It’s about (tummy) time!!

As of exactly 27 weeks and one day after her birth, our darling wee princess has finally rolled from back to front and stayed there for more than 15 seconds — just a month or two behind “schedule.”

As regular perusers of Maddi’s baby blog well know, Maddi is no slouch at hitting milestones — just so long as they’re the milestones she has some sort of incentive to meet. She bestowed smiles early, gurgled out her very first “ah-goo” months ahead of when we were expecting to hear it, and surprised all of us by sitting unsupported before she was five months old. Apparently, her attempt to utter the word “cat” was not a fluke, as she has continued to bounce up and down and exclaim “kkk… hakkt!” whenever a feline enters the room (and yet, never has anything remotely resembling “mama” or “dada” escaped from her lips!).

But much to my frustration, ever since I incorporated “tummy time” when our dear little girl was but a month old, she has had absolutely no interest in being on her tummy — let alone rolling onto it! At the weekly “Baby Talk” sessions we attend at the nearby public health unit, other babies far younger than Maddi frolic about on their bellies, scooting laboriously in pursuit of toys or gleefully making like wee airplanes. Some have crawled, others are content to play with toys, but Maddi is the only “old-timer” who immediately flips onto her back when I set her down for some tummy time. Even the infant-development expert, who has quite the bag of tricks, was hard-pressed to coax our daughter to spend any time whatsoever on her front.

In a bid to at least get her to attempt crawling, I’ve tried that tested-and-true mom trick of placing all her toys out of reach so she will have to lunge for one (and, the theory goes, possibly discover that crawling makes life so much easier), but she will have none of it. She well knows that I am a sucker for an outstretched hand and that particular look that says “Darling mother, I would dearly love my shape sorter, but it seems to have wandered beyond my reach. Would you be a doll and fetch it for me so that my entire life will not be ruined?” (What can I say, she has very eloquent facial expressions!)

Paranoia queen that I am, I began harboring visions of Maddi scooting everywhere on her bottom rather than face the indignity of wriggling about on her belly like, well, like a baby. Of late, since she enjoys sitting so much and can do it for hours, tummy time sessions have gone from daily to weekly, so convinced was I that my sweet little bunny was determined to hop straight from sitting to walking (although Maddi has found pointing and “eh-eh-eh”ing to be so effective that I sometimes had my doubts she would bother with the latter, either).

Thankfully, Maddi did finally roll onto her tummy; however, as seems to be her wont, it was very much on her own terms.

As I do most nights, I peeked in on her in the wee hours of Saturday to see my little Maddi, hater of all things tummy-related, sleeping peacefully in her crib. But something was wrong. As usual, she had rotated 180 degrees so that her head was at the foot of the crib and her feet were within convenient pressing distance of the controls for her mobile. But where her little face should have been was a little bald occiput. Instead of little knees bending upward, I saw little knees bending downward. Instead of a tubby tummy facing skyward, a chubby bottom greeted my wondering eyes.

And she looked very comfortable indeed, sleeping like a tiny cherub with one arm curled beneath her chest.

Of her own volition, our little six-month-old finally decided (whether consciously or not) to roll onto her tummy and stay there happily. She was on her tummy at 1:30, and at 3, and when she woke me up at 5:30, she was still in the same position, only with her arms and chest off the mattress.

Of course, she still rebels with great enthusiasm when tummy time rolls around. But today, while I had her sitting on our bed, she lunged for the remote control and face-planted in the mattress, picked herself up, and, with the tiniest bit of pre-commando-crawling-type movement, managed to retrieve that shiny, button-y brass ring of Other People’s Toys (which, she has discovered, are the best kind).

This, of course, means that she probably will learn to crawl, after all, and my nightmares of a daughter who never learns to walk are probably completely unfounded. (Surprise!)

Now, if only she would start saying “mama” or “dada” — even indiscriminately! We don’t care!

And here are the long-awaited pictures of our wee one in her voluntary on-tummy photo debut! (Don’t worry, no babies watched any television in the making of this photo essay.)

Also, for your viewing pleasure, a short film titled “Hungry Little Sparrow,” in which Maddi tells us how much she loves her rice and apples.

Playing with the remote — hope it doesn’t escape!

Nooooooo, come back!

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