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4 Months into parenthood

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Tom and I watched this video the other day and it felt like a hundred years ago...

Firstly because Elliot has changed so much. When he was a few weeks old Mum said he looked 'like ET'... which I didn't take too well at the time, but with a bit of hindsight I can see it, he does look like a little alien... the most beautiful alien that ever there was, but certainly alien. Secondly, Tom's panic at the beginning of the video "We need all hands on!". These days bath time is far less reverent, there have been times where he's just been chucked in a bucket...

Maybe it's the fatigue or having your daily routine completely dismantled but it's true what they say about the time just slipping away. The last 4 months have disappeared so fast. Not only has Elliot doubled in size, he has also developed a pretty cool little personality and accumulated an army of fans across the globe. I thought it might be nice to write about all his accomplishments by the end of 2010...

Elliot 4 months
Weight: 8kg (17lbs 10oz)...double his birth weight
Length: 64cm ...he was 58cm at birth
Head circumferance: 45cm ...in the 99th percentile!
Favourite things: boobies, his own hands, Daddy's silly face, Rihanna
Talents: comic timing, Irish dancing
Cuteness: Off the chart

The first step to understanding the world is to discover how your own body works. Elliot's skills are mostly confined to this relm. His hands are the main thing in his life right how, both his favourite toy and his favourite food. If he can't get to his hands, he gets quite upset. 

For the first month Elliot had tight little fists that could only by pried open after a few minutes on the boob. This would make him relaxed enough for you to unfurl his fingers and remove the little lint collection he'd been storing in there. Gradually he has become more relaxed and he now opens his fingers up wide and grabs at everything. Now a good way to calm him down when he's screeching is giving him a familiar finger to hold.

He has developed a sharp little set of talons by being increasingly resistant to having his nails bitten off and I'm too terrified to use the teeny weeny clippers because a childhood incident involving a pet guinea pig and some over zealous clipping so he's beginning to look like a 70s pimp.

Arms are particularly hard to understand. He still flails about like a mad little conductor but he has more control over his arms than he used to. He no longer whacks himself in the face while he's sleeping so we don't need to swaddle him anymore and the random black power salute has disappeared from his reportoire. He can now see something he wants and reach out for it and make a grab for it. When he's lying on his baby gym he uses a carpet bomb approach by grabbing at everything furiously and occasionally catching hold of something. Once he has caught it he'll just hold on for as long as he can, or until he gets distracted by something incredibly interesting like the ceiling. I find him madly clutching his dangly toys with the face of a villain, "Haha! I have you now Monsieur Frog and Multicoloured Shape Man, you will no longer taunt me with your dangly ways. I will drag you back to my.....Oooh! Ceiling!"

He also uses his arms to communicate. From about 3 months he figured out that when I pick him up I need his arms to be outstretched in front of him so he started to do it when he wants a cuddle. I've seen toddlers do this but I had no idea that a baby of 12 weeks would have figured this out. It must instinctual, it's pretty cool, it'a almost like sign language. Once I figured out what he meant by it, I really felt like we could understand each other. It felt like a breakthrough.

Another moment that felt like a breakthrough was his first smiles. (I say smiles because you can never be sure of the first few, they could be farts and I wouldn't be surprised if, like his dad, he let a fart steal the show at a beautiful moment!). The first 4 weeks are hard mainly because even though you're doing everything you're supposed the fact that they occasionally stop crying is the only positive feedback you get from them. And then they smile, and it all falls into place! You realise what you had dared to assume is true... they actually like you! That all the hard work and lack of sleep and endless feeding and fretting is the right thing to do because this little person is happy. You're doing it right! And that means everything. From then on we turned a corner, at about 5 weeks we got the first really great smiles, our confidence swelled and suddenly parenting became really fun. Now we're starting to get the odd giggle from him. Especially when Tom blows raspberries on his tummy. It's a real treat.

Parenting, you're doing it right!
He has yet to master sitting up or rolling over, but he's giving it his best shot. He can lift his head and upper body up by his arms when he's lying on his tummy like a little sphinx, but only for a few seconds which is fair enough given that his head size is almost off the charts! He can roll over onto his back from his front and mainly rolls to the right ...we tested this out by creating a baby betting ring and placing bets on which way he'd go with Quality Streets on Boxing Day. Tom cleaned up.

He loves standing up and is starting to do it all the time, obviously not on his own, but on our laps, testing out the strength of his little legs. And boy are his legs strong, I've let out a few yelps after the odd kick to the bosom!

The boob milk seems to be treating him well. We've started giving him an occasional bottle of formula when I've had a few drinks, and luckily he's not that fussed by it. Some babies are quite particualr about bottles or different flavours, he's very chilled out.

The next step is going to be tricky, we're about to enter the world of weaning and teething. He's chomping down on teething rings and chewy toys but there's no sign of any teeth yet. They can take months to come through. Just before christmas he started sticking his tongue out in a little point. This is a sign that his newborn tongue reflex has gone and he's ready to start swallowing things other than milk. We tried out some baby rice and he was quite impressed by it, but not overly fussed and after a few spoonfuls he started coughing so we're going to do a bit more research before we continue with the weaning. Stay tuned!

And finally: a glimpse at His Royal Cuteness...

Happy 4 month anniversary little man!


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