Musings of a Mum: 9 months old
Stop! You are making my uterus hurt. Talk about a babymoon, sheesh. I cannot believe you are my very own baby. I get to cuddle and snuggle and chomp on your cheeks with kisses whenever I want to. I get to smell your tasty skin and nuzzle into your baby neck. I get to swoon at you in sun hats and laugh at your jolly giggles. You also reach for us and bury your face into our skin, making me remember how my own mother's smell is still something I crave and am comforted by. Divine, I say! I feel the days passing away and I cannot contain my panic - for soon enough you will not let me kiss you and dress you and feed you broccoli.
A few things may have contributed to my being blissed-out on Baby +Bowie . I will attempt to capture them here, for record keeping purposes, of course.
1. You are sleeping through the night! What victory is mine. We started the sleep training the day after you turned 8 months old. Despite me being prepared for a few days (even weeks) of crying nights, it took you ONE night! It's now been a month of 13 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night, and I am shaking my fist at myself (which is anatomically hard to do!) for not attempting this much, MUCH sooner. See 'Sleeping' section for more info.
2. You have finally cut your first two teeth which has restored your pleasant, easy-going, (dare I say) patient personality.
3. You seem to be on the tail-end of the separation anxiety and are content playing independently.
4. You are on the brink of crawling, but not yet!
All of these factors combine into one tasty pot of 'this isn't too hard' soup for Momma. Every day, I realize this new normal will evaporate so quickly, but I am determined to enjoy it now.
So much has changed in a few short months. You seem less and less baby and more and more Bowie. One of my favorite things is to hold up a toy in each of my hands to see which you pick. It's so interesting watching a human develop preferences.
Your sense of humor has taken off this month and you have so many expressions!! We will walk by your room as you are falling asleep and hear you giggling to yourself. You love your kitty cat, though I can't say the feeling is mutual.
Your view has seemed to broaden from just Momma to include Dad, Grandpa, Grandma, and several other of our friends who adore you.
Dad and I often remark on how sweet you are, what a good baby you are, how happy we are, how easy it is to be around you, and how remarkably patient you are - for a baby.
You used to hate being in the baby carrier, but I clued into the fact that you disliked being so low. I adjusted it so you could see over my shoulder as we take walks, and you now love it! Where once your limit was a 15 minute walk, I can now traipse about the neighborhood for 45 min (which is my limit. You aren't light!). We go on 'noticing' walks where I point out various blooms and plants.
Whenever you pick up something to play with it, you 'offer it to the toy gods' as Dad and I say. You lift it up over your head with both hands, pause for a bit, then slam it down as hard as you can. Perhaps you are testing the god's strength or your own or the toy's.
You love it when anyone sings to you! I like to sing Zou Bisou Bisou and make you do a little frenchy dance. Oooh la la! You laugh every time.
- You have cut two teeth. First was the bottom right, and a few days later, the bottom left.
- Your pincers are working wonderfully, and you are becoming more and more skilled at manipulating toys and objects to your will.
- You are rocking back and forth on your sitting bones, eager to crawl, though not yet able to keep your torso on plane with your head. (p.s. I am fine with this!) Instead of crawling to move around, you are steam-rolling all over the floor.
- You say 'th' and several vowel sounds, but consonants are not quite there. I've been working on 'B.'
- You love to eat your toes and hate being on the changing table.
- You love, love, love the bathtub.
- You are attentive with books, and right now your favorite is one about dinosaurs and one about Monet. Atta' girl!
- Your hair is growing in as a mohawk...and darker than I expected.
- Your eyes, though still dominantly blue, seem to have more yellow specs forming.
- You've started to grab hair and scratch skin, and we've been working on the word 'Gentle' and 'No.' Your eyes tell me you understand completely.
You are our little baby bird! You like almost everything we've given you now, and you will open your mouth wide in between bites, waiting for us to fill it. You are usually silent in between those bites, but almost always once you have food in your mouth, you make a low moan, as if grunting will assist the newly-learned chew skills.
We've been feeding you cheerios for a few weeks now. Usually, you are able to pick them up, but weren't quite getting them into your mouth. However, in the last few days have you seem to have mastered the skill, using almost exclusively your right hand. Whenever I used to help you get one by offering it to you from my own fingers, instead of taking the cheerio, you would take my entire hand and bring it to your mouth. Smart. Why the extra effort? On the occasion that you are unable to grasp the cheerio, usually because they have become wet from you splashing water from your cup onto the tray, you complain swiftly and loudly. I will enjoy the time when you can say, "Dear Mother, when you have a moment, will you please assist me?"
You have taken to your sippy cup this month, gulping water with fortitude! When bottle fed, you hold it almost entirely on your own.
We've added meat and grains to your diet. You love entertaining yourself with rice cakes, though I am not sure you are getting any calories from it since it ends up on your hands, face, hair, clothes, and the floor more often than not.
Remember how just after last month's letter to you, I said that we were starting your sleep training that very night? Well we did it and I am happy to report that you took to it like a fish to water. I had always associated 'The Ferber Method' with 'The Evil Method' and so never gave his book a fair chance. When our naturopath said to do it, I decided to look it over. It turns out that many women had this same impression of Ferber...that is, until it WORKED (even if you co-sleep, it works!).
The first part was recognizing your sleep associations. While you could put yourself to sleep, you began to rely on nursing or a bottle to get yourself back to sleep in the middle of your night wakings. I knew this was the case for several months, but didn't have the courage to let you cry - even though I knew you didn't need the calories. Because I allowed it to go on so long, I assumed the breaking of the habit would be arduous and drawn out.
Not so. Either you are a quick learner or the method should be called 'The Miracle Method.' Whichever is true (I'm pulling for you), we are a happy, happy family sleeping through the night for almost a month now.
The method involves a crying-it-out, but in small intervals. For the first night, whenever you woke up, we would go in and comfort you every 5, then 10, then 15 minutes. (We adjusted this to every 10, 15, then 20 minutes because our going in was more disruptive and would just get you worked up again.) You woke five times that night, and it was really hard for us. I had a few mantras running through my head for help and your Dad did the bulk of the comforting - since you wouldn't smell milk on him as you would with me. We all suffered that night. I was prepared to battle again the following night.
However, the next night, you woke only 3 times (as opposed to the previous night's 5 times), but each for not even 3 minutes. You cried and then put yourself right back to sleep. Night 3, you woke once for 1 minute. By night 5, you were out cold until 6am. Glory, glory, GLORY BE!
As it turns out, this training has also made you able to sleep better in foreign places as well. You will cry for 1-5 minutes, work it out, then fall right asleep.
One of the many benefits of you getting 12+ hours of sleep per night is not only that you are happier and more resilient during the day, but also that I have gained a deeper sense of knowing you and your cries. Since I have allowed you to cry, I can know immediately now if you are mad, hurt, hungry, dirty, or stuck in-between the grates of your crib. Before, your cries were closer to guess work.
Now that we have nighttime pretty well down, I am hoping to create a more predictable nap schedule. Right now, we are working toward a 1.5hr nap in the morning and a 1.5hr nap in the afternoon.
OUTINGS AND EVENTS
In one month, you saw your first snow AND your first cherry blossoms. Welcome to Seattle Spring - such a glorious time of year when the heavy clouds lift and we ache to spend our days outdoors sipping rosé.
You have had the pleasure of spending several afternoons with Aunt Niki as I go and write. You certainly get loved on when she's here!
Aunt Plume stopped by too. Though you met her once already, she never had a chance to hold you since all you ever used to do was sleep. This time, you two played and giggled and she fell in love with your cheeks.
We went to the library together for the first time, enjoying the beginning of warmer weather and sighting our first cherry blossom.
We have been going to Grandma's not only on Sundays, but also usually once midweek (for my sanity). You are quite happy there. You touched grass with your feet for the first time on their property.
We had another appointment at the chiropractor that necessitated you coming with me, and you went right to 3 different ladies without a complaint! You even smiled for them. I was so proud that you felt so safe.
This also marks 9 months since we have become a Mom and a Dad. We often say to each other how content we are with you, each other as parents and spouses, and our new normal. You are an easy addition, rock-star baby. We see this time with our ancient eyes, teary with nostalgia. It's just so good and gentle.
As we sat on a blanket in the sun this afternoon, I realized that for one of the first times I can ever remember, I am very much present in the moment. You've put me into the now, grabbed my forward-wandering attention, and slammed me right back where I belong. With you. Right now.
I guess that's what happens when one encounters the most beautiful thing they have ever seen,