More Baby Anecdotes
is now two days shy of being eight months old. (At this rate, he may be
eight months old by the time I get this posted.) His physical growth is
steady, but almost invisible (compared to the
Gods-Above-Has-He-Gotten-Visibly-Bigger-Today? stage just a few months
ago). His progress is actually most visible in terms of What He Can Do.
Podling practices standing in
Theron is crawling. Apparently, within minutes of uploading my last
entry (in which I expressed my sympathy for the baby's failed attempts
to learn to crawl) he started moving around using the commando crawl.
At about the same time, he started pulling himself upright, using
almost anything available... but with a clear preference for his
parents, who would help pull him upright. A week ago, he transitioned
to what I'd consider a 'proper' crawl: one that uses his hands and
knees. The Beautiful Woman tells me that he has begun 'cruising' (using
the furniture to hold himself upright while he practice walking) within
the last few days.
Since I am publicly now expressing my sympathy for the Juggernaut's
attempts to walk, I expect he'll be toddling any day now. The idea
fills me with one of those feelings that (I think) you have to a parent
to truly understand: a rich mixture of profound pride and mind-numbing
terror. He has also demonstrated an age-related psychic ability (or
mutant power, if you're more of a Marvel Comics fan).
Our baby, the danger-detecting compass
Now that he's really mobile, Theron has begun to demonstrate one
of the classic baby abilities: he can intuitively locate the most
dangerous object in his immediate area. Once he's done that, of course,
he immediately moves directly towards it. This has aided our
baby-proofing efforts enormously.
The process works like this:
- Set the baby on the floor in the middle of a room.
- Watch to see what he approaches.
- Stop him before he:
Remove him from the danger area.
Put some sort of protection around the danger area.
Repeat until he
looks puzzled (which means he doesn't see anything dangerous enough to
be interesting). When that happens, move him to another room.
It's not a bad power, I
suppose, but I'd have preferred something a little more...
super-hero-y. Invulnerability would have been good. Or the ability to
shoot laser beams from his fingers. On the other hand, I should
probably be glad he didn't develop flight or telekinesis.
- electrocutes himself
- cuts himself
- pulls something heavy over on himself
- eats/drinks something poisonous
- opens the bottle of hydrofluoric acid
- sets something (possibly himself) on fire
Music charms the savage baby
Anyone who knows my father will not be even slightly surprised that
Theron might demonstrate a certain musical aptitude. My dad collects
musical instruments in the same general way that I collect swords:
obsessively. Most people grew up with pictures on their walls; our
house had more guitars than artwork. At one point my mother laid down
an ultimatum: if he acquired one more musical instrument, he had to get
us a bigger house. (In her defense, we were running out of free space
on the walls...) Faced with a potential crisis, my dad chose the better
part of valor: he quit keeping new instruments, and borrowed them from
This was not an idle collection, either. I don't believe that there was
anything in the house that he couldn't play, from the ocarina to the
hammered dulcimer. (The collection of mandolins and zithers remains
extremely impressive.) So far as I know he has never played the harp,
but any other stringed instrument is fair game. So there's at least a
small possibility that Theron will have some musical ability.
(Especially if you believe the old saw about talent skipping a
generation: I have no musical talent whatsoever.) It's a bit early to
tell, since most of the noise he makes comes from bashing things
around. He seems to enjoy it, so maybe he'll become a drummer. (G-d
So, a couple of weeks ago, my father played guitar at the baby and sang
him a cute (and old) little song about going for a ride in the car,
car. Theron was absolutely enraptured: he sat completely still, and
devoted his full attention to the performance. He never shows any
interest in my music, but then it isn't coming from a live human being.
Or maybe it's just that he doesn't like my taste. Understandable, if
The dangers of baptism
Last Sunday, my parents found themselves set upon in their own home.
Their son (that would be me) had been awakened by crying baby with a
head cold and a semi-comatose wife, and - after various attempts to put
the baby back to sleep had failed - had loaded the Podling into his
car-seat and driven off, hoping that the combination of movement and
being upright would allow the child's sinuses to drain and put him back
to sleep. Thus, he arrived on the doorstep of the elder Mocks, looking
abjectly worn-out and pathetic. The grandparents, kind souls that they
are, conceived of a plan whereby the baby could be entertained and
their son could get some much-needed sleep: they took the baby to
church with them.
|Zombie Dad attempts to put the baby back
Now, I will be the first to admit that I'm not a very good Christian,
in much the same way that I'm not a very good Marxist - or a very good
toy poodle, for that matter. I won't get into the background behind
this, at least not here; it doesn't make any difference to the story,
and it's one of those topics that's almost impossible to discuss
without offending someone. I'm not entirely irreligious, it's just that
my experience of the Divine doesn't fit the Christian paradigm very
well at all.
So this was baby's first visit to church, and I celebrated the occasion
by sleeping. A lot. The baby apparently had an excellent time listening
to the service and nibbling on some sort of snack cracker (which
occupied a fair amount of his attention) and smiling at the lady in the
pew behind him... so he wasn't disruptive, and he probably even enjoyed
When they put him in the car to go home, he immediately fell deeply
asleep. My parents, being the wise and generous people they are, drove
him over to the duck pond. This allowed him to continue sleeping in the
car seat, and allowed me to continue sleeping back at their house. When
he finally woke up, they took him down to watch another family feeding
the ducks. ...All of which is a long and indirect build-up to the point
where they finally returned home.
I'd woken up by then, and found out that the Podling had behaved
himself, and pointed out to him that he had no idea how close he might
have come to being baptized. Those priests'll christen anyone, I told him.
Whereupon my father chuckled sheepishly and admitted that the idea
had occurred to them.
So where do we go from here?
I suppose that language acquisition is the next major stage of Theron's
development. He already burbles - makes little happy sounds, trying out
his vocal chords - and his volume control is a lot better. He hasn't
formed any actual words - by which I mean, combinations of sound that
have a specific meaning. He's made a few accidental ones, but they
aren't really an attempt to communicate anything. He's still basically
just playing with the sounds. Still, the groundwork is there - and I
find myself looking forward to the time when he'll actually have things
Wild babies have been known
to nest in baskets of clean laundry.
"Bang-daddy thinks I'm taking