But it's not too far from the truth, if by walking you mean this:
And if by talking you mean "da da da" and other syllabic mimicry.
Lately when people ask how old Auden is, I have to pause and think about it. Uhh, 10 months? Give or take?
No, only 8. But holy crow, really? 8 months? I'd always pictured 6 months as the pinnacle of babyhood, especially when I was pregnant and six months of baby seemed epochs away. (But then, I was a little obsessive about keeping track of time at that point, too, ie: "I'll be 28 weeks in 2.5 days. Well, 2.75.") As a result, I knew a lot about what to expect during those six months, and not so much about what happens after. Maybe this is why Auden is utterly bored with all his toys -- I'm trying to give him a rattle and he wants a Rubik's Cube or something.
We've been going to some play groups during the week, and aside from relieving the walls-closing-in feeling of being in the house all day it gives me plenty of chances to see how the other humans are doing it: how often food? how many nap? what time bedtime?
I am much reassured to have such company, of course, and also slightly bemused to discover I've become one of those poor saps in the play area at the mall, tethered by slobbering offspring and sippy cups. Turns out the view from the inside isn't so bad, eh? Why, just the other day I caught myself cheerfully going about the trifecta of domestic duties (you know, diapers, dishes, dinner) with a feeling akin to pride that would have appalled my post-punk pro-revolution radical-womyn San Francisco self.
So most of the time I feel like I'm navigating without a map, making it up as I go -- especially in the baby food department -- but for all my dramatic casting about for A Plan and How to Follow It, I have discovered quiet moments of success:
- Auden was not interested at ALL in solids. I thought for sure he'd be the only kindergartner with a lunch box full of breast milk until one day, finally, he willingly opened his mouth and ate.
- The other day I was buckling him into the stroller for a walk, and realized his crying wasn't the usual why-are-you-always-buckling-me-into-SOMETHING-restrictive? fussing, but a hungry cry. I could tell the difference!
- A couple weeks ago I put him into his crib, fed and sleepy but awake, and he just rolled over and went to sleep without a sound.
All the things I read, all the things I "knew" about babies, while not useless, were perhaps staving off the inevitable realization that your baby teaches you in a hurry, and we're all learning as we go. Nothing goes according to plan; predictability is a fantasy best tossed aside with the bedclothes when you wake up. At 5:30. Or 6, or 7:45, or whatever.
I mean, of course, right? Auden is smart, he's learning, but he's not programmable. He's not a baby-bot. And if he were, it would probably just be a phase.