On the heels of Timothy’s recent diagnosis of having a small flat spot on the left side of the back of his head, we’re trying to strengthen the neck muscles on his right side. Given the chance, the big guy naturally turns his head to the left, but we’re positioning him so he turns more to his right, and are trying to get him to sleep with his head in the center or turned to the right. We’ll probably visit the ‘helmet clinic’ for an assessment and decide in a few weeks whether to make his red hair a well kept secret for the summer.
One of the best things that he can do to help his neck muscles is to spend time lying on his stomach. Fortunately, Timothy loves to lie on his stomach, and still strikes his ‘penguin’ pose, resting wobbly on his stomach with his arms and legs outstretched (actually, he looks more like a chubby version of Leonardo DiCaprio’s ‘King of the world’ pose in ‘Titanic’).
Timothy put another state in his travel book when we spent the weekend in Des Moines, watching Catherine’s Eden Prairie soccer team win a tournament. He was a trooper during the eight hour round trip drive, and the visit went without issue. The only hiccup was Sunday morning when I woke up very early and looked in the portable crib, but couldn’t see a baby in there. It was dark, and I was too groggy to get worried (and besides, I have trouble finding a lost golf ball, so why should a baby be any different?). After a slow motion minute of looking and trying to stay calm, I spotted the chameleon lying in the opposite side of the portable crib, and perpendicular to his starting position.
It’s interesting to see how recommendations on babies’ sleep habits change over time. Our doctors tell us that Timothy should always be placed on his back at night. This makes sense, but is different than the direction we received with our girls. With Elisabeth and Catherine, born in the mid ‘90’s, we were told to have them sleep on their sides, and in fact we had a little foam cube to keep them wedged on their side all night (which was different than when we babysat for our nephew in the early ‘90’s and were told that he should lie on his stomach).
Both of our girls were born in the Southwest, and we remembered recently that having a newborn in New Mexico presented unique challenges, since we sometimes found a scorpion or two inside the house. As a result, we were told — probably by the same people who told us to lay our babies down on their sides — to put the legs of the girls’ cribs in tall glass jars to try to prevent the scorpions from climbing up into the crib. Hmmmmm.
Timothy’s first pair of teeth have emerged on the bottom of his mouth. He has handled it surprisingly well, with minimal crabbiness. Instead, whatever angst he has is being directed at us during meal times. We used to let the little scrapper sit on our laps while we ate, but Timothy insists on being a full partner in the meal, and dons a ‘hey — what about me?’ look. When we were at Culver’s this weekend, our food arrived, and the crown prince of mealtime turned away from his bottle and made it clear that he expected to eat his first Butterburger (and fries, of course).
Last Tuesday was a rollercoaster day. The good news is that Timothy fared well in his developmental review with the folks from the school district to check his progress against the plan. However, this exciting news was almost overshadowed by sadness in the female portion of the household after Laura and the girls finished watching the final episode of the second season DVD of Downton Abbey. Timothy and I will not miss having much of our family dinner conversations revolve around plot twists in the English PBS series.
Back to Timothy’s developmental review, Jan and Joan were pleased with his progress, and we discussed areas of focus for the next few months. This includes getting ready to crawl and continuing to lay the groundwork for a very important future milestone, speech development. Jan suggested making sure that we speak clearly to Timothy and annunciate all of the syllables (it’s easy to get sloppy with pronunciations in daily conversations), talk to him a lot and ‘name’ things so he can associate words with objects.
As we’ve mentioned, we’ve also been ‘communicating’ with Timothy using some simple signs (‘bottle’, ‘book’, ‘the Twins lost again in extra innings’). We’ve expanded the number of signs, but it’ll take time for him to absorb them. He definitely understands some of them – or at least any sign connected with food. We’re waiting for him to sign back to us, but either he is still learning it, or else he is mad and is not speaking to us in sign language. My brother in law taught us some American Sign Language (ASL). It was cool to learn different signs, but I was a little insulted to learn that (and this is really true) there is an actual sign for Edina, MN, which involves a fist brushed up against the nose, like ‘stuck up’. It’s good to see that even sign language doesn’t cut my hometown any slack.
But at least we don’t have to worry anymore about keeping the scorpions out of the crib.