Apparently Maddie’s father (StayHomePaPa) has been quite guilty of doing everything for the baby and not letting her learn to do things for herself. Especially when it comes to crawling and feeding. This may be true to some degree, but I’m working hard to turn some of these trends around.
My newest project is to get Maddie to hold her own bottle while she’s drinking milk. So far this has been an exercise in futility. Maddie acts like Smeagol aka Gollum from Lord of the Rings when she assumes control of her bottle.
The bottle is her “Precious.” She talks to it, hugs it, swings it around and even nips at it. This afternoon she whapped me with the bottle and then launched it across the room, but not before spraying milk all over her face and the couch.
The one thing I can’t get her to do with “precious” is actually drink from it. Once she gets her paws on the bottle, everything morphs into a mystical game instead of her prominent food source.
The real excitement begins once the bottle no longer commands her attention. Today after drinking less than an eighth of her bottle, she tried to throw herself off of the couch a couple of times for good luck.
When she realized that escape wasn’t an option, she kept putting her toes near my mouth. I kept saying, “No thank you!” Yet she found this toe interaction completely hilarious and could not stop giggling with delight. After growing tired of having her toes nibbled on, Maddie let loose with a long string of splattering raspberries. This spittle and milk cocktail sprayed the both of us, again much to her delight.
Then she squirmed until her back was firmly on the couch and her legs were left on my lap. This triggered Maddie’s full scale Pilates workout. Her churning legs did their best to seek out and pummel my groin area. You could tell the baby felt better with each direct hit. I thwarted her blows with my extended arm until she decided to change tactics.
This is when she grasped my forearm and thrust it into her mouth. If you can’t enjoy milk, at least enjoy the flesh of a fellow human being. During her feeding frenzy on my arm, she lost her balance and face-planted on the couch.
As usual, honey badger didn’t care. No pain, no gain. I helped her up and she resumed her vicious attack. We had a great time – but she is no closer to taking the bottle by the horns and doing the work herself.
My soon to be 9-month-old daughter has been ripping off her socks pretty much since we started putting them on her. We strap them on and she goes right to work on her various sock removal strategies.
Maddie is most adept at teaching those socks who the boss in their relationship. If she were an NFL player, she would be flagged every single day for excessive celebration. Every time she tears or peels off one of her socks, she goes wild with delight.
It’s even worse when she is in a bad mood because she would be penalized for “taunting.” She gets a smug look of satisfaction on her grill and holds the sock out at you so that you may gape in awe at her handiwork.
There have documented instances where a sock actually flew out of the stroller and over the driver’s head. I have a long sordid history of snatching her sock off the ground and stuffing it into my pocket.
When we walk into the house, my wife often says it looks like Maddie lost a sock. I always dig into my pocket and pull out the offending item that made its unsuccessful bid for freedom.
Now Maddie has taken her sock abuse to the next level. No matter how many toys she decides to surround herself with, she can’t stop thinking about the socks that must be suffocating her poor innocent feet.
Maddie grabs the villainous foot and starts tugging on the sock – stretching it to the very limits of its construction. Once the sock pops off, she has two plans to choose from. One trick is to wrap it around her forehead like Mr. Miyagi did for Ralph Macchio. The other trick is to pull it taut and stuff it into her mouth.
Either demonstration is really quite the spectacle to behold. But there are few things more satisfying than watching your adorable baby daughter teach a combative sock a thing or two.
When times get tough the tough get going. This morning when Maddie’s bottle ran dry, she didn’t shed any tears, she just hunted down and snagged an alternative food source.
She had been eyeing those toes for several days now and it was only a matter of time before my little predator leapt into action.
Maddie was clearly on the hunt today, every sense on razor’s edge as the sun crept up casting flecks of vermillion across the brightening morning sky.
The baby caught just the faintest scent of her prey and knew those succulent little feet couldn’t be too far off. She moved against the wind meshing with the lazily tilting grass so the toes would be caught completely off guard.
The feet were getting restless now as if they could sense that something was amiss. One toe scanned the horizon and stopped for a moment on the nearby outcropping of tall grass. Maddie froze, not daring to twitch a muscle. Satisfied that nothing was out of the ordinary, both feet settled down.
The baby needed no engraved invitation – she grasped the unsuspecting foot before it knew what happened. Her gnashing gums worked the big toe, providing no sustenance what-so-ever. The mighty hunter pondered her conquest and was beginning to wonder why her own toes were covered with baby saliva. She finally let the wild foot go, but her smile sent a clear message, “This isn’t over!”
I never thought of feet as very expressive, but Maddie has been instrumental in showing me the error of my ways. Her feet do an amazing job of conveying every emotion whether it’s absolute outrage, complete satisfaction or pending trepidation.
Every toe seemingly has a mind of its own – attached to legs that only stop churning when it’s time to eat. When mealtime arrives – the feet freeze into an intense rigor along with her legs. All the toes curl up and lock down until her hunger has been abated.
The big toes often take off on their own missions leaving the rest of the toes to fend for themselves.
Big toes curl up – curl in – and can pivot off in any direction without warning. They are not webbed feet, like Michael Phelps – but they strong and full of purpose.
You would think that sleep might put those feet to rest – but it barely slows them down at all. No matter how tight the swaddle or deep the blanket – those feet and toes always find a way to punch through and gain access to the outside world.
But the greatest threat posed by these thundering hooves is during the diaper change. Failing to secure them properly can have unfortunate consequences including a foot into the magic diaper or a forced fumble of changing materials.
I can only assume that if Maddie chooses to become an athlete – her footwork will be nothing short of impeccable. She might even be tempted to try a sport like tennis – Wouldn’t that be something?