You’re 5 months old… maybe learn some independence?
I started writing this really early on in the week to avoid coming down to the wire, but it seems that my baby had other plans for my time. As I type, it’s Thanksgiving Day and I am indeed thankful for all the great many blessings in my life. Though, since I’ve only had an hour of sleep because Emma decided that last night, the eve of a holiday which would allow us to sleep in, was the perfect night to stay up and cry, I’m finding it hard to feel thankful. Despite not feeling it at the moment due to exhaustion, I am very thankful.
Emma hit the 5 month mark and things were going rather smooth. Well, we had a loose and adaptable routine that was in a constant state of flux. I guess, by definition, that’s not really a routine. It’s more chaos theory than anything. What I’m mistaking for routine is the fact that my daughter still eats, sleeps, and dookies every day and I still assist in facilitating these events for her. So “routine”.
5 months for a baby is a crazy, adorable time for learning how to control people. She’s so damn attentive and learning to manipulate me like a Sicilian mother. I know… I have one. She’s at this point where all she wants is to be held. All. The. Time. I think she’s going through a bit of separation anxiety. I’ve tried being rude so she doesn’t want to hang around me, but that hasn’t worked. All the expert advice says that she needs to learn “object permanence.” That is to say that every time I walk away and she can’t see me that I haven’t stopped existing. If I’m out of sight she freaks. If I walk into the room she raises her arms as if to say, “UP! UP! UP!” If she could speak I’m sure that’s what she’d be saying. For someone so bossy I think it’s time she starts to learn some independence. Needless to say I pick her up and hold her… a lot. So much so that my doctor thinks I’ve hyper-extended my shoulder from picking her up incorrectly. Maybe so. Lump another ailment under my dad bod syndrome. We’ve ended up trying to teach her object permanence by playing peek a boo. I don’t know of it works, but it makes her laugh and that just makes my day. My mom, coincidentally, bought her an animatronic stuffed elephant that covers its eyes with its ears and plays peek a boo, too. Toys like these are a great distraction for your kid you so you can surf the web, write a scathing Yelp review about your old apartment complex, or type out your blog. It’s pretty brilliant and has already helped me out with calming her tantrums. It also sings “Do Your Ears Hang Low?” which has three verses. I didn’t know it had three verses. Did you?
Emma’s growing attentiveness and curiosity means that she’s grabbing at things and ramming them in her face like Augustus Gloop in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. Her favorite thing to do is eat cloth. Her appetite is piqued by anything made of cloth or faux fur. After a while of her sucking on a burp rag she pokes her tongue out like a little snail coming out its shell. That’s when I know the cotton mouth has really set in. I don’t think it’s healthy. Now a majority of my day is spent taking rags away from her and swapping them out for binkies, which she throws across the floor. It seems that silicone is out this season and fur is all the rage.
The Good Touch, The Bad Touch, The Dog Meat
Speaking of which, she’s become super curious about our dog, Shinobi. Shinobi is 50% Dachshund, 50% Beagle, and 100% a clingy, neurotic, paranoid pup that suffers from separation anxiety as well. She’s freaking smart to boot. You can’t get ready to leave the house without her panicking over the fact that she’s going to be left behind. I mean you sit up in bed and put one foot on the floor with the intent of going out 2 hours later and she starts shaking like an old washing machine on the fritz. Well my smart, manipulative baby has found my smart, spastic dog and she’s in love. If they’re anywhere near each other Emma stops what she’s doing and tracks that dog like Varuka Salt trying to capture an Oompa Loompa. I like to joke that it’s the tasty temptation of dog meat that’s awakened a more primal aspect of her Asian heritage.
To be clear, I’m not sure if I’ve ever eaten dog meat, but I have sat down at tables full of scary ethnic meals at large family gatherings on my dad’s side. If you’re eating at a table where one of the dishes still has its eyes and face and is looking at you you might just happen across an edible pet.
Gross food aside, my daughter’s intrigue with our dog has presented us with some teachable moments like “good touch, bad touch”. There’s not a whole lot of coordination at this age so it’s all just grabbing and shaking. I’m sure my dog will lose an ear if I let them near each other any time soon. She’d probably react like dogs due and nip at the baby… at which point, if you came to my house that night for dinner you might come across an edible pet.
She’s also grabbing my beard more and for a baby she’s pretty strong.
My Glorious Beard
Ever since Emma was born I feel that my beard has become thicker and more beautiful. I used to suffer from the sparse patchy facial hair that a lot of my Filipino kinfolk suffer from. My whole life my face has had its own culture war- there’s an Italian guy in there trying to grow an amazing beard and there there’s a mischievous little Filipino hacking away at the growth leaving blank patches of skin like a lazy landscaper. Becoming a father has really helped keep that guy at bay and as a result my beard is lush and thick like my own personal face jungle.
Or it could be that I started properly grooming it with beard oils, waxes, and balms. If you or someone you know suffers from a spotty beard where the white trash just grows in like Joe Dirt send them this as a gift. If that doesn’t work maybe they need to have some kids?
Well, it’s Thanksgiving and while sometimes it’s hard to be thankful for the things you have like a beautiful baby while she’s screaming in your face at the top of her lungs, just remember that nothing good ever came easy. For all the tears and heartache I don’t think I’d trade any of it if it meant that I’d never have my little girl, never got to rock her to sleep or hear her laugh, or watch her grow up and change my life.
Happy Thanksgiving and happy parenting.