Robin’s a toddler now!
Is appearing now on the lower right. I think it’s causing him some pain: he’s been fussy and sometimes he clutches at his ears. He went through a phase before of doing this and the pediatrician told us that he was probably feeling teething pain in his ear canal. I’ve been giving him some baby Tylenol when it seems to be really bothering him.
Tooth #9 is peeking out in the back of Robin’s mouth, on the lower left side! It made kind of a nasty looking bulge before it actually came out, which I briefly panicked about until I found it on the Internet: it’s called an “eruption hematoma,” it’s totally normal and fine. It’s gone now anyway.
I’m using this as a segue to tell you about another of Robin’s behaviors that both Sam and I found disturbing until we looked it up on the Internet. You know, the Internet is great. I know some doctors complain about people self-diagnosing themselves with all kinds of crazy things they read about online, but for me the ol’ World Wide Web has been a source of immense support and reassurance.
So, Robin’s a head banger. When he’s frustrated—especially when I take something away from him, or sometimes when he’s very sleepy—he will lean over and very deliberately bash his head against the floor. This is upsetting to watch, and our fears naturally flashed to autism.
But it turns out that head banging is surprisingly common, especially in boys: one in five kids will engage in this behavior. They generally stop doing it at about age 3. They don’t really hurt themselves doing it (baby heads are well-designed to take this kind of routine bumping), and in a very social baby like Robin, who babbles, points to things, makes frequent and prolonged eye contact, and loves to play and cuddle, there’s no reason to fear autism. The head banging is just his way of venting negative energy, and as he gets more physically adept he will give it up in favor of more advanced tantrum strategies. So, we have that to look forward to.
The parenting web sites advise that we should discourage the head banging by not reacting to it at all, but I find this impossible. I always pick him up and soothe him. I figure he’s expressing a need for comfort, and even if I don’t like the way in which he’s processing it, I’m still not going to ignore his distress.
In other developmental news, Robin’s learned how to “give us five,” and can be amused for long stretches by clapping his hand against ours. He can also point to various parts of our face on command: nose, mouth, forehead. Once when we were playing this game he stuck his tongue out, and I stuck my tongue out, and following a silly impulse I leaned forward so that our tongues were touching. This absolutely delighted him and now he wants to do it all the time and I regret ever, ever teaching him about tongues, because the tongue game is admittedly pretty gross.
Also, as I mentioned in the comments of the last post, he can now stack one block on top of another, which is a milestone the baby book said to look out for. And he continues to walk more and more every day.