Posts Tagged ‘six month old

Dear Jariel,

photo 5Two weeks ago you turned six months old. You’re a wide-eyed little tumbleweed with self-inflicted nutty professor hair. You’re remarkably chill when out and about, but when it’s a chill day at home you’re a fussbutt because you get bored.

We thought your sister was overachieving, but you flipped over for the first time at three weeks. By four months you were rolling across the floor. At five months you began pulling up. You’re crawling now, a true hands-and-knees crawl, because the caterpillar shuffle was so two months ago. You’re cruising and walking assisted. Very recently you’ve started trying to stand unassisted, and to stand up by yourself. Clearly you don’t care about those old-timers who say it’s bad for your spine or leg musculature or linguistic development, I’m never sure which.

photo 2Speaking of linguistics, I’m officially counting “mama” as your first word. You say it clearly and often enough, although only when you’re just so fed up with it all omg PICK ME UP NOW! You’ve just come off a phase of your favourite sound being “rhza rhza rhza.” You also do “baba” and “yeh.”

My babies hit their milestones early, but when it comes to sleep, they are broken. BROKEN!

Unlike your sister, you nap in the crib, and you’re transferable. However, you only nap for half an hour at a time. You don’t self-soothe. Instead, you spring up like a freaking jack-in-the-box and wail.

At least night stretches are longer than half an hour, I think. I’m not counting. I don’t want to know.

photo 3Sometimes I still can’t believe I’ve got two little punks. Yet, as much as I could really use a good sleep and an extra set of arms, there are pockets of time when two are easier than one, because you’re entertaining each other. I imagine these moments will only increase. Seeing you light up for your sister is worth the (thankfully rare) occasions both of you are screaming at once.

馒头, I can’t get enough of your gummy chuckle, full-body stretches, and marshmallow thighs. The way you arch your brows and wrinkle your nose. The curl of your eyelashes.

I think you’re miraculous.


Whenever I begin to think Ashelyn’s sleep patterns might be settling into something like consistency, she switches it up on me. Lately she shows signs of sleepiness at a reasonable hour of the evening, so we wind down for bed, except then she either doesn’t sleep or doesn’t stay asleep.

Confession: Ashelyn breastfeeds to sleep. Not during the day, at least not always, but at night this is what has worked for us. I feed her, she zonks out, I roll her over beside my pillow and she sleeps until some ungodly wee hour of the morning.

But these days she only dozes at the boob before inexplicably waking up wanting to play.

We did finally get around to lowering the crib mattress, thank goodness, so I can plonk her inside without risking much more than a head bump. Her antics are still worth watching, though, because she’ll pull up and do this crazy dance comprised of

  1. hip thrusts
  2. vigorous shaking of the head
  3. exaggerated chewing of imaginary gum
  4. murmuring or squeaking

My strategy is to let her wear herself out, which eventually happens … around midnight or 1AM. At first I hoped exhaustion would translate into longer sleeps, but guess what? IT DOESN’T. I’m still up a handful of times. On a good night, once or twice. On a bad night, I lose count …

Kidding. Four or five times on a bad night.

Actually, Ashelyn occasionally pulls this trick of waking at 4AM all fired up to play, and that is the worst. It takes hours to get her back to sleep. She’ll even shimmy over and kiss my face, and then I feel bad for wanting to throw her out the window.

I’ve read that even previously good sleepers may have disturbed nights at around six months, due to (1) teething, (2) separation anxiety, or (3) developmental progress, as in they’re so excited about their new skills that they want to practice them upon waking. Ashelyn’s been drooling since her third month, but to date remains toothless. And she’s not unusually clingy; besides, at night I’m RIGHT THERE. She does, however, start clambering around deliriously even before she’s fully awake.

I haven’t yet committed to anything heavy-handed, because despite sporadic bad nights we’re still making progress. For one thing, Ashelyn is now able to nap on her own, often for half an hour but sometimes for an hour and a half. She falls asleep in the carseat or stroller without as much resistance as before. Now and then we’ll have a really good night, where she’s down before midnight and sleeps until late morning with only one feeding in between.

With future children I’ll probably be much more deliberate about fostering “good sleep habits,” but even if I’d taken a more textbook approach with Ashelyn I’m not wholly convinced that things would be different now. Left to her own devices, she never would settle herself down, only work herself up.

It’s an inconvenience I’m willing to live with.

Sometime over the past month or two we crossed into a new era. The simple days – of setting Ashelyn down someplace and expecting her to mostly stay there – are over. Now, if we leave her unsupervised for even a second, she may go kamikaze on us.


Crawling. It’s a true, hands-and-knees (sometimes hands-and-feet) crawl now. Understanding of physical laws, such as gravity, not included. Ashelyn would crawl straight off the edge of the bed if I let her. I’ve tested this.

Pulling up. She enjoys this even more than being mobile, possibly because it’s more hazardous. In addition to swan-diving out of the bassinet, Ashelyn has also face-planted from the crib while it was flush against the bed. That is, she face-planted onto the bed, no harm done, phew. Needless to say, it’s time to lower the mattress.

Cruising. There isn’t much at home to facilitate this, but Ashelyn manages to shuffle from one end of a piece of furniture to the other. Actually, she smashed into the headboard while doing this in the crib, so for a day afterwards it looked like she’d gotten punched in the eye.

Climbing. Not that we give her much opportunity to practice, yet. I prefer not going prematurely grey.

Walking? Not unsupported, no, but she can take steps while holding onto our fingers.

At the time, I didn’t know those early months were “simple.” One day I’ll remember these days as simple, too … one healthy child, sassy and spirited, too young to know deliberate disobedience.

Dear Ashelyn,

You’re six months old! You don’t look much like your newborn self; your complexion has lightened considerably, for one. Do I even remember how to handle a floppy infant?

You haven’t been floppy for a long time. A couple weeks ago you surprised us by pulling up into a standing position in the bassinet … and almost pitching over the side. Is sitting up not enough for you? You’re really good at that now, no more toppling over. Now you want to hold onto our fingers and do squats. Girl, I can barely do squats.

You’re a robust one, for sure, brimming with energy and eagerness. Lately you’ve been working on your crawl. Though it’s still in caterpillar-shuffle territory at the moment, I’ve a feeling that won’t be for long. You’re hitting every milestone so early I have to remind myself it doesn’t mean anything beyond bragging rights for the parents; all babies learn to walk and talk in the end.

I still think you’re a genius, though, of course. That’s my prerogative as a mother.

Two favoured syllables have surfaced from your abundant chatter. One is “ngar,” the happy word. I like to watch you say it, the odd way you work your tongue to shape the sound. The other is something like “nya” or “yeh” (as in, “Nya nya NYA NYEH YEH!”), clearly a complaint along the lines of, “Why aren’t you picking me up?!”

When you’re really excited, you scream. And sometimes you’ll beat your arms against your tummy in accompaniment. You know your uncle David, the one who’s always all up in your face? He’s your future drum teacher.

I’ve seen you cross-examining your fingers, slowly clenching and unclenching your fist. Undoubtedly scheming what to snatch out of our hands next, how to stuff it into your mouth before we can stop you. Already you’ve swiped one of my mugs off the counter, where the handle broke off against the kitchen floor.

Last Sunday you somehow managed to give your father a nosebleed, WHILE YOU WERE ASLEEP. Apparently you were napping in the sling when you entered thrash mode and attacked his face. One of your fingers went up his nose and scratched a little too hard. When I arrived at the scene of the crime, you were still sleeping innocently, and your father? He rolled his eyes at me, a wad of bloody tissues in his hand.

See, this is why daddy sleeps in the spare room. Unfortunately you aren’t the greatest of sleepers, though I wouldn’t say you’re a terrible one either. You haven’t slept more than eight hours in a row; recently it’s been closer to four or five, occasionally less. We might want to do something about this soon.

Anyway, you make up for that by pooping in the potty! So far I’ve caught five and missed one. Yes, that’s six poops total over a span of three weeks. Yesterday you pooped twice, perfectly normal peanut-butter poops, after ten days of complete pooplessness. Even I was close to calling the newborn hotline. Except you were still so happy! If this is how your plumbing works, well, let’s just say it’s not far from my normal but very, very far from your father’s.

Also, even though I can’t tell when you pee, we’ve caught five in the potty. Easy catches, like after naps. The cool thing is you seem to have made the necessary associations on your own. And you’re so proud of yourself afterwards.

For better or worse, motherhood has awakened a part of me that will always be aware of your existence. Even when someone else is looking after you, there’s a corner of my psyche preoccupied with where you are, how you’re doing. I wonder if this ever lets up. It’s alright if it doesn’t, because you are a delight.