They told me not to blink, but somehow it happened. And here we are, a full half year in, time racing away from me at a pace I’ve never known it to keep before. You’re six months old. You’ve hit too many milestones for me even to tell you how many they are anymore, “firsts” come and gone, never to be firsts again. It makes me a tiny bit sad in the midst of this hurricane of joy that has upended our lives. But really, I’m way too busy being happy to spend any time being sad.
As you lay across my lap this evening, having nursed yourself to complete relaxation as you often do at your evening feeding, I thought about how far we’ve come. You came into the world spindly and scrawny, and we exhausted so much energy those first weeks trying to get you to eat and to gain weight. Now, your Buddha belly precedes you, your thighs push the outer limits of your 9-month pants (!) and if we photograph you at the right angle, you have no fewer than three chins.
The tears I shed over our early breastfeeding woes seem like they defined a previous life, decades ago, and my heart dances for our success. When you were born, I said I wanted to breastfeed you at least two months. At the two-month mark, I said I’d be happy if we made it to four. At four months, I said that six months was my ultimate goal. Well, here we are, six months in, and you still nurse contentedly. I’m so proud of us–proud of you for sticking it out through the struggle and proud of me for not giving up when it would have taken so much pressure off of me to just let it go. (I still hate pumping, but I’ve found ways–like browsing Facebook and spending money on Amazon–that make it less tedious.) So here I am, one of the 26 percent of (American) full-time working moms who have breastfed their babies at least six months. I’m so very, very proud to have earned this badge; for me, it’s one of honor.
I’m also proud of how you accept your world and all of the new things you’re encountering. You’ve embraced solid food with gusto (although given my adoration of all things edible, that’s not surprising), and you are always willing to try something we put in front of you, grabbing it with your tiny, pudgy hand and bringing it, so efficiently, to your mouth to sample. So far, you’ve given carrots, sweet potato, avocado, parsnip, broccoli, apple, pear, banana and cantaloupe a whirl. Oh, and oatmeal (spoon fed, of course) is a clear favorite. You scream for it between bites and then want nothing more than to lick the spoon clean when you’re done.
You love water; you’ve learned to take (less-than-graceful) sips from a nosey cup, but when you see it coming, you can barely contain your excitement. I’m fairly certain you’d leap out of your high chair to lap at it if you could. You haven’t quite got the whole technique down–you often stick your tongue out into the cup, like the cats do–but you’re close. You’ve also tried drinking from a straw, but we’ve had less success with that.
You love water so much, in fact, that last weekend, when we took you outside for a few minutes during the biggest snow storm of the winter–it dropped about 10 inches–you grazed some of the light, fluffy snow off the top of our yard and stuck it immediately into your mouth. Yum! Cold! You did this consistently for the 10 minutes we were out there.
When you’re not focused on feeding yourself, you’re rolling about or on your tummy, trying to inch yourself toward a toy. In fact, you’ve managed to pull your legs up underneath you in an attempt to crawl, I think. You’re not there yet, but we’ve been watching your early experiments with the mechanics of it all. You’re also now sitting up with no support; that happened just this past weekend, and Daddy and I nearly died. One minute, you were tipping over from a sitting position as you’ve been doing for months now, and the next minute, you were sitting up and righting yourself when you started to lean. It’s incredible. This makes bath time lots of fun, as you no longer have to be propped up in your tub. You reach for your toys, sometimes tipping forward face first, but you navigate that small space like a pro.
These developmental leaps of yours simply amaze me. You study everything so carefully, really drinking it in, exploring everything (primarily with your mouth) and then processing it. Inanimate objects are fun, but things that move on their own are the absolute bee’s knees for you. The cats are your favorite things ever; you smile and giggle every time you see them, and I’m so thankful for them–for the pure glee they bring to your life.
This past week, Nonna had to take a couple of sick days (hired help these days … ), so I took a day off of work to be with you and then Daddy took one, too. On our day together, we went to Storyville at Woodlawn Library, a Disney World-esque wonderland for kids built around reading, playing and imagination. There are all sorts of fun areas there that I know you’ll delight in exploring when you’re older (a tree house, a caboose, a theater, a play house, etc.), but for now, we hung out in the Baby Park. You sat on the foam floor and played with new toys (new to you)–preferring the ones that made the most noise, of course–and we read a few books. You didn’t want to leave, and we’ll be back frequently, I’m sure.
Today, in our effort to dedicate some time every weekend to an activity that’s you-focused (it’s so easy to putz around the house all weekend when we’re working full time, and there’s always so much to do, but this is also our only uninterrupted you time), we’re taking you to the National Aquarium for the first time. I can just imagine how you’ll react to seeing all those fish and sharks and skates and eels and turtles swim about. I’m excited for you!
What fun life has become with you! You’re at such a delightful age now. And what a difference from those first six or eight unending weeks when we couldn’t understand how or why anyone would want to have a baby and certainly not more than one! Well, I get it now. And with your milestones ticking away so quickly, I can appreciate the inclination to keep having more kids, just to have a little bit more time immersed in these wonder weeks when everything in beautiful and shiny and new.
This Week in Guppy Growth
- Sitting! You are sitting up by yourself, completely unsupported, and doing a bang-up job at it, too. You’re able to compensate when you lean, and you only very infrequently topple over anymore. Crawling’s not too far down the line: You’re managing to scoot forward a little by bringing your knees up under your chest. It’s still pretty disorganized, as far as movements go, but you’ll get there soon enough. Daddy and I have a lot of work to do to get the house ready for that step.
- We finally took the changing pad and bassinet off of your Pack N Play and turned it into a playpen; we’ve stuffed it with toys, and you seem to enjoy spending time in there. It’s great for us, since you’ll entertain yourself for good chunks of time while we take care of things like bottle washing and lunch preparing.
- You love going places with us in your Baby Bjorn One carrier, which has replaced the K’tan, which we used exclusively the first few months. We tried turning you around to face out, and you are happy with this new arrangement. So much to see!
- I think we may have to lower your crib mattress. It’s on the list for this weekend.
- You’re fascinated with two toys that had been “saved” until now:
- a wooden Zany Zoo block with activities on all sides. You like to stand next to it (supported, of course) and hold onto the wires bent all which way on top and play with the beads that slide along the wires.
- a push toy (in “non-push” mode) that looks somewhat like a lawn mower but has lots of moving stuff on top that you can bat at.
- Just this past week, you tried cantaloupe and pear. You’re a huge fan of both.