Monday, 4 May 2015

The sixth month

The sixth month has been so fun (mostly) and amazing because every other day it felt like something new was happening. We are also being catapulted into a developmental stage where we have to learn new skills as parents, which is exciting and intimidating too. When you've found your groove it's nice to feel like you can keep on going the same way, but babies change and what has worked the last months is going to be out of date soon!

AJ's milestones:

  • Toe sucking quickly followed foot grabbing. It was immediately a preferred activity and the motivator for some serious baby yoga, especially on the change table unencumbered by clothes (although AJ can now get the toe in her mouth fully dressed while wearing a cloth diaper.). Sometimes when she's curled herself into a ball doing this I lean over her and ask: "Baby, can you still fit inside Mommy?" (Hellz no. Cue demented laughter.)
  • Started solids, not necessarily the way we planned it. First of all, at Easter dinner step-MIL handed AJ a cooked carrot. AJ held it, stared at it, then put it in her mouth and sucked it. I was a little freaked out but I was quite sure that she would figure out what to do with it, so I let matters take their course. She sucked off a small portion, moved it around her mouth and spat it out. I should add that the grandparents are very loving, respectful and helpful so occasional antics like this don't bother me much.
  • A couple of weeks later, AJ and I were hanging out on the floor. AJ was playing on her mat and I was checking out some websites and eating lunch, part of which was hummous and celery sticks. I finished the celery and I was distracted by the computer for 3, maybe 5 minutes at most. When I looked again, AJ's feet, hands and face were covered in hummous, as well as anything else within reach. It was never near her hands so she must have got her feet in it, then got it from feet to hands to face. I'm sure some made it into her mouth too although probably not much. I did spend some time nervously googling hummous allergies but there were no ill effects. Note to self: out of reach must include feet.
  • Since those first adventures, we have been introducing food in a more deliberate way. We tried finger foods and smushed-up food. AJ wasn't really sure what to do with the finger foods, except for Arrowroot cookies which she likes to gnaw on. She liked the spoon and caught onto it quickly so we have been offering mushes. So far we have tried: banana, avocado, peas, carrot, sweet potato, and chicken smushed with breast milk. AJ has been game for all of it. She doesn't eat any more than a couple of tablespoons per meal, but she does eat it - and the evidence is showing up at the other end! I think we will have to start using disposable inserts in her diapers. Anyone else using those and have recommendations?
  • Rolling from back to front! As described here. AJ still doesn't know what to do when she rolls onto her belly. She arches her back, but instead of pushing up with her arms, she spreads them out to each side and reaches back as if she is skydiving. Perhaps she will skip crawling entirely.
  • Becoming more and more confident with sitting. She is learning to balance on her own slowly.
  • AJ is "standing" with support.
  • On the not-so-fun front, first cold. A horrid cold has been making its rounds in the city and AJ, Mr. Turtle and the grandparents all caught it. I escaped the really bad version, though I had a few days of feeling yucky (yay immune system). AJ didn't have it too bad, luckily. It was so sweet to see her trying to be happy and enjoy life despite her discomfort. I learned to use the snot sucker. It was fairly effective but AJ hated it. Hated it. Can't say I blame her. At least she felt better afterwards.
  • AJ doesn't have separation anxiety quite yet, but I think it is coming. She will often whimper when I leave the room. Especially if she is in a "mood." She has been turning her head and following us with her eyes for some time now, but this month we saw the awareness becoming stronger. Once when we were leaving her with grandparents for an evening she started to "sad cry." It was heart-wrenching!
  • Plays Peek-a-boo, although we have to mix it up or she gets bored
  • More and more actual laughing. The funniest thing I can do right now: make exaggerated chewing motions with my mouth. Mr. Turtle delights her by bring bringing her up close to his face and singing or talking. She also likes to bite his nose.
Other parent minutiae:
  • When I'm holding AJ on my shoulder, I love to stare at the shape made by her head and profile. Seeing just part of her is different from seeing her whole face and body but somehow just as intriguing. I wish I could get a photo from that perspective because one day I will no longer have it. I also love the sound and feel of her breathing when I hold her close to me. When I was pregnant all I could think of most of the time was baby snuggling and breast feeding. That was my idea of parenthood. I know that reality is supposed to crush our illusions, but the truth? Baby snuggling is a wonderful part of parenting. I was right!
  • I love when the 3 of us go out as a family. For some reason I feel like a real family when we are all together in public. I enjoy being at home with AJ, but somehow I still feel like I'm playing at a role. I don't have any difficulty calling myself a mother or calling AJ my daughter, but on some level I don't believe it.  But when we are traipsing around the mall or the park, I feel like this is real.
  • Paradoxically, it's becoming harder to remember what life was like before AJ.  At least, in the sense of remembering day to day life. How was our house arranged? I can't picture it. How did I navigate my day? seems like a dream, and a rather dull one at that. We ate out at restaurants twice a week sometimes and thought that was fun? Who were we? At the same time, I have powerful memory impressions that can be triggered by almost anything. Discussing my friend's wedding caused me to flashback to the hours of our wedding day, as if I was there again.  Walking to the park in my childhood neighbourhood with AJ and my mom, I could have been 10 years old again. A fellow blogger's mention of a town we visited on our honeymoon took me back there like time travel. It's actually quite awesome. 
Purchases this month:
  • Highchair! AJ looks like a baby CEO in it. She is now eating meals with us at the table. Correction: Mr. Turtle and I have started eating dinner at the table instead of in front of the TV, so AJ can get used to her chair.
  • Baby monitor. Because the Halo really is going to be too small soon, and AJ will transition to her crib for nights. Yes, we have a baby monitor though the nursery is across the hall. At some point though I do hope to move AJ's bedtime to maybe 9pm, instead of 10 or 11pm, and then Mr. Turtle and I can hang out in the basement with the baby monitor while she's in her crib. As it stands I'm not comfortable leaving her alone upstairs. Pretty hard to watch a movie when you are running upstairs every 10 minutes to check on baby. But who knows when that will happen. AJ has never been amenable to early bedtimes and in the weeks after she was born we all just adjusted to have the same bedtime.
6 months post-partum:
  • I discovered my bella-bands make great tube tops.  Comes in handy for extra support over a sports bra or underneath a sheer blouse
  • Weight is steady, trending downward, but slowly. Happy with look and feel of body. Not optimistic that I will ever wear my favourite hemp pants again, though. Every time I try them, I think: "Did my hips ever actually fit into there?" On the other hand, my leather jackets fit again! Hurrah!
  • I think I've gotten much stronger since having a baby, especially in the core. Probably all the lifting, carrying and baby-wearing, as well as all the squats I do without thinking in the course of a day!
  • I have no incontinence, mercifully, but have some issue with fully emptying bladder. I pee and often ten minutes later I feel like I have to pee again. Or I can get a book and sit on the  toilet for several minutes until I feel totally empty. Doctors says it is a pelvic floor matter, continue doing kegels. Which I never remember to do, except at yoga.
  • The Period returned halfway through this month....dum dum dum. It was lighter than previously but still period-like, and did follow some observable fertile symptoms (e.g. EWCM, cramps, mild nausea) so I'm fairly confident in saying it was The Period. Of course, it may not be regular. I feel quite neutral about it. On one hand it was nice to have a break from it. On the other hand, I can't help wondering about the possibility of a second pregnancy and so it is reassuring to have evidence that it might be possible.
  • At my physical I mentioned fertility to my doctor. "You know you can conceive" was his comment, followed by "It's still quite early" and then "if baby is about a year old and nothing has happened, we'll talk." I asked if intervention would mean a referral to the fertility clinic and he said yes. I don't know if I want to go back to the Fertility Clinic, but I agree with the doctor that we can cross that bridge when we come to it. For now we are not trying, not preventing. Mr. Turtle says he wants to "just relax." Curdling as that phrase usually is, it actually does make sense at the present. I don't particularly want to be pregnant before AJ turns one; at the same time, if we are somehow (super) fertile enough that the occasional unscheduled tumble can get me pregnant, damn right I want to take advantage of that.
In pictures:


Some changes in my work life are imminent, but I don't know exactly what yet and this entry is very long already, so I'll save that  for later.

I blogged about my mom a few months ago. I haven't mentioned since, mostly because things have gone very smoothly for her, all things considered. She is now finished with all breast cancer treatments and had minimal side effects, so I hope to see her health continue to improve.

Wishing everyone a good week and happy spring.

16 comments:

  1. HUMMUS BABY!! :D Owen pouts now and it's heartbreaking. Sad crying just be so hard! But you're absolutely right about baby cuddles. Cuddling your own baby is the most wonderful thing.

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    1. yes, every day has happy surprises!

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  2. I remember loving the 6 month phase. What a cutie she is! I think green is her colour (photo in the collage)

    It sounds like she has a wonderful little personality and that things are going very well for you all. So happy for you!

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    1. yes, we are doing well. In the outside world things are a bit turbulent, but we will roll with it. 6 months is awesome!

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  3. Gorgeous photos!! Love the hummus story! Glad things are going well for your mother too.

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    1. thank you! yes the hummous incident was funny once I stopped freaking out.

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  4. Great news about your mom! Whenever I read blog posts from people with babies a little bit older than Q I get all excited about the milestones to come...then I have to remind myself to stop and enjoy where we are right now. You're very good at that!

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    1. When AJ was younger I found it hard to believe she would ever reach those milestones....but she does. Honestly I've found every age adorable.

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  5. So funny about the hummus! Yummy! :P I totally discovered using the belly bands as a tube top minutes after Hazy was born! I was fresh out of the shower and my midwives were trying to help me get something comfortable on and get me in bed and I couldn't find the bra I wanted to wear (silly me thinking I was going to figure out breastfeeding wearing a bra, HA!), I finally gave up my search and just grabbed a belly band. It was perfect (sadly) and my midwives were impressed with a new trick! - not pregnant and pissed

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    1. yes, the bands are great for when you don't want a bra! I hated wearing a bra when I was learning to breastfeed; I just wanted to be naked all the time.

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  6. I loved reading this update. Perhaps because Z is so close in age but also because I enjoy your writing style and all the details and perspectives you capture. Seems like you are really thriving as a family and rolling with the challenges while maintaining humor. Interesting your first period was so light, I've read the the second period is horrifyingly heavy. So not looking forward to periods again. We are also in the not preventing, but not trying and most days this is fine. On days that are beyond exhausting it seems like a big risk. "I don't particularly want to be pregnant before AJ turns one; at the same time, if we are somehow (super) fertile enough that the occasional unscheduled tumble can get me pregnant, damn right I want to take advantage of that." Yes! My sentiments exactly!

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    1. Thanks! I try to include details and different perspectives because if it's just milestones, that's much the same for all babies (of course there are wide variations, but there are also many parallels. And being with AJ all the time, not all the milestones are dramatic. For example she's been "laughing" for months, but it's slowly turned more into real laughter...how can I accurately describe that?) Periods...well, I did get a second one, approximately 30 days after the firsts. It was definitely heavier than the first but not horrifyingly so; I would say more like normal pre-pregnancy periods. I hear your about the second pregnancy thing. I don't feel like I can "plan" anything; I don't even feel like I can hope for much (but do anyway) so where I feel most at peace is just in a place of acceptance.

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  7. I love the story of AJ eating hummus with her feet! Don't think SB has done that yet, though perhaps only because the occasion hasn't presented itself yet...
    Sorry that I've been such a bad commenter. I try to read along on my phone, but need the laptop to actually comment, and well, there have just been too many things going on. I hope your work transition turns out well.

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    1. Haha, thanks for the comment. Life gets busy and complicated sometimes, and I know yours has been especially so. I hope to have more to post on the work transition soon. At the moment it's all out of my hands, and that's such a huge relief.

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