along. He's still better at going backwards than he is at going forward, but he can make progress by changing directions and wriggling sideways before rotating again - sort of like tacking a sailboat. His current game is to move towards one of us and try to climb us. I think he does this because he knows we'll pull him up to a standing position.

To understand why I find this development terrifying, you have to add two other factors into the equation. First, he has absolutely no regard for his personal survival. And, second, like all babies he has an instinctive knack for heading towards whatever (item or area) his parents least want him exposed to. So, after the third time he unplugged the television, we made an emergency run to Toys'R'Us and purchased a plastic baby fence. We've been using it as a corral while we finish baby-proofing the living room. The Podling is no longer just "the Podling." We've started calling him "The Juggernaut" as well. 

He has also developed a deep, strong love for the cats and an ardent desire to pet them. As a result of his newfound mobility, the kitties are very careful about how closely they approach him. They live in fear of the day when he can crawl - or toddle - and thereby seek them out in their places of refuge.  

He's had his rice cereal. Is it time for citrus fruits yet?
A couple of days ago we set the Podling in a foam-rubber chair on top of the kitchen table while we ate dinner. (This was not as dangerous as it might sound; the chair keeps him fairly well anchored, and so far he's shown no ability to get out of it. That's not to say he hasn't tried.)

Being unable to move, he immediately fell back on his second favorite activity: trying to grab things. I thought we'd cleared a wide enough circle around him, and in the event he wasn't able to pull over our water glasses or stick his pudgy little hands in our food. Instead he used his Kung Fu Snake Arm Technique™ to reach out and grab the fruit bowl. The fruit bowl was, at the time, full of oranges.

So we watched in bemusement as he rummaged around in the oranges until he found one that was small enough and squishy enough that he could get a one-handed grip on it. He promptly took it out and stuck it in his mouth. Being the conscientious, caring individual that I am, I knew there was only one responsible way to handle this situation: I made a run for the camera.

1. Baby picks up orange and puts it in his mouth. 2. Baby explores interesting new texture. 3. Baby uses his rodent-like teeth to take a bite 4. Baby recoils in disgust. 
5. Baby considers, but remains disgusted. 6. Baby places the gnawed-upon orange back in the bowl. 7. Mommy comes to the rescue with a cleansing glass of water. 8. Daddy gets photographic evidence of baby-chewed orange.

My toy is now a hat
Theron received quite a number of toys for Christmas. He's had a wonderful time playing with them, and crawling on them, and tipping them over. Needless to say, much of what he does to them has little in common with what they were actually designed for. So, in an attempt to get into the spirit of finding creative new uses for the Juggernaut's toys, I decided to make him a hat.

I don't mean that I turned the baby into a hat and wore him around, though I've done that too. No, I decided that the baby needed a hat, and borrow pieces from one of his toys to make one. I mention this mainly because the results were unbelievably cute. Not that I'm biased, or anything.

*The concern is that learning to crawl is - or was - thought to be important for neurological development. This has apparently been debunked in recent years, with the exception of a few studies that link a lack of crawling with dyslexia. Given his genetic heritage, he's got at least a fifty-fifty chance of being dyslexic anyway, so who cares?