Half a Year

Kale is six months old yesterday.This was supposed to auto-publish yesterday, darn it

Six months old is a huge milestone no matter who you ask. Books identify six months old as the start of toddlerhood and the end of being a newborn. I am stunned at the amount and range of emotions I have felt over this past six months. I am stunned at what Kale has accomplished and the person he has become. He has my eyes and my nose still, but other than that the baby who looked just like me looks more and more like his Daddy every day.  

From Kale 3 to 6 months

He is a mover and a shaker now. Kale has places to go and things to do and people to see. He has taught us we can no longer trust that he will lie still. He took a tumble off the couch the other day, and has slid off the bed and out of his bouncy chair once too.  He has almost mastered getting his bum up in the air and can hold his front end up with ease, and its only in his sleep that he seems to be able to put the two together. He likes to roll, too, and what used to be a 2 minute diaper change is now a 10 minute baby wrangling fest. We’ve learned that we have to give Kale a diaper to chew on and wave around in order to get the 30 seconds we require to fasten his diapers. 

He is Mr. Grabby Hands now, too. If he can reach for it, he wants it. If he can see it, he wants to reach for it. And if he can get it, it goes straight in his mouth. He sometimes scratches and pinches my face and when he is nursing, his arm NEVER STOPS MOVING. He loves Mooki – perhaps too much. If he can get close enough to her to touch her, he will grab at her fur and forget to let go. We’re trying to teach him “gentle”. I think that one will be used a lot in the coming months. 

His favorite toys still includes the chip bag. We graduated to a different, more crinkly chip bag because the other one kept leaving red chip dust everywhere. 

From Kale 3 to 6 months

Other favorite toys are the rubber spatula, which he waves around like a scepter and gnaws on like a beaver; the round plastic disks my breast pump is meant to stand up on; anything cloth including shirts, dishcloths, his new feelie I made him, and especially his socks; and one of the few actual “baby toys” in his toy box, the Octoplush. Ahhh. the Octoplush.

From Kale 3 to 6 months

A month ago, Kale started solids and we have worked ourselves up to once or twice a day now. He isn’t really keen on boring old rice cereal anymore, now that I have introduced him to peas, yogurt, carrots, cheerios, and Baby Num Num Crackers. He loves those and bites them off with gusto. He also has received a taste of carrots and celery boiled in turkey stock, then ground down and strained using my new manual food mill. He wasn’t totally sure what to make of the turkey flavour but was eager to eat. He loves loves loves banana. 

We feed him with two spoons – one for waving around and pounding on his chair, the other for eating.

From Kale 3 to 6 months

I also discovered that rice cereal is like freakin’ cement and had to pull out a knife and chip a dried blob off that I missed during clean up. Wow. Someone should market that stuff as a commercial adhesive.

This past two months has been the Time of Bad Sleeps for us. We’ve tried all sorts of things and I recently learned that Kale likes to sleep on his tummy. He sleeps easily and relaxed on his tummy, and he turns himself over if placed on his back. So I started just putting him to sleep there. He hasn’t been feeding as well at night as he used to – waking and screechy, but uninterested in eating and only wanting to be soothed and cuddled. His naps range from 20 minutes to 3 hours and there is absolutely no consistency, other than what time he seems to want them. I have a system now to get him to nap – we cuddle in the chair in his room for a bit, and I rock him or pat him or draw circles on his forehead, and I sing “You Are My Sunshine” to him. Sometimes I tickle him and we giggle and he offers me his sucky. Having this system is helping. Downside? I only know two verses of “You Are My Sunshine” and sometimes it takes 10 verses to chill him down.  He is sleeping better this past week, but I am convinced that the Time of Bad Sleeps is closely related to the next most important topic in Kale’s life: teeth. 

We have no teeth yet, but all sorts of teething pain. This kid is like Beaver Boy and will gnaw and gnaw and gnaw. I’ve had to cut off my fingernails really short because of all the gnawing he wants to do (and subsequent screeching that occurs when he bites down on a sharp fingernail). His gums are white and painful looking. His huge toothless grin, however, will be something I will miss desperately when the teeth finally arrive. It’s hard to get a picture of his huge big grin – he sees the camera and wants to grab it and eat it and the smile is wiped from his face and is replaced by the look of suspicion. I swear he really does have the most lovely big smile. 

From Kale 3 to 6 months

With the introduction of solids, I often wonder how long we will be breastfeeding for. Originally, I set my goal to breastfeed for 6 months and then re-evaluate. I was made to feel badly on more than one online forum and by at least one “expert” because I didn’t commit to a year right from the get go, or better yet, indefinitely or because I had the gall to use a pump and bottles. For me, it was about setting small obtainable goals. I had so many struggles with breastfeeding – I was pumping exclusively from one side for about 3 months and was strangely lopsided as a result – until Kale and I finally connected and managed a good latch. I have to pause here to give all sorts of respect to a lactation consultant named Freida for giving me the confidence to keep at it despite the negativity. 

Kale pretty much never comfort nurses now. He will holler at me if he is done feeding but I try and put him back on. He will get completely irate. He seeks out his soother after a feeding and when it’s time for a nap. I love the breastfeeding relationship I have with Kale and am surprised at how much I enjoy it.  I’m sometimes jealous of the soother, but the relationship he has with it is something we created way back in the beginning when he didn’t stop comfort sucking for ages at a time so I know it’s our doing and I know it’s our job to undo it.  In the back of my mind I worry about the day we will have to perform a sucky intervention. But, you know, bridges to be crossed later and all that. 

So here it is at 6 months and I ask myself what my breastfeeding goal is now that I have triumphed and met my first goal? And my new goal is this: keep going. If we make it to a year, I’ll re-evaluate again. And as long as Kale wants to make it there, we will, because it’s not going to be me that makes the choice, it will be him.

This Saturday will also mark a very special day for Kale – his first Waterbabies class. This is something that Ross is going to do with Kale so that they have a special relationship too. I’m going to go to a future class and take pictures and I’ll likely spend some time in the hot tub (oh darn) but I really want to encourage Kale to love his daddy as much as me. We’ve noticed a tiny inkling of an overdeveloped connection to me (not surprisingly) the odd few times I have managed to get out of the house without Kale. I’d like to sign up for some crafty classes this year, so I want to encourage Daddy – Son bonding time so that its FUN when I am not home, not “The Great Countdown Till Mommy is Back”.

So here we are at 6 months, the Great Divide that separates us as Parents-of-a-Newborn, and Parents-of-a-Toddler. Ross and I will be going out for the first time later this month without Kale, and he’ll stay home with his Gran. It will be nice to have time with Ross without us comparing notes on poop or his naps or when he ate last. I’m nervous, of course, and I know the entire time we are gone I will be thinking of Kale, and we’ll call a few times, I am sure. 

I can’t say I have ever loved someone this hard or this fiercely (sorry, Ross, haha). I’m glad I still make time for things I love, like crafty things or having some time with my girlfriends but in the day to day scheme of things, Kale is the reason I get up and the reason I put on a happy face and honestly, I didn’t know I could be this happy. 

 

From Kale 3 to 6 months
10 years ago

8 Comments

  1. I’m so glad you wrote about the breastfeeding.

    I’m also always surprised when I hear of friends etc who are getting grief from these “experts” about not committing to a year or longer.

    If they are such the “expert” then they would know (or so you’d think) you can not make a child do anything he/she is no longer interested in doing so. Especially after teeth start to show up in the horizon.

    I think Kale is going to be more independant and a go getter, than most newborn/toddlers from what I’ve read about his progress.

    Children grow up, and these “experts” should shove “some” of their advise in their own cakehole.

    This wasnt meant to be a rant, I just get a little grrrr when experts think all new parents or any parents for that matter should conform to a certain way of raising their children.

  2. Love that last pictures…and thanks for addressing the breastfeeding issue, especially your thoughts on the whole 6 month / 1 year and beyond debate. Ben and I recently decided that because of my career aspirations and still to complete MBA (and possibly one other professional degree) that I”m only going to take six months mat leave when the time comes and Ben will take the further six months as paternity leave. This will obviously preclude exclusive breastfeeding after six months.

    And hot damn that kid is going to be a looker…once he gets teeth, lol.

    PS – IVF starts in two months…ack!!

  3. There are a lot of moms who have to go back to work at 6 months (Canada is really advanced as far as mat leave!) and pump. Something to consider… remember that babies need either breastmilk or formula for the entire first year. I didn’t know this at first, so you might find it works for you to pump. It might not, but do consider it. (And if you want some pump advice, let me know, I have amassed a lot of resources)

  4. I’m glad you’ve reached your BF goal and I’m sorry I was part of the source of negativity when you first started. I could rant and rant and rant about it, but I’m not going to here. I just want to say how absolutely proud of you I am for sticking through it all and coming out on this end. Teeth don’t mean shit as far as them self-weaning, I’ve found they nurse more than ever because solids can hurt their aching gums and they do still feel comforted by you when nursing, even if it’s not as much as before.

    Ash only comfort nurses when he’s teething. Solids do change the nursing relationship, but it doesn’t mean they love the boob any less. 😉

    You’ve fit so well into the mother role. I’m so happy for you and proud of you for following your gut more than listening to anyone.

  5. Samantha: BF for the first year really should be encouraged. Not pushed on parents, but definitely encouraged. It’s by far one of the most important things for the developing baby and is so much better than formula.

  6. I agree Gillian, that BF should be encouraged for the first year. I remember when I found out that babies needed either breastmilk or formula for the first year – I just assumed that when they started solids they wouldn’t need it anymore. And its way easier to keep on going with breastfeeding than introducing formula at this stage. That said, I think we are very very lucky that we can stay home for a year if we so choose here in Canada, and I think encourage in the right word, not pushed. Thanks Gillian, for your support. I really appreciate it.

  7. Your mom told me today that you mentioned my name in your blog, so of course, I had to check it out! Kale is absolutely gorgeous! And it is obvious that you are really enjoying motherhood. Now that Kale is 6 mo. old, I will share some things that I see quite often (if this is old news, please ignore). For the next few months, offer the breast before the solids. Breastmilk is still the most important “food” for him, so don’t fill him up on solids first (and start slowly, with one new food at a time)It is a temptation to feed him lots of solids if he really likes it. As far as teething and breastfeeding goes, call me if you have problems. If children bite, it is usually at the end of the feeding, when they are not hungry anymore and just “playing”. It is great that moms can stay home for one year now. It has really made a difference in the length of time women are nursing. At one year, children can still breastfeed if mom is working (still 16 hrs. left after work) Well, I have rambled enough. Take care.

    1. Thanks Freida! I started doing the “sandwich” method of offering the breast, then the solids, and then the breast. He no longer wants the breast after the solids. I’ve been really slow to introduce new stuff and we usually do the “new thing” over and over and over and over for a week or so, in minute quantities before adding it to the repertoire. When hte teeth come, I can bet I will be calling you! LOL Thanks again for all your help.

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