The other day we were at the mall, a big one that had just opened so it was loud and crowded; full of shoppers, marketers announcing promotions, and live shows blasted at full decibel. It’s a paradox, really, how Thais are individually such quiet, gentle people…but get them in a mall and they aim to blow your eardrums. Anyway, I digress. We brought Cy in the sling, and he stared in wide-eyed amazement at all the colors and lights and sounds, until he hit system overload and passed out. He woke over an hour later, hungry as the proverbial wolf, and we hightailed it to a breastfeeding room (There’s a breastfeeding room in the mall! Hallelujah!) He and I settled into the chair as he nursed, and when he was done, he pulled away and blinked up at me…and then let out the longest stream of the most excited babble I’ve ever seen come out of his mouth. What I wouldn’t give to know what he was trying to say.
You won’t believe what I saw, Mama!
The developmental changes are coming so fast I’m caught afresh by something new almost every day.
Our boy has never been much of a fan of tummy time. All the parenting articles and books tell me I’m supposed to give him his little workout every day so he can build strong muscles and eventually learn to do more things like sit up and crawl, but almost every time I flop him over, no matter how slowly or gently I try to go, he ends up freaked out and crying. He does have strong neck muscles–did from almost day one–and I’ve encouraged their workout in other ways, like having him hold up his head when I burp him, or having him sit up for at least an hour or so every day in the sling. And he can lift up his head for quite a long while, but the thing is, I think when I put him on his tummy, he hasn’t yet figured out that he should. He does a face-plant and scares himself.
But the other day, I was nursing him on a pillow in bed, and when he finished nursing, the light from my nightstand and all the various detritus that had collected there caught his eye. He rolled himself off the pillow to get a better look. Seeing this new development, I hastened to grab each object and introduce him.
This is Mama’s water glass. Isn’t it pretty?
This is Mama’s lip balm. What color is that? It’s peach!
This is Mama’s hair clip. Look how it catches the light! He really liked that hair clip.
Still staring at the light bouncing off the curtains and glass, he started pushing his feet against my legs, I shifted down to accommodate, and inch by inch, he scooted himself all the way up my torso.
Before having kids, you’d never think that something as small as scooting a few inches would be anything to write home about. But after weeks and weeks of seeing this tiny creature be only a receptacle (albeit a very cute one!) for love, attention, entertainment, comfort, security, and food, you want to sing from the rooftops when you see him do something so miraculous as to act of his own volition. It wasn’t fear or hurt that caused him to act. It was simple, beautiful curiosity. He didn’t need anything. He wanted to find out what all that light and color was all about. He didn’t just passively stare. He actively tried to get closer. Those little grunts and struggles to scoot himself a few measly inches was in essence an act of his own free will.
Seeing how powerful a motivator his curiosity is, I’m now looking for any opportunity to exploit it to encourage him to try things. My MIL was quite brilliant raising my husband. She told me that she figured out pretty early on that all Toby wanted was freedom. He was determined to strike out on his own and do things his way. Once she figured out what made him tick, it was just a matter of measuring out how much to give and how much to withhold to help him grow into his independence safely and securely.
I can’t wait to find out what makes Cy tick. Mostly because I can’t wait till the next time I see him so excited.
In the meantime, I can still nibble on his toes.
Thing I Love About Cy Today: When his bestepapa (grandfather) started talking to him in Zulu, he got the biggest grin on his face and started babbling back. I think we’ve found his native tongue!