Month Six.

Lucille is half a year old. My goodness. My sweet girl is making strides, taking leaps and bounds in her growing and her father and I watch this all, kept custody by the wonder and amazement of her existence. We must work to keep our hubris in check, because despite our logical understanding of her accomplishments, that they are par for the course, to us, she really is amazing.

This month Lucy has expanded her palate adding to the list: beets, green beans, broccoli, yogurt, chicken, and pears. To date she eats with voracity all that’s spooned into her little bird mouth – except avocado. The avocado worshiper in me cringes that my daughter does not immediately melt at the site of this perfect fruit, but I understand that her palate is still young and she may eventually come around. Avocado when mixed with banana is a completely different story, in fact banana anything seems to be a favorite.  She was a tad skeptical of plain yogurt, but when mixed with fruit, wolfed it down.

The other big to-do in the life of this infant is the ditching of swaddle. From the get-go, Lucy was swaddled at night. With the onset of her cold, something she’s still working to get over, Lucy had been waking up in the wee hours of the morning in fits of clogged sinuses. After siphoning out the bastard boogies, I’d free her arms and put her back in the crib. She fell asleep each time without any issue. About two weeks ago Big Red and I made the decision to make this the new normal and what do you know, she slipped right into her new sleeping set-up beautifully…or so it appeared. Two nights after the initial honeymoon of being un-swaddled, Lucy began experiencing (thereby including us in her experience – oh joy) a sleep regression. I sourced my amazing mama group and plenty of the women chimed in saying their little ones had gone through something similar around this same age. I also referred to my book, The Wonder Weeks, and wouldn’t you know it, but around week 25 or 26, it claims that many kids will show some kind of fussiness due to a new understanding of the world around them. It could be that she’s now keenly aware of us, and dealing with some separation anxiety when she wakes at night. The only reason I say this is because one evening, I threw in the towel at 2 am, decided against feeding her to quiet her (I really didn’t want to introduce a bottle at night again), and brought her into bed. The little bean nuzzled her body against my mine and was asleep immediately. As much as I love her cuddles, I don’t necessarily sleep well when we co-sleep, so on the suggestion of one of my wise mama friends, we put Lucy to sleep the following night with a lovey. And it worked. It helped tremendously, so much so that a few times when she woke up, she whimpered and cried out, then turned to her lovey, and fell asleep again. The worst part of the regression seems to have passed, and she’s back to sleeping much more soundly. While she’s still getting up once or twice a night, thankfully it’s only to quickly replace a spit-out pacifier.

As for said pacifier, we’re leaving it in for now. When we pull the plug, I anticipate it will be a rough couple of cry-it-out style evenings, and hence my delay for a time when I’m not working so as to recover from  nights of interrupted sleep. Then again, she could surprise us…we should be so lucky.

Lucy continues to grow stronger in her core and sits pretty much unassisted. If on her belly she pushes up, and darn if she isn’t close to hitching those doughy soft knees under her. There haven’t been any recent signs of rolling; it’s as if while in her fourth month she crossed it off her to-do list, and has forgotten all about it. We are not concerned as we know each child reaches milestones at different times and that’s how we arrive at averages.  She loves her play gym jumper, and bounces in that seat like there’s no tomorrow. It’s one of her favorite activities, and I’m almost certain her favorite book right now is Good Night Moon. I read it to her every night, sometimes in addition to another book. Often, when I begin, “In the great green room…,” her face lights up and she smiles.

The long dreary days of winter finally seem to be falling behind us and the sun is showing its face more and more. We have been able to get outside, and sit on a blanket in the yard a few times. My daughter is just now experiencing the wind and glorious sunshine on her face and ginger-tinted hair (yes, it looks like she may in fact be a red head!). She looks around the yard with wonder, watching Olive sniff and play with sticks, and listening to all the sounds. We really don’t need any toys; the sensory experience is more than enough.

As for me, five weeks into this Working Mom business and I can report that we’re all surviving. Most of that survival can be attributed to my Lucy’s successful transition to daycare. She is comfortable when she gets dropped off by Big Red and handed over to her teachers, and she’s content when I pick her up in the afternoon. Honestly, as long as she’s doing well, I can do my job at work. There are moments during the day when I think of her intensely and miss her tremendously, but it’s not accompanied by worry.

There has been another profound phenomenon I have experienced. Prior to Lucy, I could watch anything on TV or see anything out in the world without having to endure lasting reactions. It seems as though the moment I had my daughter, I broke open. I now wear my heart outside of myself, and it prattles about on a blanket, feet hitched up, clasped between two doughy hands. Since having my daughter I cannot watch anything that has to do with children who are in harm’s way or are suffering. I can’t do it. There is an intense visceral reaction, often one of nausea that stops me. Nor can I see children, while out and about, who struggle—be it from physical or mental challenges, without having to fend off tears and being overcome with a profound sense of gratitude for the health of my daughter.

Finally, finally – I went for a run. It has taken me nearly six months to get back on the horse, but saddle up I have. On Monday, April 1, I laced up my sneakers for the first time in what seemed like forever, and hit the pavement. Big Red agreed to pick up Lucy so that I could run right after work. It has become overwhelmingly clear that once I am home, unless it’s to go on a walk with the baby and the dog, I will not be exercising. There’s just a little too much to get done, and I absolutely enjoy my time with my daughter – time with Lucy is just not something I’m willing to give up. Unfortunately after my inaugural run, the weather, and a terrible night of sleep, thwarted my efforts. The goal still remains that after work, twice a week, I hit the streets of Oakland, tunes in my ears, lungs heaving from inactivity and each step carrying me towards bettering myself. Next week is our spring break, so I’ll have an opportunity to lace up again. I’m no longer in a quest to be “skinny.” Long gone are those unrealistic achievements that purely set me up for failure. In place is the new goal: health and fitness. Monkey see, monkey do, and I don’t want Lucy growing up watching her mother pick herself apart in the mirror. Instead I want her to see a woman who is proud of the body that created a human life and exercises to feel good and keep healthy. If I keep that as my mantra, I know I can stay the course.

Happy six months, my sweet Lucille.

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