Baby Update – 8 1/2 Months

I’ve been trying to get to the computer to write an update for nearly 6 weeks now (this was meant to be a 7th month update!) but time is such a precious commodity and energy seems even more so. As it is, I’ll probably be writing this in increments and publish when I’m all done. Did I already mention that my blog will end in October, after my baby’s first birthday? I may start another one after that — or not — we’ll see. I may want to when we start trying for baby number two. I imagine it will be strange returning to fertility clinics and procedures after already having failed several times, but more importantly, having succeeded one miraculous time. I feel so lucky. We have been so blessed.

My biggest surprise about parenting has to be how incredibly fast time goes by. And, this is coming from a person who has very consciously savored every moment. I feel guilty if I sneak a peek at a t.v. set or look at Facebook on my phone while she’s awake … because I’m not completely engrossed in the moment with my daughter. Yesterday, I picked her up from the changing table and scooped her into my arms, hugging her tightly, and said to her her, “Time is going by so fast, it’s making my head spin!” I was extremely emotional and teary. Sometimes, it really feels like I put her down for a nap and by the time I go back to pick her up, she’s grown or matured in some way. It is SO FAST! I want to hold on to my baby… I want her to slow down. I miss those days when she used to fall asleep on my shoulder for an hour! Now, I cherish the few seconds or minutes she falls asleep on me before I transfer her to her crib. So. Much. Distance.

I’m not sure I can even remember all the ways she’s changed since the 5 month update. Let’s see…. At around 6 months, her two front (lower) teeth came in. I hadn’t really believed my mother-in-law when she told me that my husband didn’t make a big fuss when his baby teeth came in, but lo and behold, my baby was the same way. I was expecting screaming, crying, and sleepless nights for the whole family. Instead, she seemed a bit cranky, clingy, and wanted to nurse (and sleep) more. Win! (Too bad that “sleep more” thing was only temporary, though.)

Just about the same time, the doc had us start her on solids (baby oatmeal, for starters). She took to solids like a champ. My kid loves to eat! I hear all these stories about babies spitting the food back, but not my little eater. She has yet to turn down food. My favorite thing about her eating (okay, two things, actually) is #1 – the way she opens her mouth super-wide, like a little baby bird in the nest and #2 – when she’s got food all over her face and she gives me a big, toothy grin in response to something I’ve done to make her laugh or smile. Ahhh, the simple joys of parenthood.

So far, in addition to oatmeal, we’ve given her: sweet potato, peas, carrots, kale, tofu, apples, pears, regular potato, broccoli, and corn. Last month, we also discovered her inexplicable love of cucumbers. Her two little teeth are enough to carve out all the flesh and leave the hard cucumber skin behind. It’s a great way to keep her busy & entertained for about 20 minutes, sometimes more. I try to remember to take a cucumber with me whenever we go out — that and a pacifier will buy me maybe 40 minutes of quiet time. I never knew how precious info like this would be!

Sometime around 6 months, when we went in for our monthly checkup, the doctor told us that her feet were curving too far inward. We’d been massaging them like he instructed for months, but the doc said they hadn’t improved enough – especially the right foot – and we had to get special shoes for her. They were these big, clunky, horrible clown shoes that looked like they were being worn on the wrong foot. And to top it all off, she had to be in them for 22 hours a day! The first day we put them on her, I had to hide my tears. I would cry whenever she couldn’t see me. It was so sad to see my beautiful and perfect girl in these awful shoes. Luckily, after eight whole weeks, the doc decided her feet had improved enough and she could get rid of the clodhoppers. My husband and I were over the moon! Our little girl’s chubby feet are so adorable, that it felt like a real sin to have them covered all the time.

Her sleep… oh, man, I could write an entire book about our trials and tribulations regarding getting our little one to sleep. Let’s just summarize by saying we tried absolutely everything — twice! We even went so far as to attempt complete extinction (otherwise known as Cry It Out / last resort) for nearly four weeks, but our stubborn little cherub, despite going to bed & taking her naps without much fuss, insisted on waking up with a burst of energy at 4 am every single morning. Nothing — and I really mean nothing — we did was ever able to change that. Miraculously, three times this week, she’s woken up between 5:30 and 6 am. I don’t want to speak too soon, but I’m hoping and praying that something has shifted and I will soon be able to sleep through the night. I say “I” and not “we” here because her father has always been able to sleep through the night. He can sleep through her screaming. It’s uncanny. I’ll never understand how Dads can do this… I’ve never met a Mom who could!

A couple of days before Mother’s Day, she said her first word: Mama! I wasn’t absolutely sure I heard her correctly because she only said it once… but since then, she’s been saying it all the time. I know she doesn’t know that it means me, but it’s still nice to hear. I keep trying to get her to say “Dada” now, but she’s not having any of it! So, “Mamamama” it is! I can’t wait to hear what words she’s going to say next. There’s a part of me that’s hoping it’s something really impressive.

I try my hardest not to compare her to other babies, as I’ve been warned that’s a recipe for disaster. It would be dishonest to say I haven’t noticed the differences, such as my friend’s baby who is three weeks older and has been crawling and pulling herself up to a standing position for a good five weeks now, but I can say that I’m not freaking out over the milestones. I mean, my baby has a gorgeous head of hair and teeth… and the most pinch-able apple cheeks you’ve ever seen. One cannot have everything. In fact, as soon as she starts crawling, I’ll be forced to be a lot more active, so I’m really okay to wait. Currently, she gets around by a series of well-coordinated routine of rolling over and sitting up. It doesn’t sound like much, but she can go pretty far.

Her newest skill is turning the pages of board books by herself and feeling textures in the touch & feel books. She just loves her books. I hope that’s something she never outgrows. In her moments of tantrum, she is quieted by chewing on either my cell phone, the remote control, or sharp edges of our no-petroleum jelly tube — these are all things I hope she does outgrow!

I’m sure I’ve left things out… that’s bound to happen when you’re pressed for time and still working to make up the huge sleep debt I’ve accumulated, but this will have to do for tonight. I hope my baby girl will know, someday, how much I am enchanted by every aspect of her and how very much her father and I love her.

Why I don’t write more

Someday, I will no doubt look back on this blog and wish that I had written more – documented more about what my experiences in early motherhood were like. The present Me would like to remind the future Me that there simply is/was no time and that I was either torturously sleep deprived and/or preferred to spend precious waking moments paying attention to and interacting with my sweet baby.

Having said that, I am intentionally trying to ignore her now… as it is almost an hour past her bed time and she has had a screaming fit – for no discernible reason – for the better part of this time. Maybe if I hadn’t already been deprived of several nights’ sleep, I could think of a better, more creative, more compassionate plan of attack. However, that is simply asking too much of me right now.

Last night went something like this: I gave her her “last feed” at 8:25 pm and she was asleep by 8:50 pm, then she woke up at 9:10 pm. I rocked her to sleep. I tried to go to bed at 10 pm. She woke up again at 10:45 pm and 11:45 pm and I rocked her back to sleep each time. She woke up again at 1:20 am and would not be consoled, so I fed her (my admittedly misguided attempt to cheat & put her to bed the “easy way” as she tends to fall asleep after feeding). The joke was on me last night as she decided to sever our tacit understanding by crying, screaming, and generally making a nuisance of herself until 3:30 am. At this point, I was sobbing in the kitchen, on my husband’s shoulder (a rarity at that time of night) out of sheer exhaustion. I fed her again and she drifted off to sleep for somewhere close to an hour – I think. My memory starts to get a little fuzzy here. She may have gone to sleep for longer, and it just took me until 4:30 am to get to bed. At any rate, she was up again at 6:30 am, and I fed her again. Again, she showed no signs of going to sleep, and started her (cute, when I’m not tired) babbling. I tried to ignore her, but it was impossible since she still sleeps in our bedroom. Eventually, I had to wake up the hubby on his day off, even though he’d only gotten a few hours of sleep himself. He could see I was in bad shape, so he watched her for a couple of hours so I could get some much needed sleep.

What I really don’t understand is how she went from sleeping 7 to 9 hours a night without waking up – which is what she was doing at 2 months old – to THIS?!?! I’ve read all kinds of things about sleep regressions and 4 months seems to be a typical time for the first regression but this is horrible and I cannot go on like this. I walk around like a zombie all day, trying my best to be present and have fun with my precious baby – but I’m exhausted and am actually starting to dread nighttime. I can’t take all the screaming and crying. I can’t stand the lack of sleep. I completely understand why sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture.

To top things off, tonight, I felt some tenderness near my c-section incision and when I felt the area with my hand, I noticed a sizable lump on the right side. It felt very strange and I’ve never experienced anything like this. Google seems to think it’s a hernia… which would be really bad news, as that can only be treated surgically, and I wouldn’t be able to lift anything weighing over 15 lbs. (which basically means, no lifting my daughter). I really hope that’s not what it is, but I have a sinking feeling that my hoping is in vain.

I know this post isn’t particularly clever, funny, or entertaining… I just needed to jot a few things down for me. Take a little time for myself. Sometimes it just helps to take pen to paper, or fingers to the keyboard, as the case may be.