Somebody is five months old already! How can this be?! I have a thing in which I’m startled by the realization periodically that this little person is somebody’s future grandpa…Silly, I know, but it is something that catches my heart and arrests my action to consider. (All grandpas were once some mother’s snuggly delightful baby treasure. WAHHHHHHH!) My friend linked to a classic poem by Mary Oliver on Facebook this morning: how will you use your one wild and precious life. The Somebody’s Grandpa thought serves as a similar touchstone for me, while also doubling as potential future band name.
This thought process is partially why I hold Tanner 22 hours a day. The other reason is because he doesn’t want to be put down. He also weighs 18 pounds now, which explains why I’m often heard to whine about my arms being tired and that I feel worn down and “old” lately. Parenting an infant feels considerably more physically wearing for me at 35 than it was at 24! He is also the most held baby in our entire family because when I do put him down, it is into someone else’s arms. There are four other willing family members usually around to hold him, plus grandparents and sometimes an aunt or uncle waiting too. I feel annoyed with myself that we wasted money on a little swing and bouncy seat (gift, so it actually wasted someone else’s money!) this time. I already know that we just aren’t a swing and bouncy seat kind of family, but I didn’t realize just how very not so we would end up this time around. With past babies, for whom Mark wasn’t home during the day, the bouncy seat was how I managed to shower and sometimes get some other two-handed tasks done.
So far, Tanner hasn’t seem particularly fond of baby-wearing either, leading me to wonder if I’d just gotten out of the habit (the aforementioned putting-him-down-in-someone-else’s arms thing) or if he isn’t the kind of baby that is into babywearing. My aunt bought us a wonderful new Boba that is so cute and fresh, but unless sleeping already, Tanner most often wiggles to get out of it. It also feels a little stiff to me overall, though it worked better on my back than Ergos ever have. However, on a hunch the other day when I was lamenting not being able to put him down for a good nap so I could make some new sculpture prototypes, I got out my older Ergo from Alaina. Putting it on felt like putting on a nice, broken-in shoe or comfy sweater. And, lo and behold, Tanner likes it too and has spent hours in it over the course of the last two weeks. I feel like I’m rediscovering babywearing! (And, also feeling bad about wasting someone else’s dollars on a new purchase!)
T-bot is our worst sleeper really. He either naps being held on my chest in the rocking chair, in the Ergo, or lying pressed by my leg in the bed while I work on my laptop (post currently being composed in a combo of the two–he is sleeping on my chest with my laptop held on the knees of my stretched-out legs, his head jostling a little with the movement of my fully extended arms trying to type. Why am I trying to type and hold a baby at the same time anyway?! Somebody’s Grandpa, remember?!) Luckily, I really love holding him while he sleeps, I know it doesn’t last long, and I have plenty of work I can do digitally while he types. This works because I can shut myself up in the bedroom (like a veritable nap retreat!) while Mark has an eye on the other kids and brings me lunch in bed.
Tanner is also my first baby to have picked up some kind of virus as this young of a baby. Last week he had a fever and diarrhea. The fever only lasted one day, but the diarrhea for a whole string of unpleasant days with a plaintive, unhappy, whiny baby and stressed parents (particularly since I went back to class on Tuesday night). He has seemed somewhat fretful continuing into this weekend, but we finally realized that he wasn’t getting enough sleep (back to the bedroom nap retreat plan rather than the standing-Ergo-sculpting plan) and also that he seems to be going through a growth spurt and needs to nurse more often than I was realizing. He doesn’t dive in towards the breast yes or show other nursing cues really, so if I already nursed him recently, I thought he was just cranky and didn’t realize he was actually hungry! You’d think I hadn’t already been a breastfeeding mother for 11 years! As I’ve mentioned before, despite the many other willing baby-holders, he seems to need me more than any other baby and has even developed a wearing habit of screaming for me and stretching his arms out and rolling to the side reaching for me, when Mark is trying to change him before bed and I’m trying to brush my teeth. He does love going outside though and will happily ride away with Mark to check on the greenhouse and the chickens.
All this working while baby-holding prompted a new version of my “grind my corn” sculpture:
Despite all of the holding, he is also interestingly capable of moving himself along the ground. He is after everything and is the first to seem like he’s going to crawl any second. I’ve had a bunch of chubby late crawlers, so that’s what I expected again this time, but I think we’re going to follow a new pattern. He is also thisclose to sitting up unaided. He attempts to reach items constantly with a sort of tortured, deprived grabbing style, rather than an interested, exploratory style (more common to first babies, I think. This one is certain he is constantly missing out and that siblings are getting all the good stuff all the time, while he is forgotten and overlooked with no good stuff in his hands!). Due to frenzied grab-attacks and ability to launch self along floor and out of arms, he has now gnawed two pizza crusts (homemade, organic), one cauliflower floret, one bite of banana (gagged), and two pieces of paper (fished from roof of mouth). No fanfare or induction into the “first solid food” milestone. Just grabbed and chomped.
He is getting quite a bit more hair and remains a blondy blonderson!