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It’s already 8 months since my little guy became part of our world – and how do I love him! Every day he reminds me of how incredibly cute a baby can be.

It’s so funny that he can frame his angelic face with his two dumpy arms by clasping those puffy hands together above his head, elbows next to his little ears. (If I try to do that, I have waaaayy too much arm to make it work.)

He’s also fond of swooshing those podgy arms up and down, up and down, with straight elbows, almost as if he forgets that his arms can bend in the middle. He sometimes gets so excited when he sees me that he looks like a tiny Mexican wave.

He loves greeting us by holding up his little hand as if to say: “Slap me five!”

I love slipping my finger along the creases of his wrists and ankles where invisible elastic bands rumple rolls of baby fat.

He boasts two bottom, two upper teeth and a mischievous gap-toothed smile. When he smiles, he tends to scrunch up his little nose to make that already incredibly adorable look even more so. Unlike my little girl who took teething in her stride, it turns him into about 8 kilograms of blubbering misery. Girls are the stronger sex after all, aren’t they? 😉 (He has been a little Mr Grumpy lately, probably and hopefully due to his swollen upper gums where two more teeth seem ready to make an appearance.)

He gave his first roars of laughter when he was just 2 months old. It happened when I undressed him. It turns out the little dude is incredibly ticklish! He’s also very fond of making lots of noise – laughter, crying, complaining, chatting, or even piercing experimental yells in the supermarket – anything goes! He’s definitely much more vocal than his sister used to be.

At his 6 month follow-up, he was 8 kg and of cuddly squishiness with both his length and height on the 50th percentile – which is a bit surprising as we’re a family of tall, thin giraffes. Where does this little ‘shorty’ 😉 come from, I ask you?

Shortly after he learned to sit unassisted (at 6 months), he started launching himself forwards – rather boldly – in order to expand his reach. As second child, in addition to the need to reach toys, he has the motivational factor of a sibling from which he needs to be able to retrieve a toy after he started playing with it. He is now scooting around, creeping forwards and crawling a little – mostly backwards still. He’s pushing himself up on his hands and feet – like a bear.

He’s pulling himself up against anything suitable or unsuitable for such an exercise. It’s becoming quite tricky to bath him, as he just wants to stand in the bath, holding on to the bath’s rail-handle-thingy-whatcha-call-it.

I sometime worry that my boy might be sleeping too much – imagine that? When I chat to Dr Google I’m always assured that he sleeps as much as an average baby does (or maybe only a teeny bit less). What a relief and what a welcome change after his little stay-awake-all-the-time sister! DH, little sister, baby boy and I all sleep in the same room. I wasn’t sure whether this arrangement would work, but we’re sleeping a lot better than when my little girl was a baby! DH, baby boy and myself all bed-share, and I love it (little girl sleeps in her cot still). It feels so right and so awesome to do this. He still sometimes have a drink or two in the night, but the two of us barely even wake up for that – and DH and my little girl doesn’t seem to be woken by that at all.

Breastfeeding him is a piece of cake. I’ve started giving him water in a bottle, but he’s still working on figuring out how to make that work. He usually ends up with very wet clothes – which is maybe his intention in any case, yes?

Feeding solids is going OK, although he tends to gulp lots of air and often ends up all windy and crampy. He regularly tries to supplement his diet by eating paper – letters, junk mail, grocery lists, till slips, you name it. He can make half an A4 page disappear in seconds, the moment I turn my back! And just you dare try and fish the remains out of his mouth through those razor-sharp little teeth.

I love watching how the relationship between his sister and him unfolds – but more about that in another post sometime.

I so often wish I could have a photo of every second we have together with this comical little baby dude.

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Last Thursday evening I was busy cooking in the kitchen when ‘babaliefie’ came crawling towards me with her pink wide-brim hat in her little hand. (She can now also walk a few metres independently, but crawling remains her quickest and safest mode of transportation).

I put the little hat on her head and she was off again.

Next, she came crawling towards me with DH’s hat in her little hand. I put the hat on my head this time.

‘Babaliefie’ instantly broke into a wide grin and pointed towards the door.

She can’t say it yet, but the message was very clear: “Now that we’ve got our hats on, let’s go have fun outside!” 😀

Something amazing happened just more than a year ago the first time I held my tiny, newborn baby in my arms. I looked at her and knew, just knew that she was perfect – that she would become the brightest, prettiest little girl ever. She had unlimited potential and could become anything she wanted, from a rocket scientist to a ballerina or rock star.

Inevitably, as I got to know my beloved baby angel, worries and doubts started to form. Shouldn’t she have smiled by now? Would having been born a month prem have a lasting effect on her? Was her head circumference at birth too small? Does she have enough trunk rotation (the silly paeds OT in me here)? Will she be OK in school someday? Am I doing enough to stimulate her? Is my full time work influencing her negatively?

I recently saw a blog where a mom had listed her little genius’s milestones and it went something like this:

  • 3 weeks 6 days: Smiles at mom
  • 2 months: Rolls over
  • 5 months: Crawls at 44 km/h
  • 9 months: Gets distinction for Applied Maths degree

OK not quite – but it was along those lines. (And of course parents brag about their babies! I really have no problem with that!)

I guess in the past year and a bit I’ve learned that a baby is like a wonderful gift, beautifully gift-wrapped. It will take many years to carefully unwrap this gift and to get to know this brand new little person.

Although my baby angel doesn’t give me (or her paediatrician) any reason to wonder whether she is anything but developing beautifully, I suppose it will be quite a few more years before we really know what talents, problems, limitations, dreams and fears my little girl will have to face during her lifetime.

Some things are already evident, e.g. she is waaaay too tall to become a ballerina, dancer or gymnast. (Not surprising of course, considering how tall her parents are!)

I suppose what I’ve learned since that first magical moment I’ve held her, is that she is unique and real – and human, just like me and my DH.

My greatest wish, having come to that realisation, is that I will be able to be there for her always – a guiding hand, a shoulder to cry one, a mentor. I hope that she will be able to trust me with her secrets, to share with me her joys and sorrows and to delight me with her achievements – whatever they may be.

Having been blessed with this wonderful baby, may God also grant me this wish: May I be able to be ‘there’ for her, through all of her winning, losing and trying – now and for the remaining days and years (God willing) of my life.

Finally!

DH and I were having a lazy Sunday morning with breakfast in bed and our ‘babaliefie’ was sitting between us, playing with her toys and creating some of the usual random havoc and giggles. At some stage she was playing with my hand and putting my fingers in her mouth. I suddenly felt it! There was one very sharp little tooth in there. During the day, another little tooth joined the first one.

I’m savouring the last of those big (seemingly) toothless grins as my ‘liefietjie’ reaches another milestone.

The quiet little cherub that was content to view the world from a particular spot on the bed or floor is now a distant memory. During shopping trips and outings, my little ‘babaliefie’ is now a squirming little octopus that’s magically able to reach far beyond what seems humanly possible.

At 9 months, my little fairy is already 75 cm long (as long as the average 13 month old baby girl), yet weighs in at a petite 8.3 kg. She loves her food and is also drinking 2 to 4 bottles a day. She seems happy, healthy and (if you ask me!) gorgeous.

She’s never slept well, but we’ve had an exceptionally trying month. Since breastfeeding came to a halt (due to the downward spiral of lack of demand and lack of supply), she started waking up at night and would simply fail to settle again, sometimes for as long as two or three hours! If I would turn on the light, she’d be so incredibly happy and excited to see me. Exasperated, I started giving her a bottle in the night and that seems the only way to get her asleep again. (She has NO teeth yet, so at least I’m not worried about the effect of this on her teeth..)

It’s also been harder to get her to fall asleep. Lately she pushes herself into sitting when I put her down in her cot at night – and then she just wants to play some more! I’ve come to view the time it takes to get her drowsy as our special time together though, so I don’t mind ‘working’ a bit to get her asleep.

I’ve been quiet lately as juggling motherhood, work and part-time studies is taking its toll. After a bad night, I sometimes feel as if I’m hanging onto sanity for dear life! DH is talking about ttc number two, I feel exhausted just thinking about that.

Still, I can never wait to pick up my ‘babaliefietjie’ from daycare in the afternoon. It’s my favourite moment of the day – seeing her little face again after all those long hours apart.

DH and I love her with wild abandon, this perfect, funny little angel of ours.

Last Sunday we were shopping and my baby angel had been sitting in her pram for some time. Then she suddenly looked at me and raised her arms. It was the sweetest thing! She was clearly asking to be picked up, so I obviously swept her up in my arms with kisses and cuddles.

She now raises her arms everytime she wants to be picked up and also when I say, “Kom, liefie!” (Come, sweetie!).

Simple as this gesture may be, it has taken the communication between us to a lovely new level.

(Things are hectic on my side and I’m trying to make some progress with my studies – sorry for neglecting my blog.)

Day-care is going sooo much better! My baby angel still sometimes cry when I leave her in the morning, but it seems she’s fine the rest of the day. When I pick her up in the afternoon, she’s always happy and content – and very pleased to see me. I’m so relieved that she’s settled now at day-care, but I’m also wondering whether she misses as much as I miss her every work day?

Now if only I could get my baby to sleep at night! The past week or so has been hectic and the past two nights have been the worst! Lately we’ve had to pop her dummy in what feels like a gazillion times per night. The past two nights she also wanted 2 feeds and last night I even got up and gave her a bottle of formula after the second feed. Growth spurt, maybe? Whatever it is, I just hope I get to sleep again someday. I feel like a zombie in a car wreck every morning when the alarm goes off.

She’s eating well and loves her food. By now she’s even had home cooked dinners a few times (pureed mince and lentils with veggies and pureed spaghetti bolognaise – no sugar or salt added).

In terms of her development, my baby is doing things her way. She’s always had very strong extensor muscles and has loved doing full weight bearing in a standing position even when she was only a month or two old. This helped her achieve unassisted sitting so relatively early (for a late pretermer) and at a time she was not even rolling over yet.

By now (6 months 3 weeks unadjusted for prematurity) she’s rolling over like a champ and if she’s on her tummy, she’ll try to reach a toy that’s just beyond her grasp by rolling over towards it. Up to now I could leave her on our bed when I was getting ready in the morning, but now I have to put her in the cot for those moments when I’ve got my back turned.

I’m slightly concerned that she’s not getting enough experience of weight bearing on her elbows and hands, as she completely skipped assisted tripod sitting (i.e. sitting propped up on her hands) and does not love being on her tummy. Yes, as a former paediatric Occupational Therapist, I’m sure I’ll always find something to be (at least) slightly concerned about!

She now displays fear of strangers, particularly directed towards ‘ou omies’ (older men). Admittedly, ‘ou omies’ sometimes scare me too! And lately, if I hand her over to a friend, she’ll look up at the lady’s face, start looking uncertain and finally begin to cry till I take her in my arms again.

She’s generally a quiet, cheerful little baby. She doesn’t ‘talk’ that much, but she’s always smiling. She loves it when I sing her songs and when we play games. She’ll look into my eyes and touch my face with her tiny hands – and pull my hair, which is a bit less endearing. She loves bathing and showering. She loves it when we go shopping and she’ll smile at everyone looking in her direction (as long as she’s in my arms or in her Kanga carrier).

She’s started playing peek-a-boo with her blanket. As she pulls it over her head, she becomes a bit anxious and starts breathing more quickly. Her legs will kick energetically till she finally pulls it off her face again. Hehe, she seems to enjoy the rush of those ‘scary’ moments when she’s under the blanket! Funny ‘klein Liefietjie!’

Lastly, as far as cuteness is concerned, my word! I didn’t even know babies come in this cute. How I love her, this perfect little baby angel of mine.

Just look at my pretty baby, sitting all by herself! *proud*

She’ll be 6 months old tomorrow.

DH and I took LO to the paediatrian on Tuesday for her 6-month check-up. She was 5.5 months old, but I wanted to get the visit over before we started work on Wednesday.

My word! Has my beautiful baby grown since her 3-month visit! She’s about 71 cm tall, so above the 99th percentile. Her weight is slightly below average at 6.65 kg (about 30th percentile), so she is one tall, dainty fairy.

I was a bit worried she might be too thin, but I suppose she wouldn’t have grown so tall if she were malnourished or getting too little calories? Also, apart from a slight cold once and recurrent hayfever, she has never been ill, which must be a good sign.

The doctor looked at my DH and myself and basically said that he’s not concerned about her weight – it’s clearly in our genes, lampposts that we both are.

The rest of the visit went very well. ‘Liefietjie’ played along nicely and showed the doc what a clever, healthy and bouncing baby she is.

The sleep deprived blur that has been the first three months with my ‘babaliefie’ has been the most amazing adventure. I still can’t believe that I’m lucky enough to be the mommy of this pretty little baby angel.

My tiny baby is growing into my ‘big’ baby girl and she now weighs more than twice her take-baby-home weight, so about 5.5 kg.

During the past week or two, we seem to have turned a corner. She’s finally feeding less often – we have some 4 hour stretches now. As a result my ‘wakker klein rakker’ is sleeping a lot better, which is a very welcome change indeed! She’s now able to entertain herself for at least a few minutes when she’s awake and sitting in her swing or have a mobile or toy to look at, so my days are becoming less intense.

I think that if she could talk, these would have been the favourite sayings of my babaliefie during her first three months in the big wide world:

  • “I like to move it move it!” – She wanted to be rocked, carried around or bounced up and down most of her waking hours for the first 3 months. Much cooler (for baby) than just sitting there, I agree! She loves driving in the car, but usually cries when I stop at traffic lights or a stop sign – until the car moves again. Valid point, Liefietjie, standing still is just too boring, hey?
  • “Phew, that was close! I nearly nodded off. Luckily I managed to pry my eyes open just in time..” – There’s no telling what one could miss while your eyes are closed.
  • “Believe it, Mommy! I am indeed hungry again.” – I found it very strange when people would ask me when it’s time for her next feed. How would I know?! The interval between feeds was mostly between 30 mins and 2 hours, so the best answer to people asking that would be: probably soon.
  • “Wow, what an awesome day!” – She seems to love waking up in the morning and always (since she started smiling) gives me a dazzling smile when she opens her big blue eyes.

One thing is certain, Bill Gates doesn’t have enough money to make me an offer for my ‘babaliefie’! DH and I love her so.

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