A Long Update
In 8 days, our babies will be 8 months old. Here are some recent milestones:
Audrey is in the pushing-backwards phase of movement. She raises her head and chest very far off the floor, and rotates 360 degrees to look at whatever interests her. She is also good at grasping and manipulating objects.
Jamie loves rolling on command, and does so now even when he’s sleeping. Sometimes he wakes himself up and doesn’t like being on his tummy in the crib, but sometimes we find him asleep in that position.
What fascinates all of them:
- adult faces. It is the picture of sweetness to have a small baby reach out both hands for your face, as if to gently stroke your cheeks. What happens instead is that those baby hands have an iron grip, and they grab fistfuls of cheek skin or your lower lip. Or stick tiny fingers up your nose.
- our cat. Theresa and Audrey especially track Callie when she is in their field of vision. Theresa, who loves soft things, always reaches for her (Callie mostly stays well out of range, except when she is so desperate for my attention that she comes close enough for me to pet her). Last night Callie sat about two feet away from Audrey on the floor, and Audrey was “swimming” on her tummy, trying with all her might to move toward the cat.
- solid food. So far (in order): baby oatmeal, sweet potatoes, peas with dill, pears, applesauce with cinnamon, and butternut squash. Next up: prunes, bananas, millet, avocado, and apricots. It is messy but so fun to feed them! Theresa and Jamie patiently open their mouths to receive spoonfuls of food–some days go better than others. Audrey, on the other hand, wants to grab the bowl. And the spoon. And she doesn’t exactly eat it once it’s in her mouth; she’d rather chew on the spoon itself.
- books. Theresa and Audrey love the touch-and-feel books, and know to pat the pages for different textures. I have recently been entertaining Jamie for a long time with board books; he loves turning the pages. They make Shakespeare in board book format, right? Or, to appease my high school physics teacher Mr. Lenihan, maybe we can get some Isaac Newton too.
- each other. They sometimes “talk” to each other (i.e. Theresa says “aaaaaaaah” and Jamie responds, “ehhhhhh). When facing each other in bumbos or in laps, they reach for each other’s faces–sometimes only to chew on a sibling’s fingers, sometimes not gently enough and someone gets jabbed in the eye. But they are noticing that these other beings are people too, with facial expressions and gestures that respond to their own.
A milestone for me: the end of my pumping days. When the babies were in the hospital, I pumped 9 times a day. I set alarms. I had a spreadsheet. My last milestone was giving up the middle-of-the-night pumping session, which I finally did long after the babies were sleeping through the night. I felt for a long time that I had worked so hard to get my body to produce as much as it possibly could, and I didn’t want to let all that work slip away.
But now I am ready to have my 2 hours a day back and more flexibility in my schedule, not having to stress about having to work around the pumping window. The yellow machine goes back to the rental company, and I get some measure of freedom. I didn’t know how much mental energy revolved around pumping until I decided to be done, and the relief that kicked in nearly overwhelmed me.
Another boon to my sanity is a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction meditation class that I’m taking every Tuesday night with my friend Jen. The very fact that we coordinated babycare (thank you, Kathy and fam!!) for eight weeks so I can go to this class means I am finding ways, as the instructor puts it, to nourish ourselves so we can nourish others. Maybe it had to take 7+ months for me to figure this out as a mom. Still, I think these two things are the beginnings of putting myself, if not first, then at least not last. =) A very difficult balancing act, as I am finding!