This is the first time I've managed to get this photographed and posted on the actual day. Which would be a prouder achievement if I hadn't skipped the 8-month-post. Sorry Teddy, but you should really sleep better if you expect Mama to live up to these absurd things she feels obligated to do.
I decided to post some pics from the last few months that haven't appeared on Instagram yet. The first several are from our trip to Oregon, as well as a picture of all the cousins together. The next few are from our trip to Lake Itasca in August, and Teddy's dunk in the headwaters of the Mississippi. I sucked at taking pictures for the rest of August and September, apparently, because I only have one good (high-res) one of Baba's trip out, none of the fair, and none of our other shenanigans. Will have to bust out the DSLR for these last few days of nice weather.
These last two months have been fun, to be sure. Mr. T is becoming a real person. A crawling, precocious, smiling little guy. He fits right into this crazy family. He eats everything we eat, for the most part, just cut into smaller pieces. He basically refuses to let me feed him, which works out well since I don't really have time to anyway. He seems to be a pickier eater than the girls were at this age, but he is slowly coming around to a few things he didn't like, such as tomatoes and eggs. I know, both of those aren't recommended for kids this age, but whatevs. He tolerates everything, so we roll with it.
The biggest issue has been sleep. This guy just really sucks at sleep. When we were in Oregon and for a short time thereafter he was waking up several times a night, only eating a little bit each time. He struggled to put himself to sleep. Part of the problem is that he had learned to stand but wasn't good at sitting back down, so he'd stand in his crib and be stuck there. Shortly before our trip to Itasca, when hubs was working a stretch of nights, I pseudo sleep-trained him. Except it didn't really work, because he's really darn stubborn. After a week of attempts, I have basically given up hope of sleep training him. After that week, he did do a bit better, only waking up once or twice a night for a while. Now, a month and a half later, he still does kind of okay on some nights. Maybe sleeping until 3 am or so. But he's often up again at 5, and him or someone else is up for the day at 6 am. Now that MJ is up until 9 pm on some nights, it makes for a tired mom. Even if I went straight to bed when she does, I wouldn't get 8 hours. But in reality, I need some kid free time at the end of the night for my own sanity. So I often stay up until 11 or so, and I am just so tired. And often, he sleeps much worse than that. He's had a few colds or viruses these past few weeks, which just wears me out. When he wakes up at night, he's really darn thirsty, so I don't have it in me to sleep train him again. He'll suck down 6 ounces and go right back to sleep. I think our only hope is to teach him to use a sippy cup so he can drink some water at night. But that will be months away.... so for now we struggle. The only saving grace I have right now, is that I now consistently get all the kids to sleep, even MJ, in the afternoon, so I can take a nap too. It puts me in such a better mood for that tough stretch from post-nap through dinner to bed time.
One other quick note, which is that Greta has been making strides towards being a better sister. She usually goes out of her way to make sure he is taken care of, with a toy and whatever else she thinks he needs. If he crawls towards stairs she freaks out and tries to help. If he chews on something she doesn't think he should be she instantly takes it away. Although sometimes misguided, she is often thinking of his well being. I wonder if part of it is that MJ has started school, so there are times when I drop them off at the gym and it is just the two of them. I have tried to encourage her stepping into the big sister roll, looking out for her bro, and she finally seems to be getting it. There is less pushing him down, or purposely hurting him (still plenty of accidents... such as when she pushed him down the stairs last week.... ugh...) So I once again have some hope that they will be close. Tonight she fed him cheddar bunnies; wouldn't have been my first choice, but the giggling suggested to me it was truly a bonding moment.
In some ways, this past month I feel that I've started to get things together. I've managed to consistently cook dinner, which is a huge achievement in the craziness of our house. Teddy entertains himself most of the time, and if I have him in a baby-proofed area I can get some things done. I've become more sane. I feel like these past two months I've finally been waking from a dream, because this year has been a blur in many ways. I'm glad I have pictures. Many, many pictures. I remember most things, but if I try to focus in on anything that happened I can't, really. I'm so glad he's part of our family. I desperately try to not wish away these sweet baby-filled days, because I love this age. He smiles at everything, giggles readily, doesn't throw tantrums and is happy doing just about anything, as long as he can squirm. He's affectionate, crawling up to me when he wants to be picked up or nuzzled. He blows little baby kisses on my cheek. It's such a sweet, sweet time. It's just that the stress of watching a newly mobile baby is constant, and when he goes to bed at 6 pm, I can take a deep breath and enjoy a more relaxed evening with the big kids. I want him to stay a baby forever, because I'll never get to do this again, and he's so stinking cute. But also, I want him to grow up so that I can enjoy some calm and reclaim part of my brain, the part that is constantly trying to safeguard the toddler and baby.
I can't believe he's only 9 months. Seems like he's been here forever. When I think of how much G has changed since she was 9 months old, I wonder what trajectory he will take. Given that he is crawling like a mad man, and has been for months, and that he looks ready to start walking, I think it will be a crazy one. Forging his own path.