Today my bug is six months old. She hasn’t made as much of a splash here on the blog as her sister did three years ago. With Mackenzie, the roller coaster of being a new mom was laid out in detail. Poop, sleep, nursing, and every milestone were thoroughly discussed. Photos were in abundance.
Since Caitlyn was born, I’ve held things a little bit closer. I’m not any busier than I was before. In fact, now that I’m working so much less, I can honestly say life with two children is easier than life with one! But I’ve been doing less writing and photographing and more pondering and planning. I really felt like this period of time was for catching my breath before diving into the deep end of motherhood. We hope to have many more children and this short “break” with just an immobile baby and a fun three year old was probably singular.
Caitlyn is on the move now and I’m reminded every day I look at her that I really need to write down my experience thus far as her mama, lest the best details leak out of my memory as life speeds ahead.
I was worried that a second baby couldn’t possibly be as adored as my first. I had forgotten how to take care of a person so small and so incapable of clear communication. I’m not a baby person! What if I just don’t like this next one? Mackenzie is at such a fun age… what if I play all day with her and forget about the baby?! Like, REALLY forget about the baby?
But oh, Caitlyn was just the baby I needed. She came into the world hollering.
Now six months in, I can see some definite similarities in looks and personality between my two daughters, but what I hadn’t realized at the outset was that it wouldn’t matter. Caitlyn is Caitlyn and I love her as an individual so completely, that it never occurs to me to directly compare her to Mackenzie.
I also didn’t need to worry about babyhood paling in comparison to the three year old scene. It’s true, the sleeping/eating/pooping cycle and rolling/sitting/scootching continuum is essentially the same the second time around, but I am different. I’ve watched a baby become a talking, jumping little person. So when I look at Caitlyn, I marvel. I delight in seeing her personality unfold each day and I soak up her innocence and unrestrained love.
Here is what I know about my Caitlyn:
- She spends 25% of her awake time looking like this:
Yes, the child looks deep into the soul of whoever crosses her path.
- 20% of her awake time, she gives the world this look:
I can’t count the number of times cashiers and passerbys have commented, “Your baby is NOT happy!” or “Oooh she gave me a look!” or (the most tactful) “she sure is focused on something!”. I smile and assure them she looks at everyone that way. A glaring baby is quite the conversation starter, apparently. I know her well enough to know that she’s not unhappy, though. That look just means she’s doing some deep thinking.
- 25% of the time she looks like this:
She sucks on her lower lip when she’s sleepy or startled.
- 25% of the time, she gives her signature content bug look. She’s bright eyed and pink-cheeked and just generally cute.
- She saves her smiles for her favorite people, and doles them out selectively and shyly. I asked Mackenzie to come stand next to me and get Caitlyn to smile. She’d never been tasked with this before, and she dutifully dragged over her stool, leaned on my shoulder next to the camera lens and said, “Caitlyn, I LOVE you!” Caitlyn lit right up, but I only caught this:
- She doesn’t love to nurse. She does it anyway because a girl’s gotta eat, but there’s no lingering or contented sighing going on with this one.
- She is a trooper. Much like Mackenzie, if she’s unhappy about a situation (like being cold, stuck, or bored), she’ll holler a little and then settle in to quietly endure until the situation has been corrected. This cracks us up because it means we will glance down and find her with a toy on her face as she patiently waits for someone (anyone? hello?) to rescue her.
- She is an all or nothing kind of gal. She threw up a full feeding nearly every day for two months, but one day she stopped and any spit up is now rare. She used to scrape her own face incessantly (see above photos), requiring socked hands and close supervision. One day she stopped and it appears she kicked the habit entirely overnight. Thank goodness!
- She is vocal. She spent her first several months making darling nasally snorts whenever she was hungry or upset. Now she happily squeals, shrieks and gasps to show she’s having a good time. In case you were wondering, Sunday School is always a good time.
- She’s a mover. The doorway jumper is her favorite place to be and she tries to jump anytime anyone holds her and every time I nurse her. Ow.
- She’s currently “inching” around the room on her back by lifting her middle in the air and pushing off with her feet. She exhales with gusto every push so that it sounds like a woman’s tennis match is taking place as she tools around in circles.
- She’s not a pooper. She poops once or twice a week. After raising a baby who pooped every diaper change, this was quite a shock.
- The thighs, oh the thighs. She has rolls! These will be photographed shortly. Her fleecey feetie jammies (um, when did I start ending every word with “eee”?) hug her chunky thighs and it’s too much cute to handle.
- She loves having her feet straight up in the air, so she’s impossible to tuck in. As soon as she’s on her back, her feet go skyward.
- She loves to be called “Bug-a-loo” (at least as far as I can tell) because her favorite sound is “oooo”. When I wake her up singing the Cat Ballou theme song to her, she gives me gummy grins, so naturally I do this many times a day.
- She loves having her cheeks kissed, one kiss per side. She’ll turn her head back and forth graciously accepting kisses until the cows come home.
- She adores her sister and does her best to roll, scoot, and inch over to her wherever she is in the room.
- She has multiplied the laughter and joy in our home and caring for her has made me a better person. It’s good she’s still little though, I have a long way to go! 🙂
And a practical note to my future self, who has undoubtedly re-forgotten what a 6 month old is like:
– She is done with her infant chair (at 4 months) , play gym (last week) and swaddle (5 months).
– She eats 5 times a day and once in the wee hours of the morning.
– She is getting pretty big to lug around in a car seat and she won’t sleep in there much anymore anyway.
– No teeth yet!
– Some hair is filling in so The Fringe is less pronounced.
– Most naps she goes to sleep without a fuss. Some involve 20 minutes of hollering first. She doesn’t roll around in her crib and get stranded like Mackenzie. In fact, she’s happiest sleeping against the side with a limb through the rails.