I am back in Germany and happily reunited with the family. Time might not exist and its passage be an illusion, but the babies are growing irrespective, and our arrow of time points towards baby gates. Lara and Gloria are now 8 months old. They spent the previous week, that I was away for the FQXi conference, with Stefan at their grandma's place. It is difficult to say if they missed me during my absence or if they recognize me upon coming back. They do however clearly recognize our apartment and their own beds. Lara for example had found a way to lie in the corner of her bed in exactly the right angle that she could just look out through the door and onto the corridor - a position she immediately resumed.
The girls are now both moving around by doing the army crawl and Gloria has made first attempts to crawl on her knees. At present, she seems to be aiming at a career as breakdancer, standing on hands and the toes of one foot, turning around chasing the other foot, sometimes slipping and bumping on her head. Interestingly enough, Gloria has completely skipped the phase of moving around by rolling sidewards that Lara has had. Gloria meanwhile has learned how to clap her hands, which she does with enthusiasm. They can now both grab a pacifier and put them into their own mouth and if Lara is in a good mood, she'll try to put it into your mouth.
The babies are both fascinated by all things shiny and tiny and stringy and I've had the somewhat belated insight that the purpose of baby toys is not to entertain the baby but to distract the baby from mommy's toys till it's old enough to realize that pulling on a cable isn't always a good idea.
Our rapid throughput of clothes has been slowing down and we've childproofed the apartment as far as possible. However, in 2 weeks we're packing bags and going back to Stockholm where I will be working while Stefan is on parental leave. So, we'll have to childproof a second apartment and that with the difficulty that we can't remove items or drill into walls because the items aren't ours and the walls are solid concrete.
But, hey, we'll manage somehow. Baby reading this month is an article on "Baby Power" in SciAm Mind according to which mommy brains sprout new neurons, and body chemistry changes towards higher risk taking and better memory performance, at least when it comes to tracking down food. If you are a rat that is. The same article also informs us "that (human) mothers are more likely to rate their infant's odors as pleasant, compared with nonmothers" (Look, an English compound noun! And it's not my making!). Maybe I'm an aberration but, prolactin or not, shit still smells like shit to me. Spiegel Online informs us that we're supposed to train baby's concentration skills by the age of one (at the latest), but then Parents don't matter that much at least when it comes to the child's education and income, and the Globe and Mail reports that striving to be supermom is correlated with depression. So maybe we'll wait with teaching the babies differential geometry on complex spaces for some more while.