6 Months Old and 3 1/2 Years Old

Readers, where have you gone? You’ve abandoned me because I’ve abandoned you… So much has been going on lately, I just haven’t gotten around to writing. I’m getting back to it. I promise.

Reid is nearly 6 months old now. The time has flown by so quickly. As I said above, I’ve been so busy–with Holistic Moms Network stuff, mostly–that I feel that age-old tug-of-war between identifying myself as Mom and as Woman. They don’t have to be at odds, but I am currently feeling as though they are.

I cannot claim–as many women can–that I have ever been fully self-sacrificing. It is fine with me to sit on my rump instead of clean the kitchen if I just feel too tired. And it is fine with me to strap baby to my chest and pace the house while reading a book. But I struggle with what is an appropriate balance between doing the work of mothering–playing, cooking, bathing, nurturing, going on outings, giving my full attention–and doing the things that satisfy my adult longings–sewing, knitting, graphic design work, planning events, volunteering, talking to friends, shopping for a pair of jeans that actually fits me.

I can sense, by Daniel’s behavior as of late, that I have been spending too much time with my adult self. Even when I was sewing his astronaut suit for Halloween (that he begged me every day to work on), I could tell he felt neglected. Lucky for me, I suppose, Daniel really likes to look at books. Sometimes he won’t even let me read them to him. He prefers to just look at the pictures and tell me about them. He can sit in the same spot looking at the same book for over an hour! Where does he get that attention span? And while I am thankful that he is able to sit still for so long, I wonder what is going on in his head. I worry that he is moping as he sits there. I worry that he’s not utilizing his creativity; that he ought to be playing make-believe or running, or dancing, or something.

I am not very good at playing either. I never really played pretend as a kid. And when I used to babysit, I had a really hard time figuring out what to say and do when the kids wanted to play school, or house, or store. So part of Daniel’s problem is lack of example. I don’t really know how to show him how to pretend, or to guide him in the way of creativity. Now that Daniel is 3 1/2 (!!!) I’m feeling kind of at a loss as a parent.

When I imagined being a mother, I always just thought about parenting babies and toddlers. I know how to care for a baby. It is easy and second-nature. But bringing up a preschooler is bewildering. And thinking about parenting elementary-aged children, and teenagers (gad!) is beyond me.

I am part of a small group of moms with similar-aged children who have been talking about doing some kind of homeschool/preschool co-op. We tentatively said we’d meet in January to talk about getting something started. I really think having some structure–any structure–will be helpful.

We also plan to enroll Daniel in the YMCA’s little tots T-Ball league. I’m not exactly sure when it starts, but sometime in the spring. I can’t wait to see a bunch of 3-5 year-olds running around pretending to be like the baseball players they see on TV. Daniel already thinks he needs to spit when he plays baseball–and he wiggles his bat around when he’s in his batting stance waiting to bat.

Reid continues to be an easy baby. He sits well now, rolls easily from front to back, can support himself on his hands and knees (though he can’t go anywhere just yet), plays with toys (his favorites are Sophie the Giraffe, a Sassy ring toy, and anything that crinkles), jumps in the doorway jumper, adores the ExerSaucer, and loves to hear the sound of his own voice.

He has lately been experimenting with screetches and squeals. He used some high-pitched sounds a couple months ago, but then moved onto others. But now the upper end of his range is getting tested out again–both for pleasure and for displeasure. Either way it brings displeasure to his parents. We are nervous about him becoming a screamer.

I experimented with giving Reid some solid foods a few weeks ago. He was grabbing at everything and stuffing it in his mouth. His first reaction to a bit of banana that I was eating was as if I had given him a lemon. He twisted his face and shuddered. But then he grabbed for the banana again. And again–lemon face. I gave him little bits of banana, avocado, and sweet potato which went over fairly well after the inital shock of the flavors, but his tummy was a bit rumbly after each, so I didn’t give him any more until tonight.

Tonight, it was a totally different experience. I gave him some avocado mashed up with some breastmilk and he ended up eating nearly half an entire avocado! Then when I put him to bed, he only nursed for about five minutes before he detached and fell asleep. We’ll see how his tummy does tonight and tomorrow, but I think he may really be ready to have solids regularly.

Just in the last couple weeks he’s been spitting up so much less as well. He still has one or two good sized up-chucks per day, but that’s down from ten or twenty! Daniel seemed to stop spitting up around this age, too. I’m so grateful.

I have recently swapped graphic design services for professional organizing, and have since completely cleaned off my hallway mail center/cabinet area so it is functional, and have rearranged and completely cleaned up Daniel’s room. Even just having these to areas looking magazine-esque is enough to clear some cobwebs from my mind. My focus and motivation in other areas of my life are much improved. And it’s a good thing, too, since the holiday season brings its own hustle and bustle and I’m going to need all the focus and motivation I can get.

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