Mara at 6 months

My baby girl is six months old today! In my mind she’s still fresh and tiny and helpless, but in reality she’s a solid little snuggler who loves two activities more than anything: grabbing and bouncing. Mara could spend all day and night in the Jumperoo and be content. Or so it seems.

I want to say these past six months have gone by so fast, but they haven’t really. Warm fall days seem so distant from where we sit now in this never-ending winter. The truth is Corban is so demanding (and deserving) of my attention right now that I don’t notice the little changes in Mara as much. She’s just my happy little baby sidekick, and I half expected her to stay a little baby forever.

4months

5months

6months

Mara is so easy. She is just happy. Like, all the time. I feel so in tune with her needs (I think paying attention to how long she has been awake is the biggest key to this) and that just makes everything a lot less stressful.

A bit has changed since my last Mara update (at two months!). Here’s the rundown.

Sleep

She started developing more of a routine around two or three months old, and as long as we don’t keep her awake longer than her maximum, she’s (usually) a cinch to put down for a nap. We’re up to around two hours of awake time between naps. Mara naps three times a day – the first is always around 9 a.m., then after that the schedule changes a bit each day depending on how long her naps are. Usually she’ll take two 45- to 50-minute naps and one longer nap that can be 2+ hours. We still swear by the swaddle for naps and nighttime.

6months2

She was close to overstaying her welcome in the baby bunk in our room when we finally moved Corban into his big boy bed and let Mara take over the nursery. That was around 4 months old. Unfortunately (but not surprisingly), her nighttime sleep habits haven’t changed much since two months. We’ve had some better and worse patches, but she always levels out to about two wakings/feedings a night. We’ve had a few unexpected full nights of sleep (6:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. for first waking, or something similar) but based on how long it took Corban to sleep through the night I don’t get my hopes up. Mara likes her 6:30 bedtime and has been extremely consistent with that, which I’m thankful for, though a little sad if I get home from work late and have to put her straight to bed.

6months4

Speaking of work, I went back when Mara was four months old. I am so grateful for such flexibility with my maternity leave. Four months didn’t seem long enough, but it was the right time for me to return. We had to find a new nanny, and Mara and Corban have adjusted quite well to her. I’ve been working three days a week, so it’s nice to still have a couple weekdays with them. It was much, much harder going back to work this time – not really because of Mara, but because Corban is at such a vibrant stage. He’s exhausting, but so much fun.

Eating

Mara still is on a 100% breast milk diet. She nurses (or has a bottle) after each nap or about every three hours. She’s still a fast eater – five minutes on one side and we’re done. Since she moved into the nursery, I now feed her in our new glider (yeah, it took us 2 years, but we finally got one) with the Boppy pillow instead of lying down in our bed.

Now that she’s at the 6-month mark we should be starting solids, but I’m not exactly in a rush. It’s just… more work, ha. We unofficially did baby-led weaning with Corban, and I’d like to do it again and maybe learn a bit more about the official method this time. From what I remember, they recommend you start when your baby can sit up, and Mara’s not at that point yet so I’m okay with not rushing into solids.

6months8

Milestones

Let’s see… laugh, vocalize, grab… check. Roll over? Sort of. She has rolled front to back a time or two, but I’ve never seen her go back to front. She really wanted to at one point and got close, but recently she hasn’t seemed to be as interested in rolling.

6months5

Play

Mara is very social – we look at her or talk to her and she smiles. Laughing comes easy too.

6months14

I mentioned her love for the Jumperoo – just being in that thing and bouncing makes her smile and laugh, and those little legs just can’t stop jumping once they start. For a while she just loved hanging out on her play mat and grabbing at her “friends,” as I call them (little birds and toys hanging from it). But now she’s all about the bouncing.

6months1

I love giving her new toys and textures to grab. She has pet Biggles a few times and (bless his heart) he hasn’t seemed to mind.

6months7

She grabbed my glasses off my face today and tried to eat them. That is, of course, the next step after grabbing – tasting. We read cloth books so much more with Mara than I remember with Corban because she is so happy to grab and touch the pages.

6months11

 

 

She’s still very easy to take along on whatever adventures our days hold.

6months12

Sibling love

Mara will smile and laugh if Corban and I are doing something silly, and Corban just gets a huge kick out of her reaction. While most of the time he is still self-absorbed, he has started to interact with her more. Every night he says, “Night night, Mara,” and gives her a kiss on the head. He loves to give her kisses and involve her in his play. Except when she’s interfering with his fun, of course.

6months9

One of my favorite moments was lying in Corban’s bed reading with the two of them, and they just turned to one another and started giggling. It was one of the first true one-on-one interactions I’d seen between them, meaning I wasn’t the one facilitating it. I almost felt left out for a second, which is silly, and something I’d better get used to since I’m sure it won’t be long before they’re plotting together without me.

6months13

 

5months2

 

It’s pretty much impossible not to love this little bundle with all my heart.

6months6

 

Stats

Height and weight: To come after her 6-month checkup
Hair: Finally starting to grow! Her fuzz is getting fuzzier.
Clothes: Size 6 month, but moving quickly into 9 month
Diapers: Cloth snapped at maximum tightness, but size 2 disposables at night (which leak often enough that it’s time to move up to size 3)
Nicknames: Marabelle, Mariella, Marzipan, Ladybug, Miss Mara Mack (love it when Corban calls her by her nicknames)

8-month update

Another month, another update. It’s hard to believe!

Age: 8 months
Weight: ~20 lb. 9 oz. (according to our scale)
Clothes: 9-month and 12-month (though 12-month is pretty loose on him)
Diapers: Size 3, Target brand (Up and Up)
Hair: Light brown, blondish on the sides and getting longer in the front
Eyes: Same blue-on-the-outside-golden-on-the-inside color. Wondering if/when they will change?
Sleep:
Asleep by 7 p.m. Wakes once, either at 2 or 4 a.m., to eat. Up for the day between 6 and 7 a.m. Hates naps, but still needs 2-3 a day.
Noises: Babbles all the time! “Ah-da-da-da-da-da” and “bah bah bah bah bah” are his most common phrases, with lots of raspberries and high “ahh”s. A lot of the time it sounds like singing.
Nursing: Still at least 5 times a day when I’m not working
Pumping: Still twice a day at work, unless I get super busy or (GASP) forget all the parts, which is horrifying. I also usually have to pump a few times on the weekends just to stay comfortable as my body adjusts to nursing more and pumping less when I’m home.
Solids: Starting to be more consistent with at least one meal a day of any of the following: sweet potato, carrots, broccoli, peaches, cantaloupe, honey dew, banana, avocado or toast. No purees.
Sitting: All the time, except when he gets on his hands and knees, preparing for…
Crawling: Not yet, but any day now. Rocks back and forth on his hands and knees and can squirm/scoot a little.
Favorite games: Peek-a-boo, flying, patty cake, being tickled, “Round and round the garden…” (does anyone besides me know what that is?)
Favorite book: “Spot Says Goodnight.” We both adore it. (And by adore, I mean Corban always sits quietly for it, and only it.)

I don’t know if this is possible, but I feel like my bond with and love for Corban grew to a new level this month. Maybe it’s because I went back to work full time and spent a long weekend apart from him, so I’ve missed him more. Maybe it’s because he’s become so much more aware of everything, including me, and even started to show a bit of a preference for me. Maybe it’s simply because it’s so easy to get him to laugh like he’s never been happier. Whatever the reason, my heart just keeps getting bigger for this little boy.

And yes, he seems (well, almost) like a little boy now. He’s definitely not a tiny infant. Baby, sure. But his face is looking more and more boyish. And his thighs aren’t quite as chubby as they once were. His knuckles are still dimpled and his neck nonexistent, but he doesn’t look quite as round as he did a month or two ago.

We spent the first part of the month being totally lax with solids, skipping days when I got home from work late and sticking to the easy things like bananas and cantaloupe (which he absolutely loves). For the past couple weeks though, he’s gotten at least one solid meal a day. This is thanks mostly to the fact that our nanny shares our preference for baby led weaning and feeds him at least one solid meal when she watches him. He’s gotten really good at picking up tiny pieces of food and putting them in his mouth. Sometimes he eats so fast that I get suspicious that he’s dropping it all on the floor or in his lap. If he is, I have yet to find his secret hiding place.

Corban is starting to have real preferences. Like when he tries to grab a knife off the table at a restaurant and we pull it away, he cries. Or when we lay him down in his crib for a nap, he really cries. No matter what. He also cries when he thinks I’m walking away from him, like if I set him down on the floor in the family room and walk into the kitchen to make breakfast (still within view). I have to reassure him and get his attention so he knows I’m still there. Long gone are the days of an oblivious little sweetheart.

Don’t get me wrong, though, he still is a total sweetheart, and though he throws little mini-fits these days, he more often can be found asserting his positive preferences with big grins or laughs. He’s also easily distracted out of his tears. He basically loves any kind of attention, and the more ridiculous you act, the better.

I’m amazed at how much detail he notices now, like the diamond on my engagement ring (he sometimes grabs at it with his fingers) or tiny pieces of fuzz on the carpet. It’s nearly impossible to change his diaper on the changing table because he sees things out of the corner of his eye on the tabletop and relentlessly tries to turn over to grab them.

He still loves the cats and grabs at them whenever they dare to come close enough. Poor Biggles and Basil have lost several handfuls of fur thanks to Corban, and he’s made Biggles yipe from grabbing his paw a few times. We’re lucky they’re such nice kitties and put up with his antics, but they had better watch out, because crawling is coming soon.

In fact, he may have done his first official crawl today! Nothing fancy, but more real than the squirming around he’s been doing.

Month nine is looking like it will be just as exciting and fun as month eight!

Growing up

Today is Corban’s last day in newborn size diapers. *tear!*

They still fit him fine, but he is filling them up quite a bit and we aren’t going to buy any more. Time to move up to size ones!

It’s funny to think we didn’t buy ANY newborn size diapers before he was born because we figured he’d be big enough to fit into size ones right off the bat. If that were the case I wouldn’t know what growing I was missing out on, but since he started small and is now bigger (though still small, maybe nine pounds) I am all sentimental that he’s reaching a new milestone in his diaper-wearing career.

Here he is at one week old:

He still had his fuzzy back covered in lanugo. It was so soft! But he’s since shed it. And no more sleepy, floppy newborn… now he’s five weeks old and strong enough to kick his legs up when he’s lying on his stomach:

They grow up so fast!

[that’s a yawn, by the way, not a look of agony!]

Cats vs. babies

There’s actually a show called “Puppies vs. Babies” that pits viral videos of animals against viral videos of babies. I think I tend to like cute animal videos a bit better.

But let’s talk about real life. Peter and I have always kind of laughed about people who treat their pets like their children – or worse, who have pets (who they treat as children) instead of having children, and act like it’s the same thing.

No, no, no. Animals do not equal humans.

But when you have two adorable, loving kitties and no (outside-the-womb) children, it’s easy to turn into those very people we laugh about.

Happy 2nd birthday, Biggles and Basil!

(Despite their positioning in this photo, Biggles is the boy and Basil is the girl.)

I’m not entirely proud that we celebrated their birthday (we didn’t do anything last year), but we just happened to have two cupcakes left over from my Zeta baby shower (this was Nov. 15) so it was fun to attempt to get them together for a photo opportunity. Not exactly easy (Basil was scared of the flame at first). Then we ate cupcakes and they ate cat treats.

I must admit, though… at this point, still not knowing the full extend of a parent’s love for a child, I do feel like I love these two little cats like children. They’re our babies. They do the cutest things. They snuggle up with us and pur themselves to sleep. They know our voices and come out to greet us when we get home. I talk to them just like I would talk to an infant (this is probably good practice) and, yes, I refer to Peter as “Daddy” when I talk to them. (I’ve also been enjoying 8 months off from litter box duty and am probably feeling more maternal than I ever have before, so I guess you can take that into account before you think I’m a complete crazy cat lady.)

But I am most positive that the second our baby enters the world, Biggles and Basil will return to cat status in the Sherwood house. I’ll still love them and snuggle them and think they’re adorable furballs, but I have a feeling it might feel weird to pretend Peter is their dad. Once you’re a real dad, I’m guessing that title becomes a bit harder to just hand out willy nilly.

In the meantime, cats + baby stuff is just the sweetest.

Baby’s first clothes

I made it more than 20 weeks into my pregnancy without buying a single thing for our little peanut! Crazy, I know.

So until yesterday, baby’s wardrobe consisted of the following: An adorable Mizzou sweatshirt from my thoughtful friend Kristie (Peter and I – and Kristie – are Mizzou alumni) and these too-cute-for-words monkey tennis shoes and wristband rattle from my dear amiga Katie.

I know this little one is going to be spoiled by his loving grandparents and other family and friends, so I didn’t want to get too crazy with buying baby items just yet, but I have recently had my eyes peeled for rummage sales (garage sales if you’re not from Wisconsin) with baby items. That’s the perfect place to pick up good deals on clothes and toys that baby will outgrow quickly.

Yesterday I came across a sign proclaiming “Baby Girl Rummage,” and I had to check it out.

Of course, this little girl had only one color in her wardrobe: pink, so there wasn’t a whole lot of gender-neutral items to be found. I did find some steals though.

First up: this semi-impractical, cuddly, full-body suit.

Can’t you just picture a little Pooh bear inside?

Of course, it could be completely impractical for our kid, since it’s labeled 3-6 months, and that puts us in about April through June. But these Wisconsin springs can be pretty cold, doncha know.

There’s also this soft, Biggles-approved, lion blanket.

And out of probably hundreds of clothing items, these were the only ones I could picture either a boy or a girl in.

I think this is the perfect gender-neutral onesie.

Total cost for all of the above: $8.75

Yay, bargains!

Cat daddy

Overheard from the other room:

Cats playing; Basil hissing and growling at Biggles as they fight.

Peter: Biggles! Will you stop pickin’ on your sister?!

I think I just caught a glimpse into our future…