Friday, June 21, 2013

7 months: Catching up
7 months

 Dearest Katherine,

You are seven months old, sweetie pie, and this month you started catching up in earnest.  You went through a six month growth spurt, which coincided with a marked increase in your appetite.  Today you weighed a whopping 13 lbs 4 oz. so all those extra calories did you some good.  You've even moved up to the 2nd percentile weight for your actual age.

Babydoll by keeniebeanieYou've decided to wean yourself from the breast this month.  You and I were never going to compete in the nursing Olympics, as your early arrival and tiny size, the first week of bottle feeding on formula and an unresolved tongue tie all got in the way of an efficient latch.  When I was still trying to get you to nurse effectively as a newborn, I said that if I had to pump and feed you for six months, that's what I would do... and baby girl, we made it.  I didn't have to introduce formula again until a couple of weeks ago.  Until this month, you were happy to nurse overnight when you were sleepy, but recently you've been so hungry that only an actual bottle would do even then.  If I'd known your last nursing session was going to be your last, I would have tried to permanently etch the memory of that final moment of unique closeness, giving you something only I could.  But as it is, we simply drifted into full-time bottle feeding, although you're still primarily on my milk, needing only about one formula bottle a day to top you up.  

We also started to feed you pureed food this month - well, we're trying anyway.  Although I wanted to wait until you had the strength and coordination to embark upon a mainly baby-led finger food journey, your preemie status meant we shouldn't wait any longer to introduce you to food other than milk.  You gave me a big smile and opened wide for your first taste of baby rice cereal, but soon decided the stuff was vile - gagging before I even got it to your lips.  (I don't blame you one bit.)  I'd never once put something in your mouth you didn't like, and the look of betrayal on your face when you were fed that rice cereal was both hilarious and heart-breaking.  We next tried apple, which you tolerated briefly before rejecting that as well.  Pear was slightly more acceptable, especially when mixed with mummy's milk.  I confess that this is probably my first real test of parenthood, as I must persevere no matter how reluctant you are to eat.  Up 'til now, you've pretty much been in charge, and are so easy-going that not much has challenged me.  But this is for your own good, my dear, even if you wish I would stop trying to get that spoon into your mouth.  If you hurry up and get strong enough to sit up in your high chair, and improve that hand-to-mouth coordination, we'll let you feed yourself.  If you're as stubborn as your father is, I'm sure you'll like that much better.

Bumbo! by keeniebeanieThere have been so many other leaps this month.  You've rolled over for the first time this week, both front-to-back and back-to-front.  You've started reaching up and out for toys rather than simply deigning to play with what we've placed in your hands.  When you do get a hold of something, you're so excited that you wave it around until centrifugal force detaches it from your grip and you manage to fling it far from your grasp.  You try to stuff your hands in our noses and mouths.  You cling to us like a baby koala and that grip can be hard enough to sting when you manage to pinch us.  You've figured out how to detach a finger or thumb from your fist to suck rather than attempting to shove the whole thing into your mouth at once.  You showed me you can get your bottle into your mouth, and even keep it there... when you remember not to immediately abandon the effort.  You've discovered your feet are endlessly fascinating.  You've developed a ticklish neck and a hearty belly laugh.  You're growing so big, baby girl, I can hardly remember you as a teeny, tiny newborn less than a quarter the size you are now.

Laughter by keeniebeanieYou and your daddy are falling ever more in love.  He gives you cuddles and kisses and tells you that you're prettier today than you were yesterday.  The man doesn't ever say things he doesn't mean, so you must believe him when he tells you that.  He makes your stuffed toys come to life, climbing up to his shoulder and then jumping into your arms.  When he does that, your face lights up and your whole body tenses, practically vibrating with excitement as you reach out to hug your incoming cuddly toy. 

Daddy says he understands now why people say having a child is the best thing they've ever done.  There are moments when it's really tough to have a little person totally dependent on us, calling all the shots.  You are a beautiful little terrorist, holding our hearts hostage.  But your beaming smile in the morning, waving your arms and thumping your little feet because you're so excited to see us, or those moments when we can watch you learn and grow, when we can practically see the flashes of insight and understanding you're developing, are absolutely sublime.  You are amazing, little one, and I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings.

I love you with all my heart,