Mary Virginia turned 6 months old over a week ago. In this case, it’s a good thing this post is late because if I wrote it on time I wouldn’t have been able to include that, just a few days after her 6-month birthday, Mary Virginia started crawling.
Her crawling is slow and deliberate. She isn’t at the point where she’ll take off across the floor to eat the shattered glass from the ornament her brother just broke. But she can get where she wants, whether it’s by slowly placing one hand in front of the other, or by hurling her body forward.
For a while she’s been pivoting, rolling and scooting backwards to get where she wants. She was so good at moving backwards that I found her under furniture all month.
She’s always loved grabbing things and playing with toys, and that love has reached a fever pitch this month. Nothing is off limits, but her favorites are my hair, a tuft of the cat’s hair, and her brother’s Matchbox cars which are clearly labeled CHOKING HAZARD KEEP AWAY FROM BABIES.
She used to sort of evaluate her surroundings, pick something up, and in a feat of focus she would slowly bring it to her mouth. Now she frantically shoves things into her mouth, grabbing first and looking later. Her arms are always out and hands flexed, ready to grab just incase something falls in their wake. It reminds me of those contests where the winners get to go to Wal-mart and get to grab as much as they want for 90 seconds, and they tear through the store filling their carts with XL hoodies and Nerf guns because YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN THE TIMER WILL GO OFF! GRAB ANOTHER BUCKET OF CHEESE BALLS!
This month we also began solids, the messiest of all parenting endeavors until that shopping trip in a decade and a half when I tell her, no ma’am, you will not wear that prom dress, no way, no how, now get off the floor and act like you have some sense.
Here’s a weird thing about having a second child, I still have no idea what I’m doing. When David started solids I had no idea what I was doing, and I’m still just as clueless. I forgot about that phase where they just sit in the chair and look at you while you fly the spoon like and airplane and the entire family says AAAAAAH!! Then when they finally open their mouth and give them a bite of the organic pear you prepared with love and care, they spit it out like it was a mouthful of gasoline.
We’ve tried teething biscuits, sweet potato, avocado, some cereal, and a hunk of banana. She hasn’t done a lot of eating, but she has gotten a lot of outfits messy, and now her brother suddenly wants to eat baby food and throw everything on the floor.
I still don’t know what I’m doing, but I do know that in a few months she’ll be stealing food off my plate and I’ll miss the days when all I had to do was mash up a sweet potato and then power wash my dining room every night.
Mary Virginia also found her voice this month. She had a few weeks of general grumpiness. She wasn’t as happy playing on the floor and wanted to be held a lot. Plus, she’d started sleeping for much longer stretches, and then she suddenly started waking up more and eating at times she hasn’t eaten since she was half her age.
I took her to the doctor to see if she had an ear infection. No ear infection.
The only thing left, besides puberty, is teething. It would be early for teeth, but it’s possible. Even though teeth are possible, even probable, I was hesitant to blame her attitude and sleep on teeth.
I just didn’t want to give her a diagnosis, and this is why: when David was a baby, he was fussy all the time. I constantly looked for reasons. Maybe we need a different jumper? Different toys? Maybe he’s tired? Maybe he wants to stay home more? Maybe he wants to go out more? Maybe he’s sick of Mama’s jokes, or wishes he wasn’t forced to listen to Carly Rae Jepsen, or maybe he wants to share his opinion on Obamacare. You drive yourself crazy wondering if something’s wrong, then you become convinced that you’re doing something wrong. Even worse, you think everyone else has it figured out.
Or maybe, just maybe, that was his temperament.
So maybe she was fussy because she was teething, or maybe it was something else. Maybe she was on the cusp of crawling and was frustrated because she couldn’t quite do it. Or maybe she’s just a baby and she wants to fuss sometimes.
A week later, she was back to her old self.
If there’s anything I know about babies it’s this: they are very cute, but they don’t make any sense.
Dear Mary Virginia,
All month I’ve been joking that one day I’ll be in the kitchen and you’re just going to crawl into the room with a big smile on your face. It’s a joke, but there’s some truth to it. You’re my second baby, and having two babies in the house doesn’t just double the chaos, it multiplies it by 10 and puts glitter on top. Sometimes I feel like someone took the roof off our house and dumped a thousand marbles in it, then told me to pick them up while they shake the house.
And at the same time David is demanding a SHOUSH! SHOUSH MOMMY! NO I WANT A SHOUSH! and you? You’re learning to crawl.
There are times when I feel like I don’t even really see you because our days are so blurry and full.
But they’re also wonderful.
And even though you’re only a whole six months old, I almost don’t remember what it was like to only have one child because laughing with you while we watch Daddy wrestle with David makes so much sense.
We’re in the middle of Advent, counting down the days to Christmas and the celebration of Christ’s birth. Advent is a season of waiting and preparing. It is a time to slow down and reflect on the enormity of Jesus’s coming. Slowing down doesn’t seem possible for me or for you, but I can tell you that you remind me every day of God’s goodness, his provision, and his faithfulness.
So let’s celebrate together.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6