Letters to Holly

Thursday, December 2

Baby Learning

I compared the sidekick to a videogame a few months back. I was referring to the template of a self-contained series of tests a player will encounter. Used to be, video games were simple button-mashers; the only trick was timing the correct button press. But as technology and competition expanded, the gaming universe developed a puzzle subsystem now seen in almost every current major game. This is what parenting is like.

Particularly, I could compare him to a customizable role-playing character. As we develop specific skills (solid food, sitting up, etc), he becomes distinct from other babies as he develops on the same general timeline. By giving him certain tools and tasks, we're molding him. But that means we have to respond to his responses. We're in a feedback loop, and that forces us to out-think him.

Take his new sleep position. We took him out of the bassinet last week, and he's slept in the crib ever since. I'm relieved with this; that crib needed more business. He proved he could sleep flat on his back with the travel bed, but he's accustomed to curling up in deep sleep because of the bassinet frame. As we moved him to the crib, he still curls up and his subsequent leg movement will often jerk him awake. I'm not shocked by this. He has the leg muscles of a gymnast. That muscle jerk keeps him from sleeping and us from eating supper. We would have to scoop him up again and hold him until he reached a deep enough sleep to last through the next put-down attempt. Recently, I tried simply holding down his legs after putting him down, and it worked. He crashes quickly. I told Your Sister about it, and she got the same results on her nights to put him down.

A few weeks back, I started setting him upright to build the sitting muscles. I'll keep him this way for ten minutes at a time. Just last night, he put his right hand flat beside him, locked the elbow, and stayed upright for a few seconds. He's evolving. Your Sister was amazed. By the end of the year, just after his six-month birthday, he might be sitting by himself.

He doesn't have the dexterity to mimic the sign language, but we suspect his acute arm movements are his tried at it. Not that there's any mystery when he's hungry. He began keening and lowing right before the hunger cries start. It gives us time to warm up bottled milk. He's teaching us.

Picture of the Day
We've become fans of the The Walking Dead. This season has only six episodes, and it ends this Sunday. This is a behind-the-scenes shot of the very first scene, and it influenced my comic script (first real draft almost done). Specifically, it gives us the tone of the series and some zombie violence early on before moving toward the slower establishing scenes. It hooks us. I needed that for my comic, and that helped unlock the other parts of the script between the major moments I had in mind.

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