8 Months

Luciana is 8 months today. Or yesterday. I’m writing this on Thursday but it’ll post on Friday so….ok. She’s 8 months or 8 months and a day. I’ve been really emotional this week and though it doesn’t feel specifically about her having a mini-birthday, I think in some ways it is. I already feel her babyhood passing by quickly which leads me to see in some nonlinear part of my brain her whole childhood passing by quickly. How swiftly our lives together pass. It’s this pulling on my heart that is so rich and full it’s almost heavy; it’s a sweet kind of heartbreak for all these moments she’s not going to live again and I won’t get to live again with her. I understand in those moments women who have baby after baby after baby: the never wanting to give up the completely new.

I’ve had some garden-variety mama struggles in myself recently: food, sleep, and what’s my role in facilitating both. I was walking with Luciana earlier this week after a morning of beating myself up for basically not being able to control my daughter: she doesn’t eat as much as I think she “should” eat. She’d had a hard night of sleep and I was blaming myself. And it hit me with the grace of the sunshine we were walking in: I can’t control or manage my daughter’s wellbeing. I can’t make her eat. I can’t make her sleep. I won’t be able to make her have this friend and not that one or play this way or that way. My daughter is who she is, and I am here to be a guide and a teacher where she’ll let me in, but I cannot have an agenda with her. An agenda? Of course I don’t have an agenda. I’m not planning where she should go to college or anything. But every time we sit down at the table and I think she should eat a certain amount, that’s an agenda. And she eats on certain days and she doesn’t on others. I’ve stressed over that, especially because she’s a lean girl, and I really got this week that stressing over it is not my job. And it’s not nice for either her or me. My job is to offer and make is pleasant. And to completely respect her choice in the moment.

I read a great piece about appreciating what your kids can do. Rather than focusing on She’s not crawling yet! He hasn’t said Mama yet! the article encouraged me to just watch the magical way in which Luciana moves even though, no, she hasn’t crawled. She’s poised to: she gets up into position and plays with moving an arm forward. She’s studied and a little cautious as she lifts her hand up. She hangs there, suspended, and then, as though abandoning her own game completely in an act of rebellion against herself, drops onto her belly and happily and gracefully rolls where she wants to go. And I remember wondering if she would ever roll…..Just to witness her collecting and testing her data is so joyful and so phenomenal. This is the girl who came out of my belly 8 months ago, and now she invites me to play, has her favorite games, converses with me in her big sounds, is strongly opinionated about likes and dislikes. 8 months from now she’ll be…..I can’t even imagine. I value more than just about anything these times on the floor where she just is: being and doing what she wants and I get to revel in it.
So as for struggling with wanting to control food and sleep: I thought, should I go get her weighed? Nah. She eats when she wants to eat. She’s happy and full of energy. She keeps growing more hair and I swear her eyes get bluer every day: clearly her body is working. If I’d never heard of percentiles would I be worried? The answer was No. So we skipped the scale, I continue to offer food a few times a day, she drinks a lot of breastmilk, and here we are. As for sleep, we actually started doing a more structured plan with her in terms of night feedings and me not going to her every time she squeaked, and it’s been working beautifully (knock wood). I’m starting to get sleep for the first time since she was born.
I guess if there’s one challenge I’m posing to myself for the next month of my hummingbird’s life it’s What if I Choose Not to Worry About her At All Today? Of course this excludes illness, getting hurt, making sure we’re babyproofed. I’m talking about the worry clutter that clouds the purity of being with her. I’m willing to drop that for the next 31 days.

I was reminded this week thanks to my mom of Kahlil Gibran’s words on children:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you
And though they are with you they belong not to you.
Happy happy happy 8 months my precious exquisite remarkable girl.
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12 Responses

  1. Awww. Happy 8 months! We just hit that milestone as well, and I've also been feeling that babyhood is slipping away, and I just completely and totally understand that sweet heartbreak you speak of. Very well stated.

  2. louiselynch says:

    So true that we can not control them. My son is 7 months old and clearly has his own agenda. I would love to have a little more information on the new sleep routine that you implemented. Unfortunately part of my Sons agenda is NOT sleeping at all. Please feel free to answer via E-mail if you don't feel like posting here. Thanks, Louise

  3. 17 beats. says:

    oh my goodness. my husband and i have spent so many hours talking about 'remember when' over a glass of wine. and we're only at five months ! we're already talking/planning baby number 2, because we are ADDICTED to babies !

  4. Leigh says:

    Your post was so poignant and exactly what I needed to read today. Although we live on different coasts and have very different lives, I've been feeling such a strong connection to your words; about going back to work, about finding balance and now this. I have a little girl who is seven months (and a week now!). Eating has been a constant struggle and worry since she was born and it has been harder than I ever imagined. I, too, have not had a decent night of sleep since she was born but every time I am with her in the middle of the night I still can't help but think how precious this time is and how fleeting it will be. But more than anything, what has surprised me the most about being a mom is that my beautiful daughter is completely her own person. I don't know why that surprised me, but it did. These past seven months have also been about getting to know each other and I love that aspect more than I could have imagined. So anyway, a long comment to a beautiful post. Your sweet girl is beautiful and she has a very kind and strong Mommy.

  5. So beautiful. I am always reminding my own Mother of this because I think sometimes (even under the best intentions) she sees us as her projects. She would like us to do this or that. It's funny. I see it as a way for her not to work on her own stuff, but I'm sure you're not doing that.

  6. Megan Taylor says:

    This is so sweet and thoughtful. You're a beautiful writer. Thanks for sharing!

  7. MinaGutz says:

    This is so true, isn't it! I had this ah-ha moment a while back – I had to tell myself not to worry/stress/force etc. I kept telling myself as long as my baby looks happy, healthy and has the spirited energy he should – he is just fine! So… Don't you worry, your baby is beautiful and looks very happy and healthy! You even said yourself that she is drinking plenty of momma milk – and that has all the nutrition she needs right now. Food is just exploration. You will know when she's ready for more.

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