I thought I’d bring my regular readers up to date on my granddaughter’s accomplishments.
Sydney turned 11 yesterday, and I’m sorry to say that she is not yet reading on a first grade level, and she has not taken up a musical instrument. On the other hand, I should mention, for the sake of my not-so-regular readers, that she turned 11 weeks.
Still, she has already shown how advanced she is. For instance, her doctor says she has the neck strength of a four month old. I don’t think that’s an hereditary trait, since nobody on either side of the family looks like they would have issues buttoning their collar, unless you count my great aunt Sophie, who didn’t really have a neck. Sydney’s neck muscles can only be the result of the dedication my daughter Casey and her husband Alex have to tummy time, which is the several minutes each day Syd spends face down on the floor crying (she’s not really a fan of tummy time). She moves her legs as if she’s trying to crawl, and she lifts her upper body as if she’s trying to see where she’s crawling to, but she does not do both simultaneously, so she appears to be swimming the breaststroke on dry land and not getting anywhere.
Her last doctor’s visit (at 10 weeks) also revealed that she is in the 50th percentile in weight and the 10th in height, neither of which is likely to get her into a good college. I briefly had an image of 20-year-old Sydney strolling into a bar, short and stout with a massive neck and a fake ID.
Hopefully, she’ll go through a vertical growth spurt at some point before then.
The big news for now is that she has begun smiling. She did this right on time, according to the Laws of Child Development. This is a set of guidelines that conveniently allow parents to start worrying every time their babies go off schedule. “OMG,” the parent will exclaim, “she’s a month old and she isn’t making jerky, quivering arm thrusts! What’s wrong with her?”
The smiling thing is a game-changer. Until then, I felt like a stand-up comic playing to a catatonic crowd (“Is this thing on?” Tap Tap.). I firmly believe I got the first grin a couple of weeks ago when Syd and I invented the Foot-in-Face Game. This is when Syd places her feet against my mouth so that I can do raspberries on her soles. The game progresses through a number of “innings,” during which the phrase “places her feet against my mouth” becomes “kicks me forcefully in the mouth.” Seriously, she actually pulls back her legs to attain maximum tension and then thrusts them forward in a martial arts-type manner.
Anyway, I swear she smiled the first time we did this. Casey says it was gas. I think Casey was jealous, and I can understand that. Mom should get the first smile.
Syd’s legs are constantly in motion, so we know this kid is really going to go somewhere, assuming she learns to crawl. She also seems to be able to control each toe independently, which is a little weird looking when she spreads them apart like a small aquatic bird. But she’ll probably be able to pick things up with her feet, which happens to be one of my great talents.
My granddaughter got something from me! I’m kvelling!
(As you can see in the photo of the Foot in Face game above right, another thing Syd and I have in common is a severe hair deficiency, but I’m confident that one of us will grow out of it.)
Getting back to the Laws of Child Development, Syd is ahead of the game in a host of résumé-padding categories such as “raises head and chest when lying on stomach,” “supports upper body with arms when lying on stomach,” and “stretches legs out and kicks when lying on stomach or back,” none of which is supposed to occur until three months. She’s been doing those things for awhile now.
“Brings hand to mouth” is supposed to be a three-month milestone, too. Hell, Syd did that almost as soon as she emerged from my daughter. Her thumb was in her mouth faster than a Nathan’s hot dog on July 4th.
While she was cute and all, I didn’t feel truly bonded to her until she was about six weeks old, when I first sung her to sleep. She was in my arms, fidgeting, and I began whisper-singing an obscure Simon and Garfunkel song, and she almost instantly fell asleep. The bad news is, if she was able to doze off to my singing, her hearing probably wasn’t fully developed yet.
But here’s what Sydney does really well: she can sleep on you better than anyone. You lay down and put her on your chest and she becomes this incredibly warm and cozy blanket that makes you not want to move again, ever. I mean, you will hold in a pee for hours rather than disturb this cuddle . . . you will ignore the feeling of your arm muscles atrophying rather than risk any sort of movement . . . you will find yourself watching the Mets lose a game 25-4 rather than reach for the remote control.
My granddaughter is so good at that. When she’s sleeping on me, the two of us are totally at peace, except maybe for the occasional microburst of a fart, the vibration of which I can feel through her diaper.
See you soon.
P.S. Tomorrow is Sydney’s mother’s birthday, and Casey is the best mom since, well, her mom. Happy birthday, darling. NFLHDM.