The days of my son being immobile are definitely a thing of the past and the fact that his hand-eye coordination has become good enough to grab just about anything he wants means my wife and I can no longer leave much of anything laying around.
Feeding him, holding him and even having him sit near me is much more of a battle these days as he wants to grab anything he can get his little hands around. I’m proud of his development, but when he wants to grab the spoon out of my hand as I’m feeding him, it gets pretty messy. Of course, it’s not just his spoon he wants as when I’m the one eating, it’s all I can do to keep my food out of his grip.
He’s not one to be easily outsmarted, so if I am able to avoid his hands and get my fork full of food into my mouth, he’ll simply change tactics and go directly for the food on the plate. With one hand on him and one hand on my fork, I often come up one hand short of being able to keep him out of my food.
His determination to get at things also has me wishing for another hand when it comes time to change his diaper. It used to be that when I laid him down on the changing pad, he’d just smile up at me, but I guess I’m old news because now he’s all about reaching into the fresh diaper container above his head or getting his hands on the bottle of hand sanitizer.
He almost immediately twists himself onto this belly so he can better decide just what he wants to grab that time and isn’t afraid to push himself forward with his little feet no matter what stage of diaper changing I’m in. I’ve started strapping him into the changing pad, but that doesn’t usually stop him from rolling himself over. Sometimes that’s beneficial in the process, but I still haven’t gotten proficient at completely changing his diaper in that position.
Since I initially learned the process with him on his back, trying to do it upside down is kind of like learned to write left handed after years of being right handed. But for future parents, I would suggest regularly training on the upside down diaper change early so it’s more natural when the time comes, because I now know it will come.
The other best tip I can give currently is the importance of a playpen. My wife and I registered for a plastic play yard before the baby was born thinking it would be good to give him some space to play on his own away from our two dogs, but then the fencing sat in its box for the first seven months of his life because we didn’t need it. Our dogs generally steered clear of the baby and he wasn’t really capable of getting anywhere on his own.
That all changed once he started crawling — though his version generally only uses one arm and one leg and includes a rolling aspect that’s very different than the traditional method of crawling. Now that he’s mobile, he can get into anything. The dogs may not be that interested in him, but he’s absolutely fascinated by them, so when he crawls around, it’s usually in whichever direction they are from him. He’s even gotten himself under the couch a few times where they like to go to chew on their toys.
It quickly got to the point where we needed the plastic playpen fencing, so one day when I got home from work, my wife had set it up in the middle of our small living room, pretty much wedged in between the couch and the television stand. Usually he’s happy enough to be in there, but it’s taking some getting used to for the rest of us. It cut off a pathway through the living room, so the dogs and I are still getting accustomed to going around to get to the other side of the apartment. But they seem happy it’s there as it gives them some space to play on their own without him crawling up.
William C. Wadsack is the managing editor of the Herald Democrat and a first-time father. He never realized just how expensive babies can be until the birth of his son. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @WCWadsackHD.