I’ve been meaning to write something celebrating Walter’s growth, ever since he turned six months, and here we are four months later and still nothing written. Life is busy.
My little baby boy is ten months old and keeps me so busy that I scarcely have time to lament his growth. It’s only when I look back at old videos and pictures of him that I’m struck by how much he’s grown. He is our little cheeky-chops, getting into mischief at every turn and filling our lives with more happiness than I even thought possible.
It was no surprise to me that Walter started crawling at seven months, as he’d been happily walking with help since about 4.5 months. I never worried too much about programmed ‘tummy time’ or anything – he’s just really strong for his age and has a healthy curiosity for everything around him. Ever since our move to Ely, and living in a place that is as baby-proof as we can make it, his mobility has really taken off. We usually just leave all the doors open to the rooms that he’s allowed in and he crawls between them, amusing himself with whatever he can find. When I come home from work he always hurtles down the hall towards me, laughing and grinning as he comes. Of course five seconds after I’m home the novelty wears off and the “sitting at mum’s feet & crying” begins, but he’s been getting better with that too.
At nine months he got his first tooth and he got a second this past week. He goes through incredibly cranky phases, which is quite stressful for David as he is trying to juggle work with a grumpy baby, but the teeth are slow in coming. Lack of teeth hasn’t slowed down Walter’s solids, however. Without planning to we’ve mostly been doing ‘self feeding’, mainly because when Sir was sick with the flu he objected to all forms of pureed food or rice cereal. Then the next thing I knew he was happily shoveling cracker crumbs into his mouth, so we went from there. He can’t figure out how to use a plate, but if I put his crumbled up food onto his high chair tray he happily shovels it into his mouth at an alarming rate. Frees me up for eating my own food, and when supper is a little more complex he’s happy enough for me to feed him. His favourite meal seems to be bread & cheese, although he is also quite partial to eggs. Getting fruits & veg into him is a harder task than I would like, mainly because David & I do not eat usually eat cooked vegetables and most fruits are too hard for Walter to mash with his gums. Now that he has a tooth he has learned to use it to scrape bits out of pieces of whole fruit (we share apples) and I have been making an effort to find more recipes that incorporate cooked vegetables so that he can increase his diet. I’d hoped to make my own baby food, but between Walter’s aversion to purees and my going back to work it’s not been possible. So he drinks quite a lot of formula as I haven’t wanted him to miss out on nutrients, but I’m really hoping I can wean him off that and onto cow’s milk and a regular solid diet once I’m on maternity leave again.
Sleep is one of the few things he hasn’t mastered, although David is working with him to get him into better habits before ‘Hope’ arrives. We generally have success getting Walter to go to bed, and naps are becoming more regular again (that all got shot to hell during the two months that Walter and I were sick over winter), but Walter sleeping through the night is a rare occurrence. I don’t worry overmuch about it, as I’m taking what I can get, but I wish I could figure out what he is lacking and fix the problem for him. We don’t have the money to just keep trying random solutions (nightlight? blackout curtain? noise machine?) and with both David & I needing to work during the day we can’t easily try crying-it-out sleep training in the middle of the night (although David does it during the day and it’s worked brilliantly). So we muddle on, which I figure is what most families do in reality, and we adapt co-sleeping to suit our needs, and that’s that.
We live really close to a beautiful park, so Walter is spending an increasing amount of time in the fresh air. He likes to sit in the swings, and I don’t blame him as his view overlooks the Cathedral pasture and Ely Cathedral. He also loves to crawl about the lawn, exploring whatever he comes across and watching the big kids play. He is fascinated by the donkey that lives in the Cathedral pasture.
Once or twice a week David & Walter go into town for coffee, and Walter loves these (and basically any) excursion out where there is stuff to see. Unless he’s tired or hungry he is happy to be wheeled about town, and he fixes all passersby with a hard stare until he can determine if he is going to smile, spit, or grimace at them.
Walter has learned to share and we have been having a lot of fun with this new skill. He enjoys chewing on things, so his favourite method of sharing is to offer up toys or baby cookies for us to chew on. One evening he tried feeding his dinner to me, one grain of rice at a time. He is very much a daddy’s boy, which thrills me. If he thinks he can get away with it, he barrels into David’s office and demands to be picked up, and then shrieks at the computer until David puts on ‘Adventure Time’, which they watch together most days. In the mornings Walter beelines straight for David and pounds him on the back, yelling out “datdatdat” and trying to give kisses until David wakes up (so most mornings I have to hustle Walter out of our bedroom so that David can get a little more sleep!). Walter loves to kiss mummy, and thinks it is great fun to rush at me and kiss me ‘by surprise’. He loves playing ‘Grand Old Duke of York’, ‘Round & Round the Garden’, and ‘This Little Piggy’.
We are really looking forward to seeing how he is a big brother. He is very social so I’m glad that he’ll have someone close to his age to play with no matter where we move in the future. He loves listening to the baby’s heartbeat and every once in a while he’ll crawl over and kiss my tummy. I expect that ‘Hope’ will have to quickly toughen up to endure Walter’s boundless energy (as it usually involves crawling over whatever is in his way) but we are also trying to teach him to be gentle. Of course it is as everyone so direly predicted – the child’s physical growth is a little faster than his mental, so impressing things like ‘no’ and ‘gentle’ is quite a difficult process. Patience is truly a virtue, and one that I am often lacking.
As for me, I am getting increasingly tired and looking forward to not being pregnant. I go on pre-maternity-leave vacation starting on July 11th, which I’m really looking forward to, and a dear friend has ordered me to go for an ante-natal-spa-day, so I’ve booked that in during my vacation time. Most of my life is a big blank question mark, and if I let myself starting dwelling on The Future the anxiety of it all could be quite overwhelming, so I am grateful to be able to focus on the little joys & struggles of family life while trying to take things one day at a time.