I am continuing my weekly dadblog series, with posts roughly every Tuesday whether there’s really news to report or not. Mostly it’s about posting the latest photos of Maeve to share with friends and family.
As usual, she had been spending time growing, sleeping, eliminating, crying, staring.
This week saw some fun trips out of the house, getting used to the stroller (up until now it’s been mostly carriers.) We took Maeve’s first trip into New York City to see the Malcolm X memorial.
We enjoyed the Jersey City All About Downtown Street Fair – where we met up with other friends with babies in strollers.
We went into New York City for some appointments and dropped by Carrie’s office at the School of Visual Arts. All in all, it hasn’t been too difficult to get into, through and out of the city via subway and stroller. Some stations are better equipped for strollers, but I’ve been able to lift the stroller over PATH train fare gates, and the two of us can get it up and down stairs. Maeve seems pretty comfortable in the stroller while it’s moving, but can get fidgety and will sometimes cry when it’s stopped for more than a few minutes.
A few thoughts:
Tummy Time: The experts recommend that babies spend some time on their stomachs – called “tummy time.” We’ve been putting a few blankets down on the ground and laying there with Maeve. We read books to her. We also turn her on her side and on her front. Unfortunately she’s not all that into being on her front. At times she’ll do something resembling a push-up, lifting her head off the ground. It’s more arching her back though, not really pushing up much with her hands. Many times she’ll discover that her mouth is pretty close to her hand, so she’ll suck on her hand. She doesn’t quite suck on her thumb, but keeps her thumb tucked in and sort of sucks on the inside of the fist starting with the thumb knuckle.
She seems to get frustrated when face down, and starts to cry and move around somewhat frantically. Theoretically babies learn to flip over – from their back to front – at around 6 weeks… though, according to my sister, first babies tend to get carried around a bit more, and don’t learn to move as independently as quickly. We’ll keep trying and she’ll get around to rolling over, crawling, pedaling a bicycle, etc. when she’s ready.
Gender: This is an odd one for me. I’ve been noticing that when we dress Maeve up in more girly clothes, I perceive her as a little girl… though most of the time she’s wearing gender-neutral stuff, and I sort of see her as a little person. It’s not like I forget that she’s female… but it’s been on my mind some about how gender and gender traits are constructed and perceived.
We tend to have her in stripes, or just in her diaper and diaper cover. I think that young babies exhibit very little gender traits… they all kinda look alike. When we go to things like music class, some small girl babies are dressed up in headbands with flowers. We received some of these flower bands for Maeve to wear, but they just seem kind of unnecessary… at least to me. On the other hand, a lot of folks who see Maeve in gender-neutral clothing ask if she’s a boy… which is ok to ask.
It’s something I’ve been reading about – books including Cinderella Ate My Daughter. Gender can tend to foster a lot of pre-conceived notions – prejudices – which can be really limiting to everyone, including females. Before we can even interact with babies we want to know the gender… then we sense that boys are strong and active, that girls are tender, beautiful, demure, etc. All these can be true, but in many cases, we see what we expect to see, then that reinforces itself over time.
It’s not that I don’t want Maeve to be beautiful or tender or even demure… but I do want her to feel that she can be whomever she wants to be – not limited by my and others’ preconceptions of who she might be. At this point what she wears isn’t up to her at all… so it’s all stuff that we adults are putting on her. And I don’t mean to say that she should never wear a dress, never look like a girl, never look beautiful… just that I’ve been noticing my reaction and others and have been thinking about how all this plays out for her, for me, for everyone.
At some point I will explore this more… but I just wanted to start to get some of this gender stuff down.
Baths: We’ve been taking some baths in the big tub together with Maeve, and it’s great. She’s pretty comfortable in the water, and it’s great for skin to skin contact.
A few more photos from this week: