Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Six Months Old

Baby Bird is SIX months old today! Where on earth did the time go?

He can:

  • Sit up unsupported for more than ten minutes at a time - as long as he has something to keep his attention.
  • Bang his toys together.
  • Squeal, laugh, and tell great stories.
  • Squirm/army crawl toward something he really wants.
  • Stand with little help from us, and bounce.
  • Pass things from hand to hand
  • Use his pincer grip to pick up some objects.
He likes:

  • Mama, Mama's hair, Mama's milk, Mama's cuddles. Yup, it seems six months is a really strong attachment phase. 
  • Daddy, Daddy's silliness, Daddy's strong arms. Once again, a strong attachment phase.
  • Being out and about, observing. 
  • His jumperoo
  • Watching out the window.
  • Grass outside
  • Walks in the stroller
  • Shopping with Mama on her hip in the sling.
  • is happy
  • is curious
  • seems extroverted so far
  • gets frustrated if he wants to do something that is not yet in his skill set
  • is trying very hard to crawl
  • will be trying solid food for the first time this weekend, as he will stop what he is doing no matter how much fun he was having if someone is eating
  • loves meeting new people and generally greets them with a smile

Monday, September 17, 2012

Manic Monday: Dance Party

Good morning, and welcome to Manic Monday!

  • Baby Bird and I just had a dance party. It was almost nap-time, so he wasn't particularly interested. 
  • K. and I noticed this weekend that Baby Bird's looks changed noticeably all of a sudden.  There is less baby, and more little boy in his face. Slow your roll, child. 
  • I didn't know what it was to be addicted to caffeine until I had a baby. Sure, I liked my morning coffee, but it wasn't always required, especially on weekends. Now, it is a necessity.
  • We spent the weekend with Baby Bird's grandparents - both sides! Saturday, we drove to K.'s parents' house and spent a nice relaxing day there. Sunday, my parents came to see us. Both days, Baby Bird had so much fun and is in love with both sets of Grandparents.
  • We've decided to get rid of cable and go streaming-style - we're going to get a new TV (ours is circa 1999) and an AppleTV box.
  • I need some new fall duds. I had a pair of red shorts this summer, so I think I need a pair of red skinnies for fall. That, and some long tunic-style tops so I can keep rocking my mommy uniform of leggings. I'm not quite loving jeans on my past-partum bod.
  • As of today, we're cloth diapering full-time. Our grand total is 18 cloth dipes. We have not been brave enough to tackle nighttime in cloth yet (except once), but I'm planning to buy some fitted diapers and get some wool soakers. 
  • I have three baby-and-mommy events planned this week, and on Friday I will see an old friend from Air Cadets. Thursday will be our shopping day. I need time to mentally prepare myself for pants shopping.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Ever growing, ever glowing

Baby Bird, you are a small baby for your age. Some days it is so easy to get caught up in your size by comparison to other babies your age, but secretly I love how tiny you are.

How bittersweet it is when you grow. Just this week, Daddy and I have noticed how suddenly your looks changed. The newborn you once were is no longer visible in your face. Now, instead, I see glimpses of the little boy you are swiftly becoming. I long to call out, "Slow down! Please, God, let him slow down," but I don't dare in fear you will be stricken with illness and stop growing for real.

You are still exclusively breastfed. Your Mama is ceaselessly proud of this. Now you are six months old, and whenever someone in the room starts eating, you stop what you are doing to stare. If you were nursing, you stop, in awe of the food. I know I won't be able to put off solid foods much longer, and I pray you still enjoy nursing for a long time to come. I won't be ready for you to wean for many months yet. While you nurse, I stare down at my own personal miracle. I examine your fingers; touch your soft, barely-there, hair; gaze lovingly at you while you return my gaze. On days when your reflux is not bothering you, you end your nursing by smiling sweetly and cooing up at me. My heart expands like a sponge in water, soaking up all of your love for me.

Soon you will outgrow your bouncy seat. In truth, you're probably ready to stop using it now. A pang of sadness hits me as I think about how tiny you were when you sat in it on your first day home from the hospital. Or when you reached up and made the toy froggy sing his song for the first time. Or how you were too small and too light to make the seat bounce for the longest time.

I am constantly needing to remind myself that it's okay for you to grow. Indeed, that is why we brought you into this work - for you to grow into a man whose qualities will be revealed to us in time. People keep reminding me to enjoy every moment of your fleeting infancy, but little do they know I need no reminding. I savour every second we spend together, from the first smile of the morning to the cry that means nobody but Mama will do.  The floors grow dusty and the clean flatwear develops rusty spots in the dishwasher. Meanwhile, you are smiling at me while I watch you play.  Some days it feels as though if I failed to watch you carefully, you might be a different child when I looked up again. Other days, it's as if you are growing in my arms by the second.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

God and Baby

Typically, talking or blogging about spiritual matters is not for me. However, this blog is my mommyhood outlet, and mommyhood has wrought some changes upon my belief system. Feel free to tune out if talking about spirituality and the divine is not your jam, but I hope you'll keep an open mind, read, and comment.

B.C. (Before Child), I was not much of a God-knowing woman. My beliefs were all over the place. All I knew for sure is that I believed in some spiritual presence, but I was still prone to bouts of Atheism when that attitude served me. Still to this day, I believe that the only thing that matters to that spiritual presence is that we try our best to be good people, own up to and learn from our mistakes, and love with our whole hearts. For the purpose of this discussion, we'll call the spiritual presence "God", but this does not necessarily refer to the Christian God that I was raised to believe in.

A.C. (After Child), my views have not changed drastically in terms of what I belief, but my depth of belief has. Nothing as good and pure as my son could come from a Godless world. I find myself on much better speaking terms with God since having Baby Bird. To God I turn when I need strength, when I need clarification, patience, or when I'm simply so overwhelmed by gratitude for the gifts life has given me that I need a divine outlet (and Facebook has grown tired of my "I love my boy" posts). I find myself routinely asking God to look out for my loved ones. I feel so fortunate that my deeper understanding of God came from a positive event. It seems far more common that people find God in times of need instead of times of gratitude.

We go to an Anglican church. I have always gone to an Anglican church, although attending church has been a once-a-year type thing over the last decade. Despite my uncertainty in Christian beliefs, I have always turned to an Anglican church when in need of a house of worship. While I'm not sure how much I believe in Jesus, I have, at times in my life, derived great comfort from the lessons of kindness that Christianity seeks to teach. We were married by an Anglican clergyman. We will have our son baptized Anglican. This is my default, although I could derive divine comfort from any kind-hearted religious service in any religion, I think.

I want Baby Bird to have a spiritual belief system to run to when he needs comfort. I've found this is the wonderful thing about God - (S)He is there for you when you need him/her, no matter what. In fact, I know many people who don't spend time thinking about spirituality or God, but are surprised to find themselves appealing to whatever/whoever is out there in Universe listening in their times of need. We all need something to believe in from time to time, even if your spirituality lies in a deep sense of self and not "other".

I want to learn meditation so that I might deepen my connection to the Divine. Often, just spending quiet moments with Baby Bird is enough, but as he grows and becomes busy, those moments will be fleeting and I'll need to learn how to connect through myself rather than him.

Did having children change your belief system? Or perhaps another major life event did? I'd love to hear about your beliefs and how they have evolved. Please be respectful of other commenters and belief systems.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Sleep Sweet Sleep

As I write this, I'm holding my breath. It's been about thirty minutes since I laid Baby Bird down for a nap. Naps are fleeting events in our house. Somewhere between 30-45 minutes in, the sleep cycle ends and Bird rouses from his naps. On the rare occasion, my attempts to pat him back to sleep work. Sometimes the short naps seem adequate, and other days they do not. I try not to stress about it - I am doing all I can to make nap time work for him, and perhaps he is just a short napper. Eventually, it won't matter anyway.

Night time sleep is less than ideal here, too. We are fresh off a streak of what we've dubbed, "Party Baby" nights. That's when he wakes for a feeding in play mode and has no desire to go back to sleep. It can take upwards of an hour to get him to settle back into sleep. There were quite a few Party Baby nights in the weeks that passed.

BUT (and I hesitate to proclaim this publicly at all, but I'm just so excited), we may have turned a corner, at least for now. For three nights running,  we have had no party baby. Two night wakings to quickly eat (last night, only one), and that's it. I can definitely get by on this much sleep for now. Last night I got FIVE UNINTERRUPTED HOURS of sleep (Bird slept 8 hours before his first waking). After that, I got another two hours before I had to get up.  And then yesterday, we had two naps that were longer than an hour each. He awoke happy and rested each time.

Please say some prayers, or send some good vibes into the universe, or do your Sleep Dance for us. We could really use a fairly long stretch of good sleep before the next disruption kicks in. And it will - there are always sleep disruptions.

Still holding my breath, but we are 40 minutes into this nap now....

**Somewhat rude disclaimer** Please withhold your nap-time and sleepy time advice. I think at this point, I have read/heard/considered it all, but ultimately what we are doing for now works for us. 

A much younger napping Baby Bird

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Unremarkably Remarkable

Of late, I've been thinking about how proud I feel of my son and of being a mother. Of all the remarkable things I've done in my life, this is truly number one on my list.

Funny thing is, though, is that having children is a normal, natural thing to do. Billions world-wide do it, whether they were planning to or not, whether they are rich or poor, educated or uneducated, healthy or ill.  All of their lives change forever. However, I have been afforded opportunities that are far more rare than childbearing - a post-secondary education, a pilot's license, home ownership, and so on.

So doesn't that make childbearing remarkable in a sort of unremarkable way? Yet I feel no less proud, no less unique, and no less amazed with the miracle that is the life I brought into the world.

Yep, being a parent is truly unremarkably remarkable.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Manic Monday - Labour Day Edition

Welcome to Manic Monday! Can I just say, I cannot believe it's September already? I'm not entirely sorry to see summer passing by. With the breastfeeding hormones and the extra 20lbs I'm carrying, I did not tolerate the heat well. It was the hottest summer I can remember in recent history, and I was not working in an air conditioned office all day.

  • I start my college program on Tuesday. Whoa. It's full-time, and I promise you I am crapping my pants thinking about how I am going to juggling caring for baby who is almost mobile and a full-time study program. None the less, I'm confident that I'll be able to handle it. Sure, I'll stress but it will be positive stress (there really is such a thing. Some degree of stress is often necessary for motivation. It's when it paralyses you that it's no longer positive).
  • Saturday was a wonderfully family-filled day. K.'s parents were in the city, as well as his Aunt, Uncle and two cousins. We had lunch together because one of the cousins is moving here from Ontario to go to university. Then, another set of K.'s cousins were passing through Halifax for supper, so we saw them and their precious 1.5 year old daughter. I'm so lucky to boast a very positive relationship with my in-laws.
  • My cat, Marvin, is being such a jerk-turd lately. The minute the baby falls asleep, Marvin is on the scene, running through the house and howling. A few days ago, Marv started meowing every time the baby fell asleep while I was trying to put him down for a nap. It amounted to three tries, and I ended up having to bail on the nap. Then, a few days before that, I was actually trying to sleep while Baby Bird napped, but the cats wouldn't let me have any peace.
The Jerk-turd in his monster sweater

  • I've been having trouble sleeping after Baby Bird's night feeding lately. Two days in a row, I've been awake for the day at, like, 3am. No bueno. 
  • We bought one heck of an amazing stroller this week. I was sick of confining my walks to city sidewalks or malls. I went on a fabulous 1.5 hour trail hike to test it out on Wednesday, and I felt like a million bucks afterward. 
I think that's all the news for this week! I have to figure out how to make link-ups happen, and then I plan on turning this Manic Monday thing into one.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

With Pride

In my life, I've had occassion to be proud of myself. I've had occassion to be proud of others. To be proud of yourself or someone else for an accomplishment or simply "just because" is a wonderful feeling. Nothing could have prepared me for how proud I would be of my son.

If he smiles? My eyes well up with tears of pride.
If he giggles? My eyes well up with tears of pride.
If he does something new for the first time? My eyes well up with tears of pride.
This was true of the first smile, the first grasp of a toy, the first time he help his head up during tummy time, the first time he rolled over, and the first time he sat unassisted.
If he exists (and he does!)? My eyes well up with tears of pride.

There is no accomplishment on the face of the earth that could be more important than bringing my child (and future children, we hope) into this world. In my womb, he grew ready for life. In my arms, he grows ready for life. In my eyes, he will always be my baby.

While I am proud of myself for my role in his life as his Mama, I am far more proud simply of him. In every way, I adore him, and I am proud of every move he makes.

Now please excuse while I go mop up the puddle of pride-tears I cried while writing this post.