Part of growing up is maturing emotionally. Even though he’s still so little, it’s amazing to watch how Sprout has already gone through so many changes.
Since the day he was born, Sprout’s been observant. He was born watching the world around him. For the first few weeks, he didn’t smile because he simply didn’t know how. Once he started smiling – around 2 months- it was cautiously, as if he was trying on this new expression for size. He would only smile if specifically provoked to, for example, if someone was tickling him. Around the same time, he was also learning to frown. He had a hilarious cartoony frown, that was a mirror image of his smile. It made him look Very Dissatisfied with The World, even though he wasn’t crying.
Once he got used to the new sensation, Sprout started smiling all of the time. Probably not coincidently, it was around the same time he started moving around on his own. That two month period is the most consistently happy I’ve ever seen him. He seemed to enjoy his newfound mobility and didn’t really have any expectations about it. Because he only went backwards, he never went towards anything – he was just scooting for the joy of it. He never looked behind him, so everything was a surprise. He’d look up at us with a huge smile when he’d rediscovered something for the 20th time as if saying, “Did you know this rug was here? Wow!!” Once he started moving forward, he was a bit less surprised, but still generally pleased.
However, that only lasted a week before he reached the next stage of mobility – pulling up on pieces of furniture. Then, his mood became decidedly more mixed. Although he could pull himself up to standing, he had no way of getting down. His original tactic of just letting go didn’t work out well for obvious reasons, resulting in him frequently bumping his head and crying. Once he realized that was a bad idea, he’d pull up and yell for us to help him down, “ahhhh” being a favorite syllable. Of course, as soon as we’d help him down, he’d stand right up again.
Fortunately, in the last two weeks, he’s gotten much better at getting himself down without incident and has calmed down. However, he’s already starting to catch on to the movements associated with climbing, so I’m sure we’ll have more challenges to deal with soon enough.
Along with his mobility, his mood has also changed in terms of his relationship to Chris and I. When he was first born, Sprout wanted to be carried everywhere. Then, he became much more independent and would scoot around on his own for ages. But a few weeks ago, he started becoming much more attached to me and reaching out while Chris is holding him. This shift is very common around 10 months old, so I’m certainly not worried.
But there is a minor problem with Sprout wanting me to carry him, besides my sore arms. At the same time he wants me to hold him, he simultaneously wants to be crawling around. So he’ll yam until I pick him up, squirm to be out of my arms, and then yam again when I put him down. I can’t win!
Whereas before he was content with whatever life gave him as long as his bodily needs were met, he’s now starting to want things. Unfortunately, he doesn’t quite know how to deal with wanting multiple and conflicting things at the same time. Of course, this is just a small preview of the future. I told my friend about Sprout’s frustration and he said, “I’m 35 years old and I still haven’t figured that out!”
Fortunately, not everything Sprout wants involves taking from us – he’s started learning to give back as well. He’s started hugging and wrapping his arms around our neck when we pick him up. He also gives us open-mouth kisses, which are both kind of gross and really adorable. But we’re not the only target of his affections; he’s become a bit of a Narcissus. He has a mirror at the back of his That’s Not My Baby book and has started slobbering all over it. It’s hilarious.
From cranky to joyous, Sprout’s many moods never cease to engage us.