Baby & Me

Eight Months

Mama’s at the ‘dressing up’ stage and baby’s not having any of it. Cat-crawling for dear old Mum is not on her list of things to do. What can I say though? The child has a closet full of the prettiest frocks, but when she was younger, it was just more practical to dress her in onesies.

Thank God that seven months is the legal age when children can model all their clothes and let their mummies take pictures for posterity. I kid you not. Check the labour laws if you don’t believe me.

As usual Lil’ Miss Thing is not impressed. She thinks nothing of my sartorial endeavours and would rather do just about anything else other than play dress up. So it is usually a battle of wills as I try to get her into things and she struggles to stay out of them.

When she’s not contorting her body parts into ‘un-dressable’ positions, she’s trying to munch on the tags, when she’s not doing that, she’s sucking furiously on her thumb, making it impossible to get clothes over her head.

But you know me, giving up is not an option. So I bembeleza her until the dress is on. Sing a song as I foist a matching hat onto her head. Do a jig as I put on a wee, little bolero cardigan (aren’t they the cutest things?) and finally, whistle a tune as I pull a pair of tights over her diaper. Yes, success!

Thinking we’re done for the day, the child begins to babble away happily, no doubt relieved to have unfettered use of her limbs again. But no. Mama’s just getting started.

It’s picture time. Like the old lady I’m quickly becoming, the first thing I do is locate my phone. I look everywhere, under my pillow. On top of the fridge. In the bathroom. Next to the breast milk in the freezer. Everywhere. Finally, I find it in the cupboard under the sink, next to the gas cylinder. I know, right? How on earth did it get there? Sigh.

Anyway, I grab the phone and quickly begin to arrange the child on the sofa so I can get a decent image. I prop her up and she slides one way. I prop her up again and she slides the other. I try calling her name. Jangling a rattle in front of her face. Doing the lipala dance. Nothing doing.

If the look of consternation on her face is anything to go by, the young woman is just not into it. Which is too bad, because Mama is determined to take a photo.

Eventually, I get the nanny to stand behind me and make faces. Immediately, the little rascal’s face lights up. She begins to bounce up and down, smiling widely and giggling like Christmas came early. I am affronted that all my cajoling bore absolutely no results, but the nanny turns up and suddenly we’re laughing into the lense. Humph! This kid ain’t loyal.

Anyhow, she’s finally looking a little more camera ready, so I get to snapping. Only, in every picture, her eyes are fixed on a point behind my head, because that’s where her beloved nanny is standing. So much for posterity.

At the end of the exercise, I have dozens of images on my phone because I’ve snapping away trying to get the best shot. Or at least a shot where my child – she who I laboured more than 12 hours for – is looking at me.

Oh, well. Maybe I should cut the girl some slack. This whole ‘modelling for Mama’ thing isn’t her idea of a good time. Now that she’s learning how to hold onto things and support herself on her legs, that’s all she ever wants to do.

But wait. I can work with this. I think I’ll start having her model her shoes. Taking pictures of her feet would be a walk in the park compared to struggling for a full body shot. Putting shoes on her would be much easier than trying to dress her from head to toe. Hmm. That’s a thought.

Knowing my child though, she will find a way to foil those good plans too. She’s taken to growling and flinging her legs in my general direction when she’s upset, so it would be no surprise if I ended up with her boot in my backside with her foot still in it.

The girl just doesn’t get it. At this stage in her development it can only be #HerDressMyChoice.