Baby

6 months – A Pause for Reflection

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Happy 6 months Amaya! I am patting myself on the back for reaching this huge milestone! This was the hardest, longest, fastest, exhausting, invigorating, exciting, wonderful, blurriest, most amazing half year of my life. 6 months is a super fun age! Overall, you’re an easy going baby (and by now I am a much more confident mom). You are super happy and giggly, independent, curious, and such a joy to watch. I can’t stop kissing your juicy cheeks and will do anything to make you laugh. You are my world!

You Like: happy baby pose, jumping in your jumparoo, reading books and touching pages, scratching things to feel texture, doing workouts with mommy, bathtime with daddy, having your ears q-tipped, getting kisses from Olivia, talking to Terri, nibbling on avocado and mango, putting everything in your mouth, blowing raspberries, pinching my arm while you nurse (it hurts!), giving mommy slobbery kisses, your monkey lovey

You Dislike: laying on your changing table to put on clothes or have your diaper changed (you wiggle and squirm and grab everything in arms length)

Stats: Weight – 14 lbs 6 oz (18%);  Height – 24.75 in (10%); Head – 43 cm (73%); Weight-for-Length – 46%

Developmental Milestones:

  • Sitting up on your own
  • Sleeping without a sleep sack!
  • Holding your own bottle
  • Sleeping through the night (7:30pm-7am) for the first time! Most days, wakes up once around 5-6am to feed and goes back to sleep til 7 or 8
  • Starting solids! Has tried avocado, banana, sweet potato, mango, strawberries, and peas.
  • Pivoting around on your belly to get from one place to another; scooting backwards slightly

Daycare

I am still so in love with Amaya’s daycare Sun, Moon, and Stars and her wonderful teachers. She continues to hit many developmental milestones early, and I’m convinced she elevates herself to the older kids around her. There are now a few younger kids in her class, so she’s right in the middle, age-wise. She’s continuing to thrive in this setting – playing independently with toys, enjoying music class, and having fun outside on the deck. I went to pick her up the other day, and she saw me and burst into a big smile, waving her arms up and down. It was the best feeling ever to see her recognize me! I also found out from the weekly newsletter that she started holding her own bottle. Amazing! Currently, Amaya has a blowout almost every day, so we are constantly soaking poopie onesies and doing laundry. We’re pros at handling stains!

Feeding

I remember being so anxious about feeding in public because Amaya gets easily distracted. I tried once and got nervous and sweaty, and she didn’t even want to eat. I was determined to give it another try, and my friend Michelle gave me the guts to do it when we went out for brunch with our kiddos. Well it turned out fine! Amaya did look at me and smile/coo for a bit, but then she focused on eating. I’ve fed in public 4 times in the past 2 weeks and feel super proud of myself! I also feel so much more freedom to be out longer and not have to worry about rushing home. What Allie told me several months ago is true – it doesn’t get easier, you get better. I am getting less anxious and feeling more confident with every week that passes. This one was a big accomplishment for me!

Work Life Balance

I’ve had some big realizations about my new definition of work life balance in the past month. Work has been hectic and draining for the past few weeks; for awhile, I was working every night for at least an hour just to keep up and prepare for the following day. I was super stressed which made me highly sensitive/hormonal, which in turn affected my ability to pump some days, which then resulted my mind spiraling into a negative pattern, causing anxiety and tears. Andy ended up giving me several productivity tips that have helped (like declining meetings scheduled over my pump times and setting aside “creative space” during the week to reflect and plan). But the biggest ah-ha moment I had was when Andy reminded me that exclusively breastfeeding/pumping were my choice, and I could either make a change or fully commit to that decision. Realizing I had a choice that I could protect really shifted my perspective. During pump times, I prioritized pumping instead of putting it off for a meeting or to finish work. It also allowed me to reset my expectations. I finally understood that I can’t hold everything at equal priority or something (or everything) would suffer.  This is a lesson I have to be mindful of every single day, but I’m getting better.

Me Time

After getting a handle on my stress with work, I’ve started to find small but consistent ways to take care of myself. My favorite thing is to workout every day with Amaya. I hold her in front of the mirror while doing squats, lift her up and down in the air to workout my arms, and then balance her on my shins and do crunches to kiss her face. She giggles the entire time, and I can’t get enough of it. I’m also doing 20-30 minute YogaGlo classes when I work from home, and Andy and I stretch together at night while we catch up or watch tv. I’ve also started reading again, even though it’s just a few pages at night or when I’m pumping. Something is better than nothing! On really good days, like Mother’s Day and Memorial Day weekend, I gave myself permission to go for a swim at Barton Springs and get a manicure while Amaya was with Andy or my parents. And even in doing this, I finally allowed myself to fully enjoy what I was doing and not worry or feel guilty about leaving Amaya. As I write this, the concept seems so simple, but honestly, letting go of guilt and prioritizing yourself are probably the two things I hear every mom struggle with consistently. And this issue is not exclusive to new moms either. I’m not great at it yet, but I’m making an attempt. I can now see how self care replenishes me and enables me to thrive when I’m with my family. It’s not a luxury; it’s a necessity.

Family

The half year mark has also been a huge milestone for me and Andy. I reflect on how much we have grown in the past 6 months, and it’s astounding, especially considering we have been married almost 3 years and have been together for 15. Every day I learn more about myself through his eyes and by being vulnerable and speaking honestly. I witness us listening better and being more open minded and empathetic. We are also more willing to put our egos aside to understand the other person’s point of view, which helps us be more accountable for our actions. Last week we got into an argument about introducing solids because I flipped out while Andy was trying to feed my smoothie to Amaya. I turned a simple, fun act into a list of shoulds and should nots and concerns about isolating ingredients for allergies that I never bothered to explain to him in the first place. He called me out, and I realized he would never intentionally cause Amaya any harm. This was an example how I let my expectations and “plan” get in the way of creating a fun moment for Andy and Amaya. The discussion lasted no more than 10 minutes, and then it was time to give Amaya a bath. It truly proves that in order to be good parents to Amaya, we have to get over ourselves quickly and move on; there’s no room for ego or stubbornness in our relationship. It’s all these seemingly small, unremarkable yet meaningful moments that reaffirm the solid foundation of our marriage and redefine our partnership. I’m grateful every day to be on this life journey with Andy. Thanks for calling me out on my shit.

Six months have flown by, and I feel like a better, stronger version of myself. I’m not the same frustrated, worried, anxious person who cowered in the corner of the room in the middle of the night while her baby wailed. I’ve struggled, and I’ve persevered. I’m learning, and I will continue to grow. I am humbled and also proud of myself for learning to survive and now starting to thrive. Thank you Amaya for choosing me to be your mom! You continue to be my greatest teacher.

Memorable moments:

  • Going to brunch on Mother’s Day and taking a family nap
  • First time seeing rain – it was anti climactic
  • First time in the swimming pool
  • First time dunking your head in the pool (you hate the Otteroo!)
  • First time having your grandparents do the entire bedtime routine while we were at a wedding (you were an angel and then slept the entire night!)
  • Going on a walk while grandpa wore you in the carrier – and then pooping on him!
  • A smooth car ride to and from Houston for Memorial Day weekend (thank god!)
  • First time nursing in public at brunch at Central Standard
  • First time trying a mango – you looked so confused and then aggressively reached out for it!
  • Meeting baby Joaquin!
  • First bath in your big tub
  • First time sitting in your high chair – you are such a big girl!

Mantra: Slow down and savor each moment.

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