Every child reaches benchmarks at different ages. Some speak really early, while some take so much time you think they might be part caveman because of their minimal vocabulary and constant pointing and grunting. In the first month of life, however, there is no speaking, a ton of grunting, arms and legs thrashing all over the place, crying, sleeping, pooping, spitting up—you know, all the glamorous stuff. But hey, a milestone is a milestone, regardless. Whether it’s big or small. If you want it to be.
Here’s a list of Austin’s (loosely defined) milestones, physical, cognitive, social and developmental.
· Smiling: If you give him goofy looks, smiles, maybe even a peekaboo-type thing, you might get a smile. Early on he smiled, and we were like, “Wow, this kid is so ahead of the curve, he’s smiling already—then came a fart and diaper full of poop. So yeah, now his smiles are actual smiles, not just a precursor to a soiled diaper.
· Sleeping: He’s given us three-hour stretches from the get-go, so there’s no complaining here. That’s pretty freaking awesome. Know what’s even more awesome? Last week when he slept from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.! What’s the catch? Yeah, that’s the crummy part—L came down with another case of mastitis. It’s crippling, and I feel terrible for her. Moms know what I’m talking about, but in a nutshell, it’s an obstruction in lactation (usually in one breast) that comes with flu-like symptoms. It’s been 75 to 80 degrees here, but thanks to mastitis, she covers herself with two fleece blankets for a few hours until the meds kick in. It’s her third bout with it, the second of which she’s needed antibiotics to help get back to 100 percent. Thankfully, the meds work pretty quick.
· Tracking: He can track our faces or objects slowly moving back and forth in front of his face, which is pretty cool. We still have to be right up on him, but still.
· Tummy time: With our first two, this lasted a minute or so before the crying kicked in. But Austin kind of enjoys it and can get his head off the ground an inch or two, so his neck muscles are developing nicely. When we hold him, he does a decent job of keeping his head upright. Sometimes he looks like he’s just bobbing his head to the music, though.
· Balding: He was born with reddish hair, and it’s stayed that way. The hair that remains, anyway. He almost had a faux-hawk on the right side of his head when the hair around his ear fell out. Now he’s starting to get into the horseshoe male pattern baldness thing a bit.
· Future bicyclist/boxer: His legs are always peddling, and his fists are always clenched as he throws jabs with both hands. Trying to get this bugger into a diaper is no small task. It’s even harder to get him into his sleep sack at night, but I overpower him. I mean I do outweigh him by 195 pounds.
· Growing and growing: He’s almost completely out of newborn clothes. Thankfully we’ve got bins and bins of clothes (thanks, Liz) from Nolan and Graham. (They were all born around the same time of year.) Austin is bigger than the other two were at this point, and I can’t remember the other two every taking a pacifier, which Austin gladly does.
· Grunting: Following the second overnight feeding, he often grunts himself back to sleep after about 15 to 20 minutes. He’s too young to speak, so our resident caveman, Graham, still goes by that moniker from time to time. To his credit, he’s been spouting off new words almost daily, with “floua,” “staw,” “appasauce,” and “hawse” being the most recent. (Translation: Flower, star, applesauce, horse/house.) Nolan was the same way but he hasn’t shut up since a few months short of his second birthday.
· Bunk bedding: This has nothing to do with Austin and everything to do with getting Nolan and Graham moved into the same bedroom, so we can reclaim our bed and put the new guy in a crib in a separate room. The first night we tried Graham on the bottom bunk he lasted 15 minutes. The second night we were successful and have been since, even with afternoon naps.
· Bike riding: Back to cycling, but this time I’m talking about Nolan. We went out one afternoon attempting to begin teaching him how to ride on two wheels. After about half-hour, he was going 40 or 50 feet pedaling on his own, balancing, preventing himself from falling. It was awesome to see him get so excited and be so proud of himself. There’s no way he can get on two wheels by himself, but it’s a good start.
There’s a lot going on by us, and now that I’m finally done with working two jobs, I’ll get to spend more time with the family, which is even more awesome than seven hours of uninterrupted sleep!