SIX MONTHS OLD!!!
That’s half a year on this planet Earth. Half a year as my baby.
I won’t lie, this month has been challenging for me. I am tired. I am cranky. My arms hurt from carrying you ALL of the time. Our days start too early. My skin looks old. My hair is falling out. I can’t drop these last 5 baby pounds and you won’t let me do much of anything without holding you.
I could go on.
But I won’t. Because as much as all of those things suck (and, literally, they do SUCK the life out of me) I wouldn’t trade them. Not one bit of it.
As I sat down with my list of things you did this month typed onto my iPhone, I kept scrolling and scrolling…down, down…the list was so long. Month 5, going into Month 6, of your life was one for the books!
Most of this month seems a blur as we spent a week in Kansas and a week in Charleston, but I know that each time I logged a new milestone in my ongoing list, a simple “oh” escaped my mouth, a knot formed in my throat and I preciously stored each of them in my heart.
When I think, or look back at pictures, of the tiny little person you came into this world as on March 21, 2012, it barely seems possible that you are a real little boy now. Just looking at you, it’s obvious that you are growing, growing and getting bigger and stronger every day. More curious too about the world around you. Looking at new things, trying to figure out how to grab them, put them in your mouth.
My favorite thing about you this month is your laugh. It’s more of a cackle really. Mostly, you laugh when I jump at you, peek-a-boo at your or pop out and startle you. I actually Googled “the world’s most pleasant sound” expecting “Reeve Mooneyham’s laugh” to pop up as the number one search. When Kirk and I started dating, there was a question we asked each other, “What is your favorite sound?” His answer was any crowd gathered in cheer. Mine was the National Anthem. Poo Poo….Reeve Mooneyham’s laugh now tops that list, followed only by the squeaky farts you seem to unleash at the most awkward times like a presentation on Slavery at the Boone Hall Plantation.
This month started rough. It was obvious you were teething and still working on getting the hang of being able to roll in the night in order to find yourself in a comfortable position. My baby who slept 11+ hours woke up a few nights in a row for hours at a time. When you figured the rolling thing out though, we quickly got back in sync. Teething left you with red cheeks and fussiness. Added to a few sleepless nights, we got off on the wrong foot. I forgave you pretty quickly, though, when I found you asleep in your crib with your knees tucked under and your butt up in the air. OH MY GOD!!! You are amazing!
Also, I was increasingly convinced that you were bored to death with me. This month you began taking toys I handed you and throwing them back at me. You took your binkie out of your mouth and threw it on the floor as well.
It didn’t seem I could do much right in the beginning of this month. You were hungry all of the time and it didn’t seem I could satisfy you. I even went to a Lactation Consultant where you pulled the old “my car is making a funny sound trick on me” and nursed like a Champ when we got there. She says you were doing great and that, perhaps, just a growth spurt. It was reassuring to know I wasn’t doing anything wrong. As your little (getting chubbier by the day) hands massaged my breast and began stroking my side, we got back in the rhythm pretty soon after. You sweetly stroke my side, grab my shirt and turn your hand over and over like you are revving a motorcycle engine, wind your hand in my bra straps and reach for my mouth, giggling as I gobble your fingers. We look into each other’s eyes a lot. However, you do have a naughty habit of being awfully nosy when you nurse. If you are under your cover, out in public, you just have the darndest time concentrating and often expose you deal old mother’s boob to anyone who happens to be talking anywhere near you in order to see them.
Speaking of that, this month your ability to flirt has been taken to a whole new level. You can now crane your neck to peek around at the women at the table next to us. Stand on my leg to look at the girl on the airplane seat in front of us. Bat your eyelashes and, I’ll be damned, if it doesn’t just make me so proud. Ladies love you and I just love it when they then tell me how cute you are! You are like a puppy (or Elmo) you just bring happiness to people. Smiles to strangers’ faces.
Your hair is coming in nicely this month. I comb it to the side, and when you are wearing one of your cardigans or sweaters with elbows on the patches, I am certain we are going to have a talent scout stop us and ask if you would be interested in modeling this season’s collection of suits for Baby Gucci.
Your pout face is in effect this month. That lip….Elvis who? When that lip pulls down and your chin quivers, I will do anything. I give in. You win. You want it? Okay, give me the lip.
The dexterity of your hands continues this month. You can switch things from hand to hand and grab tiny bobby pins off of the nightstand. I work on this with you a lot. Daddy swears you were trying to catch a ball he was throwing at you…yeah…sure. You are also getting stronger with your legs. You can stand supported and just want to GO GO GO!
Hannah is interesting this month. I let her lick your hands and a lick on the face here and there, but you just can’t stand it when she won’t come to you when you want her. Sometimes, when she walks by, you just giggle at her. It’s as though you think she’s as awful as I do.
We still love giving you baths. We end each bath with you in the tub (not your baby-insert thingie) and you just kick and splash. I shampoo your hair with no abandon, attempting to rid you of any final Cradle Cap grossiness. You have farted in the tub twice now, each time scaring both yourself and me. I dread pulling your butt cheeks apart to make sure I don’t find a surprise that will force a Clorox at 10pm. I am happy that you love the water!
This month you have eaten bananas, rice cereal, avocado, pears, apple and sweet potatoes. It usually takes you the second feeding to enjoy any new food I introduce you too, but bananas are still your favorite. God, feeding you is messy. You like taking the spoon out of our hands and gnawing your NEW TEETH on it. Yes, your two bottom teeth poked up this month while in Charleston. You don’t eat a whole lot yet, only twice a day, but already I can see you bulking up. In the 2 weeks I have been feeding you, you are noticeable heavier and your belly obviously rounder. Your thighs seem meatier and your cheeks more kissable. The poop that comes with eating solids excites the hell out of me. Gone are our days of brownie batter and hello banana smelling, orange colored nuggets that smoosh between your cheeks. It feels like I deep clean your high chair twice a day! I try to contain the mush to your face, but somehow it ends up on the straps, the seat, the floor.
You still think Daddy’s name is as simple as sticking your tongue out at him. You don’t really do it to me, so I can’t help but think it’s you making fun of him too. Though I am fairly certain you stick your tongue out so much this month b/c your new teeth are in, he likes to think it’s your special greeting to each other…and so I’ll go with that.
You like sucking on my cheek this month. It’s prepping you for that day you give me my first real kiss, but for now, I find big slobber balls on my face, shoulder, arms….must be a part of teething as well. I love it when your whole mouth finds my cheek b/c you do not do that to anyone else on this earth.
It’s obvious how badly you want to crawl. Please don’t. In Charleston, I left the room with you on the rug and came back to find you under a chair. How did you get there? You do this inchworm move where you pull your knees under you, push your butt up and throw your body forward. It’s only a matter of days until you figure out how to use your arms to get you what you want. I dread that day!
The most annoying/precious thing you do/need this month is my skin. If you are sleepy or fussy or insecure or need comforted, my cheek is all you need. On the plane, you were locked into your car seat having a shit fit and I just contorted my body to give you some Cheek and you were set. Crying? Give him my cheek? Once you have it, you just exhale loudly and breathe me in. Daddy’s doesn’t work (too scratch probably), nope, just mine. At times, I can pacify you with my breathe or by just being close to you. It must just be my smell…which isn’t that lovely these days, but God you just NEED me. I love that feeling. I love that you just need my body to be content. There are also times, however, that it would be nice if you could relax into Daddy the way you do into me. Putting you to bed takes me a matter of minutes…you just simply won’t let Daddy put you to bed…PERIOD!
In Kansas, I left you with Don Linny for 3 hours. Wait, rephrase….Don Linny and Papa Jim took you away to Cousin Jack’s soccer game…in a car….with me 20 plus minutes away for 3 hours. I was freaking out a bit. I compared it to leaving your purse on another planet. My heart was racing and my arms didn’t know what to do in the car. I know that it was a good thing for you, for me and for the grandparents, but I was stressed the whole time. I found myself turning in the car to see what you were doing only to find you not there…which then sent me into another panic mode. My brain thought I had left you somewhere.
In Charleston, you were an angel and stood in the window seat flirting with the men in bow ties and women in Church hats below on East Bay Street. You loved our long walks every day and found the swing overlooking the beach to be very relaxing.
This month, you seem full of important thoughts. I picture you in 5, 10, 15 years and hope that the curiosity and introspective way you seem now is still present. You are so curious so desperate to see everything that is going on around you. If you aren’t trying to grab something out of reach or get the attention of someone walking by, you are looking around you sizing up life. Your brain is getting smarter each day. You probably have it all figured out in that little head of yours and we are just here to learn from you. I like to believe that. No. In fact, I KNOW that. You have already taught me so much.
We’ve made it quite far in this time we’ve had together, Reeve. We’ve had good days and bad days and I’ve cried a lot (so have you) and it’s gone so fast. Too fast. I can’t slow it down, but I wish I could bottle it up. This blog, this journal for you will be helpful someday when you are a teenager and yelling that you hate me to my face. I will be so grateful for this.
I have learned so much about myself in these 6 months. I’ve learned so much about parenting. I’ve changed a lot of opinions I once held. I’ve gained insight and PATIENCE! Holy Hell, I am now the most patient person ever. I once couldn’t stand to be in the middle or back of any line, I HAD to be the first in line…now, I am content to just not miss the line. I used to love to eat slowly and enjoy each bite, now I am content to wrestle you on my lap and am lucky if any food even gets in my mouth.
If I had one piece of advice to share with any new mothers, it would be the greatest lesson I have learned in these 6 months.
SURRENDER ALL EXPECTATIONS!!!
I have done and said things I swore I never would. I have let my baby chew on an empty plastic water bottle b/c the crinkle sound fascinates you. I have given him formula. I have let him sleep in my arms and in my bed. I have threatened to shake him (no, I don’t really mean it, but I hope he is learning how to be sarcastic as a result of my threats). I have plopped him in front of Baby Einstein and Mickey Mouse Club just so I could shave my legs. I have peed with him in my arms. I have let him Cry It Out for upwards of 30 minutes b/c I don’t believe children should be given everything they want just to shut them up. I have, however, bought him toys at Target just to shut him up.
I brain-dumped everything I read in every book I read while pregnant and learned the second-best piece of advice the hard way.
TRUST YOUR INSTINCT!!!
What’s instinct? Most days, I don’t even know what month it is and haven’t washed my hair in over 5 days, yet “instinct” is going to get me through a baby that won’t nap and a rash that looks funny and temper tantrums. Damn straight it is.
Lessons are learned through mistakes, and Lord knows, I’ve made a lot in these 6 months, but there is NO mistaking how utterly, completely head-over-heels in love with you I am.
Your face is sheer perfection to me. I know everyone thinks their kid is cute, but DAMN my kid is cute!!! People still stop me to tell me that you don’t look like a baby, but that you have the face of a much more mature kid. What I tell them is that you look like your daddy. Not like he looked as a baby, but like he looks now. I am so proud that I can give Kirk a son who looks like him. Watching you with Daddy, Reeve, makes my heart sing. Every woman should know this feeling. It’s joy mixed with pride mixed with adoration…it’s everything. It’s, without a doubt, the purpose I was meant to serve on this earth.
I am so lucky to be your mom, Reeve. I still give thanks every day to God and to Hope, my grandma in Heaven whom I believe chose you just for me. You have my eyes, which means you have her eyes. When someone tells me they are so blue, I whisper a special prayer to her. The ones we’ve lost come to us in ways like these.
I continue to hope I do right by you. That I raise you well. That I teach you to love everyone, accept everyone, to be kind, to be tolerant, and that I give you courage and encourage you as well. My actions are more well thought out these days. My words are kinder. My free time spent more wisely. My time with your Daddy more precious. Having you in my life makes everything mean more and worth more.
Please continue to grow strong, to be a little boy of wonder. Live in the love that your daddy and I have for each other and for you.
I enjoy watching you become the boy you will become, Reeve. In silly moments or when you fight like hell to get what you want, that Will that determination, that purpose is my joy.
Thank you for letting me be your mama these 6 months. You are the greatest joy and love of my life.
I love you so very much. To the moon.
(photo taken by my niece, Erin)
Favorite things to do:Be as close to me as possible, search the room for Hannah, roll over, stick anything in your mouth, splash in the bathtub