Walker is just starting to put together the moves necessary to crawl. He’s getting on his hands and knees and teetering forward and back, forward and back. He’s also started sitting up all on his own. He’s been so close for so long. He reclines on his side like a decadent ancient Roman politician waiting for his grapes. He then pushes up from his elbow to his wrist and then makes a final shove from his hand and Voila! Sitting! It’s taken awhile but as always, Walker does it with a flair all his own.

This week Walker has been dealing with Baby Hazing — Nature’s way of making sure babies have what it takes to grow up. Poor little Walker had some sort of Toxic Poop resulting in, well, some very uncomfortable skin irritation on his little butt. Diaper Rash just seems so barbaric. It looks all red and ouchy and it’s not like it happens somewhere rarely used. It erupts on your bum. And if you’re Walker, you spend a lot of time on your little bum. So, Diaper Rash is terrible and horrible but ranks only second on my list of Nasty Baby Hazing items.

What’s first? Teething. And teething is actually hazing for both baby AND parents. The professionals seem to agree. When Walker was little (or little-ER), I called our pediatrician (the one who reassured us that a drafty cold house didn’t result in more colds because “Eskimo babies don’t have any more colds than we do”) who informed me that I didn’t want to know how long teething lasts… Walker has his bottom two teeth all the way in and his top two teeth are well on their way. But he’s started chewing on his fingers, drooling, and his little nose is running like nobody’s business (which I hear is not attributable DIRECTLY to teething but seems to happen to him at the same time…) I recall the weeks and weeks when he was teething for those bottom choppers. How many times did Sofiya call and ask if he could have some medicine? It’s just not right. Poor little babies have these huge bones burrowing through their soft gums for weeks on end and FINALLY, the pointy little stalactites and stalagmites break through the surface. But it’s not over. They have to grow all the way in. And then there’s the rest of your mouth. Those teeth keep coming for A YEAR OR MORE! And top it off with the simple fact that the little victim can’t communicate the discomfort, ask for help, or simply whine to get sympathy. That’s just unfair. So that’s why Teething is number one on the list of Nasty Baby Hazing.

The boys' day outThis weekend was GORGEOUS. Sunny and warm, but not too warm. I have way too much to do at work. So what did I do? Spent the weekend with Walker and Larry having important family bonding time. We went to the zoo on Saturday and had a picnic with Alex, Maryann, and Malcolm on Sunday. Walker had so much fun looking at the animals and playing with bubbles on Saturday and on Sunday, he enjoyed playing with a baby who is 7 weeks older. Just a few months ago those 7 weeks seemed like an eternity between the boys but now, while still significant, the differences are less pronounced. It was so incredible to watch them interact with each other. They held hands, hugged each other, and Malcolm gave Walker a big huge KISS. Walker smacked him on the head and poked him in the eye (which is actually his unrefined hugging technique).

What's this? Back to hazing. Third on Nasty Baby Hazing is actually something the baby does to the parents. And that’s NIGHT WAKING. Some lucky parent/baby pairs don’t experience this. But the majority of folks go through some form of wake-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night-
and-just-try-to-make-me-fall-asleep-without-
some-form-of-drama. And of course, the way you deal with this phenomenon is to feed, rock, or other form of consoling. Which, naturally, reinforces the bad night waking habits. So, then the team must face the decision about how to get a restful night’s sleep. If you’re like me, you read every book published, pour over all the silly Internet postings, and poll your friends. You try it all. Eventually something will work. But in the meantime, the little voice deep in your soul is telling you that this is your child’s way of hazing YOU while he suffers through the first two items on the Nasty Baby Hazing list.

I’m waiting to add items to the list. I’m aware that learning to walk is going to be a form of Nasty Baby Hazing for both baby (“ouch! I fell! I bonked my head on the “) and for parents (“Good Lord! I was standing right there! Tears! Bruise! Blood! OH MY! Did it do permanent physical or emotional damage to him or me?”). But we’re not there yet and someone wise has told me to take one day at a time.

And we are. Hazing and all.

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