It’s been a while, but I’m back with a few more essential mom skills, this time for the 9-12 month set. What’s that you say? My baby is fifteen months old? That sounds fake, but okay. I started this post months ago. Let’s just take a moment to consider that if this little blog is running 3-6 months behind schedule, what might that suggest about the rest of my life?
Anyway, I woke up today to a fully mobile toddler slamming a bell next to my head repeatedly. I don’t know what time it was, but it was definitely still dark. Let’s just dive in.
Baby socks are a joke. When your baby is tiny and snuggly and holds still, it doesn’t matter. Aw, his socks came off. That’s so cute. When your baby is crawling and cruising and walking and climbing, those socks pop off faster than my high-waisted jeans at the end of the day. Also, how are they so small? Wyatt is pretty much average all over (except for his giant head, thank you very much) and his 6-12 month socks have been way too small since… he was born? Did they ever fit? The best thing I’ve found is the Cat & Jack crew socks from Target, sized up. They’re longer so we pull them wayyy up over his calves and they stay on pretty well!
I adore my ring sling, and we used it a ton. But Wyatt got really wiggly once he could crawl, and started obsessively straightening his legs and trying to get out of his seat. With only one piece of fabric supporting his bum, I was adjusting constantly and couldn’t reliably use my hands for anything other than making sure my baby didn’t slide down to the ground. I never really cared for our Ergo (though my husband loves it), and I felt a little overwhelmed by the woven wraps I tried, so I started shopping around for something different.
Enter the Meh Dai, my new best friend. It has the secure waist band and padded shoulders of a soft structured carrier (e.g. Ergo), but the cozy, squishy, flexible fabric of a woven wrap. It’s all soft fabric, no buckles or clips or plasticy straps. You can use it for front or back carry, and you can get pretty fancy with the wrap straps. I find it more comfortable, more adjustable, and infinitely more flattering to my body than the Ergo, and it’s pretty much wiggle proof. I love it.
Now that Wyatt is a little bit bigger and gets more freedom to run around, he sits calmly in the ring sling a little more frequently. It’s nice for short periods of time or when you just want to get him up quick, and since it’s just one pass of fabric it’s really nice for warm weather. I’ll definitely keep it around.
Oh, you thought that after almost a year of changing diapers countless times per day, you knew how to do it? Lemme throw you a curve ball! Make that a poop covered ball — and if you have a boy, that’s also what he’s now grabbing and pulling as hard as he can, squishing soft, absolutely horrible smelling poop deep into the webbing of his chunky little fingers. Did I mention that his poop has now fully converted to adult size stink bombs that would put a truck stop bathroom to shame? I think for us that happened the same week that he figured out he could just roll over and leave while his naked butt was still caked in poop.
In case you were wondering, the clean little baby phase is now officially over. This leads us nicely to…
Washing hands in the sink
No advice here other than you should go ahead and bring shampoo so you can wash your hair while the rest of your body (and your baby’s body) are being splashed and soaked by hands, feet, and anything else your little angel can stick under the faucet.
The great outdoors
I felt pretty good about how much we got outside the first six months or so of Wyatt’s life. We had a great spring and summer here in the Northwest — we hiked, we swam, we hung out in the yard, we even went (car) camping a couple times! A couple different people mentioned how brave we were to go camping with a small baby, but it was honestly really easy. Especially since he was still exclusively breastfed and cosleeping, we really only had to bring extra clothes and diapers. We took extra precautions that he was warm enough, and each new environment generally meant a rough night of sleep, but otherwise it was pretty darn fun and easy. He wasn’t crawling yet, so he was happy to lie or sit on a blanket or someone’s lap and look around, and was light enough to wear in the ring sling for hours and hours. When he started crawling right around six months, it really changed everything. He was so active and excited, he wasn’t as content to be worn. He wanted to get down on the ground and explore everything — with his mouth. It didn’t help that we were embarking on The Worst Winter Ever (which I am only now cautiously optimistic has come to an end). We got into a pretty steady habit of staying inside and keeping cozy. But we’ve been getting outside again, and it’s great.
Playgrounds are fun as soon as babies can pull up on things, and wood chips (and sticks, and rocks, and leaves) are fun way before that. We were given an awesome rain suit for Christmas, which made getting out in bad weather even easier. He loves (loves, loves) spending time outside. Now that he’s walking of course he runs and climbs all over everything, but making time for him to crawl or even sit outside for half an hour, with fresh air, sunlight, changing temperatures, breezes, new smells and textures, and a little freedom to explore was really good for both of us. There is nothing like the nap that follows some good outdoor play!
It was hard for me to say goodbye to the newborn phase. I loved being home and totally focused on this new person, I loved breastfeeding, I loved having him in our bed. It was hard, too, of course — the sleep deprivation alone took months to recover from, and I still startle when I hear a sound that vaguely reminds me of spit up. But it was special — once in a lifetime. No matter how many other babies we might have, I’ll never have that dreamy, insular time again.
My tiny baby is not a tiny baby anymore. He babbles nonstop, he plays a little too rough with the pets sometimes, he yells “yum yum” when I’m too slow to share something I’m eating. He can walk. Not just toward me, but away from me — toward something else that has caught his attention, something outside of our cozy sphere. Every day and every year he will move farther and farther away from me, from this body he came from, until one day he will live in another city, with someone he will love more than me. But even then I will still know the grip of his hand in the middle of the night, fingers only big enough to hold one finger, and I will still know the smell of his hair, soft and dark, with my own blood dried in its waves.
I’m not crying, you’re crying. (I also miss blaming stuff on pregnancy hormones.) Now please excuse me, my child is climbing the house. Until next time…