These monthly letters are getting increasingly hard to write for many reasons. The first 6 months of your lives whirled by, but now as we close the 7th, well,it is like
the 7th inning stretch….we made it, but it is just opening other doors and experiences up to all of us. This month was about moving…moving out of the realm of baby and into a new phase of mobility and exploration. Moving away from seeing the two of you as a set, now seeing the initially subtle differences become full-blown personalities. Watching your style of interaction with us, with each other. Watching and running, oh lord, constantly running after this or that one.
I now understand the plethora of toys one finds at homes with babies. Because now toys are it, man, they are what you do. And there is never enough…but not necessarily for you, I am talking about me.
I have realized that we adults get bored a lot easier than babies when ‘at play’. I think there is no way you would want to handle that same block again, yet it holds you fascinated, some aspect that you must have missed the first 42 times you ate it. And then there is the baby wipes package that crinkles so nicely, there is the lint on the floor, and, oh yeah, your own hands and feet. It is such a lesson in wonder for me, a reminder that it is amazing that we can control our fingers and toes, that it is cool to stick things in your mouth to learn about them (especially if they are your delicious little digits) and that the world is endlessly new and endlessly beautiful. I have curbed my desire to keep acquiring toys that I think you need and just trying out new things with the stuff we have. Having said that, any and all toy donations are welcome over here, as the insatiable curiosity of my Beans is starting to become very apparent. Well, toys or cardboard boxes because Owen has found out they are really really fun.
Owie, you are really flying through your motor milestones, the rapidly increasing skills in your repertoire have required one crib mattress lowering, one gate that is now useful and lots of vigilance. You mastered the art of quadruped mobility and quickly moved on to practice pulling to stand…using any available and/or convenient nearby prop.
Your specialities include bear standing, splits sitting and some pretty impressive saves when falling out of an awkward upright position. Mason, you are not as interested in the mobility aspect. You remind me of a engineer busy at his work station, the way you thoroughly inspect toys, the different ways you can hold, pull and eat them. You are very self-sufficient at play, able to get what you want when you want it or find something else if you cannot quite reach that object. And the people, well, they are still your favorite. You love sitting and listening to ‘adult’ conversations, following along as if you are part of the discussion, content to add a squeak or squeal here and there, your very valued contribution.
The difference in your physical needs has become quite pronounced. Mason, you are our cuddler. You love to be held in a lap, facing out to observe and go along with the flow of the moment. Owen, you are not to be contained, not anymore. The occasional cuddle comes along, but for the most part you are rotating this way and that, twisting up and out of arms, eager to get going. The reverse is true at night though. Mason, you can make it through (most of ) the night in your crib, snuffling and shuffling around, self-soothing until about 5 a.m. when you need Mama or Daddy to hug you and cuddle. Owen, not so, you wake in the night, and we learned this month, you need one of us close in order to go back to dreamland. It was something I initially struggled against, the co-sleeping. I am not sure why, maybe all the conflicting info that says it will ruin your kid, etc.etc. But one night, I just laid down with you and off you went. It sure beat trying to put you back to sleep for 40-60 minutes and I find I can sleep now, whereas I thought I would lie awake next to you. It is an indescribable feeling, the way your growing sturdy body relaxes in sleep, the way you warm me. I would not miss it for anything. And after reading this lady’s excellent blog (full of practical and rational parenting advice and discussions) well, I realized the release of fear, the release of worry is one huge step toward being a better Mama.
Sleep was totally thrown for a loop by the appearance of a sharp little object at the base of Mason’s cute always gaping baby mouth. The little tooth has
just sat there, slowly pushing through, without a companion as of yet. It seems to only bother you, Mace, at 2 and 5 a.m. of late. Coupled with Owen’s waking in a standing or kneeling position that requires immediate assistance, well, it means very little sleep going on. Your Daddy is a saint, able to take one screaming babe in the dead of night without a snarl, without a word, actually. For all you folks out there that had the joy of sleeping babies, well, good on ya’. We have not. We do the best we can and squeeze in sleepy time as you tolerate, but I am just about through with blaming myself or thinking I am not a good mama because we have touchy sleepers. Sleep is such a controversial subject and being the reader that I am, I am continually seeking more information (this may not always be the best thing to do, but I cannot help it). Two very informational and rational books I found via the AskMoxie website are Wonder Weeks and Sleepless in America. Both of these books have very cogent and pertinent information for us at this time. If any of you need this information, I would love to direct you towards these readings. They make a lot of sense and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading. As of yet, my reading list does not include any real stories, but that will come after the holidays when knitting fever slows.
And your Mama has gotten back to a bit of her knitting.
It feels good to unwind for a few moments with my yarn and needles, to dream and actualize little projects and ideas here and there. It is a semi-reclaiming of bits of myself. The process of Mothering and Self-realization are not mutually exclusive, but require proper balance and mindset. I am slowing down some of my thoughts and restructuring my expectations of my Self and others. I am trying to learn to let go and know and believe that others can do what I do with you, just differently. It helps in so many ways to do this, I find it empowers those around me offering help. I think a little part of me, maybe every Mama, wants to believe no one else can do what they do for their children. The truth is, no one else can, I am your Mama, but others can comfort you and help you when you need to eat or sleep or dress or just be held. That is the joy of raising you in our communal home, with so many to contribute to your growth and experience. Very good lesson for me, each day is a lesson, but these are the themes of my life. Small triumphs and big lessons. New ones up ahead. Writing these monthly updates will help me remember. Sure, there are times when I hope for the difficult weeks to pass. But we only get to do this once, so there is a certain poignancy to that, even the harder moments.
These photos capture your first Thanksgiving/self feeding attempt with mashed potatoes. Mmmmmm, good.
On we go to your first Christmas, your first lights and Santa stuff and carols and Joyeux Noel. On we go to new adventures, new milestones, new days and hopefully new nights. I love you, my not so baby baby boys.
Your Mama loves you. Loves you. Loves you, loves you.