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on the move

Munchkin is having a rough couple of weeks — and, by extension, so are we. Between his first cold, a viral infection, and teething pains, there is not much calm or quiet in our household. Even before we had his aches and pains to contend with, however, Munchkin started putting us through our paces. He is growing up so fast that we can hardly believe it.

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He started out on the scrawny end of the spectrum — at his first-month check-up, Munchkin’s weight was in the 1st percentile. He is now in the 50th percentile, and when the weather got cold and S took out his 6-9 month autumn clothes, she was shocked to discover that he had outgrown almost all of them. Size aside, his mobility has always been ahead of the curve, and he has become quite a handful.

Sometimes it feels as if we are raising a tiny circus performer. Acrobatic displays of extraordinary strength coupled with inordinate flexibility? Pretty much sums up our experience changing his diaper nowadays. Sometimes even with both of us attempting to hold him down Munchkin manages to wriggle free and flip over. We are growing adept at changing his diapers and dressing him mid-crawl, something S thought we would not have to contend with for another few months. He is so active — quite literally climbing the walls — that we have all but stopped using his changing table for fear that he might twist out of our hands and take a nosedive to the floor.

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Unfortunately, the instinct for self-preservation seems to kick in long after babies develop their gross motor skills. Munchkin is crawling up a storm — and has been since we returned from our travels. He cannot stand or walk unassisted yet, but he has learned to pull himself up into a standing position and is constantly climbing and clambering over everything — the bigger and scarier, the better. It probably does not help that D seems to be trying to raise Munchkin to be a thrill-seeking action junkie. The little guy loves nothing more than to be tossed, twirled, and flipped upside down.

Whereas before we could step out of the room knowing that the worst that could happen was him getting upset at being left alone, now we have to engage in a perpetual calculus. Do I have enough time to go put on the tea or run downstairs to get something before he crawls over to the dog bowl and starts eating Emmie’s food or finds the electric socket or clambers up his toy basket, which he loves to do, before losing his grip and bumping his head on the hardwood floor?

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Whereas trying to keep Munchkin out of trouble is both challenging and fun, the same cannot be said for his recent pains. He marked the beginning of his eighth month with his first cold, which kept all of us up for the better part of a week. The coughing and congestion gave way to several days of high temperatures, and now that the fever has finally broken, he has been overcome with teething pain. We thought we had lucked out because he hardly fussed when his two bottom teeth came in, but now that the uppers appear on the verge of making an appearance he has become prone to uncontrollable bouts of screaming and crying.

D keeps a picture from Munchkin’s first few days as his laptop background. In the photograph, Munchkin is sleeping on D’s chest, his eyes firmly shut against the unfamiliar, harsh light, a thin veil of dried colostrum coating his lips. Not only is it hard to believe that he was ever that tiny, but it also seems impossible that he was ever that still. Nowadays, when we feed him his bottle before putting him to bed, he is a ball of energy, flailing his arms and legs uncontrollably. But sometimes he falls asleep in our arms, his lips hanging slightly agape and smacking the air after we pull out the bottle even as he starts snoring. Before transferring him to his crib, we’ll sit there — a few moments of perfect tranquility after a long day of chasing after him — and think how even though he’s grown so much, he is still so small and vulnerable, and how we wouldn’t give this feeling up for anything in the world…except sleep.

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