You can fool some babies some of the time – but you can’t fool Maddie. Maddie and I play a good deal of peek-a-boo and sneak up games with each other. This is due to the fact that Maddie was born observant and loves to catch people in the act of doing whatever it is that they do.
At 8-months-old, Maddie has yet to speak a single sentence – but this morning she decided to unveil a new form of communication with her grandmother. It’s raw, guttural and sounds like the baby is roughly clearing her throat. But this is her new chosen mode of communication to share with her grandmother aka MiMi.
Although this language is a little rough around the edges and is a little bizarre, it is most certainly laced with affection. MiMi props Maddie up on her leg and starts speaking to her. Suddenly these terrifically forceful grunts/throat-clearing noises erupt from somewhere deep within the baby.
We have never seen Maddie so adamant to be heard and understood. This phenomenon took shape during the course of the day where Maddie got to hang out not only with her grandparents, but two of her great-grandparents as well. The house was blessed with several family members and Maddie batted her eyes and happily interacted with all of them.
But once she was back with MiMi, the Planet of the Apes noises started all over again. It’s obvious that many of us are unknowingly encouraging this behavior. And no one is guiltier of it than I am. It is nearly impossible not to be entertained by such a sweet and adorable little girl that is sounding off like a rabid junkyard dog straining at the leash.
Maddie has a very keen eye for things that direct attention towards her. It is definitely something for us to keep in mind as the baby becomes more and more advanced.
What we really hope is that she doesn’t decide to communicate with everyone with this roughshod little language of hers. Trust me when I say the general public is not ready for it. We are hoping that over a short period of time that these verbal eruptions might smooth out a bit and become a bit more gregarious.
My amazing 7-month-old daughter turned lunchtime at Panera into the Maddie Show this afternoon. She wrapped her grandparents around her little finger and left them there for the rest of the afternoon. The baby was completely in her element. Her two main ingredients were in abundance – food and attention.
The three of them couldn’t get enough of each other. They joked, snuggled and told secrets that grandparents only share with their grandchildren. Maddie got passed back and forth from grandparent to grandparent and giggled with delight during each hand off.
I kept a piece of bread in Maddie’s hand during lunch because she’s made it very clear that everyone should eat together during mealtime. She also enjoys sharing soggy dough with the clothes being worn by whoever has the pleasure of holding her at the time.
Maddie took great pleasure in showing grandpa her core strength by arching her back and actually hanging her head upside down. All of this while keeping death grip on her precious piece of soggy bread.
She also had her grandmother shucking and dodging those killer Maddie headbutts. The baby throws them without warning and has actually tagged her grandmother before. To this day, that lucky shot keeps grandma on high alert every time she has the baby on her lap.
The baby’s mood continued to improve as she began to capture attention from other tables in the restaurant. She accomplished this by speaking very loudly in a language known only to her. Her grandparents were amazed at the skill and volume of this loud and nonsensical pubic offering.
Once Maddie was all chatted out, it was time to head home. Lunch was over and Maddie had already soaked every piece of bread the restaurant had to offer in her famous baby saliva. She gave her grandparents a final wave and settled into the car seat for a well-deserved nap.
Sweet Madeleine is my amazing and mesmerizing seven and half month old daughter. About a week ago, Maddie’s parents ran into a scheduling conflict. Both of us had previous engagements right smack in the middle of the baby’s bedtime on the same night. So the answer was easy, one of us would have to skip our event.
But before taking that step – we pondered the pros and cons of bringing in a third party to put Maddie down to sleep. It was gut check time – Were we really ready to turn Maddie over to a family babysitter?
Our throats went dry as we pondered the possible outcomes.
- What if the baby’s inner honey badger strikes?
- What if Maddie became inconsolable?
- What if she goes medieval on Ahmadinejad?
Silly stuff to be sure, but we never expected to even consider a move like this so early in the game. So I made the call to my Mom and asked her if she could entertain the princess for a couple of hours. My parents jumped at the offer, but I wondered if I was putting too much on them.
Maddie’s other grandmother, MiMi, has fought the good fight many times and successfully put the baby to bed. But in each case, we were staying with her or she was staying with us. This time we were calling in reinforcements during Maddie’s witching hour.
During a typical day, from about 5am to 4pm – Maddie is pretty peachy. She has her moments, but the girl is in a perpetual good mood. But once the day starts winding down, I like to use a saying I learned while living in the Deep South – She gets snakes in the head. Simple translation, my honey bunny morphs into the honey badger. The bottom lip replaces her smile, her laugh is drowned out by grunts of protest and a crying fit or two is not out of the question.
My parents showed up bright-eyed and busy-tailed just before 4pm. Things went swimmingly from the start and Maddie was more than happy to have an extended audience. So far, so good!
We all ate dinner together, but the time for me to leave was fast approaching. I could feel the doubt creeping in, but I didn’t want to get melodramatic. I gave Maddie a bath and set her up on my mom’s lap for a final bottle before bedtime. Maddie started a little bit of crying and fussiness and I could feel my will weakening. My mom assured me that all was well, but Maddie was eyeing me suspiciously.
I left the house peppered with guilt, only to find out later that my fears were unfounded. The evening was a great success as my wife arrived home to find a quiet and orderly house where Maddie was sleeping without a care in the world. Maddie’s grandparents made all the right moves and Maddie proved once again that she is AWESOME!
Maddie’s grandparents were ready to get out of Dodge this morning after the baby serenaded them with mournful cries deep into night and beyond. You could see the vapor trail from space as Maddie’s grandparents high-tailed it out of New Jersey bright and early this morning. Their rig disappeared into a huge plume of smoke before the baby had a chance to react.
During the night, Maddie struck early and often. This was an effort to properly demonstrate to her parents how difficult it was to sleep with her new headband on. Every hour or so, the tiny town crier let the household have it with both barrels. The windows shook, dishes tumbled out of the cabinets and a few sonic booms were heard across the Hudson River each time my little girl let loose.
Rocking and humming the baby to sleep is still my most effective weapon, but it is now only working for the initial sleep startup sequence. Last night, I scored a 90-minute sleep session and two 60-minute short-but-sweet catnaps. Not nearly enough for Maddie and certainly a little tough on those trying to sleep in our humble abode.
The craniologist (if there is such a thing) told us that there might be some nighttime backlash from the headband. (Do ya think?) The poor grandparents got a front row seat to Maddie’s madcap antics through out the night.
Anytime they tried to contemplate an escape, Maddie was onto them. Her constant demand for crib liberation banished any thoughts of making a clean getaway. So after a night of wild and debaucherous celebration, Maddie made sure to get up nice and early to share her love with all of those around her.
Her bleary eyed grandparents wished us well, packed the car and peeled out, ready to return to a more quiet and civilized existence.