Hands & Feet
It’s staggering how fast Maddie’s eating habits can change in just two days. The baby still can’t hold her own bottle, but she’s all over that thing like a spider monkey.
With all the excitement around eating time, Maddie is gripping, clawing, swatting and pulling anything within reach. Nothing is out of bounds including her face, the feeder’s face and of course the bottle itself. This makes the feeding process into a Mortal Kombat simulation where one must be ready to counter her fatal thrusts at any time.
After a scratch to the arm or the bottle is knocked loose from your hand, Maddie senses that her foe is on the ropes and prepares for her kill shot. Now the hunter has become the hunted as she lets out her stinging battle cry of, “FINISH HIM!”
For now, the trick to a successful feeding is being able to gently restrain the hands while comfortably getting the bottle into her mouth. Letting the hands roam free mostly leads to her smacking herself in the face or jamming the bottle too deeply into her mouth.
Maddie has determined that trying to free her hands while eating is an absolute laugh riot. I hate to admit it – but we both are getting far too much entertainment out of this hand-to-hand combat. There’s no keeping score and it does stretch eating time out a little bit, but it takes a sometime mundane chore and turns it into a goofy contest.
I’m sure all the fun and games will be over in a week or so, but for now, getting the baby to put away her entire bottle is quickly becoming the ultimate conquest!
As new parents, we spend a great deal of time wondering what comes next as our baby girl continues to develop various skills and acquire new ones. Of course it’s far too early in the game to determine whether Maddie will be right or left-handed, but trying to predict which hand will become dominant has become great sport in our household.
First, let’s talk about Maddie’s right hand, quickly becoming known as the pile driver. This mitt is always out for justice. It punches through blankets, swaddles and quite possibly brick walls. It is not to be trifled with, especially during feeding time or a diaper change. During a typical day, you have to go the mat with this hand no less than four or five times.
Maddie has been known to swat your hand away in the middle of a diaper change or actually knock the bottle out of your hand during a feeding. She’s like a linebacker who takes that swipe at the ball rather than tackle the quarterback.
The left hand is a different story altogether, it’s really the brains behind the operation. It’s always on the move, but unlike the right hand, it always seems to have a sense of purpose. Maddie’s left is always probing, exploring and manipulating whatever it can get a hold of. The left hand also seems to exhibit a stronger grip than the bludgeoning right.
There also seems to be some amount of thought or possibly even intent behind the actions of the left hand. The right hand is still more of a flailing appendage that is still trying to find its way.
So when it comes to hands, is it the brawler (right) or the philosopher (left) which is more likely to become Maddie’s hand of choice? As I said earlier, it’s too early to say for sure, but it’s very interesting to watch the process unfold before us.
It is true that a baby might show preference for one hand or the other as early as 6 months old. But despite these early indications, data further suggests that a true right or left-handed domination won’t actually establish itself until the child is at least 2 to 3 years old.
To tell the truth, Maddie would be absolutely thrilled if you would be interested in sharing one of your hands with her. As far as she is concerned, hands are all the rage right now. She discovered her hands about four days ago and since then, she can’t get enough of them.
When Maddie is not distracted by something else, like her crazy parents or a bottle packed with the good stuff, she falls under the spell of her very own hands. Forget the toys, the bouncy chairs and the baths – the baby needs time alone with her hands and fingers. I’m not even really sure if she has figured out that her hands actually belong to her yet. She stares at them and shares secrets with them. All of this despite the fact that they continue to ignore her taunts and advances.
If I were Maddie, I would be angry at her little hands. (That’s right) They smack her in the head at least twice a day and lately they have even left little scratches all over her face. But Maddie doesn’t seem to care; she still believes that she is in good hands, no matter who they belong to or what they inadvertently do to her.
She also finds that her hands are a terrific snack. Maddie still isn’t into solid food, but I know the first time she is able to order in a restaurant, she’s going for either the finger platter or some nice broiled handchops.
She often tries to fit both of them into her mouth at the same time, but somehow that never really seems to work out. However, since she has begun the gumming process on them, you always count on at least one hand, if not both, being completely covered in baby saliva. (Yummy!)
Maddie is also really beginning to enjoy the various tactile sensations evoked by hand-to-hand contact. When she’s not dining on them or staring at them, she is poking and prodding her very own hands, trying to unlock the secret of the phalanges.
You can try and get involved in the process with Maddie, but all that she will do is put you in the mercy grip until your finger or fingers turn completely blue. She has a great little grip, but she is always anxious to get back to her own fingers. She is bound and determined to find out who put them there and what purpose they might serve.
Maddie decided that due to recent shortcomings in the feeding process, she was ready to grab the bull by the horns, literally! The little girl has always sported an impressive grip, but we still thought it would be some time before she was able to hold onto the bottle all by herself.
Well with Maddie, the surprises just keep on coming.
Maddie and her mom were knocking out the night time feeding when the baby decided that enough was enough. The bottle was within reach and the little girl made her grab for glory! The baby stripped the bottle away like a linebacker and just kept on drinking – didn’t even spill a drop. Maddie’s mom says it all just happened so fast.
Gina eyed the baby with curiosity and disbelief in her eyes – “John,” she called, “C’mere, hurry!”
I rushed into the room and sure enough, Maddie had a kung fu death grip (both hands) locked onto the bottle. As usual, she was gulping it down as if these were the last precious ounces that might ever pass her lips. She had the look that seemed to say, “I have assumed control of this bottle. Any attempts to dislodge or take this bottle away will be met with brute force. Resistance is futile!”
It will still be sometime before the baby can actually feed herself, but for one triumphant evening, she cut the parents out of the food consumption process and made a statement about what we might expect in the months to come.
“You have interfered with my meals for the last time,” inferred Maddie. “The next time I don’t get the bottle when I want it, you will have to deal with these super human hands of destruction.”
It seems that Maddie would have us believe that she has already had her hands registered as lethal weapons. Don’t get me wrong, she does have an amazing grip – but she might have to keep her ridiculous parents around for just a little bit longer, possibly for burping purposes.
You can’t master the Madster – You can only hope to contain her! There was one thing I heard my parents scream at me about 28-thousand times when I was a kid – “Stop fidgeting!” Well, I’m proud to say that my daughter has inherited the amazing gift of perpetual movement and I couldn’t be any happier! Whenever Maddie is awake, she’s always moving and grooving and once this little girl learns how to crawl, the Land Speed World record will be in some serious jeopardy.
Every day – Once she opens those amazing eyes – Those stunning little legs and arms just never stop pumping. She always appears to be shadow riding in some sort of imaginary Tour de France race and unlike the other riders – she has no need for the jack-up juice.
Those little legs are non-stop churning pistons of power that would make the Olympic sprinter, Usain Bolt green with envy. I can only assume that Serena Williams is already thanking her lucky starts that she will be long gone and retired before she has to face a player like Maddie. At seven weeks old, Maddie’s potential for speed and explosiveness is nothing short of frightening.
And let us not forget Maddie’s magic arms and hands that are always showing off her uncanny ability to block any and all attempts to get a bottle or pacifier into her mouth. That’s actually the greatest feeding challenge we face every day – trying to sneak the food past her fists of fury.
Suffice it to say that Maddie is always swinging for the fences and the sky is the limit!
As my wife and I settled onto the couch to watch a movie last night – I had a 7-pound, 5-ounce little bean clinging intently to my chest. This particular bean is not a member of the legume family, but rather my tiny daughter named Madeleine. She wasn’t the least bit tired when we sat down, but was completely content to hang out on Dad’s chest while he manipulated the television controls.
I looked down and she was staring straight up at me with those penetrating dark eyes. During our little stare down, it was hard to determine who was paying closer attention. We chatted briefly, well, I chattered on and she just sat there and watched.
I winced on multiple occasions because her little hands have mastered the art of partially ripping out chest hair. Her proficiency with this particular activity vastly improves on a daily basis. It’s stunning to me that such a little creature has the ability to inflict so much discomfort onto a fellow human being that outweighs her by more than 200 pounds. (think of the mouse that helped the lion with the splinter)
But despite the rapidly dwindling population of my chest hair – this is one of those precious moments that will be forever etched into my memory. Holding your little girl close to you seems to slow the time around you. Fatigue, anxiety and any conceivable negative emotion just seems to shrink and fade into the woodwork as you feel undeniable bond between you and your child.
The connection is unmistakable – and even though I just met this tiny person a couple of weeks ago – she already fully comprehends that she owns the rights to me.
Maddie evaluated her father and took in the sights and sounds around her for about 30 minutes before she began the descent into dreamland. I watched with rapt attention – taking in each blink and twitch until she was completely out.
There is no question that this little girl is more work than I ever could have fathomed. But by the same token, never has so much work paid so many dividends in such a short period of time.