I can’t believe how time flies! Someone recently told me that each day feels like forever, but the years fly by. It hasn’t been a year yet, but our boys turned 10 months last week and it does feel like years ago that they were sharing a crib, lying immobile on their backs and sleeping all the time. Months 6-9 have been the best ever (sound familiar?)! So, here are my thoughts about months 6-9.
I don’t have a ton of recommendations because at this point, everything has the potential to be a toy. Some favorite non-toy toys are a measuring tape, water bottle, and cup handle. The wooden spoon was confiscated after one baby nearly gave the other a concussion with his enthused spoon banging. This has been a period of constant exploration. It’s involved crawling, standing, and cruising (walking holding on to stuff). We have lots of great toys, but I don’t think any of them are indispensable. I do think that’s it’s important to have a bunch of different stuff for exploring.
We have a couple of musical tables, which I think are great because our babies love to pull themselves up to stand at them and cruise around from one end to the other. I think you could achieve the same result by putting a few favorite toys on top of a small table to encourage standing and build those muscles. Plus, this also has the benefit of not having irritating music!
There’s lots of movement happening during this time. While barefoot is best for learning how to walk, it’s not that realistic if it’s cold out, so our kids usually wear socks and often wear shoes. I still haven’t found the perfect socks, but the ones at Target seem to be the same as the Gap ones and are much cheaper. They stay on most of the time and are non-slip. We also haven’t found the perfect soft soled shoes, but we do like Robeez and other similar shoes. Sometimes the elastic pinches, but I think that may just be because we’re between sizes.
Being a parent is endlessly humbling because babies are enigmas. Every time you think you have figured something out (ie sleeping, feeding), something changes. I usually try to find an explanation – I email my friends with older babies, I google whatever is happening, I ask my daycare provider, I email our pediatrician., but there are no answers, only theories. I am starting to think that each time you have a kid, it’s like starting all over since every kid is different. None of us know what we’re doing. We are only trying our best and hoping for the best. Realizinging this has been liberating. Remembering it has been more difficult. I still believe that lots of decisions I make are going to impact my kids’ lives forever even though I know this isn’t really true.
People without kids can’t fully understand “the schedule” (and they’re lucky they don’t have to deal with it!). Good friends will just accept that things have changed and love you nonetheless. We don’t adhere strictly to our babies’ schedule, but we are often late meeting friends and sometimes just cancel last minute when a nap goes awry. This used to frustrate me. Now, I have accepted that this is life. As far as I can tell, none of our friends have held this against us.
People are weird – ignore them or tell your friends and laugh about it. Here’s an example – when I was pregnant, a woman in my office asked if I was planning on nursing. When I said yes, she said, on multiple occasions, don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t work out because it’s hard. Fair enough. After I gave birth and was nursing C&R, she repeatedly expressed awe and amazement. When she saw me putting milk in the fridge or closing my door to pump, she’d always say something about the huge sacrifice I was making by pumping at work. I don’t think it’s that big a deal, but ok, I won’t argue with you if you tell me I’m amazing. Then, about a month ago, she starting harassing me about not nursing anymore because my boys were too old. I believe her exact words were “When are you going to give those boys some formula? When they can ask for milk, they’re too old.” Seriously, wtf?! First of all, did you hit your head because you were just telling me how great it was for C&R’s immunity that they are drinking breastmilk. Second, babies ask for milk from day one when they worm their little bodies toward your boob. Also, my boys don’t talk yet, so it’s not like they’re saying, “Mom – let me suck your boob.” Apparently, for her, when C&R turned 9 months, nursing went from being natural and the best thing for your babies to creepy (I won’t even get into how dumb it is when people think nursing is creepy since it involves boobs and therefore must be sexual). See, people are weird. They don’t make sense. They think you want their opinion. Don’t waste your precious time trying to explain yourself or understand what they’re talking about. Just do your thing.
Babies fall. They (probably) won’t be permanently damaged! When C&R began standing, cruising, and even taking some tentative steps, they also began falling, bonking their heads, climbing over each other, pushing each other out of the way, and crying. At first, I tried to prevent it – I would hover near by and catch them any time they fell, but this wasn’t really helping them learn that falling is bad and that you should try to avoid it. Now, I (mostly) let them fall and practice not falling. It’s really hard, but they’re learning and soon enough I’ll be worried about other things like how I can keep them from playing tackle football!