The Ongoing Mouth Feel Experiment

Babies are experimental scientists. This is the theory a friend of ours has. Let’s test this theory shall we?

One thing about being a baby – everything is new and odd and to be explored. Initially this means learning how to breathe, and slowly how to use one’s limbs and face. And then things that us adults take for granted, like gravity.

Pip’s favourite ongoing experiment is what I call the ongoing mouth feel experiment. You’ve all seen babies performing this one, the method is simple – if I can grab it, it goes in my mouth! Toys, adults fingers, rocks, grass, dust bunnies, everything. I tried it out with one of Pip’s bath toys, a small plastic purple octopus. And you know what, it was really interesting! This little toy had lots of fun lumpy surfaces which I could feel on my tongue, and I could squeeze it with my mouth in a delightful way. Try it for yourself, although I couldn’t persuade D to have a turn.

The other experiment common to Pip and all babies is the “Does Gravity Work?” experiment. This again has a very simple methodology. All you need is an object in your hand – food, toy, water bottle, anything. Then, sitting in a sufficiently high place, a high chair is ideal, drop the object and observe what happens. Repeat the experiment as often as possible, although this will be limited by the parameter called “parental patience”. And repeat it with different objects on different days – does gravity affect this cup? Does gravity work on a Tuesday? What about at Grandpa’s place? The variations are endless!

I’d like to play a little trick on Pip one day, attach a fine thread to something he likes to drop, and then have him look in wonder as it floats in mid-air! I imagine this would trigger another extensive round of experimentation.

Other experiments Pip conducts: The head shaking experiment. The protocol is simple, shake one’s head like you’re saying “no”. This makes the world look all jittery and interesting.

The “what are these things on the end of my legs?” experiment. Feet, you know, they’re strange and curious and must be studied.

And then of course there’s the “What’s this thing in my groin region that feels so good to play with?” Boys stop conducting this experiment when they’re about twenty five years old.

So the next time your kid flings something on the floor, or chews mown grass or stares at his toes, think of the little baby as a budding researcher, studying the world.

Pip At Six Months

Has it really been six months? My goodness, it’s only been six months!


Pip at 1 day

Pip at 6 months

Pip at 6 months

Our “little” baby is already half a year old. He’s on track to be triple his birth weight soon, and is 15 centimetres longer than when he was born. And yet this is apparently typical of babies – he’s bang on the fiftieth percentile for growth and weight. There must be some really big babies out there if he’s average!

It amazes me because he plays on the floor in the exact spot where D was kneeling whilst in labour with him. He was inside just six months ago, now he’s a little person holding things with his hands, eating solid food and growing.

If you looked at two pictures of me taken six months apart, there’s be no difference. I’d probably be wearing the same tshirt, might have gotten some new glasses. But I haven’t done any actual growing since about 1990. Whereas Pip… Well, the pictures don’t do it justice, although you can see how his little face has filled out.

Here’s another shot:

Pip with his first outfit

Pip with his first outfit

He fitted into that outfit in his first few weeks.

I’m still amazed that he exists. Almost every day I exclaim “Look, we made a person!” to D, who has taken to just rolling her eyes when I do. We did make him, although it was D that did most of the work, there in her belly. And now we get to bring him up, which I’m looking forward to.

So when does a child move from being a newborn to being a baby?

Our little baby Pip is just under three weeks old, in fact he’ll be three weeks old in about an hour and a ten minutes.

To me a newborn is a baby that still looks like it’s just been squeezed out. You know, they have a kind of befuddled expression, they still look a bit compressed, they have in parts flabby skin, and often little or no hair. Pip, in the last few days, has really stopped looking like this. His face is filling out, he almost has jowls and he just looks like a baby now.

I’ve done some research, by which I mean I spent two minutes reading the page on infants on the Wikipedia. (BTW, I do love how literal the Wikipedia is sometimes. The picture on that article is labelled “a human infant”.) Like just about every definition related to age, there’s no consensus – a newborn can be anything up to 28 days old.

So I’m going with baby from here on. We officially have an actual baby now, who looks most fetching in his lemon-yellow fleecy jump suit.

Two Weeks of Growing


Pip at 1 day

Pip at 2 weeks

Pip at 2 weeks

Here are some pictures of our little weed. He’s actually grown even more since that second picture was taken.

Typically, babies lose some weight in the first few days, then bounce back. Pip has sure done this! He was 2948 grams at birth (a number I seem to have filed away permanently in my brain), he dropped a bit close to 10% of his body weight in the first few days. If they lose more than ten percent, folks start to worry. But then he learned how to eat… After bottoming out at 2700 or so grams, at week one he was 2800, and then at week two he was 3310! He’d put on half a kilo in a week! I wish I could figure out some way that he could have one of my half kilos, we could arrange some kind of swap. He can have some of my belly fat…

I swear he’s still at it. He eats and eats, well, more accurately, sucks and sucks. D had been drinking water and eating like a horse, but even so her eyeballs got dry today!

And I swear also that he was visibly bigger last night than he was yesterday morning.

As you can see from the pictures, his little cheeks are filling out. When he was born he had loose skin on his thighs. Not any more, they’re starting to beef up. I assume this can’t continue indefinitely, but then that’s what a kid is supposed to do – grow for some 21 years then stop. I’ll still call him my baby when he’s 21, that’ll thrill him.