How quickly they grow up …

A mere three months ago, Maddi, just shy of eight pounds, was scrunched up in my uterus wondering what was squeezing her so hard. She had great muscle tone, finely honed via months of leg presses, but she really didn’t do much.

Now, she’s a fat, jolly, 14-and-a-half-pound baby who sleeps through the night, coos, gurgles, smiles, laughs, grabs things, enjoys games and toys, and can roll over. You read that right. Maddi, who last week was still just smiling and lying wherever I laid her, is now laughing and rolling over. Even more amazing, she accomplished both “firsts” on the same day, resulting in repeated queries “are you sure, or is it just wishful thinking?” from my incredulous husband.

The wee one had been threatening to roll over for days and promising laughter for weeks — nay, a month — so neither event was too surprising in and of itself. It was as if Maddi just woke up one day and said, “Hey, there are a few things left on my to-do list; I think I’ll just crank them out really fast here and be done with it.” However, with her three-month birthday fast approaching (it’s tomorrow, in case you haven’t been anticipating it since the two-month mark as I have) it has been almost too much for my sentimental heart to bear.

But while I can safely say we no longer have a sleepy, scrunchy-faced newborn to snuggle (OK, we never had a sleepy newborn), it is such a beautiful — if bittersweet — thing to watch little Maddux pass these developmental milestones. And a relief, too, since “What to Expect” hints that your child may be deficient if she hasn’t laughed by three months, and our little darling just barely squeaked by!

Not that Maddi utilizes her talents with any sort of regularity. She has let me know in no uncertain terms that rolling over is merely a more dependable mode of ending “tummy time” than is screaming her lungs out. Once she has freed herself from the dreaded prone position and is lying comfortably on her back — doubtless smashing her skull into an unparalleled spectacle of deformity — she glares up at me with an accusatory expression before turning to happily stare at herself in her new baby mirror.

And as for the laughter, it’s great when you can get it, but Maddi is an incredibly tough audience. We are forced to make complete idiots of ourselves in order to elicit even the slightest hint of a giggle. I won’t even begin to describe the silliness I have stooped to in my attempts to get a chuckle out of Maddi, because it makes the comedic stylings of Carrot Top look subtle. Approximately two or three times in a given day, our material is deemed worthy of a polite chuckle. Only once, the third time I got her to laugh, have I heard anything approaching a raucous guffaw. To our discriminating daughter, Chris’ and my performances must be the equivalent of what “Everybody Loves Raymond” reruns are to us.

Even though we are completely unfunny, we are still enjoying the living daylights out of our wonderful little girl. My heart does flipflops every time I enter her room and see the way her little face lights up when she spots me. I’ve started a schedule to give her a bit of structure and some rituals, especially before bed, and while each activity was met at first with some resistance, she has quickly grown to enjoy her bath, her infant massage and her bedtime story. (I’m still holding out hope for tummy time, although nine weeks of it so far hasn’t made her hate it any less. If she does learn to crawl, it will only be as a mode of escaping that much-loathed activity.)

As much as I mourn the passing of Maddi’s tiny-baby period, I am really enjoying this period where everything is developing so quickly — her motor skills, her social skills, and most of all, her quirky little personality. I can never get newborn Maddi back, and she’s such a splendid big baby that I don’t really want to anymore.

However, should another newborn come my way, I certainly won’t pass it up!

And here, for your viewing pleasure, is a picture of Maddi at 13 weeks, scrambling to get off her tummy.

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