Thursday, April 22, 2010

A six-month Doodlebug

My sweet little Doodlebug, Angel, Snookums pie (that one is your daddy’s favorite)~
You are six month old. How did that happen so fast?
I always thought time was supposed to travel more slowly when you are present with the moment and with the world around you. But someone, another mama, just recently pointed out that we are beyond present as mamas, we are absorbed, and that sort of absorption lends itself to the impressively speedy passage of time.

This seems like an extraordinary month as far as milestones go (then again, I suppose I may be hard-pressed to find a month that such an epithet would not be an appropriate description).

You sit up.
You eat real food.
You rock.

You are an entirely different baby when you sit up.
Not only do you appear so much more mature as you view the world from this new vantage point, but you play differently, you behave differently. You no longer act like a lie-down baby. You now drop toys and reach for them on your own, sometimes even without falling over (!--Still working on balance). You can hold a different toy in each hand. You can, dare I say, play on your own for short bits of time until you realize that mommy is close by and you’d like her attention. You are loving the play mat because you can use the arches that are meant to hold dangling toys as props to hold yourself up.
And let's talk toys for a moment. You are totally into the wooden blocks and you still love the following favorites: the orchestral pelican, the crinkly book (and all crinkly things), balls, stuffed animals (especially the bunny and dog), rattles (especially the froggy and ballerina kitty) and, of course, Sophie the Giraffe.

A side note about Giraffes: you currently have four toy giraffes, by far the dominant species of toy. This was completely by accident and unconscious, and the giraffe-theme was brought to my attention just recently as I pulled three giraffes from your bag in front of a friend who was amused by the misfit giraffe family. Then last week, I bought you an adorable little toy with a clicky head, tail and feet as per recommendation from the toy store guy and it wasn’t until I got to the car and unwrapped it that I realized, gasp, it was a giraffe.
So I have taken the liberty of looking up the qualities for someone who is drawn to giraffes:

People who have a Giraffe totem
often know the future.
They can sense what is going to happen,
what lies over the horizon.
Giraffe people should be very careful of
what they say.
Be sure you are not saying too much to
the wrong person, or in the reverse, too little.
Do not allow other's words to affect you.

Giraffes have their legs firmly planted on the earth but their heads in the sky.
This represents balance and the ability to progress.
Giraffe people should never become complacent and lose sight of the future.
Life will become increasingly difficult
until you set your sights once more on the path ahead.
Giraffes, and their people, have very strong ties to family and friends,
especially parent and children.

We will just have to wait and see how accurate this is!

Anyhow, where was I?
Ah, yes. Your amazing development.

I said this last month about something different, but it just blows my mind how one minute you were not sitting up and the next moment, behold, a different baby with a new skill to build on and a brand new vantage point. You also love to play while lying on your belly and quickly roll to your back (a mastered skill) and continue playing, but must have plenty of room to roll around. You can’t quite flip from back to front yet, so you holler until someone (Daddy or I) flip you back over. We often play “wheelbarrow” by propping up your torso on a bolster and I pick up your legs and roll you forward as you reach for a toy. You seem to love the feeling of having your belly off the ground, supported. You seem to deeply appreciate moving your body in all sorts of different ways. You love to stretch and twist and get massaged and squeezed.

And yes, you are eating real food, my dear. The time has officially come.

At this point, we have done one week of rice cereal, one week of avocado and we are currently on the third week, which is bananas (literally). It is our new routine to feed you in your highchair at the table with me while I eat my own breakfast and the outcome is a little bit different every day. Yesterday you went berserk for rice cereal mixed with bananas (I tasted some and it tasted darn good--like banana bread dough) but today you couldn’t have cared less and were more interested in tossing things at the dog on the floor below (me sees the beginnings of a life-long friendship there).
Feeding you is not a perfect science. There is a continuous subtle question mark around how much and when to feed you and where to fit it between breast-feedings. At the end of the day, after reading pages and pages on the topic, the best thing I can do is go by intuition and make sure you are getting enough breast milk. The day you drank barely any and ate lots of real food was the day you puked up the contents of your belly three times over. And when you seem like you need more real food, we will give you more. Simple as that.
You are sleeping well again and thriving in general, so I feel confident that you are getting exactly what you need.

Now, a blitzkrieg of six month bits:
~ You talk a blue streak, especially in the evenings right before bed, when you get your second wind. You jabber and jabber and often laugh heartily at Olive the dog. You love the dog.

~ You stick out your tongue and make “popping” noises, opening and closing your mouth like a guppy, making new and exciting smacking sounds. You mimic our mouth gestures the best you can and do what we call “call-backs,”where we make a mouth noise and you make it back!

~ You open and close your fingers like an over-exaggerated sign-language sign for “milk” or a slow-motion baby-wave. The first time it happened, we were in the grocery store and I thought you were making the sign for milk to tell me you were hungry. I shrieked softly and made a b-line to the car, leaving a cart of groceries behind to nurse you in the backseat, feeling an unbelievable sense of satisfaction from the fact that you were able to so clearly communicate your needs. But, as it turns out, you continued to make the hand gesture for the entire ride home, and later during playtime and after that during our walk. Seems you just figured out a new way to move your fingers and want to practice.
You open and close your fingers like this all the time now, trying to pick up objects this way, touching arms, hands, faces and letting your nails scrape against different textures—the car seat is one of your favorite materials to scratch. You are discovering the individual personalities of your different fingers!

~ Car rides are pretty mellow now. You face the back and have always had a mirror in front of you so I can see you from the front seat, and now you use the mirror to be able to see me! At a red light, when I turn around, you are awaiting my gaze and grin like the dickens when you see my face. Love love love.

~ You have been scooting to the top of your crib for over a month now and often get yourself wedged into the corner of the bumper. We have discovered there is a fine line between cozy and cramped, one that you don’t seem to have much control over the subtleties. You occasionally call us in to slide you back down a bit and rescue you from whatever contorted position you got yourself wedged into. But more often than not when we check on you, you are positioned in a way that looks totally uncomfortable, with a crooked neck and sideways body, but are sleeping like a floating log. And we are forced to make the executive decision of whether to leave you or rearrange you at the risk of waking you up.

~ You love to chew on carrot sticks. Big, cold, peeled ones.

~ We went to our first dance class this month and you loved it! Mama (I) put you on a blanket and danced while you played with your toes and hollered along to the music. Every few songs I picked you up and we danced around together until my arms got tired. It was marvelous fun and I got a heck of a workout. You are someone who loves new environments. A change of atmosphere is a sure-fire way to navigate away from a grumpy mood. (I can relate.)

~ You help push your arms through the sleeves now, which makes life much easier. You still are not crazy about things going over your head (onesies, oye) and are generally quite irritable on the changing table. You want to be done with it and on to the next thing!

~ You are still sleeping beautifully, everything in your crib. Your room is like a haven that contains a level of comfort that is visceral, even for us. At this point, you do not snooze anywhere else aside from occasionally in the car seat on the way home if you are exhausted.

~ New favorite toy thing: the bouncy seat. Holy cow, hold on to your britches, this thing is a blast. We either hang it from the bedroom door frame and play music and dance around or from the tree out front if the weather is nice enough. This is one picture that is hard to paint in words. It’s almost as if you were underwater and buoyant. You bounce, bounce and kick your little toes together and slide sideways and spin and shriek with glee. You get bursts of energy and jump jump jump as fast and as high as you can and then pause for a bit, as if in a hammock, until the next wave comes over you. You seem to delight in being able to engage with your body in this way. And we just watch and giggle as your personality pours over the edges like rain from a bucket. XO.

Our days definitely have a (blessed) routine at the moment. Generally.
You get up at 6am and we nurse and play for an hour until you go back down for a nap, typically for another hour. After the short morning nap, I put you in the hip-sling and we turn on some lively music and begin our day by greeting the dog and the cat and any other notable but inanimate objects in our sphere.
If it’s a nice morning and if we have time, we take a little walk around the “grounds” to check out our garden and see what's coming up. Right now the tulips have just opened, revealing the rich color of their petals.
I then prepare our breakfasts and we sit and eat together and chat about our plans for the day.
You go back down for her morning nap at 10am or so and sleep for an hour or two. After this nap is when we generally go out for our daily outing, whether it be to work or to run errands or to meet a friend. After two hours you are ready for another nap and if we are home, you go down at this point. If we are out, you are a sleepy, relatively unhappy girl who doesn’t nap well anywhere else but home, so it makes for a difficult afternoon. In short, we try to protect your afternoon naps as much as we can without feeling too claustrophobic.
Once you wake from that nap, an hour or two later, we walk the dog (religiously) and come home to nurse some more and play before bed. That’s the gist of it.
It’s a pretty simple day, truth be told. I wonder how long it will last this way! I can’t help but to be curious of your snapshot at seven months, and eight and then nine! But I will give it my best shot to not look too far beyond this coming evening or the following morning. That small chunk of divvied-out time keeps us busy enough.

Your dad and I are totally and completely mad about you, Doodlebug.
And we are loving being able to take you out into the natural world more and more and more as the weather warms up. Camping season is just around the corner!

You are doing just beautifully, kiddo. Keep up the incredible work.

xoxo. mom and dad.

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