9 May 2012
Growth spurts are one of those things that I was vaguely aware of before I had an actual live working infant, but failed to recognize the disruptive severity of. The six-week growth spurt hit us hard: it took about a day or so to figure out what on earth was going on and to realize that I hadn’t broken the baby, since all of a sudden he couldn’t sleep because he was too hungry, apparently, yet no matter how much I kept feeding him he was still hungry. After I finally figured out that it was a growth spurt and made myself a thoroughly spit-up-proofed (and lavishly be-pillowed and be-internet-deviced and be-remote-controled) feeding and sleeping station on the couch, however, it was rather luxurious. When all your baby wants to do is eat, you don’t have to entertain him much and can get a whole lot of reading done and work your way through at least a couple of seasons of Breaking Bad.
Now, we just started the preamble to the four-month growth spurt, which is notorious for wreaking long-term havoc on sleep schedules by sending babies back into a prolonged period of waking up every two hours all night to eat. Happily, we have not yet gotten to that point. Less happily, all of the mysterious little physical and cognitive advances that are preparing themselves in Theo’s brain are manifesting themselves by making him suddenly, almost comically cranky. (Lest ye think this is another post dripping with self-pity, though, I will note that this is a Recognizable Phase, and one that should be over within a few weeks, after he’s done growth spurting.)
It’s like having a little miniature toddler. While I love that he now seems to actually have tiny little unintelligible opinions about things, this seems rather precocious behavior for a four-month-old. Yesterday, every change of position or activity was met with initial approbation, then, only a few minutes later, a screwed-up red face of horror and inarticulate despair: “Nooooooooo! This is not what I wanted at all!“ But, when you are both pre-verbal and pre-mobile, your options are limited. And, when you are the caregiver of a bizarrely cranky four-month old without any adult backup, car, or ability to go outside (thanks for nothing, predicted thunderstorms), you’ll pick up the tiniest scraps to add to your bag of amusement tricks.
Lying on one’s back to play with toys? Insufferable!
Sitting on one’s mother’s lap to play with toys? An insult!
Tummy time? How dare you!
Swedish bouncy chair? Not so ba… aaaauuuugh!
Reading a book? Its pages! They burn!
Doing assisted baby crunches to reach a sitting position? Undesirable!
Hanging out in the rocker? You mean the rocker of hot lava?
Pulling up to a standing position? Fun, but… why am I not moving?
Doing my best Robyn dance around the office? We are not amused.
Awesomely, I seem to be responding to this developmental burst of inchoate toddleresque angst by channeling my inner (and, let’s face it, pretty easily accessible) teenager. “Whatever, kid,” I’ll find myself muttering as I move him from whatever tortuous position he’s in into something marginally more acceptable, rolling my eyes hugely. Frankly, it’s a relief to find myself not taking the temporary (… let’s hope) residence of Sir Cranksalot too personally.
Though I have found myself trolling Craigslist to see if anybody’s selling a baby jumper for cheapish. Kid, that whole standing and walking thing just isn’t going to happen for a little while.
On this week’s Target list: “Size 9m 12m sleepsuit.”