Eight Weeks: Discovering the World Outside

Last week we had our fair share of outings. On Thursday, and buoyed by a good night’s sleep, we drove to the shopping mall at Canal Walk. The objective was to get a faulty digital thermometre swapped, and buy some more baby and medicinal supplies. As it turned out the thermometre needed only a battery replacement, and we didn’t need to buy too many things, so we thought we had some time to treat ourselves to a quick meal at the food court. Baby was sleeping peacefully in the carrier, and the only problem we thought we had to deal with, was finding a suitable type of takeaway that I can safely eat without dripping crumbs or sauce over Robert’s head. After much deliberation I finally decided on spicy potato wedges, while Ron went for the Shwarma. Our little break ended sooner than anticipated, when Robert woke up hungry, and although this was a predictable outcome, we weren’t prepared for it this time. On our earlier stroll around the mall I haven’t spotted or located suitable spots where I can breastfeed discreetly, and the poor baby had to wait for his meal until we were back home. It was an uneasy drive back home, with little Robert crying bitterly, and for a good reason. I felt very guilty at having food in my stomach while my little one went hungry. Lesson number one: Baby has first priority when it comes to allocating meal times.

On Saturday we went for another outing to the V & A Waterfront. This time we were better prepared and armed with our experience from Thursday’s lesson. We timed our outing right after Robert’s feed and were only slightly inconvenienced when his nappy needed a change right after we drove into the parking lot. Ron stepped forward to this task in the awkward space of the backseat, and it went well with no major disasters. Last week Robert was lulled to sleep as soon as we started walking around, this week he looked around a little, before falling asleep.

Ron and I are beginning to notice baby’s increasing interest in the world outside. He now sits up higher in the carrier and can look up over it at the shops and the people. When we walk down our busy street, he watches the passing traffic with some interest, but is thoroughly fascinated with the huge trees shading the pavement. I always see him gazing up to the green canopy. He is also starting to respond to and recognize familiar items: Canuck the teddy bear, the colourful animals hanging above his cot, the changing table and the bathtub.

A warm bath in the early evening has become one of our successful strategies for combating crying fits. It works wonders during these scary times, when Robert closes his eyes and starts expanding his lungs at the expense of our nerves. He stops as soon as he recognizes the sound of running water, and the crying turns to soft whimpers, to disappear completely once he is dunked into the warm water. And although the crying might resume once the bath is over, there is no denying its relaxing effect; Robert calms down with a little snack, and soon settles to sleep.