First things first - YAY ME! I have kept a tiny human alive for nine months! 18 months, technically. Nine in, nine out. It's hard to believe she's gone from this:
... to this:
... in so short a time. Now I know a lot of moms wax nostalgic about how their little ones used to be so close and helpless and dependent and, now that they've been out in the world for longer than they were in our bodies, they're suddenly grown and independent and don't need us anymore and waaahhhhh oh god my baby's not a baby anymore! Yeah. I'm not going to do that. My baby is very much still a baby, needs me more than ever, still doesn't have much interest in moving around, and is turning into the sweetest snuggle bug I've ever known.
· Standing up, pulling herself to standing by holding our hands, and bending over to pick things up.
· Puffs. We go through 2 containers a week right now.
· Mama. She whimpers when anyone else holds her, and if I walk near she lunges at me. When she is tired she sucks on her fingers and lays her head on my chest, occasionally arching her back to look me in the eyes, grab my face, and grin, then it's back to snuggling on my shoulder. It's tiring for me (I'm a very touchy person, but not the sit-down-and-snuggle type) but I really enjoy how easily she expresses her sweetness and love. She's an intense, but gentle little soul.
· Cloth, cords, ropes, paper - anything that changes shape in her hands when she manipulates it. I usually sit her on the floor with a paper towel while I make dinner - it can keep her entertained for 15-20 minutes.
· Giving kisses (she opens her mouth, says AHHHH, and lunges towards your face - it's either a kiss, or a budding interest in cannibalism. I'm going with kisses)
· Being put into, or taken out of, her carseat.
· Someone else holding her while mama is in her sight.
· Being dropped off at daycare.
· When we don't shovel food into her mouth fast enough.
· Being woken up (it's pretty funny actually, she wakes up like an adult - looking fuzzy and sheet-creased, blinking and grimacing, rubbing her face and complaining loudly).
· Getting dressed/undressed.
· Teething. I mean, no baby likes it I'm sure, but she's had four top teeth make their way through in the last month and she has been MISERABLE.
· Tummy time. The battle continues.... well kind of. We've mostly given up. The ladies at daycare, who were so determined to work with her and get her crawling a couple months ago, even told me that they don't think it's productive for her at all. She hates it, and just lays on the ground crying and sucking her fingers. She's getting really good at pulling herself up with her strong arms though, so whatever. Crawling is overrated, anyway. We'd much rather stand.
Oh dear, I don't even know anymore. She's sleeps through the night - 12 hours - as long as she's not sick, teething, going through a growth spurt or a regression, or feeling otherwise extra needy. Which means she's slept through the night once in the last month. Sigh.
It's okay though. On occasion she only wakes up once - around 2am - to eat, and goes right back to sleep. Most nights she's up around 12am and 4am to eat. Each time, the feeding only takes 7-10 minutes, and I'm so used to it that I can go right back to sleep afterwards. We're managing.
Of course, then we have weeks like last week, when she's up every hour or two, including 1-2 hours of insomniac behavior from 10pm-12am. I think it was equal parts teething and loneliness, since she seemed happy as a clam if I curled up on the couch with her, and would only go back to sleep after 30-45 minutes of cuddling. This caused me to reevaluate our bedtime situation - I'll admit, I tend to rush the routine occasionally so I can make it to the gym, or to the kitchen to make tomorrow's meals, etc. Now we snuggle on the couch for 15 minutes in the evening to breastfeed, I read her two or three stories in her room, and dance around with her while singing endless rounds of "twinkle twinkle little star" until she relaxes in my arms and smiles up at me with sleepy eyes. It helps - she's slept much better since we started the new routine.
EatingAll experiments with finger foods have failed miserably so far. Pasta was a waste of effort. Bananas were a bust. Pancakes nearly traumatized her for life. She's basically hooked on puffs - she can scoop those things up and shove them in her mouth (five at a time, if we're not careful) with a quickness. But, try and slip her something that's not a puff? She's drops it or spits it out like the texture absolutely disgusts her.
So, while she works on getting more comfortable with picking up her food, we're experimenting with flavors! I've mixed curry powder into her garbanzo beans and sweet potatoes, and cinnamon into her oatmeal, with resounding success. She also enjoys bites of food off our plates - mashed potatoes, moi moi, spaghetti sauce, etc.
I refuse to raise a picky eater. I don't care if she doesn't sleep through the night until she's 20, so long as she eats with gusto and a healthy sense of adventure.
As for breastfeeding, we're still going strong - 4-5 times per day, and 1+ times at night. She's fast now, and feedings only take a few minutes. I am pumping 2-4 times per day, and she gets a 4oz bottle while I'm at work.
I'll be honest, I used to give a mental eye-roll to people who would go on about how their babies "looked so much like so-and-so," or how they "take after their old man!" I mean, come on folks - they're babies. They look like babies. They act the way babies act. Personality is something that develops later. Or so I thought.
Let me apologies now for those eye-rolls and condescending thoughts. The universe shut me up when it blessed me with a daughter who is exactly like her father in every imaginable way. If I hadn't pushed her out of my own body, I'd be asking for a maternity test. These loves of my life, their energies are so strange to me sometimes, but they vibe together in the most perfect, fluid way. They share a look of intense concentration when they're absorbed in something. They love their books. They love peace, quiet, and being close to the ones they love. They are physically strong, but have such a slow and sleepy energy sometimes that you wouldn't know it. They expend most of their energy thinking, observing, processing, analysing. There is brilliance behind their eyes.
And me? I'm like a hyper Dalmatian nipping at their heels, encouraging them to get up! Go! Help! Clean something! Go somewhere! Crawl! Walk! Yes I'll snuggle with you but I can't sit down right now because there are so many THINGS we could be doing! Why would anyone want to spend all that sitting down and thinking?!?!
... I'm so glad they have each other.
Nine months old already, my sweet beast, my quirky girly, my snuggle bug. I wouldn't change a thing.