Wednesday 1 July 2015

Eighth months.....whaaaaaaaaaat!

Yes we are here: the age when time seems to accelerate with every passing week. I look at how AJ is growing and developing with something like disbelief, occasionally bordering on dismay.

At the same time, I simply cannot be sad that she is growing up because I am so in love with everything she is and does. I cannot imagine AJ any other way until a new talent or quirk emerges, and then I can't imagine her any way but that. And so on.

Here's what AJ liked this month:
  • Faucets are still somewhat interesting, but the toilet flushing is much more so
  • Watching me pick my nose (I get bored sometimes while breastfeeding, don't judge!)
  • Taking her toys out of a container (not yet putting them back)
  • Outside time: We go out with the stroller regularly, and did a short hike with AJ in a back carry one weekend. AJ also enjoys sitting out in the yard on a blanket. It's fun to watch the birds, cars, people and dogs go by. If she's grumpy or not appreciating life for any reason going outside or even looking out the window will almost always make her happy.
  • Wind: AJ likes it when the wind blows on her skin. She sticks out her tongue to "taste" it and squeals and giggles. If there is no wind she likes it when people blow in her face.
  • Thunder and lightning. At least, it doesn't bother her. I like to think she likes it because lightning is one of her totems (and embers and fire and turtles and ammolite). AJ experienced a thunderstorm for the first time a couple of weeks ago. It was powerful enough to shake the house and rattle the fixtures. For some reason, AJ was very playful that evening, squirming and flailing about with happiness and excitement . We had not seen her with quite that level of energy before, so we joked that she must have absorbed some of the electricity in the atmosphere.
  • Playing with my necklaces (or other people's). She gets a particular interested expression as soon she sees one.
  • Pulling my earlobes (all the better if there are earrings there). Sticking her fingers in my ears. Pulling Dad's chest hair. (Is it wrong that this makes me laugh?)
  • Crowded, noisy places. Party baby! Kind of. She likes to look around and observe, but she won't smile right away. She has to check people out first and identify any suspicious characters. At least that's how it looks.
  • Head bumps: AJ and I sit facing each other, or she stands on my lap. We rub foreheads together and giggle. Also: Pulling my nose and giggling.This is so adorable; I don't understand how I haven't melted into a puddle yet. 
Other events:
  • The strawberry mark on the back of AJ's neck is mostly gone. It was so big and red for months, and the doctor said it could take two, three years to fade, but it's barely there now. I feel like this marks the passing of her teeny little baby stage. 
  • On the other hand, AJ never lost her hair: it has grown, thickened, and lightened. No haircut yet!
  • When I pick AJ up she grabs my neck with her arm, squeezes it and burrows her nose into my neck. Not sure if she's actually trying to give me a hug, but it feels like it! Love this so much.
  • First nipple bite. Ouch, that was really painful, the little piranha! I yelped and took her off the breast right away. 
  • "Poopmageddon": A few weeks after starting solids (which includes a regular diet of her favourite, lentils, combined with different fruits and/or vegetables) AJ started having poop issues. She hasn't been very dramatic in the poop department, so this was a first. Her poops started to get quite large (I'm surprised how they fit out her tiny butthole: sphincters are amazing) and at one point, a bit on the hard side. This led to episodes of angry, pained screaming and straining. It was difficult to watch. Luckily the problem seems to have been short lived: we started mixing prune puree in most of her meals, and making sure she ate stuff like pears which is supposed to help. And water, lots of water. I offer with every meal but also from a sippy cup during the day.
  • Sitting more solidly on her own. I am slowly giving up spotting for her. I still feel bad when she falls over and bumps her head. At the same time I feel that if I always rescue her she'll get a distorted idea of the laws of the physical universe. I often compromise by sitting her in the middle of our bed so that when she falls it's not painful, although she still gets "annoyed upset."
  • Rolls from belly to back easily, if she leaves one arm under her torso. If not, she's still stuck: except for once that she managed to roll back on her own, but obviously didn't take notes on how she did it. I managed to get photos so I have the proof it happened.
  • When she does get both her arms free, she will push up, and sometimes make swim/crawl motions. She still finds it tiring and will start to complain after a minute or two, but at least now she's practicing and should get more comfortable with it.
  • Likes to stand with support.
  • Manual dexterity took a big leap forward. AJ confidently manipulates objects in her hands. We tried introducing finger foods again (she wasn't into them at six months) and she is now able to pick up food, move it from hand to hand, and get it into her mouth on the first try. She is still more efficient at spoon feeding however.
  • Speaking of eating, AJ is more adept at chewing, and seems to have made the connection that this is something you do with food. She often starts "practice chewing" as soon as she sees us preparing her food. She needs to figure out that chewing and food and fingers at the same time doesn't work so well.
  • Sleep is OK, usually. Most days AJ goes to sleep at around 9pm and then does a 4-5 hour stretch (sometimes more) and then another couple of 2 or 3 hour stretches. Sometimes the reverse of that. She usually has a late morning or early afternoon nap. However, there are certainly exceptions. The heat wave we've been having the past week has messed things up a bit. It's hard for anyone to get to sleep when the house is 28 degrees C (82 degrees F). It's also getting harder to nurse AJ to sleep. This is probably a good thing, because she's putting herself to sleep more often. I have never worked up the nerve to "sleep teach," but she is teaching herself, at least some of the time. Nursing to sleep is not going to work forever, especially not when I'm back at work.
  • Signed up for mom/baby pool time (not really swimming lessons yet). I am looking forward to introducing AJ to the water. I have also booked plane tickets to visit my parents at their summer place in August. Some of our time there will be beach time so I hope AJ enjoys it. Look out for posts about how I am over-preparing and obsessing over a 1 hour flight with a baby. (It's good to have something positive to obsess over, however.)
  • Saw Inside Out for a date night. Very very good movie, but a rather silly choice for a date night where our goal was to not think or talk about the baby so much. Still, I recommend it. You will have rivers of tears running down your neck.
8 months post-partum:
  • No major body changes; health is good. I'm making more of an effort to eat and drink water regularly. I resolved again to remember to take my vitamins.
  • Finally stopped changing my pyjamas every night. I got into this habit after birth because I sweated so much at night. Then having fresh pj's every night became a pleasant luxury. But it does lead to a lot of laundry, which I like rather less. So I bought new pretty summer pj's and am rotating them less frequently.
  • Period has continued to show up. One 30 day cycle so far, one 23 day cycle, one 21 day cycle. The short cycles upset me because I worry about the DOR getting worse, although it is also common to have irregular cycles for a while after giving birth. Realistically I know the DOR will get worse over time but I hope that I might yet get another lucky break, because....
  • Fertility is more on my mind.  I have never stopped thinking about it, but as I get farther from the birth and the rawness of new motherhood, I feel a stronger urge to conceive again. I find myself looking back on pregnancy nostalgically, which is hilarious. If you followed the blog through 2014 you might recall how anxious I was throughout pregnancy. Our minds really do censor life marvelously. At the same time I don't really want to commit to TTC, because of the extra effort of monitoring my body and also because I'm afraid of the disappointment if I can't get pregnant again. Complicated thoughts and emotions....and they are getting stronger.
  • I just adore AJ's baby-ness. Every sight, touch, smell, sound. All her silky skin and squishy flesh and wiggly weight. I know how fleeting this time is and I'm lapping it up like a kitten in cream.
  • I'm pleasantly surprised about how relaxed I am.  I was an anxious person before parenthood and I was a very anxious pregnant person, so one of my concerns was that I'd been an anxious parent. I might be a little on the over-protective side (don't have much to compare to at the moment.)  I still get anxious when I have stressors. And sometimes I fall into anxiety-inducing ways of thinking. But my default state is not anxious, and that makes such a huge difference. I am not quite sure how I managed this. Some of the contributing factors have to be: AJ is a pleasant baby most of the time; Mr. Turtle is a skillful and loving father and husband; nobody around me had been nasty or critical; and I'm probably still enjoying some happy hormones thanks to breastfeeding.  
  • My feelings about going back to work vary. Sometimes I don't think about it much at all and just enjoy the moment. Other times I think it will work out fine. And there are times when I think: This is going to be a f!@#ing, flaming disaster. What was I thinking?! The different states of mind roughly correlate to how much sleep I've had, what time of day/night it is, and how "on schedule" AJ is. I'm not mathematically minded enough to give you the exact ratios, but you can probably figure it out. 
  •  I'm also fighting the feeling that it's now a countdown till I'm back at work. I want to enjoy the summer, dammit! It's funny because usually as a teacher at this time of year, two months feels like endless freedom. But from where I am now it looks like a terribly short time, sometimes. I have to consciously switch off the "countdown."
  • It's true I'm not overly anxious, but I do sometimes still focus on the negative: all the things I could do wrong, all the things that could go wrong outside of my control. I have to switch my thinking to a strength based perspective. I can do it but it does take conscious effort. I remind myself that after all, parenting has to be one of the most optimistic things anyone can do. If you want a child, or have a child, it means that you believe the world is a good place and can be a better place. It means you believe that life is worth living not only for you but for others too.  And it means that if things get tough or just plain awful, you believe you can cope with it and make it through.
So here I am having the courage of my own convictions. And truly loving each and every day.

In pictures:


  1. I find it so hard to be in the moment and not worry about going back to work. It's not going to be easy, that's for sure.

    Sounds like you are in a really good place. I'm happy for you :)

    1. thanks! we're having a lot of fun for sure. And when it comes time we'll be doing hard things together; it's nice to have company :-)

  2. 8 months!!!!

    I assume anyone who goes through infertility always has it in the back of their mind! You are definitely not alone in this (although I can't relate) because it seems like a common thought for all!

    1. yes, I think the thoughts have become a part of me. But we can still choose what thoughts to focus on!

  3. I love hearing about all of AJ's milestones. It's amazing how fast they learn to do stuff, it's like it happens overnight sometimes!

    1. Isn't that true! With AJ it is a combination of learning quickly and working on things over a long period of time. When she wants to learn something she will do it over and over, but when it's learned she's on to the next thing. I look forward to reading all about Q too!

  4. I can't believe she's 8 months. I love that she loves thunder storms! I know that work is looming, but I hope you can enjoy the summer!

    1. so far so good! lots of lazy days. I feel like we should be doing exciting stuff sometimes but the best times are often just walks around the neighbourhood. I feel a bit like a child again in that I'm very easily amused. :-)

  5. Owen was five months yesterday and I swear he turned four months just a week or so ago. Time us speeding up! I loved the bit about "practice chewing"--somehow that just strikes me as so adorable.

    1. I know, the months seem gone in the blink of an eye! It is so adorable as they learn new stuff; the actions are more deliberate but still so innocent.

  6. Loved reading this update. I'm fascinated by your observations of AJ and the weather. Jealous you get a hug when you pick her up. Can relate to the nose picking, ha! Zelly also had/has a "stork bite" on the back of her neck which has faded since birth but I can't recall if it's completely disappeared. Glad poopmaggeden is under control. It's fantastic that anxiety has escaped you after such a hard pregnancy.

    1. Aw, thanks. There's so many new developments every. Looking forward to reading your 8 month update, too!

  7. What a fun update! I cracked up about picking your nose. I do that, too. So far B hasn't noticed...

    1. I'm sure she'll notice soon hahaha....I think AJ particularly notices the ridiculous and embarrassing things I do. of course.