When Norah was little, I used to think, “When she gets a little bigger, when she starts sleeping a little better… it’s going to be easier.” I foolishly thought that all of my mom problems would be solved once she started sleeping through the night.
I. WAS. WRONG!
One thing no one tells you about the miracle of baby sleeping through the night is that it will probably start happening because they spend all day running around like crazy people and they’ve finally worn themselves out.
The older she gets, the more exhausted I feel. But please don’t get me wrong! I’m not complaining. I’m really not. I can honestly, with 100% sincerity say, I am more exhausted than I’ve ever been in my life– but I’m also happier than I’ve ever been in my life.
A lot of this moving and shaking started to happen around 6 months–maybe that’s why I stopped blogging around the same time? I was too busy chasing Norah around?
I’ll let you decide the correlation for yourself.
What I want to do here, dear reader, is make all of that time up to you. I want to give you one, quick down-to-brass-tacks post containing my top 3 tips for surviving months 6-11 with your little wiggly, wobbly, into-every-loving-thing bundle of joy.
1. Hang on tight. It’s about to get real!
I’ve said it before, and I’ll probably say it again… Things happen fast in baby-land! One minute, they’re little bundles of baby squish, the next… well, they’re doing this…
I swear, Norah does something new pretty much every other day now! I remember back before she officially started crawling how much I couldn’t wait for her to start. And then it was standing… and then walking… and, well, I’m expecting her to pick a major any day now.
Seriously, it goes by SO fast! Months 6-11 are chalked full of milestones. You got the 6 month milestones, the 9 month milestones… and right around the corner come the 12 month! Prepare yourself, mentally, emotionally… physically… Life is about to change–FAST!
2. Milestone Madness
As you probably picked up from my last point, milestones start flying your way around this time of baby’s life. You’ll hear about them at the doctor’s office, your friends with babies, your subconscious mind always worrying if baby is okay…
I just want to take a moment to talk about milestones.
As I’m sure you’ve heard a million times already (but it never hurts to repeat it)–YOUR BABY IS NOT MY BABY IS NOT HER BABY IS NOT THEIR BABY!
Your baby is going to develop how and when and why your baby dang-well pleases! Some babies hit all their milestones right on time. Some advance in one area and don’t seem to care about another.
Norah, for example, she couldn’t start moving fast enough. She was on her feet and going by 9 months. Fine motor skills? They’re not so much her thing… She doesn’t clap, she doesn’t blow kisses, she just started waving and pointing. She’s got bigger things to worry about.
Like, chasing the dog under the pink chair…
And talking? She babbles… but she’s nowhere near making sensible words. I have friends whose babies are pros at all of these things. But, they started walking later than Norah.
The point? Don’t worry until you need to worry. Enjoy your baby for who they are, encourage them to find their own strengths, and give them support for developing their “weaknesses.”
3. Baby-proofing is an ongoing struggle
Ask me what I’m doing this weekend… Go ahead, ask me!
I’m getting a trashcan with a lid on it.
I’ll tell you one thing. That was definitely not on the list of baby-proofing items that I got at my baby safety class.
Hubby and I, back when baby started rolling, began the process of baby-proofing. We started with the typical: move cords, put locks on cabinets with chemicals, move anything fragile and/or valuable out of reach.
We figured that would be it! That would be enough… We were very wrong! Norah finds things. Things I didn’t even realize were there. We’ve had to rearrange our house multiple times. What was once a classy, literature-steeped, travel-centric living room is now, well, see for yourself…
It’s not always that messy, I promise! But, it is completely filled with baby stuff. Toys, books, her “fort.” We’ve emptied out that cabinet right there and filled it with Norah-approved goodies, and the TV stand (no pictured) is essentially eight cubes filled with more books, toys, and Norah stuff.
At first, I had the thought: “We’ll just teach her ‘no.’ We can keep our home more or less ‘normal.’ We just need to be consistent.”
Let me tell you one thing right now:
PICK YOUR BATTLES when it comes to baby-proofing! Yes, I do think it’s important for your baby to learn “no.” And if you move EVERYTHING out of their reach, they’ll never learn boundaries. BUT! Let’s get real. You don’t have time to chase baby around all day long!
There are some battles that will always need to be fought. The dog bowls, for example. We can’t starve the dog! He needs access to water! So, we have to consistently make sure that Norah knows she’s not supposed to play with them. She’s still getting structure and boundaries (there are other things besides the dog bowls) and she has learned “no.” She just doesn’t understand “disobeying.” And, I can’t expect her to just yet!
So, in the mean time, my house is pretty much Norah’s playground. And I’m okay with that.
Bonus Tip: Don’t Rush It!
I couldn’t wait for Norah to start crawling. And now, I wish she would just sit still for a minute! I was so excited to give her solids. And now, she doesn’t want to breastfeed much anymore, and I miss my baby snuggles.
It’s going by in the blink of an eye.
Soak up the moment! Even through the sleepless nights, the obsessing over solids (what can she eat? when? how often? is this chunk of banana too big?), and the eagerness to watch them grow, take a moment every single day to consciously contemplate your little one. What they’re doing. Who they’re becoming. And, (if you have the time) WRITE IT DOWN!
I hate myself for not keeping up with this blog. This was where I documented Norah’s progress. And now, honestly, I don’t really remember much about months 6-11. Seems crazy, since they just happened! But, so much happened, that it’s hard to remember all of it.
What I’ve started doing (in addition to this blog), is I’ve started a sort of “journal.” I just sit down and write little notes in a Word Doc about what Norah’s been up to, something cute she did recently, or what her favorite foods/toys/books/songs are, etc. At the end of the month (I just started this for 10 months, but I’ve been keeping up with it for 11 and it’s been great!) I go back through my phone and pick my three favorite pictures of her from that month, and put them in the document.
That’s just my idea. Do you have any of your own?
Do you have any other tips you would include on this list for months 6-11? Do you have anything you do to remember baby’s special milestones? What do you do to keep up with all the baby-centered madness?