Ten Weeks: Introducing the Extremeties

We managed to get out this weekend again. This time we moved away from the touristy areas towards Rondebosch, which is a central district of Cape Town, and very popular with the younger crowd due to its proximity to the University of Cape Town (UCT). The main destination for our visit was a location for a book exchange in Rondebosch Mall. This part of the outing was a huge disappointment, so the less said about it the better. The only benefit was unloading some of my trashy airport literature, which I managed to accumulate over the years, but I still cannot bring myself to part with before reading first. In the exchange basket I also left the book I was reading at the hospital and during Robert’s first week. It is a very old book :”The Beautiful is Vanished” by Taylor Caldwell. The subject matter was depressing, as it is about a father losing his only son in the First World War. Later in the book the stricken father remarries and has another child, but the open ending of the story leaves us to anticipate that this child will be faced with the next war. I think I cried several times while I was reading that book, because all of a sudden I could completely relate to the emotional turmoil of the bereaved father. I hope and pray that I will never have to dissuade my own child from participating in a war. But I digress; the mission of unloading my books was accomplished in roughly thirty seconds, after which we were left with an unplanned chunk of time, so we chose to walk around a bit in the leafy streets of Rondebosch.

We took one of the pathways around the Baxter Theatre, and ended up somewhere within the UCT campus. Some of the walkways we trampled are over a century old, and there are many interesting historical pointers along the way. We also inspected the cricket field, where I saw real wickets and stumps for the first time. Cricket is not a known sport where I grew up, but it will probably be a sport that my son will play in the future.
Sunday was another cold day, so we stayed put at home, and Robert got to wear his warm sweater again, while he snoozed away in his seat. The big event for him this week is starting to discover his hands, and to grasp things. Up until now, if we closed his hand over a piece of cloth or a toy he would hold on to it, and sometimes for a very long time, but without really being aware of this. Grasping was more of a reflex than a willful act, but this is gradually changing.

His hands are starting to reach out towards things, but mostly he is doing lots of exploring to his own face. After several trial and error attempts where he swats at his own eye or nose, his fingers finally find his oral cavity and start exploring inside it. Sometimes he is so rough he brings himself to gag, but the rest of the time he just puts his fist, and his fingers there, and slobbers all over. His interest in his surrounding is increasing by the day; a week ago I suspended a pom pom, a crocheted circle and a ball made of tinfoil while he sat in his car seat, the idea was to encourage him to swat at these objects and develop his small motor coordination. These objects remained mostly unnoticed, but now he started to look at them, and observe them swinging back and forth, when he rocks his chair. Inadvertently, he swiped at them a few times, but he has yet to reach out for them.

Another first for this week was when Robert went to sleep on his own. It was one of those days when his bedtime came while he was still wide awake, and since he was clean and no longer interested in feeding, I thought it was fair to leave him be in his cot, while I got my own dinner. Surprisingly, he lay back in his cot, very relaxed and spoke to the colourful animals hanging above his head. There was minimal fussing and soon he drifted to la la land. Both Ron and I hoped that this will be the shape of things to come.

Also, the incidents of stomach cramps, and gas have become relatively rare, which in turn means general relief from the crying fits that went along with it. This development comes as Robert’s digestive system becomes more efficient. Some of the notable pointers in this area are: less frequent trips to the changing table as bowel movements become less frequent (but more substantial), and less time spent winding or burping. In the first few weeks of his life, it used to take me up to ten minutes to get a single bubble out, but now I get a huge satisfying belch in a few seconds.

According to what I read, the third month in a baby’s life brings the most exciting changes. Ron and I are beginning to see these changes and watch out for new ones, because every single day Robert shows us something new.

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