Not so very long ago, little Maddux’ hands existed only for the purpose of scratching her eyes out in a reckless and uncoordinated manner. It seemed like forever before she held them at arm’s length, gazed at them in her trademark wide-eyed intensity, and finally reached for that first toy.
After that, of course, things snowballed. First she was reaching for the animals on her mobile, and then for toys and familiar faces. Pretty soon, she started trying to swipe food and drink from unsuspecting family members. They say that the postpartum estrogen plunge causes hair loss, but I have a theory of my own on how all that hair ends up on the floor, and it has a lot more to do with grabby little hands than it does with telogen effluvium.
This week, after weeks of clutching at hair, fingers, toys and food, Maddi has moved on to bigger and better things: namely, pointing.
Now, I am not trying to claim that our daughter curls her last three fingers inward and extends the index finger. Her method of pointing currently resembles a gimpy starfish, in that her index finger is usually out the furthest, but the others are outstretched too.
Now you would think that Maddi would point at something that she knew and loved, such as foodstuffs or a cat. But no, the first thing she signalled at was her grandparents’ bird, Billy, who is fond of screeching over any noise in the house and has been known to fly into the occasional homicidal frenzy.
I thought it was a fluke, but then tonight we were playing on the floor and she started fussing. I picked her up, but she continued fussing and then pointed to her pacifier, which I’d removed for tummy time.
Of course, if she can actually reach something on her own, she’s definitely a do-it-yourselfer. Tonight, as I was giving her a bath, she expertly snatched her rubber duckie from the bubbles and gleefully indulged in a big mouthful of foam. Let me tell you, it’s hard to tell a baby “We don’t eat bubbles” with a straight face at the best of times, but forget about it when she has a slick mohawk and a full Santa beard and is biting the head off a bird with unparalleled gusto.
Our daughter still scratches herself now and again, but for the most part her hands are always busy with baby work. She’s been practicing handling a ball (usually losing the slippery toy when she tries to hug and bite it at once) and holding a sippy cup (same problem).
She pets the housecats now, although we are ever vigilant in our efforts to thwart the inevitable fur-pulling attempts. There is the ever-pressing initiative to rid all adults of hair before 2006, and let’s not forget the equally-important task of exploring the inside of Mommy’s nose (I guess her rationale is that I pick hers, so she should return the favor). I suspect that within the week, she will point at more objects and probably find new things to suddenly snatch and insert in her mouth.
This week was another bittersweet milestone for us, as pointing is one of her very first ways of communicating like an adult (although I am almost positive she cried “Moomoo” specifically AT ME when I put her down for her nap today, and Nana swears that Maddi says “Hi”!). Pretty soon, she will be saying words that everyone can hear — not just the delusional mommy and grandmas — and maybe, if she ever decides to use those hands for more than pointing and snatching, she’ll even use some of the sign language I’ve been trying to teach her.
And here is the latest picture of our grabby little 24-week-old: