Z is 3 weeks old and counting.
For the last 3 weeks, she has been… in her own world. A confusing, overwhelming, surprising, aggravating, disturbing, bright, harsh, noisy, world.
And she has taken it all rather well.
At this point, she is probably still learning to differentiate herself as a separate being, from the rest of the world.
And learning what she can control and what she cannot.
But just before her 3rd week, she smiled. Appropos of nothing. It was a reflex. Or maybe she pooped.
Which reminds me, babies this age, don’t really poop. They fart. Loudly. And all their farts are wet farts.
PL says (proudly) that she farts like me.
I’m so happy. Not! Well, actually, a little. It’s a guy thing.
Babies this age are boring and fascinating.
Boring in that they are not responsive, know nothing (can’t tell them jokes), and are too full of shit, and themselves.
But they are also endlessly fascinating. PL’s mum can spend hours staring at her first grandchild sleeping.
They fascinate us with their tininess. They fascinate us with their emerging view of their world. They fascinate us with their helplessness. They fascinate us with their unrealised potential. They fascinate us with our vicarious dreams and life goals for them.
And they fascinate us with the amount and frequency of their pooping and peeing.
And the pungency of their poop? That’s also fascinating.
Actually, the poop so far hasn’t been that bad. I’m not saying it’s all lavender and roses, but it’s not THAT bad. It’s poop.
It could be worse.
And I have been assured that it will be worse.
Parental one-upmanship: “However bad your baby/parenting experience is, ours is worse. And we survived it. When you’ve survived it, we’ll talk.”
I don’t mean to belittle parenting, but it’s not a competition or even “the best war story” (or diaper changing story) competition.
All it is, is that it is endlessly fascinating to those most personally involved in it.
As Terry Pratchett points out in his numerous books – “Personal isn’t the same as Important.”
And it is personal, which is why it is fascinating… to me. So I will spare you my thoughts about how the poop colour changes from chocolate lava coloured to mustard coloured, to peanut butter coloured.
Yeah. Try to forget you just read that.
On a related observation, the reason why new parents seem endlessly fascinated by their baby’s poop it’s because it is indisputably personal, intimate, and fascinating. At least to them.
But what you want to remember is that for the first 3 weeks or so, the baby is essentially boring. She feeds, she poops, she sleeps. And there really isn’t much to say about feeding and sleeping. Thus leaving only the subject of poop.
Z’s not very interactive at this age. Her brain is still making connections, and she is still grasping basic concepts of self and others, and environment. And developing motor skills.
What has been surprising to me (pleasantly) is how easily she allows herself to be placated.
She doesn’t cry for long. She seems… thoughtful. Not as in being considerate (of her parents) but as in cerebral, or taking cognizance of stimulus and responses.
And she adapts quickly. Like the series of visits to the clinic for blood tests – from all-out wailing the first time, to crying the second, to not crying (just farting/pooping)the third time when she was pricked to draw blood.
Bath time was also another “wail-athon”… for her standard. She would wail when we remove her clothes, particularly her top (she’s modest), and will only stop when we wash her back. Then she would settle down.
We figured she didn’t like her chest exposed – it made her feel insecure.
Well, one day when PL was alone and bathing Z by herself, she thought, why not try covering her chest with a wash cloth.
At 3 weeks, she is starting to make eye contact, smile (for no apparent reason… or perhaps because she just thought how silly her father looked), and starting to vocalise. She is making a lot more sounds in the last week. Prior to that, she basically cried or was quiet.
Now she squeaks, grunts, and vocalise.
She’s just practicing to talk.