I can’t believe that we have had a baby for a whole half year. I mean, I can believe it – I have the body, mindset, messy house, and exhaustion to prove it – but I can’t really believe how fast it has gone! I love love love this age and am excited to see all that comes next (though I can’t say “can’t wait” because I could wait. And stay in this lovely stage for a while longer.
- Describe what and how your child eats: We started solids in early January because K was showing such an interest in everything we were eating and was a good supported sitter. We have been implementing a hybrid of baby-led weaning and I guess what you would call “traditional” weaning. K has eaten primarily mashed varieties of foods that are still together enough to be “grabbable.” We have gone step by step to introduce new vegetables and now some fruit, not for any strong reason, I don’t think, just made sense to us. We started with mashed sweet potatoes, then moved to carrots, avocado, banana, and butternut squash. K enjoyed all of the foods except the avocado, which she made faces about but continued to stuff into her mouth, albeit slowly and clearly with the hope that it would turn into something more palatable. K struggled at first to use her hands to get the food to her mouth; when a spoon of food was offered, she figured out how to use her hand to sweep the food into her mouth when the spoon was held close. She then preferred to be spoon fed for a while because it was way more efficient at getting the food into her; she would bang her tray to get more food (C yells “hit me!” when she does that). We only offer the spoon sometimes and if she refuses in any way (including showing disinterest), we stop. Now she can use a pre-loaded spoon and has also gotten significantly better at seeing the food, grabbing the food, and getting the food (mostly) to her mouth. Dinners are a fun treat and it’s neat to see her developing a relationship with food.
Nursing is still going well and pumping is going okay. I pretty much have enough for her every day and despite reaching the magical six months, I have not been able to add to my stash, which is at a low 20 ounces. Which means I am pretty much constantly anxious about pumping (though still not always anxious enough to add more sessions, maybe because historically they have been fairly disappointing). K is getting increasingly distracted during meal times, which has made for some soreness as she pulls off and then goes right back on when whatever had her attention moves away (Wonderdog) or becomes less interesting.
- Where and how much does your child sleep? Still in the crib, still with the same routine, though lately she has been sleeping in her rocker because she has been congested and being upright seems to help. K generally sleeps from around 8:30 pm until 8:00 am with at least two (sometimes three) night wakings (see below). When she was feverish and very sick, I pulled her into bed with me, partly for her benefit but also, admittedly, largely for my own. K takes naps during the day, though today she only took a 30 minute nap ALL DAY. Thinking it might be a growth spurt??
- Does your child have any sleep problems? Not major ones. She can go down awake some nights and gets back to sleep quickly in the middle of the night if she is nursed. The bigger issue is that despite our attempts at a routine (same bedtime and almost same wake-up time daily), she has not gotten back into a predicitable night time pattern like she had when she was a newborn. Some nights she has a midnight wake-up, some nights 1 am, some nights 2 am. Some nights she wakes up more times, some nights fewer. Definitely a challenge!
Physical Development and Health
- What is your child’s current size/weight: Don’t know – we go to the doctor next week. It seems to us that she is in a lengthening phase again.
- What about pee and poop? Her “poopy streak” from last month slowed down after the new year but we replaced that fun with solids. Which has made for interesting cloth diapers (highly recommend a cloth diaper sprayer). It’s not so terrible that I would give up cloth diapering, but it’s definitely not the easy dump-in-the-wet-bag-and-go that it once was.
- How many teeth? Still none (I’ve been predicting this for months now). Not over-eager but am curious when they will come in.
- What, if any, health issues are apparent: None.
Activity and Motor Development
- Describe your child’s gross and fine motor skills (how she moves around, grabs things, etc.): K is officially a sitter. We supervise closely because she does tumble over now and then, particularly if she is reaching for something, but overall she’s awesome at sitting and that has allowed us to play new games without extra “furniture” like a bouncer. What I’m noticing the most, though, is that K has moved this month from “sometimes-I-grab-things-and-it’s-surprising-and-fun” to “I-see-what-I-want-and-I’m-going-to-do-my-best-to-get-it.” She has become so purposeful in her actions and it’s a real treat to watch her set her sights on something and go for it with fierce determination. This focus has also been helpful at dinner time because K can now get her hands in her food and get the food to her face. K is doing well with tummy time and can now scoot around in a circle on her tummy (she’s been doing that on her back for months). She is highly focused on Wonderdog and will maneuver herself so she can see him. She also has made attempts at moving herself forward but often ends up rolling over onto her back. She can roll from back to front but usually doesn’t bother. She has been able to hold her own bottle when C is feeding her.
- What can your child do for himself? Feed herself! So neat! And grab things that she wants off of the ground (and bring them to her mouth). Maneuever herself around a room at least to be able to see everything.
Language and Communication
- Describe your child’s language abilities: The singing in the car has died down, but consonant sounds have sprung up. “Ba” “Da” and my favorite (of course) “Ma” which she sometimes says in succession “mama” though she has no idea what she is doing. In the past couple days, she has been especially chatty and I love-love-love hearing her little voice try out new sounds. We are also starting to do some basic sign language with her (“more” and “milk” to start) and she watches us, interested, when we use it. Her cries have also changed and she now has quite a demanding cry when she wants something.
Social Development and Environment
- Can your child follow simple directions? No, but I like to imagine she can. Like when I said “High five” and she hit my hand or when I said “Can I have a hug” and she leaned into me. She is starting to respond to her name more and more.
- How does your child react to family outings and visitors? She pretty much likes everyone. If it’s the evening and close to her bedtime, she sometimes gets a little fussy.
- Does your child play with other children? Same as last month, with the other children at daycare.
- In what ways, if any, does your child behave aggressively toward you, his siblings, his playmates, or others? She did grab my lip pretty ferociously this month, causing it to bleed 😉
- Does your child have a strong preference for one parent? No? She definitely knows who brings the milk (and in the middle of the night, if she’s fussing a little and I enter the room and get close to her, she begins wailing in a way that says “give. me. the. milk.” She got super excited and flailed her arms today when she saw C at daycare.
Toys and Play
- List your child’s favorite toys and describe how she plays with them: Probably one of her top favorites these days is tags on any of her stuffed animals or taggies. But not the taggie tags, oh no. She likes the REAL tags, will find them on any given toy, and stares at them like she’s looking at the materials. And then, of course, mouths them. She likes all of her various stuffed animals these days and her soft itsy bitsy spider book. She really likes the red ring on her ring stack, which she grabs and shakes and mouths. Much of her time with toys is spent passing them back and forth between her hands, mouthing them, and grabbing them when they get away from her.
- What are your child’s favorite games? She likes peek-a-boo and all of the “in your face” kinds of games where she is surprised, just like last month. She likes when we “eat” her neck, making nom-nom sounds. She likes to clap, be bounced in the air, and to dance with me. She likes to make sounds and have us make them back at her (she sometimes flails delightedly when we do this).
- Does your child have a lovey? Not a particular one. She snuggles with her various small stuffed toys, including a stuffed monkey from C’s dad and the stuffed dog I wrote about last month.
Feelings and Moods
- Describe your child’s range of feelings (comfort, discomfort, pleasure, joy, anger, affection, fear, hostility, depression/sadness) and how she expresses them: More and more of them that are noticeable. My favorite is what I guess you could call an anticipatory feeling. The look on her face when she knows she is about to be tickled. She has also gotten more demanding and has a very demanding cry when she is hungry or wants attention (one that is much less adorable than her newborn nyahnyah hungry cry). Her pained cry, like if she is surprised in a not-so-happy way or if she gets hurt is the saddest sound still.
- What is likely to upset your child? Being hungry, sometimes being alone. Sometimes tummy time or trying to get to something and not being able to do so.
- Describe how your child copes with discomfort, frustration, or other distress: Crying, sucking on fingers, nursing.
- What makes her feel better? Being picked up (sometimes), being talked to (sometimes), nursing (pretty much always)
What books does your child enjoy? All of them! The same books as last month. She generally likes reading though she is definitely more and more distracted these days.
Highlight of the Month
The big highlight for me is having a more independent baby who is still so dependent. That is, she can sit up, reach for things, look at things, interact, but she is still very much a cuddly, gummy, adorable baby. I love watching how determined she gets and seeing her confidence grow. I like when she first learns a new trick and then watching her remember the trick and make attempts to repeat it, with varying success. I like seeing her try foods and getting to see C interact with her while feeding her. I wish everything in the world made her giggle, but I like that she has likes and dislikes and things that make her laugh and things that make her stare like “that’s not as funny as you think.” I am really enjoying her excited flails, which are new for her and super adorable.
Probably my favorite moment from the whole month was when she said “mama” – and then did it again a few seconds later. I was SO EXCITED, more than I imagined I would be. Every time she accidentally stumbled across those syllables again, I am thrilled 🙂