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Did I say I was apprehensive about Florida? Trust your gut, is all I have to say. Tucker acted like a newborn until the final two nights of the trip, up every few hours and screaming bloody murder every time we tried to put him down. Some nights he literally would not let us stop holding him, even lie between us in bed. We finally had to just let him cry it out (in the crib) *in a hotel,* can you imagine? We actually gave a bottle of wine to the people in the next room. Ugh. And then suddenly the next night (our last in that hotel) he slept for about six hours.
The real challenge, and one I don’t know a solution to, was dinner. We tried to get Tucker down roughly around his usual 7 p.m. bedtime (and the better we were about it, the better the night went), which meant we hadn’t eaten dinner yet. But we were in hotel rooms, so....where to eat the mediocre takeout we could get our hands on? Luckily the place we stayed longest had a perfectly enormous bathroom—bigger than many a Manhattan bedroom—so we put throw pillows on bathmats and picnicked in there. It was weird, though. I’m glad that we’re going to rent houses and apartments for our Europe trip in May; having a separate bedroom for Tucker will make a huge difference.
While we were in Florida there was one day that was hot enough to go in the pool with him, and I realized that I hadn’t brought anything: No swim diaper, no sunblock, no hat. We picked up all three, including a reusable swim diaper made of terrycloth with a striped cover. So cute and practical! And Tucker LOVED the pool. I need to sign him up for swim lessons.
Since we got back a week ago Tucker has been learning something new every day, it seems. We’re just shy of six months (!!!) and he’s fascinated by absolutely everything. He’s incredibly grabby—his long arms and big hands shoot out like lightening to snatch, say, the diaper or vaseline during a change, or my phone or hair or necklace or face. He’s also suddenly very interested in his feet and spends a lot of time rolling side to side while holding onto them.
One interesting trick we learned recently: Tucker's interest in rolling over was pretty low for a long time. He loves sitting up and standing up and would play on his back for ages but after showing he COULD roll from tummy to back a month or so ago, he never bothered. My friend Laurie takes a Waldorf class with her daughter, who is about a month younger than Tucker, and she showed me their technique: You put the baby on a mat on their back, and put a toy juuuust out of reach, sort of diagonal from the shoulder so they twist their heads a bit to see it. We use the stacking cups or the Oball. Tucker immediately started flipping to his side trying to reach it (he'd been rolling to his side while playing, but never completed the roll from his back) and then straining his arms and legs to reach the toy and gradually push it within his grasp. The second day he flipped to his stomach. You just have to let them work it out instead of handing them the toy.
He will play with one of those cups for ages--babbling into it, chewing on the edge, hitting them against each other or on the floor...
Of course, he’s also moving in circles on the mat, or moving off it completely. The other day he ended up grabbing the leg of a chair with his hands and foot, moving under it, removing his sock, and lying there sucking on the sock for as long as I let him. And just now he pulled the magazines out from under the coffee table. Time to child-proof!
Kate Flaim is a freelance journalist and food blogger based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.