With Olivia crawling, pulling up, and taking her first assisted steps, I keep reflecting on how much fun we’re having watching her grow. I know, I know, babies don’t keep, and I’ll feel nostalgic when her tiny feet aren’t quite as teeny and her toothless smile is full of chompers. However, there are some solid hallelujahs that come from a baby hitting some milestones.
This is my second time in three years watching one of my littles morph into a toddler. I guess I can write this post without crying because I’m not a hardcore baby fanatic. I’m just not the woman throwing ‘bows to hold the baby at a shower. And I honestly have no idea what people mean by a baby smell. I usually smell baby body wash (Burt’s Bees for the win!) or poop. It’s really hot or cold in our house, folks.
Before I had kiddos to call my own, I’d be sitting next to a friend’s 2-year-old and literally say, “Hi! How are you?” as if he was a tiny adult on his way to a business meeting. I still have no idea what to say to 8-year-olds because I’m not there yet, kid-wise. Whenever I volunteer in the church nursery, I tell our ever-patient director that I can only handle kids George’s age and below, and I’m not broken in on preschoolers.
When I was a newspaper reporter, I had to deal with quite a few uncomfortable situations, because who wants to talk to a reporter on the worst day of their lives? It can be an awkward job to say the least. However, what assignment made me sweat the most? I participated in Career Day for, like, 6th graders and had to speak on being a reporter. Sweating bullets. I wore dark colors that day.
So, while I absolutely adore my babies at any stage (except possibly when the sassy toddler discovers and abuses the word “no!”) and I try to embrace and savor each moment (except when they WON’T GO TO BED), I’m thoroughly enjoying the growing process.
Therefore, as Olivia is almost 10 months now, I’ve compiled a list of the best parts of your baby growing up. The main down side? I’ve pretty well lost the little sleeping baby on my chest. That only lasted about 1.5 months anyway, since Olivia is a sassypants.
Food independence. After keeping a toddler alive for two years, then being blessed with a newborn, it’s hard to remember that I can’t just toss a snack to the screaming baby and all will be well. I have to dig out the bottle and be in a position to feed said screamer (i.e. Not occupying a moving vehicle). It’s a glorious day when I can toss a snack back to my little howler and she can manage to consume the snackage. Will this lead to an “I feel sad, so food makes me feel better” type of lifestyle/obesity issue? I don’t know, because I’m only a 2.8-year-old parent at this point.
Hands-off feeding is the key to Mama getting to eat her lunch with both hands and while it’s still warm! I’m sure it also instills a deep sense of pride and accomplishment, which will only benefit Baby Girl as she grows into Madame President. Also, this is the stage in life when kids put E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G in their mouths. (I’m currently avoiding sharing how I found Olivia trying to stuff an earwig in her mouth. Yes, my helicopter mom-ing is impressive.) Since I’m spending many waking moments trying to pry things out of her mouth, why not continually ply her with items that are permissible for digestion? (And we’ve come full circle to the lifestyle/obesity-issue question).
Food independence does lead to spoon mastery, but another challenge for another day (not quite as bad as potty training, but it’s on up there!).
The Art of the Slither
When teeny tots first learn how to climb something, they tend to have the nasty habit of falling off. One day, I’ll ask God why babies don’t grow molars first (can I get an “amen,” breastfeeding mamas?), and then I’ll also ask why humans lack an innate ability to land feet-first. Now, with George, I didn’t have to worry much. He’s a more reserved, cautious kiddo, so my baby-proofing and eagle eye got lax. With Olivia, well, she’s a little more of a pistol. I blame my husband’s side of the family. I kid. She seems to be following in Mama’s sassy footsteps. Lucky me(!)(?)
While she has bonked her head a time or two, she’s gotten fairly competent with the Slither. When she finds herself aloft with no supervision, she’ll flatten on her belly, then “slither” to the ground, face-first. I’ve surrounded George’s indoor trampoline with pillows, so she slithers onto a pile of plush. In our kitchen, however, she did receive a rather red forehead bump when she attempted to launch herself onto the tile (though the Hubs did snatch her mid-fall). Sigh. When does the trust-falling stage end??
Yes, newborns sleep all the time, and that has its own bit of glory. However, constant napping leads to constant night-time awakeness, so there are pros and cons. My love language is the simultaneous nap, which I’m now dubbing the “simul-nap”. The simul-nap was a glorious invention. Olivia still takes a morning nap (huzzah!) and potentially an evening nap (hurray!), but that afternoon nap is the ticket.
I don’t know enough about the future (i.e. anything) to predict when George will stop napping altogether (never, please!), but when they both go down about 12:30…Mama dances down the hallway (silently, of course). That simul-nap gives the boost in my day I need, especially since I’m not a coffee drinker (gasp!). Some days, when all of the stars align just right, I get a nap too. Getting in on that simul-nap is my jam.
All the Pizzazz
I love, love, love watching my children grow into their personalities. You know the first few months when newborns only smile because of gas? It’s kind of a bummer. Also, are all babies born with a permanent judgement face? I think this feature comes standard on all new models. Basically, you are sweating, crying, begging, and overall doing your best to make this new little human happy, and he/she gives you that face. The one that questions if you know what you’re doing. The one that judges your parenting abilities, which then makes you question your parenting abilities. This may or may not lead to tears. On all sides.
That precious, little, toothless smile begins to shine. It’s just the best. It’s the reward for slumming in the no-sleep, no-leaving-the-house doldrums for the first few weeks (months). You’re doing something right. This tiny person loves you. You are the reason that baby is smiling. Presh.
What milestones do you cherish? Any you look forward to leaving behing?
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