Wednesday, June 13, 2012

My Six Month Old

Last week, Lucia turned six months old.  I almost can’t believe it, although when I think back, it truly seems like ages since she was born.  We no longer feel like we’re in the “new parent” stage.  We’ve adjusted to life as a family of three and can’t remember what life was like before our sweet Lulu. 

Since she was born, I’ve constantly heard comments about how happy Lucia is.  Even though her first teeth started to appear a few days before her six month “birthday”, she remains a very content baby.  She almost always has a smile on her face and despite their frequency, they never fail to make me smile back.  There have been so many changes the past month, but perhaps the most notable is the emergence of her little personality.  Before becoming a mother, I didn’t understand how parents could tell what each cry or sound their child meant; to me every cry sounded the same.  But somehow, it all is so obvious to me and despite her lack of words, Lucia can clearly communicate to me not only her needs but also her likes and dislikes.

Another comment I’ve often received is that Lucia is extremely vocal.  Is she ever!  She is constantly “talking”, so much so that if there is even a few moments of silence that can only mean that Lulu is either asleep or found something she just can’t stop sucking on (like her Sophie The Giraffe teether!).  I didn’t realize just how vocal she was until we had the opportunity to spend time with various other babies around her age this month.  None of them chatted as much as she did (in fact, many of them started crying due to her loud happy shrieks and babble). 

Not only is she vocal, Lucia is also able to communicate through baby sign language now!  Just Monday she made her first sign, the sign for milk!  David and I had only introduced two signs to her, “milk” and “change”, and I’ve known for a while that she understands what they mean because she gets very excited, smiley, and waves her hands when I sign “milk”.  She started moving her hand in a very purposeful nature and while it didn’t look quite like milk, it soon became obvious that was what she was trying to communicate.  She did it again around the next feeding time, so I think we can be pretty confident that we weren’t imagining it.  I’m quite proud, and in fact a little surprised, that baby sign language actually worked for us.  We decided to start employing a few more signs, including water (that girl loves drinking water from a mommy’s cup!).

Lucia is entering an exploratory phase.  Everything is new and exciting, which means that she also gets distracted easily.  Breastfeeding has become difficult because sights and sounds are so much more interesting than quietly eating in mama’s arms.  Lulu loves watching others clap, so much so that this is the surefire way to get her attention or stop her from crying.  She loves playing with new things and clearly recognizes what is new and what is not, if it’s an old toy, she’s just not interested.  If David and I are holding something, you better believe that Lulu wants it. That’s not to say that she is selfish and just wants to take things away from others, because she likes to “share” her toys by first sticking them in her mouth and then sticking them into mama’s or daddy’s mouth.  There are a few toys that she absolutely loves and doesn’t tire of - her Laugh And Learn Puppy, her Sophie the Giraffe, wooden blocks, and her books.  Oh books, my baby girl takes after me!  She’s going to be a voracious reader because at six months she can’t part with her books.  She likes to turn the pages and, of course, loves to suck on them.  Sometimes I wonder why we even have toys for her because household objects are just as fun - measuring cups, spoons, scarves.

As for motor skills, I can’t believe all Lulu’s learned in the past month.  She’s rolling over from back to tummy now and has been rolling over from tummy to back for a while, which means that she can now roll herself across the room.  I don’t think she’s quite learned the concept of rolling to where she wants to go, so she rolls herself six feet away from her toys and then becomes quite grumpy that she is so far away.   She is also sitting up solidly and only falls over when she gets too excited, starts moving her arms and legs quickly, and falls over.  She recently learned about slapping items and thinks it is quite fun to hit her toys or her parents on the face.  Hitting the table produces peals of laughter. 

Lu’s really teething now and her first two bottom teeth are visible above the gum line.  Although I have noticed a few times when it seems her gums have been in quite a bit of pain, it hasn’t been unbearable as she has generally felt much better gnawing on a teether.  Teething has affected her sleep though, as we have had to stop swaddling her recently.  Instead of falling right back asleep while shifting around during the night, Lucia started waking up crying because of the pain from teething and her inability to do anything about it with her arms in the swaddler.  Once we started putting her to sleep without the swaddler, her sleeping improved as she could stuff her fingers in her mouth during the night to sooth her gums. 

David and I have finally learned what it’s like to have a baby up several times at night.  Starting at about six weeks old, Lucia has slept through the night, but that changed last month and we haven’t had a single night of uninterrupted sleep since.  We can’t pinpoint a reason for her wakefulness at night.  It might be the teething.  It might be the interruptions in sleep schedule caused by our two long trips out of state last month, either because of the change in time zone or because of the new environments.  It may be the two colds (her first sicknesses) that she’s had in the past few months, which included stuffy noses that made it almost impossible for her to breathe.  Maybe it’s a combination of all these things.  We’ve been putting her to sleep in her crib and then bringing her into the bed with us after she wakes up the first time.  I’m not going to lie, I like cuddling through the night with her again, even if that means waking up more. 

We have one more exciting bit of news, Lucia had her first food yesterday!  We’ve been getting questions for a while from family and friends (and strangers) about when we were going to start her on solid food.  At her last appointment, the doctor suggested starting food at six months, but I’m a firm believer of waiting until when the individual child is ready.  I’ve also been wanting to wait as long as possible, not just because I don’t want her growing up too fast, but because I truly believe it’s healthiest to keep babies on breast milk only as long as possible.  But she’s been showing some “readiness” signs lately and has enjoyed taking little tastes of food when we’ve offered it, so I thought we might try a little.  We are hoping to adhere more to baby-led solids (see Amy's great guest post on baby-led weaning for more details) than to any other feeding schedule, so when we had broccoli I just made a little extra for her, continued to cook it longer than ours (until it was quite mushy), and then mashed it with a fork.  I fed it to her with a spoon and she seemed to like it well enough, although she was much more interested in the spoon than the green stuff on it.  I look forward to having her try more foods, although at this point, it was quite obvious that she could take it or leave it.  I’m not going to go out of my way to make any foods for her, but each time we make food for ourselves that can easily be fed to a baby, we’ll put a little aside for her.

When I look at my little girl, I still have a hard time believing that she’s my daughter and I’m her mother.  I’m with her all day, yet every time I see her I am still overwhelmed by how adorable she is.  I’m amazed by all she can do.  I still can’t believe that God gave her to me to care for and love and bring up.  I don’t feel worthy.  But I’m thankful, so very thankful for the wonderful gift from God that is my Lucia Rose.

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  1. Theo's 8.5 months now and I'm still in awe at all the changing and growing he's constantly doing!  I feel like as soon as we get in a pattern with his "new" skills, other new ones develop and we're changing this up again.  What a blessing!! Lucia just keeps getting cuter and cuter! :) Oh, and that's how we feed Theodore, too!  I made food for him for about a month (veggies that I pureed and then froze), but now he just eats whatever we eat. It's so much easier!  And an added bonus?  He already has his pincher grip down because we've been giving him finger food for so long. :)

  2. What a cutie!  Congrats on her first sign.  Another fun part of the signing for me is going to the park with my son and knowing what the other kids and parents are saying to each other (and joining in on the conversation) since so many families now are using signs with their babies and toddlers.

  3. We got a baby food maker as a gift, so I may end up making some larger batches of food for later on (especially for meals that we can't easily make baby-friendly, like the fish tacos we had last night), but it seems like too much of a hassle to get it out to make only small portions for introducing solids.

  4. I worked in a daycare for a while and all the kids knew the signs for "more" and "all done".  It seemed really helpful and would be even more so if we added all the essential words (milk, water, food, etc.)

  5. Happy 6 months, Lucia! She's so cute!

    In some ways, I can't believe she's only six moths, I feel like you've had her forever too, haha.

    That's so cool about the sign language!

  6. This is such a lovely post (not to mention the pictures of your cute baby!).  I love that not only is Lucia a happy baby, but you seem like an equally happy mother with a great attitude about everything, even losing sleep! 

  7. Amy_YouShallGoOutWithJoyJune 18, 2012 at 5:01 AM

    Happy 6 months to Lucia and 6 months of motherhood to you!  I always have a hard time believing how fast bloggers' babies grow--surely I was reading about Lucia's birth only yesterday! That picture of her eating is just too cute :)

  8. Thanks, Amy!  I know exactly what you mean about bloggers' babies growing so fast.  Some bloggers weren't even pregnant when I started following them and now they have little ones and I can't believe it!

  9.  Thanks, Rae!  Sometimes I think it would probably be better if I was a little less laid back and tried to do schedules, but as far as mothering goes, I really just go with the flow.  It helps that Lulu is a happy, low-key baby though!

  10.  Thanks, Jennie!  I loved the recent post you wrote in Abby, she's getting so big!


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