Eight Months of Chicken

Chapter 8: In which our tiny heroine is suddenly mobile.

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Hazel finally transitioned out of Lump Phase this month. Over Christmas break, she mastered getting up on all fours and rocking back and forth. After that came the frustrating I-want-to-go-forwards-but-I’m-only-moving-backwards phase, followed at long last by legitimate crawling. She gets faster every day, especially when her target is something verboten – the cable modem with its flickering lights, the delicious edge of the hearth, the cat.

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Her sudden mobility has come as quite a shock to the pets, who were accustomed to a certain “safe distance” beyond which the baby could not grab their ears, whiskers, or flanks. Those days are over. Ron the cat will toy with Hazel, allowing her to get within inches before moving away. We are teaching her to be gentle with the animals, but that too is a process.

In addition to crawling, Hazel is starting to pull up to standing. She particularly likes standing in her crib (and gnawing on the rails with her SIX teeth). Woe to the person who removes her from her crib when she’s mid-gnaw.

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We had a bit of a setback this month in the feeding department. We introduced Hazel to oat cereal at six months, which went okay. But when we tried to add purees to her food repertoire, she refused them. Eventually, she stopped eating the oat cereal as well. Mealtimes became frustrating, as Hazel wouldn’t eat and I hate wasting food. We both shed many tears over the process. This is also the child who never learned to drink from a bottle, so my life has been scheduled around her feedings every day for the last eight months with no break. It was overwhelming. Finally I called Hazel’s pediatrician and had a great conversation with the nurse. We’re calling a do-over on food – starting back from square one, oat cereal. I’m also supposed to make sure that Hazel is truly hungry before we try to feed her, so I’ve been spacing out her feedings from every 2-3 hours to every 4-5 hours. I am happy to report that the changes seem to be working – Hazel has eaten a full serving of oat cereal every day since Thursday. Fingers crossed!

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Hazel now understands object permanence, the idea that when an object is out of view it still exists. This makes it much harder to “hide” things she shouldn’t play with. We are trying to dissuade her from using That Horrid Piercing Wail to get her way.

Thankfully, she continues to be an overall delightful child, bright and inquisitive and generally quiet. Hazel and I are both looking forward to warmer weather and more time outside!

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