Zane turned seven months old two weeks ago, on the 21st. (The same day I turned 35, actually).
Because I am rarely in the possession of two free hands and time to write, and because I am such a perfectionist and also very wordy - I have not managed to finish a letter here for Zane for month six or seven. So instead, I am hereby switching the "Z-files" formats to a bulleted update / newsletter so I can make sure to get all these milestones recorded. I am writing shorter, more frequent letters to Zane in a private journal. Because I know you were wondering, right?
Since he turned six months old Zane is like a whole new kid. I swear he turned into a "toddler" overnight. I look at him and wonder where my "baby" went. I would be more sad about this except for the fact that he is just so delightfully interactive right now. I have a friend who says about his daughters that every stage was his favorite stage, just as he would think the current "stage" was his favorite, his daughter would enter the next stage and he would find himself newly and equally delighted with this new place. I get this now.
-At his six month check up Zane weighed 18lbs5oz and he was 28.25 inches "tall". He was in the 93rd percentile for height but had dropped to the 50th percentile for weight. Lean and tall. He has definitely grown more in the last month but I haven't measured him. He is fitting mostly 12 month clothing now.
Physical Development / Mobility:
- By six months he was regularly sitting up on his own and actively crawling.
- By seven months he was crawling with speed and he was regularly pulling himself up on any surface available, including our pant legs.
-The last two weeks he has been taking little steps while holding onto something and is standing while supporting himself with one hand.
-He makes his way all over the house this way, crawling, pulling up, stepping along, sitting back down, crawling some more. I am both immensely proud and a little dismayed by all this mobility. My cuddly baby is now constantly on the move and exploring and I miss when I could hold him for hours at a time. It makes me appreciate our cuddle-time before bed all the more though!
-As a result of the constant pulling up and (in the beginning) constant falling, Zane has learned to brace himself and catch himself when he feels he is falling. He went from multiple daily head "bonks" to almost none in just a week's time.
-He is really good with his hands and loves to turn things over and over and try to figure them out. He picks up balls and puts them in the holes of one of his toys, he drums on everything and loves playing his little piano or shaking his tambourine. He loves pushing buttons and pulling on things.
-He is crazy strong and has almost ripped the toys right out of his exersaucer (especially that bee who won't come out of her beehive - what is up with her?!).
-He gives us quite the formidable wrestling matches over changing time and being strapped into his high chair. I have had to come up with songs for his car seat, changing time, getting in the stroller, and sitting in the high chair. Once I sing the song he calms down and becomes more accommodating - otherwise it's pretty much like trying to wrestle a wild greased piglet. :)
- In the last two months we have heard the steady progression of Zane's vocal expression. It began with chattering repetitively: "bababababa", "lalalalalalal", "nnnnnnnaaaaaaahhhhh", and has developed into more consistent meaningful sounds: "Dadadada", "Hiiiii!", and "MMMMMaaaaaahhhh Mmmmmaaaaaahhhhh". Oh and then there's the "rasberries" and the high pitched excited scream, and the high pitched happy chattering, and the groaning and mumbling to himself and always the ever present laughter. I think his favorite "word" to say is "Dada" - he repeats it throughout the day, especially when he is happy and playing. And I can ask him "where is Dada?" and he will look for his Daddy. He mostly says "Mmmmmaaaaaahhhhh" for me when he is tired, sad, or hurt. But the other day, about a week ago, he was playing and he turned and smiled at me and clear as a bell pronounced: "MaMa!". I am pretty sure I passed out from sheer delight at that moment.
- He also knows sign language for "all done" and he will shake his head "No" when he doesn't want something (like more food, when Mama is begging him to take "just one more bite"!)
- At five months he began eating rice cereal and while it wasn't a total hit, he happily ate it every night for dinner until he was six months old.
-At six months we began adding "solid foods". We began with banana. And he really seemed to love this new development. Slowly we introduced new foods every 3 days or so and all was well. I have been making all his baby food except for just one or two foods I choose to buy premade. I get so excited to introduce him to a new food, I love that moment when he first tastes it, contemplates it and then opens his mouth for more. Of course there have been a few duds (zucchini is not his favorite) but for the most part he has gladly eaten his way through every new introduction.
- At seven months I increased his meals from two to three daily and began creating more combinations, and adding spices and herbs, while still introducing new foods to his menu.
-So far his favorite single food is peaches, by a landslide. That boy can eat an entire peach (pureed of course) in one meal! Of course, anyone who has tasted Colorado peaches this time of year can understand this.
-His favorite "meal" is sweet potatoes mixed with pear and apple purees, millet, and a touch of nutmeg. I have a hunch he's going to love Thanksgiving time.
-Oh, and sippy cups! He loves drinking water from them. He hasn't taken a bottle willingly in many months, but he loves his sippy cups! Last night Mr. Spicy was even able to put him to bed by giving him breast milk in a sippy cup. Oh the possibilities!!!!
- And we can't forget to mention nursing! He is still breastfeeding with gusto. He loves to nurse and will often crawl over to me and cup one of my breasts with his hands as he burrows his face into it. He also frequently just blatantly tries to latch on through my shirt and bra in public. Good times! :) It is obvious that nursing is so much about comfort for him now. He wants to nurse when he is tired, when he has hurt himself, when he is in pain from gas or teething. I am so proud of us both that we have made it this far and are still going strong. I see his hunger being met more steadily by food and I know we are on the downslope. I can see in the distance a day when we do not connect this way and I can hardly imagine it. I will definitely miss this. He has been a champion nurser since mere hours after his birth. It is so hard to believe some day he just won't need this anymore.
-Ouch. Well, sleeping has been......a challenge for us lately. At six months he was on a pretty steady routine. He would fall asleep quickly at about 8pm and he would wake twice for brief nursing sessions in the middle of the night, and then wake up for good around 6am. This worked ok for me. He was never awake for very long and he usually spent the last stretch of the night in bed with us.
- but then....there was teething, and gas, and god knows what. The last month or so has been a complete crapshoot. He will follow his old routine for a few nights and then randomly mix it up on us for a few nights or a week at a time. Sometimes he falls asleep really early, sometimes he stays up really late, sometimes he has a hard time falling asleep (really unusual for him), sometimes he has a hard time staying asleep (one night he continually woke up each time I would lay him down - seven times in a row, only to immediately fall back to sleep when I picked him up), sometimes he wakes up crazy early. We just never know anymore.
-So initially I fretted, I read and researched, and I berated myself for my failure to get him to sleep with regularity. And I became a miserable grumpy person and felt like I was going to explode any time he didn't sleep according to my plans and efforts. And it sucked. So one day I decided to scrap all my "efforts" and just go with the flow. I accepted that he is still a baby, that before long I won't get these night time cuddles with him, and I will miss them. I began to just understand and expect that he would wake up in the middle of the night. And although there are still those nights where I feel like crawling out of my skin for lack of sleep - for the most part, changing my own perspective on it has helped immensely. I am much more happy to help him fall back asleep when he wakes up and I can find much more tenderness for the both of us when we have had a rough night together. I do think he is about to finally cut a tooth or two and I think that is a large part of his waking, and I also think he is having such a huge spurt of development that it is also making him somewhat restless. I just keep telling myself that this is a stage, it will get better, we will get through this. He will sleep through the night eventually. (right?)
-Zane loves to play. He actually plays now. Pulling out toys from his bin, choosing the ones he wants, exploring and manipulating them. The musical ones seem to be his favorites.
- He has a real sense of music already. He drums on things, slaps his knees to music and bounces along as he "dances". We begin a music class in a week and I am really excited to see how he will respond.
-He loves playing "peek-a-boo" with us, loves when we pretend to "get him", and loves being tickled. He laughs riotously when we dance for him or move around like dinosaurs or robots.
-He LOVES dogs! He screams in delight as they pass us on our daily walks.
- He also loves playing with water, from a hose, in the sink, in the tub - he just is fascinated by it.
-We spend our days going for walks around the park, to the coffee shop, around lakes with friends, going to the zoo, grocery shopping, playing in the grass (Zane loves the grass!) and exploring the house.
And one of my favorite moments in the last month (besides the "Mama" moment of course): He was crawling around the living room and I crawled after him pretending to "get him" by nipping his bottom and legs. He laughed so hard he almost fell over. And then, he began to turn around and crawl after me, opening his mouth and "getting me". It was an amazing moment. My baby was a little boy in that moment. The little boy I look forward to playing with for years and years to come. I caught a glimpse of our future together and it made my whole heart explode. He is my boy, my little boy.
We have so much to look forward to.