Monday, October 11, 2010
Firefly is five months old.
Roughly, childhood phases go like this:
Birth until social smiling (birth to about four months) -- Baby is a fetus that has been unkindly shoved out into the cold dark world. He is unimpressed with the development. Every two hours he forgets everything that has ever happened to him, ever, and must be fed-changed-soothed again. This is assuming he doesn't have colic. If he does, batten the hatches and don the rain gear.
Social smiling until tantruming (about four months until 17 months) -- Baby is becoming a transitional person. He smiles. He giggles. He hangs out. He begins to give positive feedback. He learns to move and makes a hobby of trying to put deadly things in his mouth. His mother starts to feel like she can get the hang of this. This isn't going to be such a disaster, after all. Maybe she can even take a shower.
Tantruming until talking (about 18 months until 2.5) -- Child is furious about that which he is unable to explain, or things that cannot possibly be fixed. Possible reasons for total meltdown include improperly sliced fruit, incorrect superhero offered on t-shirt, rain, no rain, bedtime, morning time, bathtime, etc. Child throws tantrums in a wide variety of public places. Child becomes a refusenik -- he refuses to put his coat on, or put his shoes on, or walk, or leave.
Talking until attitude (about 2.5 until 3.5) -- Child gets out of diapers. Child talks enough to convey important information. Child can be of help in small ways. Child idolises parent in charming way. This phase continues until the child develops a withering way-pre-teen attitude, somewhere around just before four years old.
What's amazing is that each time a child enters a new phase, I go into whiplash. What happened? Yesterday you were reasonable! Now you're tantruming! Now you've stopped! I'm a horrible failure as a mother! Or maybe not!
What's even more amazing is that I've spaced my children to ensure that I hit the hand-over-the-cyanide phases with all the children at the same time. But you know what? It's never as bad the second time. And it's even easier the third time.
Except the colic. That bit.