One Couple's Stumblings Through Parenthood and Marriage

Friday, November 11, 2005

They Call Her Flipper

I have determined that one of the most difficult times in an infant's life, for both parent and child, is between 4 and 6 months. This is when they are beginning to really become aware of the outside world, yet don't quite have the tools to properly respond and interact with it. Julia is smack in the middle of this stage at 5 months. She now wants to be entertained a lot, but lacks the motor skills to keep a toy in her mouth for very long. She is no longer satisfied with a bouncer because she just sits there, but she isn't strong enough to endure more than 5 - 10 minutes in the exer-saucer. This leads to frustration.
Now she has learned how to roll over onto her belly. This is a good thing - it's one of those checklist items that your pediatrician asks about. But she hasn't yet developed the roll-back-over skill, so she gets stuck on her stomach, which she doesn't like.

I used to have a box turtle named Styles. During Styles' wandering about her terrarium and backyard she would occassionally roll over onto her back and flail about, much like my daughter.
Both present pretty pitiful images. The turtle, however, didn't mean to flip over. Julia feels compelled to. Styles would go to great efforts to flip back over. Julia just lays on her belly and squirms and cries, loudly. Should I be disturbed that my turtle possessed greater problem solving skills than my own child?

This was our story last night. Julia rolled on to her stomach and proceeded to wail and flail at least 10 times. Annie and I took turns flipping her over like a pancake and soothing her. During Annie's turn I would lay awake because of the crying, thinking: "Where are my bungie cords? I could just strap her down," or "are there any arts and crafts stores open this late that would sell me a sheet of velcro to sew onto Julia's sleeper and the crib sheet?" This, compounded by the twins also waking up and crying multiple times, has resulted in the exhaustion of both parents.

Julia may have just earned her first nickname. No, not 'Styles', but maybe 'turtle' or 'flipper.'

No comments: