Mary Virginia is eight months old. It seems unbelievable to me because when she was a newborn, I assumed that by now I’d have my act together. Floors vacuumed, regular showers, dinner on the table at a reasonable time.
And all I can think about is that most working moms get 12 weeks of maternity leave. When their baby is 12 WEEKS old, they’re expected to get up, put on clothes, and speak in sentences using proper subject-verb agreement. My baby is 8 months old and the only thing I have energy for is sitting on the couch eating butterscotch morsels and watching The Chew.
Month eight sort of came when we weren’t looking. Or maybe while we were’t sleeping. Yes, that’s much more accurate. After two weeks of horrible sleep, Tom declared at 3 a.m. that we had to take Mary Virginia to the doctor; SOMETHING was wrong with her. I was sure it was teething, but Tom was right. The doctor said though she is teething, all the screaming is more likely due to her double ear infection.
Besides disrupted sleep, here’s the bummer about your kids getting sick: it totally changes their personalities. When kids are sick, they don’t just snuggle on the couch and eat chicken noodle soup all day. No, they insist on doing everything they normally do, then throw a tantrum when they don’t feel up to it. It’d be like going to work when you’re sick, then screaming in the middle of a conference call because your stomach hurt, and then insisting on finishing the call and acting annoyed when you people start to lose patience with THE SCREAMING.
Mary Virginia isn’t feeling great, so she’s been fussy and clingy and, no, she isn’t even a little bit interested in browsing J.Crew’s 40% off final sale items. COME ON, KID!
During the long days of fussing and clinging, I’m often tempted to think it’s always like this. But it’s not. Usually this is the way it is: giggly, wiggly, raspberry-blowing, trying to get my entire ponytail in her mouth because maybe then she’d finally figure out what all that brown tangly stuff is.
Once Mary Virginia learned to pull up she never turned back. Now she spends all her time crawling to things and pulling up on them. She is only happy when she’s on her way somewhere. She has no interest in the start or the finish. For her, it’s all about the journey.
Once she gets where she’s going and stands up, she starts fussing. And this is what she does all.day.long. Crawl, climb, fuss, crawl, climb, fuss. She does the same thing, over and over, and expects different results. I would say that this is the definition of insanity, but it’s not the definition of insanity at all, and why on earth do people insist on saying it’s the definition of insanity?
Mary Virginia still flat-out refuses to eat solids. She will not eat anything off a spoon, not cereal or apple sauce or sweet potatoes or Hershey’s syrup. I’ve been giving her table food, which is ok, but she doesn’t quite have the dexterity to feed herself. And she does NOT want help, either, how dare you even ask.
Once she was eating peas and was frustrated because she kept dropping them, so I popped one in her mouth. She got so mad that she ran straight to her room, slammed the door and dyed her hair purple to get back at me.
I consider myself a strong-willed person, but if my first child taught me anything, it’s that my will is nothing compared to that of a baby with an opinion.
Mary Virginia is leaving behind Mary Virginia the baby and becoming Mary Virginia the person. Mary Virginia does not like to eat food or sit in her car seat. But she loves taking baths, is completely fascinated by anything her brother is doing, and squeals with delight when she sees our cat. But my favorite little part of her personality is this new thing she does…if I’ve been gone for a bit and she’s been hanging out with her daddy, as soon as I walk into the room she starts flapping her hands, laughing and screaming.
Even when she has a double ear infection.
Dear Mary Virginia,
You are getting big. So, so big. When I hold you, you’re longer than my torso. When you lay on my chest, your head fits just under my chin and your toes stretch past my belly. It seems incredible that just eight months ago you were growing inside me.
One of the reasons I blog is so I won’t forget. When your brother was a baby, I wondered all the time, will I forget all this? Will I remember starting solids? When I stopped swaddling? The smoothness of his sweet bald head? Now I know the answer, and it’s yes. Yes, I will forget. I’m already forgetting. I wished your brother toward milestones and labeled every bit of his personality. But you? In my mind, you are still the newborn that came home from the hospital; still newborn sleepy, snugly and curly, even though all day everyday you prove me wrong. You are big and alert, changing and growing, hurdling milestones and developing a little personality.
And me? I’m forgetting. It’s all going so fast.
The other day I was feeding you and your daddy noticed that I was holding your hand. I do it because you wave your hands around, so I hold them to help keep you calm. It’s a habit, but it’s also part of what makes our time together sweet, quiet and intimate. It’s a special time we share; just the two of us.
I’m writing about it here so I won’t forget. Mary Virginia, when you were a baby and I fed you, we held hands.
And it was wonderful.