Will Lodge: Progress looks funny on its own

Mila and Will Lodge

Mila and Will Lodge - Credit: Archant

Superdad Will Lodge looks at how the stepping stones to adulthood can look odd in isolation.

I was amazed when we had baby at how quickly newborns develop their own personality.

Within a matter of weeks she had progressed from being a small bundle of quiet, sleeping joy to a little person in her own right.

Very quickly she had her own mannerisms, and though she cannot talk yet she already has her own babble voice and laugh.

As I have noted before in my column the constant strive for development can be a fun, if sometimes stressful, voyage for parents.

But my wife and I have noticed recently how odd these developments may be if spotted by strangers and out of context.

For example, baby has recently taken to sticking her tongue out – a lot.

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Not just poking it out, but waggling it from side to side, rolling the tip up and down – at times she resembles a lizard tasting the air.

While we find it cute and amusing, and it often prompts us all to stick out tongues together making us all look like fools, I can imagine if you passed baby on the street you might have other ideas.

Similarly baby enjoys clapping. At first we managed to get her to clap along with a song, which lasted maybe a week, and more recently she bursts into spontaneous rounds of applause.

(I like to think it is for our great parenting, but we may have to wait a while for that.)

Baby’s most enduring personality trait, which has stuck with her almost from birth and remained a constant, is a tendency to put her hands behind her head.

There seem to be a number of causes of this. When she is scared (for example when someone says boo and she wasn’t expecting it); when she is tired; sometimes when she is laughing.

Ultimately we are a little mystified, but it seems to comfort her and who are we to get in the way of that.

All of these little mannerisms tick the cute box for me, but I can easily imagine to the untrained eye – such as the eye of a non-parent – they may invoke a raised eyebrow or too.

In the balance of things cuteness far outweighs the potential disturbing nature of her characteristics.

I know I am biased, but a lot of people tell me she is cute so it must be true – right?

Someone in the playground the other day said “Hello gorgeous”, and I must admit to being a bit disappointed they meant baby and not me. At only eight months she is outshining me.

But this is what being a parent is all about, isn’t it?

You may have bags under your eyes, baby sick or food on your jumper, and a supply of wet wipes in every available pocket.

Yet it is all worth it when someone – especially strangers – catch your eye and say “Isn’t she beautiful”.

I will never grow tired of it.

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