Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Hands Like a Cat's Tail

Our cat used to tease Maya with his tail. It was amazing to watch him flick that tail around the corner of the hallway, and watch baby Maya try to snag it before he pulled it away again. It was especially impressive since most of the time it looks as if his tail is entirely independent from his body.

That exactly describes Elliot’s chubby little hands these days. She discovered them about a month ago, staring at them for hours like long-lost friends. Now she is learning that she can manipulate them, at least some of the time.

Often she simply flails them about, like the cat’s tail. On instinct she grabs whatever they collide with, mostly my hair, Maya’s hair, or any beverage I’m trying to enjoy. Her fingers are constantly curling and flexing; they move almost constantly while she is awake. Even Maya enjoys watching those dimpled little fingers explore anything within reach.

More recently she has seized control over her hands. Like our cat, she lies very still, staring at her prey intently for several moments before making a move. Then she stretches out both arms, flexes both hands, and brings them together. Usually she’s got the depth a bit wrong – the giraffe is farther away or closer than she expected. She’s a trooper though, and she just pulls those arms in a bit and tries again. She can drag the most unruly things up to her mouth for sampling, now!

In fact, I’d better go get out the vacuum and shut the cat out of the playroom!

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