Annnnd just like that we have a 9 month old! I have to admit that these posts are getting harder and harder to write. Miles is becoming such a little person that it feels nearly impossible to capture in words who he is and what he’s like. How do I explain what it feels like to watch his face light up the moment his tiny feet hit the floor while he holds onto anything he can? How do I describe what his giggles sound like when he tries to reach my nose through the slats in his crib after waking up from a nap? How do I translate the feeling I get when he stops wiggling for just a moment to rest his head on my shoulder?
I can’t, really. But I’m still going to try. I love looking back on previous posts so I know I’ll be grateful to have captured the past two months here as best as I can.
Miles is always moving now. He isn’t even crawling yet (more on that toward the end of this post), but he’s always on the go. He throws his bodyweight around, reaches for anything and everything, kicks his legs like crazy, rolls, grabs his toes, plays with toys like a pro, and wants to stand all the time. He’s even starting to take a few steps while holding onto our fingers. I’ll admit that I deeply miss those moments of stillness we used to have together and I still seek them out whenever I can, especially when putting him to bed at night. At seven months old they were few and far between, but at eight months old he went through a phase of wanting to be held more often and I was always thrilled to oblige : )
Really, this is such a fun age. (Then again, I’ve loved them all!) I feel like he’s waking up to the whole world around him. He greets us every morning with the biggest smile on his face (Robert and I still try to go into his room together in the morning when he wakes up). From there he has a whole day of exploring to do. He’s completely enamored with light fixtures and squeals with glee whenever Robert lifts him to see them up close.
One of the most memorable milestones over these past months is that Miles started saying a few words. In October he started saying “Dada.” By November, while we were on a flight from New York to Chicago, he said “baba” and less than a week later he added “Mama” to his vocabulary. He now says these words all the time.
Feeding Miles has been quite the journey over the past few months. We started introducing solids around six months. We loved the idea of baby-led weaning, but after a few too many terrifying near-choking incidents we decided it just wasn’t for us. So we moved onto purees. For a while, I made them all and really enjoyed it. Miles did, too—for the most part. The thing about feeding a young baby, though, is you never really know how much they’re going to eat. Some days he seemed like a bottomless pit and then we’d go through weeks when he wasn’t really into solids at all. Like most things with raising a baby, helping them learn to eat is an enormous exercise in patience and persistence. In any case, it felt like we were throwing out a lot of food. That’s totally fine and to be expected, but it also meant that I was throwing out a lot of time making them instead of actually being with him. So by eight months old we switched over to a combination of organic pouches, some quick and easy homemade purees, and slowly introducing finger foods. He just turned nine months over Thanksgiving and started getting really great at feeding himself (what timing!) so I’m looking forward to sharing more of what we eat with him in the coming months.
I’m nervous to say anything about sleep for fear of jinxing it, but I’m going to take my chances. Miles has become a fantastic sleeper! He sleeps about 13 or more hours per night (usually 6 p.m. to 7 a.m.). In my last post, I mentioned that he was a short napper, but that’s definitely changed over the past two months. He often takes two longer naps (anywhere from 90 minutes to 2 hours) and if we sneak in a third nap it’s about 45 minutes long. When he’s at daycare, though, all bets are off—his naps are fewer and shorter, but I guess that’s to be expected. Oh! We finally transitioned him out of the Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit this past month and he now sleeps in a sleep sack.
Speaking of daycare…sigh. To be perfectly honest, all I can say is that being apart from my baby just isn’t getting any easier. I keep expecting it to become easier with time, routine, and what have you, but I miss him terribly and worry about him all day long even though I know he’s in great hands. A few times per month I just can’t bring myself to take him to daycare in the morning and end up keeping him home with me. I love spending those days with him, but they also remind me how exhausting it is trying cram my work in during his naps and then working at night after he’s in bed (which means no downtime for me, no time with Robert, and trying to work when I’m pooped after entertaining a baby all day). The whole thing is just plain hard. I’m not quite sure what more there is to say and I don’t have any solutions, but that’s where things stand right now.
I feel so silly admitting what I’m going to share next, but I also know that there are plenty of people who’ll be able to relate. Do you want to know what was the single best thing I did for myself this past month? I deleted Instagram. I knew it would be a good thing, but I had no idea what a tremendous shift it would have for me. Here’s when I knew that it was time to call it quits: I saw pictures of other babies Miles’ age who were crawling or cruising and I started feeling bad that he wasn’t doing the same. It’s one thing for me to lust after someone else’s kitchen or wardrobe, but the moment I started comparing our baby to another, it was clear I was headed down a path I didn’t want to be on. Comparison really is the thief of joy. He’s the sweetest, happiest, funniest, calmest baby I’ve ever met and there isn’t a thing I’d change about him. In fact, I’ve learned so much about myself caring for a baby who, at least at this stage, is so different from me temperament-wise. I have to be really careful to not push my type A-ness on him and feeling like he should be doing something (at least according to my Instagram feed) that he isn’t yet (when the reality is that it’s totally fine if he never crawls).
That was my impetus for deleting Instagram from my phone, but I’ve gained so much more than I expected. Mostly: time. I realized that I was checking the app during any spare moment in the day—even while walking down the stairs (not carrying the baby of course)—as well as when I was with Miles and I couldn’t seem to keep myself from doing so. What was I even looking at? I’d check one thing and the next thing I knew I’d find myself scrolling through some 25-year-old Mormon mom of four’s feed with a (seemingly) picture-perfect home and family whom I didn’t actually have a thing in common with. (Why they always seemed to be Mormon, I have no idea, but there’s that.) Anyway, it was bad. I thought I’d have a hard time keeping myself from checking Instagram or re-installing it in my phone, but instead I found that I felt so much better without it. I felt like I’d been freed some from a trap I willingly fell into. It’s so silly, but so real. Who knows if I’ll rejoin at some point with a healthier approach, but for now I know that I’m happier and more present without it.
Looking ahead, we have so much to look forward to over the next month with the holidays here. I can’t wait to introduce Miles to so many fun traditions and make so many new memories with him. I just feel so darn lucky to be his mom.