Six Months

7 03 2012

Last night, my plan was to let you re-learn to sleep in your crib after your 3-week cold that had you sleeping in my bed again.  You woke up about an hour after I put you down, and started to cry.  I went upstairs and talked to you and sang to you and rubbed your back, and you just screamed louder, because what you wanted was to be picked up.

And you know what?

I picked you up.

Not right away.  I tried to let you cry so you would learn that you need to sleep, in your crib, without nursing ALL NIGHT LONG.  But I just couldn’t do it.

Because you wanted to be held.  And I was right there.  To hold you.

You are six months old now.  You are such a big girl.  When I cradle you to nurse, there is so much of you, such a substantial weight on my lap.  So different than the six-pound baby I first knew.

Now, when I nurse you, you look up at me and touch my face.  Well, really, you kind of maul my face, picking my nose and stabbing my eye and exploring my mouth with your curious little fingers.  But at night, when you are sleep-nursing, you just gently reach up and make sure I am there.

You are so interested in the world these days.  I wonder, all day long, what you are thinking now that you are aware of everything around you.  As I carry you upstairs for a diaper change, something will catch your eye as you are borne past it, and I know that it is just a short time until you find a way to reach all the little objects that now you only wave your hands at in hopes of being able to grab them.

You have developed a knack for attention-getting.  As your dad and I stood in the pet store debating what brand of cat food to get, you smiled and cooed at nearby customers until – they just couldn’t help it – they began to smile and coo back at you.

You enjoy squeezing handfuls of the cat’s fur and trying to get some of it into your mouth.

When you first wake up, you TALK and TALK and TALK.

Today, at a play date, I was adding some grapes to the plate of crackers on my lap, and in a nanosecond, you had two fistfuls of crackers in your hands and were trying to get them all in your mouth at once.  If you had tried just one, you would have been successful; your mouth just wasn’t big enough for two hands and three crackers, so you missed your chance.  And that is how you attack everything in life these days: you want it all, and you want all RIGHT NOW.

You took your first fishing trip with your dad.  I’m sure you had fun, but NOTHING compared to how much fun your dad had.  He can’t wait to share all his hobbies with you.

I’m so excited about the person you have become that I hardly have time to miss that little baby you were just a short time ago.

Six months ago, I was just meeting you.  It seems like YESTERDAY.  And it will seem like no time at all has gone by when suddenly you will have problems too complex to be solved with milk and a warm lap.

And so, right now, when you cry because you want to be held?

I will hold you.

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The Full Meal Deal

5 03 2012

Hazel has started solid foods.  I’m ambivalent.  I was pushing for the full six months of exclusive breast feeding, but Jason was really excited about starting food.  And since she won’t take a bottle, I understand why he wanted to try feeding her.

We agreed to follow the pediatrician’s advice and introduce food when she showed interest in what we were eating.  I’m not sold on that as an indication of readiness.  After all, she tried to grab the can opener, but nobody is suggesting she start cooking us dinner; and while she will happily gum her way through a whole roll of toilet paper, only the “elimination communication” experts are telling me she can start using the potty.

But once we made it to five and a half months, I gave in and steamed her some carrots and apples.

To my relief, she didn’t really take to the food.  She willingly sat at the table and mouthed the spoon, but we could skip a day and she didn’t seem to care.  She doesn’t swallow much of the food, anyway.

But.

I was nursing her and eating an apple.  When she saw the apple, she sat up.  So I let her suck on it and sink her little teeth into it.  She leaned back and nursed for half a minute, then sat up and went for more apple.  Back and forth, until I finished the apple and tossed the core.

She was in some kind of BABY ECSTASY: food AND milk!  At THE SAME TIME!

Apparently, if you’re 5 months old, it just doesn’t get any better than that.





Nature’s Way of Continuing the Human Race

4 03 2012

Throughout my pregnancy and Hazel’s infancy, I’ve wondered if my husband is going to agree to have another child.  You see, I like sleep.  And without sleep, I get a little… testy.  What with the minor discomforts of pregnancy and the subsequent minor discomforts of parenting an infant, I’ve been a little… ahem… irritable at times.  And it has made me wonder how people end up with more than one kid.  Surely my husband is going to remember the raging maniac I have been for the past year and refuse to go through it again, right?

Well.

The last few nights, Hazel has had a difficult time going to sleep.  As I settled onto the bed to nurse her, she wiggled and cried and fussed and writhed.  And I wondered what happened to make my little angel child suddenly hate bedtime.

After two nights of this, I really put some thought into what has changed and what worked previously.  And it dawned on me: for a few nights previous to this, she had an easy time going to sleep.  I sat down, nursed her, she fell asleep, I put her into her crib.

For a few nights in a row.

Which, apparently, became my impression of how my child “normally” goes to bed.

COMPLETELY NEGATING THE PREVIOUS 5 MONTHS OF DIFFICULT BEDTIMES.

Five months of pacing around a darkened room, bouncing on a yoga ball, laying down with her when she seems to have settled, only to have her wake up and start crying again…  I mean, the yoga ball is still in our room and I trip over three times a day, so you think I might have remembered that I bounced her to sleep on it LAST FRIDAY NIGHT.  Not, you know, a distant month or two ago.

This has happened at least once before, when she was three or four months old, and again, having a difficult time sleeping.  I was remembering with nostalgia the period of time when she would nurse to sleep, then sleep for about three hours on her own.  Which I remembered as being, you know, most of her early infancy.  But when I really thought about it, I realized that was from the time she was five days old and my milk came in until she was fifteen days old and the reflux kicked in.

Again: my mind turned “ten days” of good sleep into “most of the first three months.”

This, then, is the secret of multiple children: severe sleep deprivation, lots of hormones, and cute baby photos ENTIRELY OVERRIDE REALITY.

Mystery solved.

Luckily, I have this written record to prevent me from getting pregnant again.  At least for now.

Pictures like this one are part of the problem. They make you think, "Oh! Babies are so sweet and fun! And they just sleep all night and look cute all day!" and generally melt your brain and cause spontaneous ovulation. Note to future self: this picture was taken after the baby slept for three out of twenty-four hours. And you were very, very tired. But... she's awfully cute, isn't she? Oh, my god... See? It's already happening...





Someday, She’ll Know About Disney Princesses

3 03 2012

But today, she is the daughter of a fish biologist…

And a hopeless tomboy…

And nobody has told her not to play in the dirt…

Or that fairy wands are more fun than fishing poles…

Or that slimy things are gross…

And that’s just the way it should be.





Yo Gabba Dad

2 03 2012

I had a massage today.  Because, after nearly six months of mothering with only a few hour-long, off-premise trips away from my daughter, it was, you know, TIME.

Hazel stayed home with Dad and had a great time.  Unfortunately, I arrived home at naptime.  Or rather, NO NAP time.

As I came in, Jason came downstairs with a teary baby.

“We watched the Yo Gabba Gabba ‘Sleep’ episode,” he said, passing Hazel to me.  He gazed down at her as she began to nurse.  “She didn’t learn anything.”

 








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