graham at eight months – demanding

8 months*

being a parent to our happy, smiley baby continues to be a ridiculously uplifting experience, but after eight months as someone’s mother, i’m beginning to understand the increasingly real truth that

motherhood is demanding.

my son’s expanding curiosity means that i have to be ready at all times to feed (and supervise) his insatiable inquisitive nature.

my baby’s increasing mobility means that i have to be more and more vigilant in removing the perils inside the widening “baby zone.”

my intensifying sense of  devotion means that i feel an ever-growing emotional demand to give more than everything to this unbearably precious little life.

this month i celebrated my very first mother’s day! graham (ahem, daddy) got me a truly wonderful gift that will be a sweet tradition for years to come.. we’ve played around a little more with first foods, but the exploration has not been frequent or consistent. i’m sure both mama and baby will be more motivated soon enough. we started early potty training, since i figured the sooner we begin, the sooner we’ll be done. right now we’re just getting used to the potty chair, and graham gets super excited when he sits there like a big boy. i think he is really proud that he finally has steady control over that long body. he’s gotten strong enough to bring himself upright after folding himself in half to reach a toy. and, of course, the daily photo-ops continue…

seriously, how can each month be more fun than the last?

mother’s day – the middle

fair warning: if you arrived here fresh from the stream of happy mommy-lauding status updates on social media, then this post may give you slight whiplash. don’t worry, i won’t get all debbie downer on you. but, as always, this is one of my outlets to vent, to spill, to purge my thoughts and emotions. to be honest, and acknowledge my messy and ugly parts so i can accept them with grace.

and so i find myself conflicted when faced with the day we all appreciate our mothers in unison. now that i have a child of my own, i can begin to relate to my mom in the biggest role of her life. this is the first mother’s day that i’ve felt i could properly honor her with a more appropriate level of awe and understanding. today, especially, i want nothing more than to share in the overwhelming phenomenon of being someone’s mom with her. instead, i’m left with this terrible itch i can’t scratch.

because when this date on the calendar approaches, i’m still conditioned to think upward, toward my own mother, rather than downward to the one that i am mother to. i’m sure in another year or two i will more readily identify with my new role and my instinct will shift to think of myself when i hear “mom,” but this year, i’m caught in the middle.

i fight the disappointment of a sappy card unwritten. i battle the regret over a grandmother’s embrace forfeited. i struggle with the guilt that my selfishness robbed my mom of the chance to extend her excellence as a mother to another generation. (i fully understand the ridiculousness of that line of thought, but that doesn’t make it disappear.)

oh, how i wish the the cascade of mothering–her to me, me to him, her to him–was still flowing at that source! this is true every day, but more difficult to ignore on mother’s day. and so i redirect my attention toward the other mothers in my life that deserve to be revered, and toward the little one who made me a mother myself.

writing my heartache in the midst of this day of celebration helps expel the traces of bitterness so there is room for the full joy of being someone’s mom. because what a joyful and uplifting thing it is!

graham at seven months – uplifting

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parenting still seems like an intense conditioning program, but now i feel like i’m enjoying the athlete’s high. in my seventh month as someone’s mother, i’ve started to appreciate how

motherhood is uplifting.

my mood is elevated by my baby’s perpetual happiness, because who can have a bad day when this is a regular occurrence.

my standards are raised as i make choices each day regarding the example i set for my son and the things i am actively and passively teaching our little sponge.

my dreams and goals are upgraded now that a wee one’s future is intertwined with mine.

in the past month graham has sprouted two teeth and started sitting up on his own — but i still don’t trust him not to topple over. ;) we’ve only experimented with solid food a couple of times (as in, two). that was fun, but we are both content to continue EBF a little longer. adding meals to his feeding schedule just seems so inconvenient when i have food warm and ready at the click of a nursing bra strap. (and no cleanup!) one thing is certain: we have no shortage of grin-worthy photos.

this adventure just keeps getting better.

graham at six months – conditioning

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our little enigma continues to perplex us in many ways, but we are becoming more connected all the time. in my sixth month as someone’s mother, i’ve also noticed that

motherhood is conditioning.

my intuition is being trained by my need to for sharp senses as i acclimate to being on the job round-the-clock. it’s cool to know that graham’s skills and reflexes are under intense training right now, too.

my entire body is being strengthened by the marathon of picking up and carrying and putting down and bending over and bathing and dressing 17.5 pounds of active human. it’s fun to see my baby’s body gain strength as well.

my character is being toned by the continual surrender to the adventure, the role, the responsibilities, and the story. it’s amazing to watch my son’s characteristics also develop with each learning-packed day.

graham’s growth has not slowed in the last month – he stretched more than an inch and gained another pound. we also (gratefully) had a night-time sleeping breakthrough this month. i think we (and he) finally figured out that particular puzzle.

while his reflexes and fine-motor skills are advanced for his age, he is still in no hurry to be mobile. the day after he turned five months he rolled over once. he performed the trick once more the next day…and then only a handful of times over the course of the month. the day before he turned six months, he finally decided it could take a permanent place in his physical repertoire, rolling back-to-front and front-to-back and pivoting all around. his doc said that he wouldn’t be surprised if it took him another month or more to sit up unassisted, because of the challenge of balancing his considerable length.

but one thing never changes: this kid is cute! i love how he smiles and laughs so easily:)

 

it’s absolutely cliché, but i can’t believe it’s been half a year. (!!!) how is that even possible? should i continue with the “how time flies” parental lament?

graham at five months – perplexing

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graham is still engaging with the world around him more every day and drawing me in as well, but in my fifth month as someone’s mother, i am struck by the realization that

motherhood is perplexing.

continual unseen development inside his little body and mind means that baby behavior is both unpredictable and inexplicable at times. just when we think we have our baby all figured out, something new comes along to confound us.

never-ending decisions with countless options leave us more confused with each choice we have to make on products, practices, and plans. i have a feeling the bewildering and conflicted information overload never stops as a parent.

unrestrained sheer joy displayed by my son at just the sight or sound of his favorite people/toy/song is inspiring even as it is baffling. i can’t help but wonder how life was ever complete without him.

sometime during the fifth month our baby gained solid neck control, an adorable laugh, better hand coordination, a pound and a half, and another quarter inch in length. he is thisclose to rolling over on his own, but i’m not in any hurry for him to be more mobile. if he wants to just chill awhile longer, that’s fine with me.

i’m so grateful that i get to spend my days with him, and feel fairly fluent in his language of distinct cries, coos, grunts, and whimpers. at least in the daytime. our laid-back baby is an angel while the sun is shining, but has become mysteriously cranky after dark. when he suddenly wakes just an hour after bedtime for some obscure reason and is not easily soothed, lee and i are left scratching our heads. at this stage the fussiness could be any number of invisible issues. (teething? growth spurt?) here’s hoping this particular perplexing aspect of parenting passes quickly.

another puzzling question is how parents manage to keep enough hard drive space to accommodate all the pictures that demand to be taken. because he just never stops being so darn cute all the time!

graham also got to spend some good time with family this month. how lucky he is so to get lots of love and cuddles and play from his uncles and aunts and cousins and grandparents (and a few friends).

i predict many milestones in feeding/mobility/sleeping in the next month! not that i’ll ever be able to solve the puzzle that is motherhood.