A crash course on babies

Wednesday, 08 August, 2012

This post is for all my friends who have asked me about babies—who have said to me, “I know nothing about babies. How could I ever become a parent?” (to which I've laughed and said, “Before Astrid, I didn't know anything about babies either. You just learn.”) I don't claim to be an expert on babies (just an expert on one baby: Astrid). But what I want to do in this post is provide a bit of a cheat sheet on babies—concise information that I wish I'd had before Astrid came along presented in a way that would have been helpful to me. Pre-Astrid, babies were like little aliens: I had no idea what they were like or what to do with them. Now I feel a bit more confident about them: I feel like I understand them a bit better and would know what to do if someone handed me one (not that people do these days, but anyway …)

As I said before, I'm not an expert! I don't know everything. I may get it wrong, so it's important to check that what I say is right (or at least on the right track). Also, it's worth stressing that everyone's experience of babies is different; a lot of what's in this post is derived from watching Astrid, so it might not apply.

Also, even though I own The Wonder Weeks, I didn't read it all, and didn't really track the different developmental stages they talk about in my observations of Astrid. So a lot of what I'm going to say here has to do with physical development rather than mental and emotional stuff.

The other thing I should say up front is that when I talk about the “challenges” of each stage, I don't mean to say that they are “bad” things, just that they are challenging (or that some people might find them challenging). There are some parents who hold the sort of attitude towards other parents that goes “This is what you signed up for. Just suck it up, princess! It will be over soon enough, and then you'll miss these days and wish you'd made the most of them.” They have a point. However, challenges are still challenges, no matter what you call them. I want to be realistic about parenthood (well, as much as I can be!)

Okay, here we go.


(To compile this bit, I re-read my post on Astrid's initial weeks.)

Four to six months (roughly)

(To compile this bit, I re-read my post on Astrid at six months.)

Seven to nine months (roughly)

(To compile this bit, I re-read my post on Astrid at eight months.)

10-12 months (roughly)

(To compile this bit, I re-read my post on Astrid at ten and a half months.)

Toddlerdom: One year old and up

Here things tend to be less clear for me, so I'm not even sure if I should be writing this bit, given I'm still in the middle of the toddler years. A lot seems to happen but it's hard to pinpoint when it does; I don't think there's any predictability. I know I haven't written an Astrid post in a while (so what I've put below is compiled from reading over Astrid at 12 months and Astrid at 18 months), and that makes it hard to remember what's happened since. Anyway, I'll give it a go and more experienced mums can correct me!

Congratulations if you've reached the end! I hope some of that was helpful. Please let me know if it was! And if I missed anything, please let me know in the comments.


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