“He had a broad face and a little round belly,
that shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
and I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.”
I know, right? I can’t think of a more seasonally appropriate poem to describe my seven-month old, either.
Thomas continues to grow and change every day, but these things remain the same: he is happy, giggly, and gigantic.
Thomas is almost always smiling and laughing. He opens his mouth and commits so hard to smiling that we worry he’s going to turn inside out.
One of the biggest changes this month is that Thomas is much more mobile. He isn’t sitting independently, but he’s acting more and more like he wants to move.
It started with a wiggle-woggle at the beginning of the month; he’d wiggle his bottom and woggle his head. That morphed into rolling both ways, pivoting around and around, and now he’s lifting his chest and stomach. Occasionally he gets up on his knees for a moment — but only just a moment — because any time he does it I swat him down. I don’t have the mental space to keep up with a preschooler, a toddler, a crawler, and also the new season of Serial.
We started solids with Thomas last month, and right around the time I started, he went through a phase of acting so very hungry. He was wanting to nurse more frequently and never seemed quite satisfied. So I started offering more food, more often. But it was like beating my head against a wall, because he refuses to open his mouth for a spoon, and he has a hard time feeding himself.
So I did what mamas do best: I fretted and worried and pushed food on my baby, who just so happens to be in the 90th percentile for weight and who any reasonable person would agree is not lacking nutrition. And if he was lacking, would 20 calories of a vegetable puree make up for that lack? No.
This week I got an email from BabyCenter that said some people don’t even introduce solids until 10 months. TEN MONTHS! Then in a moment of clarity I remembered that my doctor said eating solids was mostly about learning and exploring, and that they’d get most of their nutrition from breastmilk for the first year.
So I’m choosing to chill out. He’s playing with and throwing food, but he isn’t really eating much of anything. He likes most meats, pizza crust, and he loves roasted broccoli. He does not want you to feed him with a spoon.
Generally speaking, babies don’t really know what’s best for them, but in this case I think my baby does. If he doesn’t want to eat mush for breakfast but he does want to wake up an extra time in the middle of the night to eat, then that’s what we’ll do.
This is me, chilling out.
This month Thomas requested I stop giving him the paci by acting like I was gagging him anytime I offered it. He also got his first fever and learned how to make a noise that sounds like a goat bleating.
On the subject of sleep, Thomas gets a C. He takes two to three naps a day, and wakes up two to three times at night. I’m writing it here for posterity. When he starts sleeping more I’m planning to start getting up earlier, exercising a few times a week, reading real books, vacuuming my house with some sort of regularity, and speaking in complete sentences.
Once he starts sleeping more.
I’m so glad Thomas wasn’t my first baby because he sets such a high standard. If Thomas had been my first baby, I would think all babies were sweet, happy, and content. I would roll my eyes at the dramatic moms venting about their baby who scream when you put them down, or aren’t entertained by bouncers, jumpers, exersaucers, or front row tickets to River Dance. David was my first baby, and David knocked our house off its foundation any time we tried to change his diaper. Because of my first born, I know what babies are capable of, which makes me even more thankful for my chubby, happy, bugga-boo — my Thomas.
One of the greatest and hardest things about being a mom is that you learn lessons from your kids. For example, four paragraphs ago I learned that I need to chill out a little.
I’m a cynical person. Want an example? I don’t like constellations. Right now you should be rolling your eyes because WHO DOESN’T LIKE CONSTELLATIONS!? I’m actually, genuinely irritated by the idea of constellations. I could talk for a half an hour about how ridiculous it is to draw a few lines connecting arbitrary stars and say it looks like a bear. Try again, astronomy, I AM NOT IMPRESSED.
Every cynic needs someone to tell them to lighten up for goodness sake. Someone to tell them to get a grip, they’re stars. Let’s just look at them and consider how deep the Father’s love for us, how vast beyond all measure. A hundred times a day, that person for me is you.
I’m grateful for your smile, for your outlook on life. Your enthusiasm is contagious, and I’m so glad. I hope you always, always take on the world with a bright, open-mouthed smile.
In a few days we’ll celebrate your first Christmas. You won’t remember it, but I know the day will be merrier for the rest of us because of you.