Monday, April 20, 2009

10-Month Progress Report

Indeed, Jacob is 10 months old today. I can hardly believe it. Time just keeps flying along. I just looked at my blog this time last year, and a year ago yesterday I was talking about one of our baby classes (the child care ones, not child birth) and one year ago tomorrow was my infamous car accident. Oh, and it was 70 degrees the day of my accident...and it's rainy and cold today. Ugh. But the point is, I can't believe a year has passed since that point, let alone Jacob's 10 months in the world. So much has changed, but still...it's crazy to think about.

Having been a parent for 10 months now, so many things boggle my mind. For example, how can I feel like a controlled, comfortable parent one minute, and be absolutely panicked the next? There are days when I daydream about baby #2, and other days when I wonder if I'm kidding myself that I'll be able to handle two kids. Some things have become old hat, but some things continue to drive me nuts to this day...and I know some things will continue to drive me nuts for years to come. I'm still nervous about extended periods alone with Jacob, that I'll be able to maintain my sanity and provide a good time for him. Going out with him is still a little intimidating as well, even though we're pretty much out of the explosive poop phase and he's really good when we're out about 95% of the time. I will always freak out about illnesses and behaviors I can't explain, and I will always worry about Jacob (even just a bit) when I'm away from him. Some things have come full circle, like nursing. I started out so unsure and clumsy, and while the actual practice has become second nature, I'm now back to worrying about whether Jacob is getting enough to eat because he doesn't nurse for long these days unless he's tired. I'm guessing he's just slowly weaning himself because he doesn't seem hungry that often (unlike his younger self that sometimes nursed every hour in the evenings)...but even still, it makes me nervous.

While at times Jacob still seems like my little baby, there are so many other things that remind me that he's not...not really, anyway. Having him still wake up in the middle of the night is a sobering reminder that he's still a baby, and the fact that we still can't exactly communicate with him keeps us in that frame of mind as well. But now that he's crawling and standing and weighs in around 18.5 pounds (or so our scale says...tough to tell how "on" the scale he was), he's definitely a far cry from the tiny little baby we brought home. When I think of how tiny he was in my arms all those nights in the hospital when I sat up and fed him, he seems downright toddler-sized when he's asleep in my arms these days. He practically overtakes me. The other night at the Knighthawks game I had him in the Baby Bjorn carrier, and a few people remarked at how he's almost as big as me! Obviously he's not quite there, but he's probably at least 28 inches long, which isn't too far from half my height. And he is starting to feel really heavy when I'm carrying him like that. I've actually been thrown off a bit lately while shopping for him, because I got in such a habit of looking in certain sections of stores and suddenly he's outgrown those sections. I'm not buying anything smaller than 12 months for him now, and some stores pretty much segregate anything up through 9 months in their own section...so now I'm in totally different areas. I guess I never realized how quick that would happen. I still get just a little sad when I have to put away clothes he's outgrown...and it's happening more and more, it seems.

The other day at Babies 'R' Us I walked past the bottle section and was like, "Wow, we're really almost done with this section..." and then proceeded to stare at the sippy cup/solid food feeding section for a good 15 minutes debating about what things I might need sometime soon. I have thought about trying to get Jacob into using a straw, but now that he's sort of figured out sippy cups, there's less urgency with that. Actually, I don't think I ever told the sippy cup success story. Jacob never seemed to fully grasp the sippy cup concept--just lots of chewing on the spout and banging the cup around. Well, the one day it occurred to me that he loves cups so much and gets the idea of putting them up to the mouth to drink...but he wasn't so good with control of the liquid itself. Real sippy cups take a lot of sucking power to get the liquid out unless you take out the rubber valve, in which case they leak a lot. I happened to have a set of Take 'n' Toss sippy cups we got for a shower sitting in waiting, and thought, they don't have handles, but that doesn't matter because Jacob can hold a cup. There's no valve, but the spout doesn't leak as bad as a normal non-valved sippy cup. And sure enough, he took to it right away. I still can't tell how much he gets to drink vs. how much ends up down his chin and on his bib, but he seems to be getting better. I was looking at him just yesterday, with his sippy cup and his Gerber puffs and thinking how grown up he looked. Now if only he could figure out how to get the puffs or Cheerios into his own mouth, that would be great. But then he'll want to put everything in his mouth, so...

I guess what I've come to realize over the past 10 months (and really, even during pregnancy before that) is to appreciate each phase. For better or worse, each phase only lasts so long. The little baby phase is scary and sleep-deprived, but it's also so amazing and special...mostly because it really does only last a little while. The concept of brevity is still hard to take sometimes when you're facing a particularly tough phase (teething) or something that's only going to get harder (like dealing with increased mobility--per yesterday's post), but I at least try to keep it in mind throughout so I appreciate the good stuff no matter what. There's a lot of looking at the bright side in parenthood, I've discovered. In most cases, from night sleeping to illnesses, it could always be worse. Even with little stuff like how Jacob still hasn't learned the word "no"...it may be annoying that he doesn't understand it yet when I'm trying to get him to stop doing something, but he can't say it back to me either. So, in the meantime, I can live in the ignorance-is-bliss phase that he's not directly defying me yet...he just doesn't know any better....right? :)

Each phase has its pros and cons, and I just need to keep remembering that. In the meantime I will still sit here in shock realizing that we're only two months away from a first birthday party that once seemed so far in the distance. My little boy is growing up before my eyes, and it's definitely nice to have a front row seat to experience it.

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