So…THIS BABY! Somehow, he is six months old already. Somehow, he acts more like a ten month old! One of the things that is different about being a fourth baby than a first baby, is that you accept being zoomed around on a tiny car as a normal part of your morning…
Speaking of mornings, I’d like to comment that whomever said, “the days are long, but the years are short,” was totally wrong. Both the days AND the years are short. So, so short. I mentioned before that I am definitely feeling maxed out in my caregiving powers in an average day (and, one can only reduce household tasks so far without becoming disgusting). It is unbelievable to me how many things I DON’T get to do in a day and that I have to release or let go of. At the same time it is amazing how many things I actually do, but the number of important things that slip through my fingers is feeling rough to accept lately. It feels like much of my relationship work is being sacrificed. Activism, local events, friendships, relationships in general, doing things with my other kids, going places, self-care basics—these are all getting pared away, reduced, or feel like they are suffering, untended, or neglected. As one small example, I didn’t read most of or reply to hardly any of the birthday greetings I had on Facebook last week, I can’t respond to simple midwifery activism action alerts, and so forth. What I have been having time for is time to work next to my sleeping baby, since I have to sit in a quiet room with him and actively keep him asleep for naps. This is handy for blog posts, newsletters, etsy work, class preparation, and writing projects!
Okay, enough whining, and back to this baby. He is mobile! Very mobile. He crawls—mostly army style, but also on knees and then launch forward and then knees again and launch forward (sort of inch-worm style). He pulls to standing on everything. He gets himself back to a seated position after being flat on his belly. He lets go while standing and holds on with only one hand. He does some transferring between surfaces, but not cruising yet…that is coming any day now I think. He practices getting down from bed and chair by sliding off the edge (with help) over and over again—slide down, reach to be lifted back up, slide down again. You can see the practiced concentration. He does things like get canned goods out of the cabinet while standing there holding on with one hand (that’s what I mean about feeling like I have a ten month old). He’s only six months old! By the same token I feel like he bonks his head or hurts himself more often than he should as only a six month old baby—he tries things that are just a little out of his actual capacity. (Such as holding on to the laundry basket with one hand and leaning over and swiping other hand toward the couch trying to transfer surfaces even though he isn’t quite close enough to reach.)
Along with this mobility comes some struggling with our nursing relationship. He clearly feels “bored” or held down by needing to stop for “nonnies.” Some day, despite lots of offering and two minute long nursing sessions, it feels like he is only really, truly nursing at naptimes and then all night long (to make up for the busyness during the day). I pretty much have to shut myself up in the bedroom with him to nurse him very well at all. Along with this, he is eating a ton of solid food. Way more than any of my kids have ever done at the same age and he started doing so with no real fanfare or lead-in or episodes of gagging over textures and spitting things out. He grabs, he chomps, he gobbles, he has a specific “desperate” (horrible!) sound he makes when he wants a snack or something from our meals. Despite having a pile of other kids, until this month with Tanner, I have been pretty judgey towards other parents about their solid food choices with their babies. Since my other three were only passingly interested at this age and would gag and spit out almost everything, I assumed other parents who said their six month old loved to eat, were exaggerating or almost “forcing” the babies to have solids when they weren’t really ready. Apparently, no matter how many years you parent, there is always room to be humbled yet again!
He still weighs about 18 pounds (maybe 19. We get varying results.) The other thing he does that is different than my other kids is suddenly degenerate into extreme crying fits when it is time to go to sleep, usually when we’re changing his clothes/diaper and I’m brushing my teeth to get in bed. It is an abrupt shift into crying hard and he shrieks in a desperate, agitated, really over-the-top manner. He also continues with the car crying horror to the extent that we only actually leave the house once or twice a week! Oh, that said though, he as started to make some visits over to my parents’ house when the other kids go to visit during the day. The first time he left with them, I cried three times! Now, I’m seeing the advantage. Mark and I really benefit from focused time to work together instead of shouting to each other over the tops of people’s heads (not ideal for running a collaborative business). I’ve also left Tanner with Mark twice while I teach, instead of dragging them with me to sit in the hall. I’m almost to another session break and I also got it arranged to do my next two classes partially online, meaning I won’t be gone for the entire time and can get home to my baby in a timely fashion, instead of having to bring him + Mark along with me. While I do enjoy “grinding my corn” with my baby and having him close by while I teach, I do have to admit that I do a better job and feel much more satisfied when I am on my own at class and not worrying about them out in the hallway waiting for me!
He also got to visit with his great grandma last month!
Something Tanner does do that all of our co-sleeping babies have done is touch our faces in the night to ID who he’s got—since Mark has a beard, when he reaches up and feels Mark’s scratchy face, he knows to roll away and back towards me! In the night, I’ll feel a little hand patting at my cheek…checking in…right person? And, then snuggling up to nurse. He still sleeps on my arm all night long, but he rolls to face different directions while still being on my arm.
Despite the maxing and the chaos and the juggling and the paring away, I literally cannot believe I ever worried about not loving him. He is the baby I didn’t know I needed. The member of the family that was missing. He totally belongs and is so much a part of me and our lives that I can barely remember him not being here and can certainly not imagine that we might never have had him!