By the time I was 26 or 27, I began dreading birthdays. There was an internal clock that would scream: “You’re not achieving enough!” or “You need to do more!” or “What are you doing with your life!”
There was a lot of existential drama and discontent. And it was pretty much year-round, but birthdays amplified it.
This is my second birthday as a Mom. Last year, I was still figuring out how to survive each day with a one month old baby. (Honestly, now that I have a toddler, I can’t believe that I was so scared of a new born, lump on the bed baby!) Today, I’d like to think that my head is screwed on a little bit more securely. At least enough for me to be able to take this pause and sober up amidst all the chaos.
Unfortunately (or fortunately), there’s very little time these days for me to indulge in existential drama. Max is a handful! And even though we have a little more help these days, I still drop everything every time he wants my attention. When he is preoccupied with a toy, his grandparents, or his Lola Myrna, I take that time to use the bathroom or catch up on the world (or, if I’m really lucky, read a book).
This new mom-hood phase is a nice bubble. I love our little family of three. And it’s easy for it to be all consuming (check out my Instagram feeds—yes, plural). But lately, I’m starting to feel like myself again (I wonder if it’s because I finally fit into my pre-pregnancy jeans?). And every now and then, when we’re out and I’m cognizant enough to notice the nicely dressed woman who looks like she just came from work, there’s a tiny twinge of jealousy. I imagine her heading to a nice restaurant (maybe Cibo) and having a quiet dinner with a book (or a notebook and a bag full of pens). I suddenly miss those days when I could just hop on the train and guiltlessly treat myself to alone time. And then I become retroactively thankful for my twenties and the independence it afforded me. The drama seems so silly now.
I snap back to reality in no time because the toddler needs another bite of dinner or the toddler’s about to get too close to the escalator. Or the toddler does something hilarious. Life is happening all the time and motherhood is the opposite of boring.
For my pre-birthday treat, Mikey gave me pockets of alone time! I got my hair done (a good 30 minutes of reading time + free coffee from the salon—yay!) and my eyebrows waxed (free because it’s my birthday month—double yay!). I even got to go around the mall by myself for a little while waiting for Mikey and Squish to come back. It did wonders for my soul!
My actual birthday treat was even better though—dinner at an old watering hole (nostalgia is love) and walking around an almost empty mall with Mikey and Max. AND Max sitting happily in his stroller almost the whole time! When we got home, my boys sang happy birthday and presented me with my favorite cupcake. Mikey also got me new shoes (or kicks as the kids call it these days) and make up! Kind of perfect for the whole I’m-feeling-like-myself-again theme. Hooray for birthdays being fun again! ❤
When Mikey and I got married, I knew I wanted to be with him forever. But I was still wary about the idea of growing old. I was terrified of aging and becoming slow and weak. But all of that changed when Squish came into our lives.
I know that I keep expressing my heartache over how quickly time is passing with Squish. And that’s still all true. Time IS going by so quickly. I still remember when we brought him home from the hospital and he was this tiny little thing that would just stare at me. Now we have a happy, walking running, and babbling one year old!
But many times at night, I find myself looking at my husband from the far end of my side of the bed (there’s a tiny human occupying a lot of space in between us) and missing him. I just miss him. Even though Mikey spends all of his non-working hours with us (and I bet we used to spend more time apart before Squish was born), but when we’re together now, our couple-hood is rarely the center of attention. Thankfully, it’s usually eclipsed by something amazing—parenthood. The best example I have is when Squish sees Mikey and I cuddling, he runs to us and tries to squeeze in. Please don’t get me wrong. IT’S WONDERFUL (and oh so very cute). I get to cuddle with my two favorite people in the world on a daily basis. Life is good. And I really believe that this is how it’s supposed to be right now.
So now, there’s a part of me that’s really excited to grow old with Mikey. I see us alone in bed again, a bit greyer…maybe less agile, laughing our heads off or stalking Max’s Facebook (or whatever it will be by then) page. I see us going on road trips and buying pasalubong for Squish and his family. I see lazy, long brunches with our friends. I see our apartment morphing back to all its pre-Squish glory. I see us babysitting our grandchildren so that Squish and his spouse can take a breather.
I never would’ve thought that the answer to my fear of growing old was to have a baby. Hahaha. Oh well. Now I can go back to savoring the present (right now, a baby napping in a shirt that I should really retire).
My one year old (!!!) is finally down for his first nap of the day and I can type without Squish trying to reach for my laptop. If you’re as obsessive about your child’s development as I am, you notice a lot of restrictions ease up at the 12-month mark. You don’t have to worry about SIDS as much (although Max started regularly co-sleeping with us at 5 months) or food restrictions (like honey, eggs, and dairy). It’s so ingrained in mothers from older generations too—a lot of times, my mom will say that we should wait until he’s a year old to do certain things.
I guess that’s why it’s such a momentous occasion for so many people. Here in our country, people spend hundreds of thousands (sometimes millions!) of pesos for first birthday parties. Sometimes, it’s likened to throwing a wedding. My mom wanted us to throw something similar for Squish, but I couldn’t get myself to spend so much money on a day that Squish won’t remember. So we opted for small gatherings with different groups instead of one big party. So far, Squish has blown candles on four birthday cakes and he’s scheduled to blow one on one last cake this Sunday. Hehe. We’re glad that we did it this way because Squish really got to spend time with our friends/family in each gathering. We’ll save the big party for when he’s older and expresses the desire for one.
The first year of your child’s life is when they develop the fastest. There were days when Squish felt like he was a different baby after every nap. He was changing so quickly! Now that we’re at the end of that first year, I don’t think he really exhibited anything completely new this month, but he’s building on what he’s learned from the past months.
He’s still talking a lot! But now he really converses with us! He’ll choose a syllable (Ma, Da, Ta, or Pa) and repeat it with different tones and intonations if you talk to him. Sometimes, it’s almost a sentence long, sometimes, it’s like a paragraph! It’s very cute! He’s most talkative in the morning when he wakes up. That’s actually how I know that he’s ready to start the day. He’ll stir, try to breastfeed, and then he’ll emerge from latching with a speech. It’s like he’s telling me everything he dreamt of that night. He’s also really talkative when he thinks you’re not paying attention to him. When I’m on my phone or watching a TV show, that’s how he chooses to engage with me.
While I don’t really understand what his sentences/paragraphs mean yet, it’s amazing how he can clearly communicate his thoughts and desires! When he’s playing and he wants to nap, he’ll come to me and hug me and put his head on my shoulder. When he’s walking around and he gets tired, he’ll stop and hug my legs. He’ll point at the things that he wants. He’ll laugh when he thinks you’re being silly. He’ll even laugh on cue when Mikey and I are laughing at something, like he’s in on the joke too. And the communication goes both ways, because he seems to understand us too! When I ask him to put things in certain places, he usually does it. Or when I tell him to come with me, he’ll drop everything and follow me. He also follows dance moves on Sesame Street! He’ll clap when Elmo sings if you’re happy and you know itand he’ll follow along Elmo and Ernie’s Pat-a-cake! He also added a new move to his twinkle twinkle little star routine—he now makes a diamond shape with his hand when you sing the line like a diamond in the sky. It’s so cool!
A cute thing he’s been doing with ANYTHING that fits in his hand is pretending that it’s a telephone. I am guilty of using my cell phone all the time when I’m with him, so he knows what it is already. Anytime anyone says hello, he’ll put his palm on his ear and start babbling. My mom gave him a small radio remote control and he pretends that it’s a cellphone all the time. Sometimes, it’s a foam block or a shoe or a spoon.
I think we’re failing though in making him understand what NO means. Hahaha. Because a lot of times, I think he sees it as an exciting prelude to getting what he wants. And he knows when you’re going to say NO. He loves playing with stickers and sticking them on the wall. Another thing that he loves doing is eating them. Or at least he pretends to eat them! He’ll look at me with a sticker on his finger, he’ll slowly bring the sticker close to his mouth, and as soon as I say “NO, Max!”, he’ll pull the sticker away and giggle. He will do this a couple of times until I finally take the sticker away. He also does this when he gets close to nooks that he’s not allowed to go into.
The few days before he cuts a tooth, he will become very quiet and clingy. He’ll want me close by whenever he’s playing and it becomes a bit harder to feed him. It’s not a dramatic change, but I only really notice it when the tooth is out and he’s back to his normal kulit self again. But I do notice him squeezing his cheeks in more. At this point, he has two upper teeth and two lower teeth. Teething is tough. I wish I would take away all of his pain.
He shuffles from frenzy playing (which is basically going around and examining whatever catches his attention) to more focused playing (where he plays with the same object for an extended period of time). I’ve been reading up on the Montessori philosophy and Max is already showing interest in a lot of the recommended activities for toddlers. I don’t want to go all out and buy new things, so we’re working with what we already have. His favorite is a long plastic cube here he can slide in small wooden shapes into. It’s pretty cool to watch his attention span develop. But apart from that, he’s also in a packing and unpacking phase. He’ll unpack all the toys in a box and repack it. If it’s something he can take with him, he’ll carry boxes, bowls, or bags full of his toys around the house with him. He will then unpack it in different locations. Our home is so messy. Hahaha. But it’s going to get messier soon because there are 12-months-and-up art materials that I’m excited to dive into! Sorry Mikey!
Lately, his naps have been a bit erratic. He can’t really nap if there are other people in the room or if we’re out (unless he’s hours overdue for that nap). There are days when he drops his afternoon nap and he’s just wound up all night. But unless he’s teething, his night time sleep seems to be smoother. Even when he wakes up in the middle of the night, it’s not hard to get him to sleep again. Sometimes, all I have to do is hug him and he’ll fall asleep. But I’ve really enjoyed watching him sleep. He looks like his infant self when he’s asleep and he’s so toddler like these days that so it’s truly a treat for me.
Now that we’re done with the first year (huhuhu), I’m not sure how much progress he will be making at each month’s mark anymore. A lot of the weekly/monthly development websites stop at 12 months/52 weeks and jump to the second year. So I have to figure out a meaningful way to document Squish’s development throughout his second year. But it’s been so much fun documenting his first year! Child development is AWESOME! I can’t believe I get to see it up close! ❤
We’re officially going to start mix feeding in the coming week! Please send us happy weaning thoughts!
Gah! I can’t believe that we have a one year old! I have a 12th month update that needs to be uploaded soon, but we’re still recovering from the week of multiple cakes (we opted for multiple small gatherings rather than a big party for Squishy’s first birthday). But I need to share this with everyone because we’re floored by our friend’s love and talent! This emotional Momma almost broke down when she first saw it.
Our friend, Ram, illustrated one of my all time favorite photos of Squish and I. ❤
Squish is so active nowadays, but there are special (albeit short) times during the day where he’s still and we cuddle and talk. I love this photo because Mikey caught that moment when we were on vacation a few weeks back. ❤
Thank you so much, Ram! ❤ We love you (and Darmy!) and we’re so honored! ❤ ❤ ❤
The countdown to Squishy’s first birthday has begun! Squish is well on his way to toddlerhood and I can’t believe that we survived! I still remember our first few weeks at home where I would dread Mikey leaving and count the hours before Mikey’s return. Now, we’re still excited for Papa to come home, but the day goes by pretty quickly. I think the day goes by quicker because there’s so much that Squish can do already!
There’s no stopping our little walker! He is now allowed to roam around our room and living area unassisted. He can walk around the rest of the apartment, but someone has to watch him and hold his hand because we haven’t baby proofed everything yet. Squish really enjoys walking and it seems like he only crawls now when he’s tired (or when he wants to go really fast). He confidently (and seemingly drunk-ly) walks unassisted from the TV to the couch or from our bedroom door to his toy box.
He also LOVES climbing! He can climb the walls of his playpen (thank goodness he hasn’t jumped out yet), he can climb on and off the couch, and he can even safely get off our very tall bed (even though we don’t really let him do it independently yet). We’ve also caught him trying to climb a shelf after he removed all the books/CDs in them.
All of this activity means that he’s had a few bumps and bruises lately. He’s fallen off his mini chairs, tripped, hit furniture, and lost balance. At first it would really jar me and I had to really hold in my fear and surprise so that it doesn’t add to his distress. But now, we (the parents) handle it better. We pick him up and comfort him and tell him that he’s OK.
Whenever he gets hurt, he crawls to me (while crying) and gets into feeding position. I guess this is what they mean when they say that babies sometimes nurse for comfort. He’ll only latch on for a few seconds and then he’ll go back to playing. He’s pretty fair-skinned, so he gets red quickly when he falls! When the bump seems especially bad, I put a Kool Fever patch on it (in lieu of cold compress). My cousin taught me this hack! It’s really difficult to get babies to sit still to ice their potential bruises, so these cool patches are perfect because they stick on their skin so they can go about their business. We buy the baby friendly ones and so far, they’ve worked really well. I cut them up so that it only covers the spot where he got hurt. The only time Squishy noticed them was when he fell flat on his face and I tried to put one on his nose. He kept pulling it off and tried eating it, so he ended up being Rudolf for a few hours.
Now that he’s confidently walking, Squish is spending less times in his stroller or our arms when we’re out and about. He’ll really let you know when he wants to walk—he’ll squirm his way out of your arms! It’s pretty tough to hold him back. When there’s a large open space, we let him walk. But we still have to hold him when we’re in shops. Otherwise, he’ll pull everything out of the shelves.
We still spend most of our time at home, but I can tell that he really enjoys a change of scenery. When his Lola or Gwa-ma comes over to play with him, he’ll point to the door because he wants to go out. (He points at the things he wants now. Oh boy.) He loves going to new places and meeting new people. When we’re walking around the mall, he’ll wave at strangers and attempt to “talk” to other kids. He tries to play peek-a-boo with restaurant hostesses and sales ladies. He’ll also tug at our waiters when they serve us food. He may look like me, but he’s 100% his father’s son.
Walking in public means that we always have to bring shoes now. His Lola got him really nice rubber shoes, but rookie mistake: LACES. Oh my gosh, it’s so hard to get an excited baby to sit still while you put on his shoes and tie his laces. That’s why when it’s just us, we stick with his Crocs. So much easier to put on!
Max ends up eating more when we’re in restaurants because people-watching preoccupies him more than Sesame Street. He’s also added more to his list of staple favorite foods (Soups, XLBs, Tofu, Congee, and Bread): birthday spaghetti, ramen, and Mikey’s/Gordon Ramsay’s scrambled eggs (he only likes Mikey’s, not mine). He still doesn’t really like rice though. Whenever I give him some, he’ll just spit it out. But his love for noodles makes me so happy! We can now eat in Japanese and Italian Restaurants! Yay!
I think his developing sense of humor is the funniest thing! He giggles when we’re conversing (him babbling, me asking him questions). He laughs when his toys do something unexpected. And we caught him laughing while watching Full House a couple of times too! Usually when they say funny words or when the characters engage in slapstick humor. Also, he’s such a ham himself! He has a very detectable fake cry which breaks into a pa-cute smile when he knows we’re not going to give in. When I’m not paying attention (like when I’m on my phone or watching TV), he’ll come up to me, sit on my lap, and put his hands on my cheeks and sway my face from left to right while babbling. It’s like he’s saying: “Mama! Pay attention to me!”.
I’m trying to be a bit more deliberate with my use of language with him. Pointing out things and labeling them. He can say Mama now, but not on command. He usually says it when he’s in distress. Most of the time, he just babbles to himself while playing. Sometimes, he’ll babble WHILE nursing (very much like someone trying to talk with their mouth full). He also screams a lot when he’s excited. The first few times he walked unassisted, he did it with his hands in the air screaming like a banshee. Hopefully, the screaming is just a phase.
Squish cut his first tooth a day after his 10th month (July 14)! We were in the car with Gwa-ma and Lola Myrna when I noticed something white in his mouth. I thought that he had eaten some tissue, but when we looked closer it was a large tooth on top! It wasn’t there earlier that day, so it really seemed like it came from no where. I was watching out for his bottom teeth to emerge because those are usually the first ones to come out. A few weeks later, his other top tooth came out too. So now he has two top teeth and he looks like SpongeBob.
The doctor said that his lower gums were swollen too, so we may be getting more teeth soon. I think the teething it making him clingy and fussy. There are times when he isn’t sleepy, but he will cry if I put him down on the floor to play. He just reaches out and says MAMA over and over again until I pick him up. And then there’s the all night nursing! Gah. There was one night when he wasn’t nursing, but he just wanted to latch and sleep at the same time. Every time I unlatched him, he would wake up. And he wouldn’t take a pacifier. So he just slept on top of me, hugging my tummy and latched at the same time. It’s kind of like he’s a newborn again. It can’t be easy to grow teeth. I wish I could take all the discomfort away.
Squish went on his first road trip this month and while we started off a little bumpy, he had lots of fun in Baguio! He was pretty manageable in the car. I think the trick is to delay his nap until it’s time to hit the road. Hahaha. That way, he sleeps through most of the car ride. We hope to be able to go back up again soon! Or maybe we can take an international trip soon! ❤
I still feel like a newbie mom. I wonder if that feeling ever goes away?
Mikey had a long break in the last two weeks of July, so we decided to go to one of our favorite places in the world: Baguio! Before Squish, we used to love going up there. Mikey and Lola own a small hotel, and he proposed there almost three years ago while it was being built. So we have a soft spot for Baguio.
We’ve been wanting to go up for a while, but I was scared in the beginning. And when I gained confidence, Mikey began to have a hectic work schedule. So when this break came up, we knew that we were going to spend some of it up in the cold mountains! ❤ I was so excited!
One of the pros of doing a road trip is that you can pack more liberally because there’s no weight allowance. So we brought as much of Squishy’s stuff that we thought we might need (including his nebulizer, a box of toys, his inflatable bath tub, and a large play mat). Everything was packed! Squish was on the tail end of a bout of allergies (cough and runny nose), but he was much better after a series of nebulizing sessions. I was kind of paranoid because during our last vacation, Max had diarrhea and we barely made it to the airport the next day. But Max was doing great the night before the trip, and it looked like all systems go!
And it was … until about 3 AM in the morning.
After Max unlatched from his early morning feeding, my left boob felt empty, but lumpy and extra tender. My half-awake self thought that something was seriously wrong. When I attempted to hand express, it really hurt. I tried to shrug it off and go to sleep, but at around 4 AM, it still felt strangely stingy even when nothing was touching it. For a few moments, I thought that we would have to cancel our trip so that I could go to the doctor. Before I went into full panic mode, I got up and I googled the symptoms and got bunch of articles on plugged ducts and mastitis.
Gah! Perfect timing! I wasn’t feverish yet, so I concluded that it was just plugged ducts. Most of the online sources said the same thing, you treat plugged ducts with:
hot compress before you nurse/pump,
olive oil or lanolin cream to help moisturize cracked nipples,
cold compress for the pain, and
keep on nursing/pumping (stopping will make it worse)
When I read all of this, Squish was fast asleep next to me and the pain was enough to keep me awake. Mikey woke up because I started shuffling around to find my pump and helped me by heating up the Precious Pillow before passing out again. I used the hot compress and I tried pumping. It was a little stingy while pumping—it reminded me of the first week of breastfeeding. At this point, my left boob seemed engorged. After pumping for 30 minutes and only getting about 2 oz. from the left boob (and using the Haakaa pump on the other one), it still seemed engorged and it was getting more painful. It was like there was a bruise on the side of my boob (where the lumpiness was) and my nipples were very sore.
Squish woke up during the tail end of my pumping session and wanted to nurse to go back to sleep. I was still hooked up to everything so I asked Mikey to give him the milk I just pumped in a bottled. Squish refused to drink it and kept crying for me (I wonder if this is a foreshadowing of our upcoming weaning). So after I unhooked myself from everything and I nursed Squish on the left boob because it still seemed so full after the pumping session. Oh my goodness the pain made me swear like a sailor. And I don’t swear! It was so painful! I felt like he was biting really hard with every suck, but when I checked, he was latched on properly and his tooth wasn’t engaged. It was so painful that I Squeezed Mikey’s hand while Squish nursed. I was tearing up and praying that he would fall asleep soon. Eventually, I couldn’t take the pain anymore—as soon as he was fast asleep, I transferred him to the other boob for the rest of the feed.
While Squishy nursed from the right boob and I was recovering from the pain (and still shaking), I thought to myself: if I had known that this would be a possibility, I would have thought twice about breastfeeding! Ironically, the thing about plugged ducts is that you have to keep nursing/pumping to clear up the duct and get better! So stopping isn’t an option.
When we woke up again at around 8:30 AM, I took a hot bath, combed my boob (I’m not kidding, one of the websites said to get a large toothed comb and comb your boob outwards while taking a hot bath), and soaked it in a tabo full of hot water.
When Lola heard that we were heading to Baguio, she wanted to join so we were supposed to meet them at a pit stop in NLEX. We were already running late by Char standards. Even if we were all packed, I had to do some last minute adjustments because I had to pack all of my pumping things and bring a newly heated Precious Pillow with us. We also had to drive-thru for breakfast (so that Mikey could function as a human being) and stop at a drug store so I could buy an old-fashioned hot/cold compress bag (to use if we didn’t have access to a microwave to re-heat the precious pillow).
Squishy was super cooperative during our morning ride. He sat in his car seat while I hot compressed my left boob (it was still engorged). He played with his toys and looked out the window. I barely had to tend to him at all. When we got to the restaurant pit stop where we had to wait for Lola and co., I had the waiters bring me hot water to fill the bag. I used the hot compress while we ate our brunch. I had them refill it with new hot water before we left. I also took two Advils after eating. I was a little depressed because I thought I would be in pain for the entire trip.
When we left the pit stop and started the long drive (about 3.5 hours), Max was initially with his Lola Myrna (Mikey’s longtime house help who volunteered to help us take care of Max) at the back seat. I was in front with Mikey with the hot compress tucked in my bra. There’s something about Lolas and car seats that don’t really mix, so she was just holding him. We didn’t get too far before Max started crying and demanding to go to me, so we made a quick stop to trade places. I was still in pain, but I think the Advils started working. I was desperate to get better, so I nursed Squish on the left boob again. It was really painful, but I just kept thinking that it was making it better. Thankfully, Squish fell asleep quickly and unlatched soon after. He slept on my lap for most of the trip. I was so lucky that I didn’t have to worry about a fussy baby and my painful boob at the same time!
Max asleep on the cool Precious Pillow
Before we hit the zig-zaggy road (aka Marcos Highway, the final stretch of the road trip where you drive up the mountains for about 45 minutes), Mikey made a stop so that he could use the bathroom. As soon as the car stopped, Squishy woke up. Lola took him from me when she saw he was awake.
Having both hands free for the first time in three hours, I decided to examine my boob. I notice that there was this white spot on my left nipple. It looked like a ripe pimple. When I looked closer, it looked like there was a thin string on the tip. I pulled the string and I suddenly started squirting milk like nobody’s business! It’s a good thing I decided to wear breast pads (after not wearing one for months)! I guess it’s kind of like removing hardened tooth paste from the tip so that you can squeeze more out. I was squirting out so much milk that I would’ve felt bad about wasting it if I wasn’t busy rejoicing over the dissipating pain. It stopped squirting after two soaked disposable breast pads. I smelled like milk for the rest of the day. The pain was gone, but I could still feel a little lumpiness. I suppose a nursing session with Squish would have fixed that, but I was anxious to be as well as I could be, so I found a milk storage bag and I started hand expressing.
By the time we hit the zig zaggy road (Lola Myrna and I switched again), my left boob was empty and my spirits were high! I was so grateful that it didn’t carry on. A few minutes into the zig zaggy road, Max started crying for me, but there was no stopping at that point. So I climbed to the back seat to be with him (not the best idea, but we were in a pinch). At some point he nursed (maybe to relieve the pressure from popping ears) and it wasn’t so bad. For the rest of the trip, my left boob was still kind of stingy whenever Squish would begin to nurse. Otherwise, it felt normal again. And I got to enjoy Baguio with my two favorite people in the world! ❤
A chilly morning in Camp John Hay
Super happy me the next morning.
Lazy mornings in the cafe.
Goofing around in the hotel.
The all-day pain kind of came back a few days after our trip, I used the hot compress again and tried nursing, but I didn’t feel any lumps this time. The pain was the same though. I even took a Tylenol for the pain. When I examined my boob, I realized that the white spot on my nipple never went away. When I googled that, I found out that it was a milk blister/milk bleb. The treatment is basically the same, except, you can actually try to exfoiliate in the shower or peel the bleb/blister off with sterilized tweezers. I don’t know if I did the right thing. I just kind of poked around and I saw that it was peel-able, so I peeled it. And then after a while, the pain went away and the next day, everything was back to normal.
Being the sick one is infinitely better than Squish or Mikey being sick. Hopefully next time we go on vacation, we’ll all be in tip top shape. I’m beginning to understand why all my elderly Titas used to always say ‘health is wealth’.
Wah. Squishy is now 10 months old. 10 months sounds closer to toddlerhood than babyhood. And he’s acting more like a toddler than a baby these days. It’s happening way too fast! Flashback to the first few weeks of his life and I was a terrified new mom just staring at him coo on our bed. These days, he spends more time on the floor crawling, cruising, and WALKING. I can’t believe that we have a walker already! I thought he would begin to walk at around 12 months. He still prefers to crawl (especially when he wants to get somewhere fast), but he’ll gesture to ask to hold our hands more often now so that he can walk longer stretches. He can also take a few steps on his own when he’s using both his hands to hold up something. Just today, even when his hands were free, he took four unassisted steps to get to me from across his play mat. Oh, and he also knows how to climb stairs! He did it the first time he was allowed near the stairs in his Lola’s house. The first time he did it, he was cautious and slow. But after he did it once, he was fearless! 😱
Another thing that he really likes doing is army crawling. His co-sleeper/playpen has height extenders, so he can comfortably army crawl under it to retrieve toys. The first time he tried to do it, he wasn’t really army crawling, so he hit his head and he cried. But he figured it out the next time his ball rolled under it again. Sometimes we think that he does it on purpose because he actually likes army crawling.
He’s becoming more independent every day. This developing independence goes hand-in-hand with his increased awareness of others. If you ask him to share his toy with you, he will hand it to you—he doesn’t really let go yet, but it’s a start! He also likes to share his food with me and Mikey. When he’s eating and we open our mouths, he’ll put his food inside them. He also invites us to play with him. When I’m on the bed and he’s playing with Mikey on the floor, he’ll call out for me and kind of motion with his hands for me to come down. It kind of looks like he’s hailing a taxi. It’s so cute and very hard to resist.
This little boy kind of knows when he has a captive audience. He made friends with all the security personnel in our building. He waves at them when we see them. He will also initiate clapping after he does something he knows is “impressive”—like when he inserts a shape in the right hole or when he eats his food from a spoon.
One of the things we do now is we try to woo him by calling to him in a sweet way: Maaaxiiieee, we would say, with a big grin and inviting eyes. He loves it! When Mikey does it, he cackles and turns to me, and then he peeks back at him waiting to be called again. Mikey keeps going until he “catches” him, and then he traps him a tickle bear hug.
His play got a lot more complex this month! One day, he just started playing with his toys the way they’re meant to be played with. He has this dog walker thing where you can shoot balls into it’s mouth to make it talk. (It’s not as weird as it sounds.) (Mikey: It’s exactly as weird as it sounds.) I’ve been trying to get him to shoot the balls in for months but he seemed uninterested. And one day, he just cruised towards it and did it! And soon after, he started playing with his shape sorter toys and he’s been putting the simpler shapes (the ones you don’t have to really rotate, like the circle or the star) into the right holes. It’s amazing! He’s kind of obsessed with putting things inside other things this month. He has stacking cups that he doesn’t really stack yet (although I caught him trying to do it before getting frustrated), but he finds smaller toys to fit inside the cups. He also likes to get into his toy boxes. He’ll sit or stand in them and play.
He still primarily plays by himself, but he’s fascinated by other children, especially those just slightly older than him. It’s kind of sad though, because they don’t exactly feel the same way about him. So Max just ends up looking up with wonder at these slightly larger humans, most of whom are minding their own business. Mikey saw this the other day and started getting teary eyed.
We recently took him to Kidzooona. It’s this heavily padded baby-proofed play area where he can roam around freely. There’s a ball pit, slides, different play centers with manipulatives, a bouncy area, and these inflatable hamster wheels that you can run in. He loved it! We loved seeing him so free!
I think that he’s mastered object permanence already because he experiences separation anxiety from us. When either of us goes to the bathroom, he will cry and crawl to the bathroom door and pound on it until someone distracts him. He also looks for toys that rolls under our furniture. I’ve caught him prostrated while trying to reach for something under his little couches in his play area. It’s kind of funny because he grunts as he tries to stretch his arms to get the toy. He also expresses displeasure when he doesn’t get what he wants. It’s harder to distract him now that he remembers. Sometimes, he’ll kind of throw a fit—he’ll cry really hard and try to wiggle his way to whatever he wants.
Eating is still kind of a hit or miss thing with Squish. Sometimes he eats a lot, other times, he’ll take two or three bites and then he refuses to open his mouth for another bite. We’ve tried letting him feed himself, but he doesn’t eat as much and the food gets everywhere. But we noticed that he will eat more when we feed him using our hands. It’s very strange.
Breastfeeding is kind of sporadic now. Sometimes, he’ll just latch for a few seconds and then continue playing. And I noticed that he does this more when I leave him for a bit with other people at home. Or when there’s someone else in the play area with us. He’ll play with them and then return to me and get into my arms and get into the feeding position. Other times, he breastfeeds like a wild animal, which can hurt. He looks around while latched. He interacts with his surroundings while latched. And he stands up and sticks his butt out while latched. It can get very difficult, but it’s still the best way to put him to sleep, and he still likes to breastfeed after every meal. We’re considering mixed feeding when he turns 1 because he’s starting to undress and grab me in public already, like I’m some sort of vending machine. 😑
We’re horrible parents—we let him watch videos on our TV (we love our Chromecast). He loves Sesame Street, Hamilton, and music videos in general. It’s so useful when we need him to stay still, like when we’re changing a poopy diaper, nebulizing him, or when we’re too tired to entertain him in his carseat. We also use it when we’re out in a restaurant and we need him to sit in the high chair and eat so that we can eat too. But I have to admit that it’s really nice to sit on our couch and cuddle with him and watch TV as a family. I know, I know, it’s not good for him. But it helps us keep our sanity and surely having sane parents is an important thing.
I’m looking back at the last 10 months and I can’t recall an instance where I was bored. Having a baby really keeps you on your toes, and it makes everything zoom by insanely fast. I can’t believe we’re two months away from having a one year old!