7 months! Honestly, there haven't been a lot of big changes in the last month. No new skills mastered, nothing jaw dropping... but we have noticed a lot of little things. Overall, her personality has becoming much more distinct. She is definitely a unique, quirky, sweet little individual.
- People. She smiles at everyone, is happy to be held by anyone, flirts shamelessly with strangers. She loves glasses, and if you're wearing a pair, you are guaranteed a smile and perhaps a giggle. She's hyper-aware of people in her environment. If we listen to music with strong vocals - Bocelli in particular - she whips her head around trying to find the person singing. She's happy hanging out in our laps or sitting on the floor and watching us talk to each other.
- Being outside. Even a short walk seems to brighten her mood when she gets the pre-naptime grumps. She's generally pretty content to ride in the stroller - our record is 2.5 hours and 7 miles! Cars and trees are especially fascinating, though she still prefers people-watching to any other activity.
- Being whacked on the head with stuffed animals. Especially her Nemo and Dory fish. I'll bop her on the head or give her "fish kisses" on the neck, and she loves it.
- Food! She gets super excited when she sees her bowl and spoon, or when we bring containers of food out of the fridge. If we don't shovel it in her face fast enough, we're chastised with angry squawks. She's been known to burst into tears when a meal is finished. So much of her personality so far reminds me of my husband... but her appetite? That's 100% inherited from mama.
- Her daddy. He is still the only one that inspires squeals of joyful baby laughter. She's such a serious little girl most of the time... the rest of us make absolute asses of ourselves for her amusement, and we seldom get more than a smile and a "courtesy giggle." But just one look from daddy can send her into hysterics. Her favorite game is to chase him up and down the hallway. He'll walk away, then suddenly turn back and make a face at her. She flails her whole body around and laughs like a maniac. Yes, it's as freakin' adorable as it sounds.
- Everything she shouldn't. Hot mugs of coffee. Placemats that happen to reside under full plates of food. My work badge. Cell phones. Ears (ouch!). Television. Her little grabby hands are lightning quick, and we have to be more careful carrying her around these days, lest she snatch up something she shouldn't.
- Playing independently. She generally doesn't have much interest in toys. Leave her sitting by herself with a pile of awesome, colorful, age-appropriate stuff? It's not happening. We bought her a walker/rocker with a toy tray so that we could, theoretically, put her in it and let her play by herself while we do things around the house. Ha! She's way more into people than things, and her attention is only held by phones, necklaces, cups... all the stuff she sees mama and daddy "play" with. Is this just a normal phase at this age?
- Developing her gross motor skills. She has no interest whatsoever in learning to roll over, finding her feet, or trying to crawl. She sits up like a pro when we plop her down on the floor, but doesn't seem remotely inclined to go anywhere - she just looks around, babbles, and shrieks to let us know when she wants us to sit with her and have a conversation. She's super strong and her physical development is right on track, so I'm going to assume this is a consequence of being an only child with a doting family who has been in someone's arms consistently since birth.
- Being tired. Seriously. Girlfriend seems to need a lot of sleep, and pity the fool that comes between her and nap/bedtime.
Amaliya decided to show me some LOVE on Valentines Day this year by sleeping for a straight 12 hours without waking! I was afraid it was a fluke, but no - she did it for six nights in a row. She woke up refreshed, my dark undereye circles disappeared, and I felt like we were officially out of the proverbial wilderness and on to a new reality in which I could enjoy my baby AND feel rested simultaneously. A world of possibilites opened up before me.
Then she came down with a terrible cold, as did the rest of us, and we were back to being up every 2-3 hours. She wanted to sleep, but her coughing and congestion kept her awake, poor baby. Luckily she's recovered, and for the last week or so she's only been up once a night between 1 and 4 (and I think she would sleep straight through again if she could just shake this cough! WHY do colds last so long in babies??)
Out of nowhere, right around the 7 month mark, her naps regulated. She now naps like one of those mythical textbook babies - 2-3 hours in the morning, from 9am to 11-something, and 1-2 hours in the afternoon. It's miraculous. Now when we put her in the crib in the morning, she immediately sticks her hand in her mouth and knocks out for a least two hours without so much as a whimper. Bedtime in the evenings is also a no-nonsense affair; We put her down.... she goes to sleep. Easy as pie. She doesn't even require a swaddle anymore! I could do a happy dance, just thinking about it.
This kid is a ravenous beast. She *loves* her solid foods and, as noted before, gets quite excited at the start of each meal and occasionally devastated at the end. Foods she's tried so far include: peas, carrots, butternut squash, spinach, sweet potatoes, avocado, zucchini, tofu, apples, pears, blueberries, kale, bananas, garbanzo beans, red beans, and lentils. All have been in pureed form, most I've made but also quite a few jars/pouches. We've been making them chunky and she seems to like the texture - we'll probably try some puffs and soft finger foods soon. She eats three meals per day and, except when she was sick and didn't want anything but milk, is always a very enthusiastic eater.
We're still going strong with breastfeeding, though to be honest, my body is getting tired. She's eating 5-6 times a day and sometimes one half-hearted, more-for-comfort feeding at night. I've been pumping enough for two 5oz bottles a day while I'm at work, but I'm thinking of cutting that down to one and replacing her 2pm bottle with a meal of solids and some water. I don't mind pumping 4 times per day (oh hell, that's a lie. I hate it), but my body just isn't responding so well anymore. I do plan on breastfeeding her past the one year mark if she's still down with it. It will be a sad day for me when she finally weans - breastfeeding has become such an integral part of our relationship.
She's such a sweet little girl, really. She loves to hold hands in the carseat or when she's about to go to sleep. She adores being held or riding in the carrier, and is constantly making eye contact, bursting into smiles, and making her favorite "boof boof boooooof" sounds. She'll occasionally open her arms and mouth and throw herself at my face, gnawing on my cheeks and jawbone - which I am convinced is the baby equivalent of hugs and kisses.
She is not shy, by any means (no stranger-danger here, for now), but she's very reserved. She observes. She is cautious. She is very easy-going - nothing upsets this kid too much, she just watches and absorbs the world around her. I predict she's going to be just like her dad in that way, a very in-her-own-head kind of person who marches to her own beat and has a unique perspective on the world.
She's quite a character, this girl. I'm excited for a lifetime of getting to know her better.