You spent nine months growing inside of me, and you’ve been with us on the outside for nine months, Baby X!
Thanks to our friend E for helping get a nice picture of X this month! Please pardon my shoe/leg interference. I was on the ground to help keep the little man happy for the picture. Also: I try to use different onesies each month, but I was running out of daylight yesterday and accidentally overlapped with 6 months. It offers an interesting comparison. Do you think he looks a lot different?
Month 9 has been marked by travel to Michigan, daylight savings “fall back,” and Mr. Mobililty.
We took a short trip to Michigan to attend T’s grandmother’s memorial service. She was a strong woman who lived to 94, raised 7 children, and outlived her husband by 30 years. The service was held at the Catholic church in the town where her father grew up and where he built a cottage that lasts to this day. We enjoyed gathering with friends and family to remember her and honor her life and contributions to each of us. The beautiful fall weather and perfect leaves were a gracious backdrop to the events of the weekend.
Falling back + room sharing + travel + FOUR MORE TEETH have combined for another difficult month of night sleep. (He’s still an amazing napper! hooray hooray!) We were in Michigan two weekends ago, and he had 2 teeth. He now has 6! We are enduring, and we have good nights along with the bad. Last night, he went down easily and early at around 6:20 with daddy. Then, when we took KLC in to sleep at 7:40, the door opening roused him, and he wouldn’t be settled by anything but my nursing him after T made a big effort. We also tried just closing the door and letting him fuss, and KLC, unprompted by us, sang “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” to help him settle back down. Oh, the sweetness. He did stop crying for a while but couldn’t resettle himself, so I eventually went in. He woke again around 10 PM (just after I’d fallen asleep…sigh) to nurse. BUT THEN he slept 6 hours to around 4 AM. (I think…unless I was a total zombie and don’t remember another awakening.) This is only the 2nd or 3rd time he’s slept for 6 hours in his life. So, good moments and bad. We are enduring. As I reflect, I realize that I’m proud of us for keeping them both in the room all month since I last wrote. It *feels* like we’ve been at this forever without coming to a new normal, but one month is fairly short in the grand scheme of things.
<<Note: I wrote this yesterday on his 9 month birthday, and X celebrated last night by doing his FIRST EVER 8 hour stretch of sleep! 6:30 PM – 2:30 AM, then back down until 5 AM. He put himself back to sleep at 5 AM and then woke up 6 AM for the day. Hooray!>>
X has been building on his physical abilities all month. I haven’t seen an army crawl in a while as he has switched to hand-and-knees crawling exclusively for the past week or so. He pulls up everywhere, climbs flights of stairs (with supervision), tries to walk while holding our hands, and cruises around furniture. Will he be an earlier walker? I’m not sure. KLC was a puller-upper and cruiser a little earlier than X but didn’t let go and walk until after 12 months.
I don’t have current stats on X, but he feels so heavy this week! He’s still long and lean in comparison to other babies his age. I was getting a little worried about his weight a few weeks ago, but he seems to have hit a growth spurt. As I mentioned before, he acquired all four of his top front teeth in one harrowing week. Perhaps that will earn him a reprieve from teething pain for a while.
On the eating front, his appetite seems pretty big, and he can regularly be found foraging beneath KLC’s chair in the dining area. We introduced eggs, which were an issue for KLC, and he eats them without any sign of the rash she would get. Speaking of rashes, his mild eczema has cleared up thanks to Aveeno Excema Therapy lotion (Thanks Uncle A for importing that for us!). I’ve been enjoying his increasing solids intake as I can leave him for a longer period without worrying too much about being his only food source.
(In fact, we just did this today! We have a babysitter E who comes to our house to watch the kids so X doesn’t have to miss his morning nap when I got to Thursday morning Bible study. He nursed around 7:30 AM, was down at 8:30 AM due to an early wake-up, and woke up from his nap at 10:45 AM. I had been gone since 9:30. E then played with him and fed him (blueberries, sweet potato, half a banana, raisins, water), and I was back around 11:50 AM. I nursed him at 12 PM, and he was down for his next nap at 1 PM.)
One more amazingly cute development is how excitable and expressive he is getting. He loves playing peek-a-boo, and he expresses his delight in something by waving his arms and legs wildly. When daddy comes home, he is now fighting KLC for the first pick-up.
A Note on Motherhood
The 9 month mark has been suggested as the length of time it takes a woman to recover fully from childbirth. With KLC, it is when I hit my pre-pregnancy weight. This time around, I feel quite recovered in some ways and not at all in others. Perhaps I am simply learning more about myself through the act of parenting, and it reveals more areas that need work?
Physically, I am strong. I hold my ~34 lb girl and ~19 lb boy simultaneously. However, I am not particularly happy with my body nor do I feel able to fit in all that I need for my own physical self-care. I regained 5 lbs after losing all the pregnancy weight, and they have stubbornly stayed there. I take walks but only 1-2/week instead of daily as I would like. My eating habits are not great.
Emotionally, I am becoming more stable. X’s birth threw me off emotionally more than KLC’s did, but I see lots of recovery there. Yesterday, I felt so happy with my two little munchkins. I giggled all day over something that happened that morning:
As I was tickling X, I exclaimed, “You are a ball of joy!” I turned to KLC and said, “Do you know what joy is?”
“Joy is…happiness that you can’t take away,” I said, trying to say something that captured the essence of the truth, though who can fully explain joy? I wondered.
KLC reached for X and said, “I’ll take him away.”
Thank you, God, for the joy you give through parenting.