If there's one piece of advice that I've followed in early motherhood it is this: cherish every moment with a new baby because they grow up way too fast. Now that I'm a mom I finally get why my parents talk about us kids like we were born yesterday. Because in their minds, we were. The consequence of raising kids is that the decades are compressed into a whirlwind of milestones. Birthday parties and family vacations and first bike rides and sporting wins and school graduations... all a blur, I'm told. As a new member of the mom club, I've officially signed up for this crazy fast-paced life. Henry is only 6 months old and time is flying by SO quickly. When he does something super exciting, like roll over for the first time, I think to myself "I'll never forget that this happened on February 6th 2017 at 1:30pm!!" but then I'll be writing in his baby book a few weeks later like "did he roll at 6 months or was it 5 months?" Sigh. My memory bank is already getting too full.
I never want to forget the day Henry discovered his arms (what? these things do THINGS?!) and the three days following that he waved them frantically in the air like a mad man, batting every toy in sight and yelling at the top of his little baby lungs. Those three days made my entire week and then BAM, on the fourth, the incessant arm waving stopped. He learned that those arms could be used to propel himself into a back to tummy roll. Amazing. Now he rolls and looks up at me so proud of himself. Watching babies grow and develop is simply amazing. But also sad. These changes come about so swiftly. Don't blink.
I want to preserve forever the memory of Henry's sweet little face waking up in the morning. Now that he's sleeping through the night and not hungry all the time, he wakes up so incredibly happy to see me. I feel like a celebrity when I peek into his crib (or if we're co-sleeping, when I reach over and unzip him from his sleep-sack) because he gives me the biggest gummy smile and I just about burst. Sometimes I can hear him babbling through the baby monitor and if I'm luckily, I can hear a distinguished "Ma-Ma" in his cries. At 6 months? I know! I thought it was early for words too. But I guess he's more so mimicking sounds. He's not reaching for hugs yet (Roger can't wait for this), but he'll wrap his arms around my neck like a small monkey when I'm carrying him and it's the best feeling in the world.
I want to always remember the cute sounds he makes and the smiles he gives me when I'm nursing him. He's so cheeky these days. He's going through a stage where he pulls off and cranes his neck completely back to look at the world upside down. Heaven forbid his dad walk into the room or the dog make an appearance; he'll get completely side tracked. And sometimes he simply breaks out into laughter looking at my face and I have to rock him back and forth for a bit to get the sillies out before he'll eat again. So freaking cute. You can tell his curiosity is blossoming.
I doubt I'll forget Henry's first experience with real food. Watching babies eat is so much fun! And also nerve-wracking because of the real fear of choking. We introduced hunks of avocado and lots of purees at 5.5 months. He took to spoon-feeding very well at first. He was a fast fan of pears, carrots, peas, green beans, broccoli, bananas, apples, prunes, blueberries, and peaches. Oats and rice were okay. He hated and still hates sweet potatoes. A taste of them on his tongue and he will gag and spit-up everywhere. Unfortunately my hungry hippo is currently on a pureed food strike and will not let a spoon near his mouth. Mister Independent only wants to feed himself and because the food gets everywhere and rarely reaches his mouth, he's basically back on the all-milk, only-milk diet. Just for fun, I now give him a bit of whatever I'm eating, mainly scrambled eggs and toast and bits of cheese. He loves toast. I'll also put slices of apples and cucumbers and carrots on his highchair tray and he'll suck on them for a bit. He even sucked out the contents of a small tangerine as I was holding it. I really thought he would hate the citrus taste, but nope. Food is still very foreign to him; he's happy to have it in his mouth but is taken by complete surprise when he swallows it. Oh! And I'm happy to report we tried peanut butter and lived! I'll have to write a post on that later.
Henry is a super cuddly baby and always has been, which I am so very grateful for. I've been told that some babies are not big-time huggers. On a typical day, I can pull Henry onto my chest and cuddle with him for short bursts throughout the day, whenever I crave some baby hugs. On a sleepy day, he's content to lie on me for hours. I cherish the evenings when he falls asleep on one of us and we can carefully transfer him to his crib after a groggy diaper change. Between newborn and three months old, he was literally attached to me all day. I wore him in a baby wrap around the house and on errands and his preferred way of sleeping was on me. Even though he's still affectionate, I miss the effortlessness of snuggling with a teeny tiny baby. Now he wants to be carried all the time and 21 pounds is a lot for my small frame.
I imagine babies and most people in general enjoy good old fashioned fun. Baby Henry is no exception. He smiles and laughs at dance parties, he giggles when I purposely go over big bumps with the stroller, and he's in heaven when we enthusiastically lift him up in the air. I truly believe that babies respond positively to positive energy; if you're having fun, they're having fun. When Henry starts to make a sour face, I can usually prevent a full -out cry by being silly and showing him everything is okay. I lost my voice singing to him so much when he was a newborn. I would just sing and smile and bounce and dance and there were very few occasions where I couldn't win him over with persistence.
It doesn't take long to get to "know" your baby, which makes total sense considering you spend every waking moment with them since birth. We so very much enjoy watching Henry's personality develop every day. He truly is a happy baby. He loves when I sing "Under the Sea" in a really deep voice. He loves bathtime and swimming; the more splashing the better. He falls asleep within five minutes of a car ride. He expects a dad hug as soon as Roger gets home from work. He always smiles when we smile. He's a fabulous sleeper, but we really need to work on getting him to bed before 9pm. He usually has three naps a day; two short ones and a long one. My caffeine intake doesn't affect him, thank goodness! We thought he had a preference for grabbing toys and food with his left hand, but now he's indifferent. He loves the Jolly Jumper and his Piano Kick & Play mat. He's an excellent shopping buddy and so well-behaved at appointments. He doesn't mind hats or bibs. He has only been mistaken for a girl once when I had him all bundled up. He likes to hold the ends of my hair and gently twirl them between his fingertips, absolutely mesmerized. He thinks it's hilarious to bite and slobber over my nose and chin and cheeks and he loves scratching and grabbing at Roger's face. He toots a lot. Like a lot a lot. He loves seeing himself in the mirror. Sometimes I'll catch him staring at his hands in wonder, analyzing every finger movement. The only thing that calms him down when grumpy is nursing or a bath. He loves the dog. He's slightly strange about seeing family members after a long absence; we're working on that.
Babies really do grow and change as fast as everyone says and the milestones fly by in the blink of an eye. I'm trying to write down as much as I can to make room for new memories before I inevitably forget the details of these ones.