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According to various sources, I have one month left before my baby is officially a toddler. I can’t quite process that, since I am barely over the novelty of having a baby in the first place. Some folks seem to count it from the time the baby starts walking, actually literally toddling around, but unfortunately that isn’t going to help in my case. A few days before he officially hit eleven months, I got a note at daycare pickup letting me know my son took two independent steps. Since then he has taken one here and there, but surely it is only a matter of time before he takes off toddling. He cruises one-handed easily now, and when it is me he’s holding onto I can tell his touch is getting lighter and lighter as he gets better at it and strong enough to do it on his own. He loves to move in general, and has started climbing up on top of things such as the coffee table or the stairs.

He’s a funny little guy, easy going most of the time but with these moments of strong-headedness which make me fear for the terrible twos. Woe betide she who tells my son it is time to come inside, or won’t let him tear important papers in half. Don’t even get me started on the drama that ensues with nearly every diaper change. The tantrums are intense but thankfully short-lived at the moment, and once they pass he is back to being my cheerful, curious, cuddly little man. He is still a mama’s boy, preferring me above all others, but has been warming up to his dad this month (much to our relief). I love how much he loves me, but sometimes it is exhausting to be the only one who will do.

Bath time is more like swim time; he lunge-crawls from one end of the tub to the other, then stops to stand up until I tell him to sit please, at which point he goes back to doing laps. He is completely unfazed by water in his face, and I’m glad we had our baby swim lessons at this point. He is a fish, like I was at his age. I can’t wait to see what he does in the pool this summer.

My son eats everything and then a few more things and also can he please have what is on your plate because it’s better than what is on his, even if they are exactly the same. He is still fascinated by cups, and likes to drink from mine. When I get water from the fridge dispenser, I have two creatures who beg: first, the dog, who wants ice cubes because they are the best treat ever, and second, the baby, who needs to drink some from my glass immediately. Our son makes glorious messes out of pasta with sauce or mashed potatoes, and he loves dipping things in other things. I picked up a snack pack which comes with biscuits/cookies on one side and yogurt dip on the other and he is pretty sure they are the best thing EVER.

This month it has been amazing to watch him learn and explore. He loves to open things and close them, put things in and out, take them apart. He has figured out that door handles open doors and will reach up for them when he wants to go through. (Thankfully he cannot reach them yet.) He has also noticed that the toilet handle makes a very satisfying rushing water noise when pulled. He takes the top off of the squeezey baby food packets.

He is endlessly amused by animals and continues to say his version of “dog” pretty consistently, along with “mama” and up (“bub”). He woke up one Sunday and decided to communicate with us more effectively, first by signing “all done”, then by insisting on being put in his high chair and looking expectant until we brought him a snack. He points and babbles in adorably word-like sounds and tells us all about his world. He’s amazing, basically. (Not biased at all.)

This month we took him to get his first haircut, and my tiny baby suddenly looked like a big toddler. It was harder than I expected it to be. I love him and I love the little person he is becoming, but sometimes I wish this year had gone just a little more slowly. Next month I will officially have a toddler, somehow. Amazing indeed.

Rescued from my email drafts folder, finally…

My son is not only nine months old, but has now passed 40 weeks and 2 days, which means he has officially been outside of me longer than he was in. In this as in all of his milestones, I am proud of him and yet I simply can’t get over how quickly he grows up. I hope it slows down a little at some point, but I have been warned it never does.

This month our baby started at a new daycare, which provided more than a little anxiety for his mother. Would he be okay, away from the provider who had been taking care of him one-on-one for months? I shouldn’t have worried. He has done beautifully. Within a week of starting, he had gone from his old standby army crawl (which he had been doing since December) and started a more traditional hands-and-knees crawl — I am certain this is because he watched other babies and picked it up from them. He moves even faster now, and between that and his cruising, nothing is safe in our house. He has decided that opening drawers and cabinet is fun, and likes to take things out of bags, baskets, boxes, and anything else he can get his hands on. We have taken a somewhat liberal approach to baby-proofing, and as a result he still has a wide range of cabinets, drawers, bags, boxes, baskets, and shelves which he has access to. I love watching him explore and find new things, and chasing him down is rapidly becoming an excellent form of exercise.

Within a week of starting his new day care, my son also came down with his first cold. He has had a runny nose and cough ever since then, and on the day he turned nine months he celebrated with his first very high fever. The verdict was an ear infection. Now there’s a milestone neither of us were all that excited about! Thankfully, he decided that both his baby ibuprofen and the antibiotic were tolerable, so we didn’t have to hold down a screaming infant and traumatize everyone involved with pink sticky medication going everywhere but in his belly. My sister had a lot of ear infections as a child, and I remember the pink sticky medication so clearly, along with screamingly traumatic administrations, so I am grateful that this time at least my baby was amenable. Hopefully that’s a trend that holds — actually, scratch that, hopefully we don’t have to repeat this often enough to call it a trend at all!

The teachers at daycare say they think of him lumped in with the older babies, the ones a few months older than he is. They say this because developmentally, he tends to hang with the big kids — he cruises, waves, eats table food, drinks out of a straw cup, and greets people (and cats, and toys, and most other things) with a big grin and a cheerful, “hi!”. That last one still gets me. He’s been saying hi for the better part of the last month, but I didn’t believe it was intentional until they confirmed it for me. Other parents have commented on it, too; I figure that is enough third-party confirmation to safely say yes, my baby’s first word is Hi. Funny story, so was his mother’s.

Aside from “hi”, our little boy has become very verbal in the last month. He babbles almost constantly. In the mornings and at naptimes, he will wake up and whisper to his lovie or to us. I ask him to tell me secrets and talk to me about his dreams and he burbles at me in nonsense words which sound very convincingly conversational. He says da-da-da-da-da and ma-ma-ma-ma-ma at semi-appropriate times, and we are suspicious that when he watches the dog and exclaims, “DOE!” that he is attempting another important word. I find myself very much looking forward to his linguistic development, because I see so much going on in his head and I want him to be able to share it. However, Father Time, do not take this as an excuse to hurry things along, thank you very much.

As I write that, it occurs to me that Father Time must indeed be male, because I am certain that if it were Mother Time, babies would never ever grow up at all, which I suppose would be inconvenient. I would still appreciate it if Father Time were a little less insistent on moving things forward in this house, though. I’d really like a few more weeks between now and the end of May, for example. This first year is just flying by way, way too fast.

You know, it helps if one publishes posts. If one wants anyone else to read them, anyway… I blame new-job brain. Or mommy brain. Or both. Ahem.

He rolls over. He sits up. He drinks from a cup. He grins when he sees us, responds to his name, and babbles. He likes to “sing” along with music. He is in constant motion.

But other than that, nothing big happened this month.

He was so close to rolling over in September, but then seemed to stop even trying for a little while. Instead, he decided that sitting up was the coolest thing ever and got very good at sitting very quickly. Then one day I set him down on his belly, looked away, then looked back to find him on his back. Two days later, he rolled the other way, and that was that. When he gets tired, he forgets he can roll belly to back and instead just starts fussing, but for the most part he is a rolling fool. He hasn’t started to use it for transportation yet, but I know that can’t be far off.

One day I was holding him while drinking from a glass and he reached out his hands to wrap around the cup and pull it towards him. It was only water, so I let him give it a try. More water ended up down his front than in his mouth, but he thought it was an absolute hoot. The next day I went and got him a straw cup (apparently sippy cups are out these days, who knew) and he went to town. He still drools out most of what he takes in, but he loves playing with it. He also wants to have some of anything we are drinking — I’m glad he is still easily diverted, because I don’t think I’m ready for morning tantrums when I won’t share my coffee!

Morning coffee is definitely a daily event these days. I have truly started back to work, so both of us are establishing and adapting to new routines. Our commute is long (45 minutes), and we have to get up very early. I’m usually up at 4:30, and I let him sleep until about 5:30 if he doesn’t wake up on his own. Usually, though, he wakes up and starts chattering at me cheerfully while I get ready for work. I am so grateful that he is cheery in the morning and can only hope that trend holds in the future.

The lady who keeps our son during the day is wonderful. Right now, he is the only child she is watching, other than her own daughter. He has one-on-one care in the morning, then has the attention of a 4-year-old all afternoon. The little girl loves him and wants to kiss him good-bye when we leave every day. She has informed other children at play groups that he is “her baby”, I am told, and is apparently very possessive of him. I tell her she is his very first friend, and she smiles. I hate to think of having to move him from such a wonderful situation, but eventually I will have to, as the available hours aren’t compatible with what my schedule will eventually be. For now though, it is wonderful, and I am trying not to worry about the future.

I miss him terribly while I am at work, but he is so happy with his sitter and that makes it easier.

I feel like I could write volumes about nursing and pumping and the intricacies of doing so at work, not to mention the mommy-guilt wrapped up in the topic. Right now, though, I will just say that I am grateful I have a supportive chain of command and work environment. My first day I walked in prepared to have to advocate for time and space to pump, but the second thing my new supervisor asked me (right after, “wait, who are you? you’re assigned here? are you sure?” — that’s a different post entirely though) was, “your baby is how old? Are you pumping?” She then made sure I knew where the breastfeeding room was located, and made it clear to the guys showing me around that they needed to give me time to pump. It was such a relief, and everyone has continued to be very supportive. Now, my son’s appetite is giving me a run for my money, but of all the problems to have, that is one I’ll take.

I still marvel every day at the changes he makes overnight. A week or so ago he suddenly decided that moving was AWESOME and now he is rarely still, even when he is cuddling with us. He will be in my lap and want to pull himself up and over my shoulder, climb through my arms, pull and chew on my shirt. Constant motion. I watch him making connections and trying out new skills and it just astounds me. To think that this time last year he was barely big enough to make much more than a blob on an ultrasound. It amazes me no less than it did the moment they put him on my chest, and frankly I don’t see that changing any time soon.

So many changes in one month!

Our big change this month is that we have moved out of the small house we loved so much into an enormous place in a much more rural area. In our old house, we could walk to the grocery store and often did so. I miss being able to do that very much, but on the other hand our new house is beautiful, and it is a neighborhood where children still run around without grownups constantly watching to make sure they don’t get run over or accosted by strangers. We have an enormous park nearby, a small playground down the block, and the closest small town has festivals, train rides, and a gorgeous library. It is a lovely place to raise a little boy, even if getting groceries is a little more of an expedition than it used to be.

Speaking of expeditions, this month we took a road trip to visit my family. My mother drove out to pick us up and my sister drove back with us, for which I am very grateful — I am definitely not up for a solo road trip with the baby. The time with family was lovely and involved a lot of visiting with many friends I don’t get to see nearly enough, including reconnecting with one of my best friends from college. I loved showing off the baby, but it was also nice to feel functional outside my house again.

Baby got the hang of smiling right before our road trip, and did a great job of charming everyone he came in contact with. His little giggles, chatting, and smiling just grew more and more over the course of the month, and I delight in watching his personality emerge. He is cautious in large groups or new environments, getting very quiet and taking everything in with his enormous blue eyes (we aren’t sure yet if they will stay that color, but they certainly are striking in the meantime), but with more secure surroundings he is ever eager to share his perspective on life.

After we got back from our trip and all our visitors were gone, BWB had a week of working nights. As I think I’ve mentioned before, when he is on nights I barely see him, and this week was no exception. He would get home around one or so, crash, and sleep until eight or nine, getting up right as I put the baby to bed. His shift started at midnight, so he’d leave after I went to bed, repeat the next day. Essentially, I was a single parent for the week, and goodness gracious did that suck. I love my son, I love spending time with him, I want to soak up every minute of his life, but I also like being able to eat, shower, or use the bathroom without the pressure of a tiny person needing me immediately. I don’t know how true single moms manage, I really don’t.

After this week of insanity, BWB had a day off, and the three of us plus dog went hiking. I had found a state park about 30 minutes from the house with some interesting-looking trails, and we headed over there to check it out. When I was growing up, my family used to go out to a state park to go hiking as a family, so this had some serious nostalgia factor for me. J slept through most of it in his carrier, but the rest of us had a great time. It was almost too hot, but we are hoping that when the weather cools off a bit more we’ll be able to get back out there as a family again. With BWB’s work schedule right now, managing to find any family time is remarkable, but that should get better in a few months. In any case, the hiking was a great hit and I am looking forward to more family hikes in the future.

We haven’t managed to make it to synagogue again yet, thanks mostly to BWB’s work schedule. I do take the baby to church with me most Sundays, and he is a big hit there. We sit in the back, for easy escape in case of meltdown, and our priest likes to take him into her arms while she is waiting for the final hymn to end. I say in case of meltdown, but most of the time he makes it through just fine. He loves to look at the lights through the stained glass, and seems to enjoy the music. Hopefully this fall we’ll make it up to temple more often — I find that I miss it, and I know that BWB does as well.

After church one day, at the very end of social hour, our priest and her partner, D, were sitting with us. D started to tickle the baby’s feet and make silly sounds and oh my goodness but did he laugh. He threw his head back and shrieked with laughter, he laughed with his whole body, he laughed and laughed and laughed. He hadn’t done anything like that before, and hasn’t quite been that amused since. It was hysterical, this little guy filling the whole hall with his peals, and of course we were laughing too. Pure joy.

I have seen reference to babies at the end of the third month “hatching”, suddenly becoming aware of their world and interacting in a way they hadn’t before, and I have definitely seen that this month. My mother has said in the past that it is sad that just as they start to get interesting, you have to go back to work. While I wouldn’t say that I’ve ever found my son uninteresting, per se, I understand what she means now. He is beginning to play with his toys, hands, and with me; I see him staring at objects and I know he’s working out in his head how he might be able to touch it. I love watching him discover the world. He is a delight, and is delighted with so many things.

Of course, with the close of three months my maternity leave is also ending. My anxiety about the end of maternity leave in the week leading up to starting back to work was intense. How much milk do I need to make sure he has? Will I be able to find time to pump? Will I be able to function without worrying every second I’m away from him? I know that he will be just fine, especially since I am leaving him with my parents this month. I am far more worried about myself.

Three months, and I can’t believe how big he’s gotten (even though he is still tiny) or how much he has changed since he was born (with so much growing left to do). How do I slow time down so I can catch up?

Time is flying. This month everything changed and nothing did. Baby is still the most amazing creature I have ever laid eyes on, and I still wonder daily how it is that we got so lucky.

What I have always loved about babies is watching them watch the world, and through that experience rediscovering wonder. I am finding this is all the more poignant when the baby in question is my own son. As he starts to see more of the world, I was the little gears turning in his head and know he is taking it all in, absorbing. I love it.

Early on this month, we heard little half-giggles. He’s still not outright laughing, but makes these sweet little cooing-giggle noises which make me laugh and laugh. They (and his smiles) still occur most frequently first thing in the morning and when he is on his changing table, looking up at those bugs.

We had our first excursion to synagogue this month, the new one which is farther from our home but where the amazing rabbi is based. We were late, and it turned out that during the summer the Friday night services are lay-led and very short, so we ended up missing the entire service. We were immediately welcomed, a small flock of grandmas fought over who got to hold the baby first, and nobody cared that I wasn’t actually Jewish. I can’t wait to bring my son into this community on a regular basis.

Two evenings this month, the baby slept 6 hours straight. I, on the other hand, kept waking up to make sure nothing was wrong. It’s a start. Usually, though, he wakes only 2-3 times a night, which doesn’t seem so bad, really.

Another first this month was going out in the stroller. We had been using carriers exclusively and never managed to get the adapter to let us put the carseat in the stroller, so we just waited until he got big enough to go in without it. Our first walk was the whole family, dog included, and baby seemed to be fascinated with the whole facing out business. He spent a lot of time watching the clouds go by — a glorious pursuit, in my opinion.

At his two month appointment, baby had fallen off his height chart curves a bit, but is still hovering in the range of average for both height and weight. He took his vaccines (all four of them) like a trooper and other than being a little out of sorts for a day or so had no ill effects. The doctor said he looked fantastic, and I quite agree.

The second month was a funny one, with no major milestones but many small ones. Month three is shaping up to be a big one, but I’ve enjoyed the slower pace of this month, relatively speaking. Even without big events the days seem to go screaming by like nothing before. I’m trying so hard to appreciate every day I have with him, to be present as they come. He makes it pretty easy.

My son is now one month old. He has existed outside of me for one month. It seems like so long, and so short of a time all at once. How has it possibly been an entire month? I can’t believe we’re here already, and yet here we are.

I see so much growth and change in him already. Physically, he is longer and heavier. His stork bite is fading, and his eyelashes are getting longer and darker every day. I see more of his father in him as time goes by, but then sometimes he looks at me and I feel like I’m looking in a tiny mirror. He has held his head up since day one, but now he pushes up on his arms in a way I am pretty sure he is not supposed to be able to do yet. He likes to stretch his legs out, shoving his head up under my chin or over my shoulder.

He smiled for the first time a few days ago, at my father. I walked into the kitchen to find him grinning at my dad and I got all excited. My father didn’t understand why I was making such a fuss until I managed to explain it was the very first time. Even now, my dad is the only one he’ll consistently smile for. He smiles at BWB and me with increasing frequency, though, and is at his most smiley in the morning.

There is a bug mobile from IKEA hanging over his changing table, and it is one of his favorite things ever. Sometimes I think he fills extra diapers just so he can go visit with his bugs. He also loves the play mat with forest animals on it, and will happily occupy himself watching Mr. Owl or cooing at Mr. Squirrel for a good twenty minutes at a time.

We don’t have a schedule yet. That’s not quite true, we have a rough schedule. We get up in the morning and change out of nightclothes, then usually he has some quality awake time and can handle the play mat long enough for mama to grab something to eat. Then he eats and sleeps in cycles for a while, then has a longer nap at some point. After a long nap, he eats, then will have more awake time, and then back to eat-sleep quick cycles until it’s time for bed. I put him in a gown and a night diaper, and I’ve started putting a little bit of lotion on him as well, and then we settle in for the night. He usually sleeps for anywhere from 2-4 hours in the first chunk, and then wakes up every 2 hours or so after that. I’m hoping he’ll decide to sleep longer soon.

Lately, we’ve been struggling with gas or reflux, something that makes him more fussy and more prone to waking up from a sound sleep straight into screaming bloody murder. It’s startling, to say the least. I think he also confuses “hungry” and “tired”, and insists on nursing for anything that registers as discomfort, including wet or dirty diapers.

I’m grateful that we’ve finally hit our stride with nursing — we had a rough start but seem to be doing pretty well now. I have an oversupply, which is a problem in that it contributes to his gas and makes it hard to nurse sometimes, but of the wide variety of problems one can have while nursing, this is one I’m not complaining about. I’ve started to pump in order to take advantage of it, and BWB will be venturing into the world of bottle feeding soon.

I love feeding my son. I love looking down at his content little face as he pulls back from my breast with a trickle of milk from the corner of his mouth and knowing that I’ve fed him well. I love how it feels to hold him close to me and feel his little hands grasping at me. He makes these adorable little noises while he eats.

It is still marvelous to me that he is here in our lives. I look at him and can’t believe we have him. How did we get so lucky? I love looking at his tiny hands, tiny feet, tiny ears. I love watching him discover things, watching the gears turn behind his blue-grey eyes. How amazing is this? How precious is this tiny life that has been given to us. I wonder if that feeling will ever wear off.

Motherhood is everything I imagined it would be and nothing like what I thought it would be, which is about what I expected. I’m trying very hard to be present with my son every day and not let a single day go by taken for granted. I know that the next two months are going to race by just as the first one has, and then I will have to go back to work and won’t have so much time to be with him. That thought kills me, so I try not to dwell on it except to remind myself to soak him in while we have each other all to ourselves.

Who knew so much could happen in one month?

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