M at 10 Months

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Yesterday, M turned 10 months old. In the last few weeks she seems to have blossomed even more. About once a week I turn to Matt and say, “How is she so grown up?!”

Stats:

Once again I don’t have definitive answers (sorry, M). She is taller than average and I believe she is weighing in somewhere around 21 lbs. No new teeth — as far as I can tell; she won’t let me look in her mouth. Her hair is filling in and growing a lot!

Nicknames:

Sometimes I call her Monkey when I’m grabbing her out of her crib. She’s usually just Baby or her real name, though.

Temperament:

This is the month where she has started throwing actual tantrums. Nothing over the top but she will grump at us if she doesn’t get what she wants, anywhere from a dirty look and a grunt to red faced crying. What she wants is usually something she can’t have — a cookie, a beer, you get the idea — so she is learning about that concept. When she isn’t upset about that, though, she’s cheerful. Most of her stranger danger has gone away and she will warm up to people relatively quickly. She likes to share and is always handing us things (then snatching them back).

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Skills:

Another skills explosion month! She easily stands on her own now, pushing herself up from sitting/squatting without holding onto anything. She will hang onto toys while standing and shake them. She loves to drum her hands on anything that makes noise. She has the hang of her xylophone more, now, and makes music — and she loves to dance! She is deliberately pushing buttons and hitting things on toys to make noises or reactions. She waves if you say bye-bye, says “kitty” and “dada/daddy” and “mama” clearly, and has learned how to sign for “more” although her version of it is just clapping so far. She giggles to herself all day long and seems to understand cause and effect. And, Matt taught her to point!

Sleep:

This week has been a wash, with houseguests in town — any time there’s something happening in the house she is bound and determined to stay awake. But, she has been napping once a day, for an hour to three hours (usually two). I think she needs a second nap because by dinner time she’s upset and sleepy, but she refuses to sleep more than once so we may just be in a transition. Still, it’s kind of nice to finally have her on a somewhat routine naptime schedule, because I know that sometime between 10:30 a.m. to noon-ish, she will be sleeping. Her nighttime sleep is decent, though she has been waking up early and occasionally not wanting to go back to sleep.

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Eating:

Still hasn’t found a food she doesn’t like! She insists on having utensils, now, and can sometimes actually spear something with her fork. I have been letting her have bowls and plates and she’s doing a good job at not throwing them more often than not. This month I discovered she loves scrambled eggs, and so far, we have had no bad allergy experiences for which I am very thankful. She started having straw cups of cows milk a few days after she turned nine months old (the Canadian recommendation is that you can start around then) and she loves it.

We are still breastfeeding five or six times during the day — when she wakes up, before her nap, after her nap, once or twice in the later evening and once before bed. Most of these are short sessions and I am wondering what daycare will do to all of this because I really don’t want to have to pump that much. I’m hoping she will drop some feedings and we can still nurse in the morning and at night.

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Clothing:

Kind of in a no-man’s land, here. She is tall enough that her 12-18 month wardrobe fits in the legs but is a bit baggy in the waist. Some of her 6-9 month stuff still fits, and the 6-12 stuff is good but generally too short in the legs. I ordered her a few 9-12 month items on consignment, but I think she is going to be in 12-18 month stuff that is just a tiny bit too big. One thing I’m looking forward to about her getting older is not having to switch things out every three months!

Loves:

Her cats. Oh how she loves the cats. Her first word in the morning is usually “KITTY!” and she points up at the window where a cat may or may not be. She outright tackles Marbles to pet him (and she has actually learned to swish her hand back and forth to pet). She loves to eat and as soon as I put her in her highchair she starts smacking her lips. She loves to pull hair but we don’t really love that. Bath time is a current favourite, and she loves to read/be read to. She will pick up books and bring them to us, or she’ll flip one open and start babbling to herself.

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Hates:

Getting dressed and getting changed. As soon as she’s on the change table she’s upset.

Mom and Dad:

Enjoying a bit of quality time together while my dad is in town! Actually, both of M’s grandpas babysat her on Saturday night. It was relatively brief but they said she was quite happy and spent most of her time bugging my in-law’s dog who is also visiting. We are still sort of dreading the looming daycare/back to work switch up but I think the anticipation of it and the changes and challenges it will bring will be worse than the actual adjustment.

Things to Remember:

Time spent with family members, her joy at finally getting to have noisemaking toys, the time we swore she was going to walk in the basement (the carpeted floor enabled her to shuffle herself a bit), the reappearance of MAMAMAMA.

Dear M,

A few days ago your daddy and Poppa and Grandpa were out getting us firewood to keep us warm this winter. You and I had been at home all day and part of it did not go smoothly. You woke up from your nap as soon as you went down, because there was more commotion than you are used to. This made you grumpy until you went back to sleep a few hours later. We were both tired and a bit frazzled, but I had to make dinner for everyone. You were in the living room playing, content after getting your nap, but you wanted me to join you. You kept crawling up to the baby gate with different toys in your hand — blocks, Mama? Rattle, mama?

It broke my heart in a small way. Oh, M, I wish I could spend all of my days playing with you. I wish I didn’t have adult responsibilities like dinner and work and grocery shopping and cleaning. I wish I could always be with you. Soon you will learn that, like Dada leaves the house to go to work, so does Mama. I will not be there for you to wave your toys at from the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (or something like that). I will be off doing adult things, and your babyhood will continue on. But you will have friends and providers who can play with you, like I want to, and we will both get what we need to get done, done.

Over the next month I will be doing all I can to put aside my adult needs and soak in this last bit of uninterrupted time with you. You are only this little once, and you keep getting bigger, and I am sad to see the days tick by while being thrilled for you that you are learning and growing and so excited about it and proud of yourself. We will strike a balance between playtime and work time and settle into our new normal, again. Just know that I am never too busy to truly be there for you, and if you need me, you have me.

Love always,

Mama

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Be Grateful

Fall always seems nostalgic and important and melancholy and beautiful to me. Maybe that’s overwrought but it’s true. Especially right now, with M’s birthday in two months, and our anniversary in a few days.

I keep thinking back to this time last year. What we planned for and hoped for and desired and how the year has played out. Some things have been awful and some, wonderful. We’ve still got a roof over our heads and a sense of love and joy.

What will this winter hold? I don’t know. Already we are better prepared than last year and I’m grateful to everyone who has helped make that possible.

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For whatever reason — one I can’t really place — I feel like we are on the cusp of something. I’m not sure what it is. It could just be the changing season. But there is no way to know what life has in store for us, and all I can do is ride out this feeling.

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Second Anniversary Gift Ideas – Under $60

We’re closing in on our second anniversary, and are attempting to stick with traditional gifts again this year. Cotton is really friggin’ hard to gift, you guys. Last year was simple — how can you go wrong with paper? I framed the artwork I bought Matt for our wedding (okay, so that was a stretch, but it’s still paper-y) and he made me homemade artwork, a paper message in a bottle, and a card. Cotton is a tricky bastard.

Why? I guess because you’re either buying something painfully practical — new underwear? — or you’re looking at gift guides that say things like, “Buy a cotton robe and stuff a zillion dollars in the pocket!” I do not have a zillion dollars. I read somewhere that the second anniversary is cotton because it signifies a couple becoming more comfortable with one another. We are comfy and we are also not rolling in cash. But $60, I can swing.

2nd Anniversary Gifts

#1 – [COTTON SCARF] Okay, so this one from Indigo is actually modal but whatever. It has hearts on it, which is good for an anniversary, right? Cotton scarves aren’t hard to find. I wouldn’t buy one for my husband but if your particular spouse is into scarves, have at it.

#2 – [A MUG] Did you know the modern 2nd anniversary gift material is china? Stoneware isn’t china but it’s close enough if you ask me. We play loose with the anniversary rules! Cute mugs are aplenty online, or you can buy a plain one and jazz it up with a Sharpie a la Pinterest. Bonus points if you find a cotton mug warmer to add on to it.

#3 – [HANDKERCHIEF] This one’s for the fellas (or the hankie-toting ladies). I normally try to keep these gift guides Canada-friendly so FYI, if you are Canadian, it’s really not economical to shop at Izola but their stuff is fun to drool over. This hankie says “It’s written in the stars” which is anniversary appropriate. If you’re Canadian I’d check out the Bay or Etsy.

#4 – [HAMMOCK CHAIR] You aren’t gonna find a hand crafted hammock for under $60 but you can probably find a hammock chair! This Costco deal rings in at $59.99 making it the most expensive item on this list. I almost bought it but decided it was impractical given that it’s going to snow any minute now.

$5 – [COTTON PJs & SPECIAL TREATMENT] Okay, go ahead and buy the cotton robe or cotton pajamas (PJs are way cheaper and psst, these Aerie pants come in long lengths OMG) BUT do your spouse a favour and add a bit more onto the gift than just loungewear. Give them a promise of special treatment to go with their pants — I would be thrilled if I got comfy new sweats plus a swanky bath plus a day off of making dinner.

#6 [DIY COTTON ART] I mean, you could buy art, too, but DIYing it is the way to go if you’re looking to save money. I would have done this but have zero time this year. Pinterest is full of neat ideas, and canvas = cotton. You could also buy cotton paper and write a love letter. Aww.

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Home Harvest: Carrots

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Carrots were one of the easiest things I grew this year! I planted Little Finger baby carrots, three squares worth. I totally failed to thin them out so I think they grew a bit smaller than they would have, properly spaced, but they’re baby carrots anyway so I figured it was okay for them to be small. So far I’ve only pulled up one square, but apparently carrots keep in the ground for quite some time. I think I’ll grab the rest of them sometime this week.

I have never grown carrots before and I was impressed with how simple they are. They really seemed like they barely required care. I can understand why carrots are great for kids to grow! I have a ton of seeds leftover and will be planting them next year for sure. I think I’d also like to grow some full-sized carrots just for the variety!

We roasted our baby carrots, along with the green beans. I vaguely recall Matt making some too — I think he steamed them. Either way we ate them quite plainly, with just butter and salt and pepper. Yum, yum.

This series is wrapping up soon because my garden is wrapping up! I have an overdue report on broccoli, plus our tomato harvest and meager pepper harvest to write about. If the cucumbers manage to make it before the frost really sets in, that’ll be it!

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Navigating Winter Worry

Last night we had a frost warning in effect, and based on our indoor/outdoor thermometer’s stored readings, that warning was needed. I picked all of the largest, green tomatoes off of the plants yesterday, snagged our tiny crop of mini bell peppers, and waved goodbye to everything else on my way back inside. Matt went out before bed and brought in all of the container plants, then covered up my cucumbers with a sheet. Winter is coming.

Fall doesn’t seem to last long, here, which is a shame because it used to be my favourite season. Back to school! Tights and boots! Apple cider! I’m stuck in this sad grownup mindset where now, when I think fall, my brain starts churning in an unpleasant way — Need firewood. Snowblower. Winter tires. Must clean chimney. The baby doesn’t have boots this year. Does last year’s snowsuit fit? We don’t have a roof rake. All of the gardens need to be winterized. So on and so forth. There is no time for tights and boots and apple cider because one minute I’m looking out the door realizing the temperature hasn’t cracked double digits and then all of a sudden it’s a snowpocalypse.

Aside from the month or so left until we really need to be fully winterized, I am going back to work at the end of October. I need to set up M’s trial day at daycare and I feel really anxious about that whole transition in general. I need to think about pumping and how much milk to send, and figuring out our cloth diaper + daycare system, and how we’re going to make it all work as a one-vehicle family. I have a driving test scheduled for October (yes, I am in my mid-twenties and have yet to complete my license, but the government forced my hand this time so I have to test out) and I know how to drive, I’ve been doing it for ages, but I’m tumbling down the rabbit hole in which I fail and can’t drive and have to be chauffeured around. I wake up every morning and think about parallel parking and feel vaguely ill. I’m trying to keep up with housework and getting out of the house and hobbies but I feel uninspired to do things like blogging and laundry when my brain is like HIBERNATE OR RUN AWAY.

I’m exaggerating, of course. But I do feel this sense of foreboding doom and dread. Not all the time, but it’s creeping in, in the quiet moments. I’m trying to remind myself to be present and live now because worrying won’t get me anywhere. We have made some headway on our Giant List of Winter Things. There are benefits to me going back to work and M being in daycare. I have a month to practice all of the fiddly bits of driving so that I will pass. If I don’t pass I will be able to try again before my license expires.

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Mostly, I’m just telling myself to breathe. It’s something that requires a reminder, sometimes.

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