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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.

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.

I’ve been back at work (from maternity leave) for over a week. It was long enough for me to realize that I’m going to take very long to adjust to this new setup.

I have a good enough job (if not the stuff movies or series are based on – hahaha, not even close!) and an amazingly understanding female boss. I found a daymother on Gumtree that I feel reasonably comfortable with (i.e. as comfortable as one could feel about a stranger you’re entrusting with the most precious gift you’ve ever received). I should be grateful.

It’s just that I always thought I’d be a stay-at-home mom like my mother. She married a kinda rich man though (my darling dad), while a geeky, kinda hunky scientist in an ancient bakkie stole my heart. I now realize that being a working girl is one thing, but leaving your long awaited baby girl with a total stranger is quite another.

So here I am, thinking some big-time jealous thoughts about The Other Woman… ’cause my baby angel’s daymother is the one who:

  • now gets to spend more time with my little angel during workweeks than I do.
  • gets to enjoy those Miss Sunshine smiles every weekday when my angel wakes up from a morning nap.
  • will have more opportunities in a given week than I will to comfort and hold her when she cries.
  • might be the one who gets to hear my angel laugh her first belly laugh, say her first word, see her take those first wobbly steps…

How is a mother’s heart supposed to adjust to all that? Ever?

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.

My little star is weighing about 5 kg, so twice her weight on take-baby-home day. I love breastfeeding her. To me there’s something almost holy in those intimate moments when she’s drinking quietly and contently, her tiny body pressed against mine. (If we can ignore those fussy evening feeds for a minute here!)

As for sleeping, uhm, well.. stars are brightest at night, right? She takes after her never-tired daddy.. She still wakes up every two hours to visit Mommy’s Diner, i.e.at roughly 12 am, 2 am, 4 am and again at 6. During the day, LO can go without sleep for up to about 6 hours! I often spend half an hour getting her to sleep – then after 15 minutes of sleep, she opens those big blue eyes, gives me a big grin and wants to be held, carried around, entertained or whatnot again!

She hates dummies, Telament drops, vaccinations, those frequent stomach cramps and sitting in the same spot for long.

She loves baths, her swing, her daddy, gripe water, lullabies and mommy’s breast (a restaurant, snack bar, pacifier and pillow all in one!).

I still spend a significant amount of time on work tasks, or stressing about work deadlines even though I’m on maternity leave till mid November. I’ve dropped out of my UNISA studies this semester – finding no time for the assignments. Sigh.

So in short, LO is doing well, DH is still the proudest dad ever and I’m the lucky, if utterly exhausted mommy of the most amazing little one.

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