Saturday, 27 December 2008

Molly at Christmas

Molly is twelve weeks old and, stating the obvious, this is her first Christmas. If anyone had suggested at this time last year that this year there would be a little addition to the family I would have immediately taken the bottle away from them for their own good, but there you go, life is full of little surprises and this one we are really pleased with!

She is completely oblivious to all this Christmas nonsense of course but despite my advice not to go mad with presents no one took any notice and by Christmas day there was a pile of presents the size of Westminster Abbey. I have stuck to my guns and my present is a monthly standing order payment to her new Children’s Trust Fund.

Being less than three months old Christmas morning was much like any other morning to Molly so there wasn’t the restless night and the impatient early morning start but that is almost certain to be a feature in the future because Sally was always especially bad about getting up way too early on Christmas morning and it is probably in the genes. I think one year she managed to sleep through to about half past four but most years we were up and opening presents at least half an hour before that. I can remember looking through the curtains and lamenting that we were the only house in the close where people were daft enough to get up that early. This always made Christmas day a very long one and by the time of the Queen’s speech it always felt like bedtime.

Molly has continued to grow and she is now almost three times her birth weight. The hair on the top of her head is starting to grow and it is very fair, but at the back of her head she has developed a bald patch so the darker hair she was born with has started to wear away. Perhaps she will be blond after all; I hope so. I am amazed by how much more alert she is and how she is adapting to her environment. She is beginning to gain total control over the household and the other people who live there and allowances and concessions are having to be made. She objected strongly to the removal of the Halloween spider mobile so that had to be put back in place because she is attracted to the sparkly tinsel and the flickering lights.

She had a smart party frock for the big day and she does like to be included in what is going on around her and she objects if she is put down even for a moment and she feels neglected. She likes to sit with someone and participate. She has quite a thoughtful and serious expression and it is almost possible to see her concentrating on people and activity. She is very observant and she watches intently especially when being spoken to. It is at about this time that babies are learning about sounds and experimenting with little noises and developing little vowel sounds of their own. She especially watches the mouth of the person that is speaking to her and this is important because she is learning how to form different sounds that will eventually become words and sentences.

I have been thinking about how important these early interactions are because this is where she will learn to communicate and speak properly. I have always wondered why the French cannot say this or that and use zis and zat instead and I think I understand now, it is because they simply cannot get their mouth and tongue in the correct position because they could never work it out as babies or learn to say th because their parents cannot either.

She has developed her crying skills and she has been working hard on achieving the full range, starting with the whimper that means she would like some attention, through to the nagging little grizzle when the whimper doesn’t work, right up to the full sob and bottom lip tremble, which means she is either hungry or has a little pain. Generally she is really well behaved and it seems as though she has been around forever and we all look forward to many more Christmases to come.

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