November 12, 2013

Being Ready for Motherhood

I never had much interest in dolls when I was little. I only liked to play with stuffed animals, preferably beavers. My grandmother couldn't stand it. She bought me doll after doll, hoping to find one I would like. No luck. I just couldn't stand dolls, or anything else in the nauseating "pink aisle."

"How are you going to learn how to take care of a baby if you don't play with dolls?" my grandma asked me once. Looking back, her statement doesn't make a whole lot of sense; it's not as if my stuffed animals were preparing me for a career as a zookeeper or veterinarian. But I do understand her concern that my lack of interest in plastic babies meant I lacked interest in ever having real ones.

This should probably be the part of the story when I say that my grandmother was completely wrong, and that I grew up to be a woman who just loves babies and couldn't wait to have her own. But that's just not true. That wasn't me. Sure I liked kids and wanted two or three someday, but I'm just more comfortable with animals. If I hadn't gotten married, I probably would have become a crazy cat/dog/blue tongue skink lady and been perfectly happy with my life.

Was I "ready" for motherhood when I became a mother? I'd never even changed a diaper! Nathan had to teach me. But my lack of experience aside, I don't think I ever would have reached a point in life when I truly felt ready to become responsible to care for and raise another human. I mean, babies turn into teenagers! Is anyone ever really ready for that? I don't know if I ever will be.

Sometimes you just have to jump into the water and hope you can swim, and so far I'm still managing to tread water. I'm still not a baby person and I doubt I ever will be, but I adore my baby and look forward to having more kids. Not only have I figured out how to change diapers, I switched to cloth diapers when Evan was 5 months old!

Am I doing it all perfectly? Of course not. I doubt there's any aspect of parenting I do anywhere close to perfectly. I'm making it up as we go, and I'm sure most parenting "experts" would say I'm doing just about everything wrong, either holding him too much or too little, feeding him too much solid food or too little, etc. But you know what? Evan doesn't seem to know that I'm doing it wrong. He seems to think I'm kind of awesome, and that's good enough for me.

Do you feel ready to be a parent? If you have kids, did you feel ready to be a parent when your first child was born? 

November 5, 2013

Evan at 9 Months

I originally started writing this post as "Evan at 6 Months," but then I blinked and three months had gone by. Yikes. I guess I'd better do at least one post before he's a year old. Here's what Evan's been up to in his first 9 months.

As a newborn, the first words I would have used to describe Evan were "laid back" and "happy." As he got a little older, I would have added "engaging" because he was so social and wanted everyone to talk to him. Now that he's become much more active, I've seen "determined" come out. This kids does not give up! He's been a little less social the last few months as he's focused more on his physical development. He does seem to be developing a goofy sense of humor though.

Evan weighs about 18 pounds now. He hasn't had his 9 month checkup yet, but at about six and a half months, he weighed 16 lbs 6 oz and was 26.5" long, which put him around 20% for weight and 40% for length. He's not nearly as long and skinny proportionately as he was as a newborn, when he was about 30% for weight and 90% for length, but we're okay with that. His clothes fit much better. He's wearing mostly 12 month clothes now.

He rolled onto his stomach for the first time at three and a half months (May 2) and it wasn't long before he mastered rolling as a means of transportation and started rolling across the living room. At five and a half months (July 5) he pushed up to his hands and knees for the first time. By the time he was six months old, he was already an excellent crawler. Sitting up on his own didn't happen as early but happened very quickly. He could sit up on his own with his hands supporting him for a few seconds by six months, but he had no interest in doing so. What's the fun of sitting when you can roll or crawl all over the place? About a week after he turned six months old, he started to push up from all fours into sitting with his hands, and at six and a half months (August 2), he was sitting up with no hands. Two weeks later (August 16) Evan pulled up to standing for the first time. He started standing on his own earlier this month and took his first steps one day shy of 9 months old (October 18). I've always thought walking at 9 months sounded crazy and by no means have I tried to push him into early development, but I'm not going to hold him back either! His record is up to 12 steps in a row.

To answer what seems to be everyone's favorite question, "Is he sleeping through the night yet?!?" Sometimes. Sometimes he sleeps 12 hours straight, sometime she wakes up after 6 or 9 and goes back to sleep after nursing. He's pretty much always slept 12 hours at night, just with fewer wakings as he's gotten older. He's also gone to bed and woken up progressively earlier as he's gotten older. At first it was midnight to noon, and now it's 7:30pm to 7:30am. These days he generally takes one nap in the afternoon. It's usually two hours, but sometimes it's as long as three. Up until a few days before he turned six months old, Evan was sleeping in a pack-n-play right next to our bed. It worked great up until that point, but once he started waking up more easily and making more noises in his sleep, I decided it was time to put him in his own room. Evan's been fine with it. If anything, he liked the change of scenery.

Evan's diet is still mostly breast milk, with solids once a day most days. I wanted to hold off on solids until he was six months old, but I had no doubt he was ready at that point. He was grabbing our food at 4 months old. We started off with avocado. I just gave him a little taste, thinking if he wasn't into this solid food thing, we'd just try again in a week or so. Well, he was totally into it! He was launching forward with his mouth open and grabbing the spoon from me to stick it in his mouth himself. By 9 months old, he decided he wanted nothing to do with spoon feeding anymore, so I've just been letting him feed himself for the most part (under close supervision). I have yet to find a food he doesn't like well enough to eat as much as I give him.

It's been a joy watching this little guy grow and change and experience the world!