All major developmental milestones of Gracie go something like this:
Me (running into whichever room my wife is busying herself in): Wow…quick, come and see…Grace just did x for the first time! Is that ahead of schedule??
Wife (sighing – her usual response to my utterances) : She’s been doing that for days / weeks / since birth.
Last week, I put Grace down on the changing mat on the floor and wandered back to another room to pick up something I’d left behind, secure in the knowledge that wherever I lay my Grace, that’s her home for as long as it takes me to get back to her. I was literally out of sight for a minute, but upon coming back into the room, she’d turned from her back to her front, and was now tugging at some interesting, probably baby unsafe thing, that was now handily in reach. Cue a scenario similar to the one at the outset of this post.
In this case however, I was aware that Grace was behind schedule a little – other babies I know of a similar age have already been crawling, sliding, rolling for a while…in some cases for weeks. But by now, despite my inner competitive nature I realise comparing baby to baby, or baby to developmental charts means nothing, as long as progress is being made.
Grace has focussed most of her effort on balancing on her two legs since the day she realised she actually had legs. This means she loves being held and tottering around the place. but doesn’t care at all for lying on her tummy and crawling. She has completely ignored the Stage 1, 2 and 3 of packet and jar purees and mush, preferring instead morsels of curry, avocado, and all things whole fruit. Grace has decided that trying to make word like noises is a complete waste of time until she is able to speak properly, so for now just smiles, blows bubbles and giggles like a loon.
All will come in good time when Grace is good and ready, so I have stopped reading about what she should and shouldn’t be doing by now, and am enjoying the sight of her doing everything for the first time at first hand. Or maybe the fifth time, and at second hand if you listen to my wife.
Besides which, development has it’s own downsides. I am now having to adjust to a life where I need to have five sets of eyes, and think ten move forwards in being able to anticipate what a mischevious, inquisitive…..mobile…baby will try to do next!
5 Things Evolution Should Address in Babies
After millions of years of mankind, you would have thought babies would have evolved certain attributes that would make their rearing a whole lot easier, thereby encouraging more people to have more of them. In case evolution is reading, I propose the following five minor enhancements for starters:
1) An innate understanding of the word No.
2) Until their lives are stressful enough to need to chew nails, or grown up enough to paint nails, the growth rate of babies finger and toenails should be reduced to needing attention no more than once a year.
3) The ability to point to whatever it is that is the current source of their distress.
4) Instead of crying/wailing/screaming, babies should adopt noises along the lines of those issued by birds.
5) The removal of the inner spirit level/mercury switch that currently means a babe sleeping in arms becomes a babe awake and crying in the cot in less time than it takes to say “time for bed”.
I don’t feel any of the above changes require major DNA mutation, and am a little surprised that at least one of them hasn’t taken hold in the general population by now. It’s too late for me, but if Grace should ever choose to have some bundles of joy herself, it would be good if we made an evolutionary start now.