Blackbird waved yesterday. Three times. She watched us waving hello or goodbye to her, tentatively lifted her arm, then moved it back and forth with a gentle flex of her fingers. Our eighth month has been about these first steps from helpless baby into able and curious child.
And I predict she’ll be a very curious child. Blackbird has a love of paper products that tends to involve disintegration.
Blackbird loves our cat, Leto. This relationship has its ups and downs. And back and forths. Because once Blackbird gets her little digits around Leto’s fur, it either comes loose in her hands or the cat slides back and forth on the floor until she cries uncle.
This would be one of the ups. Though a mouthful of cat nose could be interpreted as a down.
When in doubt, a father always has the “crazy baby tricks” fallback to break up the monotony of rolling around on the floor trying to eat dangerous things.
Another important development this month were the pigtails, which were deployed in response to the flowing mane that Blackbird’s been cultivating for 8 months… well, longer than that, since she came out sporting about an inch of hair. Think about that for a minute: eight months of hair growth and no haircut. Alisa’s method for staving off the inevitable flailing baby haircut fiasco was a good one, as it increased the Cuteness Factor by boosting the Novelty Coefficient. Blackbird had already maxed out her Base Cuteness Level, so these techniques were necessary to prevent flagging Cuteness Values in the marketplace.
Add a baby laugh (that Mommy elicited for this photo) and you are approaching cuteness super-saturation.
Then switch it up! It’s an all-out frontal assault of brain-melting adorability and incongruously adult fashion accessories. This was taken on the campus of a large private school/church near our neighborhood. Blackbird’s not at the point where frolicking is an option, but it’s a beautiful space for her to watch the kids playing soccer and be mesmerized by the wind rustling the leaves. Notice the barrette. This is the other method for dealing with the encroaching Long Bangs Menace from the north.
Ultimately, the long brunette threat could not be ignored. Blackbird was spending more time looking at her hair than at the world around her, so it had to go. Fearing the combination of scissors and frenetic baby motion, Alisa made a quick job of it, striking directly at the problem and letting the rest go.
Now Blackbird and Mommy look even more alike.
But haircuts were not the only developments this month.
While I’d love to claim that Blackbird is playing a game of marbles here, I cannot. She’s showing off her newly developed pincer skills. She’s begun to pick up food using a very purposeful plucking with her forefinger and thumb, which is pretty entertaining to watch. Though she’s not above just snatching up a handful of Cheerios and jamming them in her mouth, all willy-nilly. However, the best part is when she grabs a little bit of food, whatever it is, and lets it get into her palm. She works it with a kind of peristaltic motion of her fingers to slowly push it back up to the very edge of her fist. At which point she jams it practically past her uvula.
Here Blackbird shows off her grab ’n‘ stuff technique out in Chestnut Hill on a sunny Saturday. She followed it up with a few bars of her favorite song “Give Me That Bottle Gawldemmit.”
And now, a brief Blackbird culinary interlude:
This month marked the end of the rice cake era. She’ll manhandle one for kicks, but she won’t tear into it with gusto like she did before. We provide the following image as one of the final examples of the Ricecake Transmogrification:
She’s a much more discerning diner now:
I’m advising her on the benefits of bacon over squash puree. I think she’s unconvinced. Just give me a few years.
Sleeping babies. Never get enough of ’em. Particularly now. Nothing sweeter than a sleeping baby.
Grandma “Bee Bee” and Grandpa revel in any opportunity to play with Blackbird, or to expand her mind. Just look at her face while Grandpa reads to her. She loves being read to. This pleases me.
I consider music to be a solid fallback. The xylophone took some getting used to, since she’s not allowed to use the sticks (apparently called “mallets”). She did a better job of using the mallets to play the “terrified Daddy”, which involves sticking them in your mouth, then sticking them further in until Daddy hides them on a shelf.
Though I’m looking forward to the day when instead of putting things on the shelf, I’ll get to watch her choose what to take down for herself.