Parenting is one of those things that no amount of instructional books can fully prepare you for. I babysat a lot growing up. I knew quite a bit about babies and I read a lot before Lydia's arrival. I felt like I had a plan in place and was ready to go. Perfect, right? Well of course I bring my sweet, innocent little bundle home and she decides that she doesn't like the plan. She has her own plan. And part of that plan is to change the plan as soon as I think I've figured out what the plan is.

But despite all of that, I do feel like I have learned a lot as a parent just through my experiences thus far. I've battled through colds, ear infections, sleep training, traveling with an infant, learning to nurse, learning to spoon feed, treating dry skin & diaper rash, and cleaning up whatever liquid of the day is spewing out of my child. I feel like a mom. :) When I first started this mommy gig, I was so terrified of messing up. It was as if some part of me truly believed that I would kill my baby (or at the least scar her for life) if I didn't do things the "right" way. A billion opinions are out there and if you aren't careful, you'll find some that practically imply that you WILL greatly mess up your child if you don't do things THEIR way.

Well I did things MY way and Lydia and I are still here. I suppose I don't really know yet if I've scarred her for life, but the constant smiles and giggles give me pretty good indication that she's doing fine. This morning I tried to think back on how I've done things the past 6 months. Is there anything I would change? They say that the first child is your practice kid and that you know better ways to do things with subsequent children. So, have I learned anything in retrospect that I'll want to change for kid #2? Honestly, I can't say that I have. Partially because I am not so naive as to think that kid #2 will be exactly like Lydia. Things that have worked with her may not work with #2... and things that I could not for the life of me get Lydia to do, #2 may fall beautifully into compliance. Or maybe I'm just tooting my own horn and think I managed to do things so perfectly with my "practice" child that I'll just do it again with the next. Ha!

I suppose my current mindset is just evidence of how being a mom has changed me. I went into it with all sorts of ideas and plans, a belief that if I followed a certain set of guidelines my baby would be happy and healthy... and so would I! But as it has turned out the #1 thing I have learned about being a mom is that you have to roll with the punches. You can read up on the methods and guidelines, but you will ultimately learn to pick and choose little bits of that knowledge to piece together methods that are unique to you and your family. I think it's probably pretty rare to find a mom who followed any textbook method to a T and had it work out (except maybe the author of the textbook!).

So is there really nothing about my "method" that I think I'll change next time around? Well... maybe a few adjustments to diaper changing to avoid flying poop splatter on the wall, or some choices of medications that ultimately weren't necessary, or possibly a bit more bottle use so that #2 doesn't decide that bottles are for sissies... but you know what? I'm not making any plans just yet. ;)
Starting the post off with a few of my favorite pictures from Lydia's 6 month "session"...

(More pics can be found on Facebook... and more still on Shutterfly...)

Isn't she just growing up so beautifully??? I love her! It's hard to believe that we are halfway through her first year already. Halfway through breastfeeding, halfway to her first cake, halfway to her first party, etc. Sometimes it's like she was just born yesterday, but other times like life before her was ages ago. She is at such a fun age right now... and probably the easiest stage (for me) of her little life so far! She sits up so well now that she is content to sit on the floor and play with whatever toys are available around her. I was able to vacuum the entire house the other day while she sat in her room playing (of course I still kept my eye on her). It's nice that she isn't mobile yet. A lot easier for me for sure!

There are certainly a lot of things I'm starting to miss already about the days gone by... and also a lot of things that I'm really really looking forward to in the future (like the words, "Mommy, I love you!")... but I'm mostly trying to focus on how much I enjoy who she is right now. My mom continues to remind me of the phrase "this too shall pass" ... whether good or bad, every bit of it will pass. So I want to enjoy every second before it's too late!

Alright, in my last post I promised I'd post her 6 month stats... so here they are:

Weight: 16lb 9oz (60%ile)
Height: 26" (50%ile)
Head: 17" (75%ile)

Yep... still got a big noggin. ;-) She didn't weigh as much as I'd expected. She's been riding along the 75%ile curve most of her life, so I anticipated her being 17lb by now... but it's nothing at all to worry about. The doctor said she looks fantastic and is doing really well developmentally. We talked a lot about solid foods and I'm feeling a lot less stressed out about them. I went out and bought a bunch more baby food varieties and we are slowly trying them out. Lydia has had prunes and sweet potatoes, and we just tried bananas today. She made a face at the new taste, but got used to it and kept eating. I'm enjoying taking things slowly. We're introducing one new thing every 3 or 4 days and only doing solids once a day. She nurses before the solids so she doesn't eat much. Just enough to practice a little and learn some new flavors & textures. I still think she's more excited about the spoon than she is the food that's on it... it's like a cool new toy to chew on!

Lydia continues to be the happiest baby I know. She is so easy to please and will just laugh and laugh and laugh at the smallest things. She thinks trips to the store are the best thing ever and will just squeal with delight the whole time we walk around. Who needs fancy places like the zoo or aquarium when we have Walmart to explore! Hahaha. Now that she is sitting up so well (and getting so heavy!) I bought a shopping cart cover for her and next trip we're going to try letting her sit in the cart. She's also going to move up to sitting in the "big tub" at bath time. During her last bath in the infant tub she discovered she is long enough now to stretch her legs out against the end of the tub and arch her back like she's trying to stand up. She kept doing it over and over and would hurt her back on the edge of the seat every time and start crying. I can't have a baby trying to climb out of her tub and hurting herself, so we bought a no-slip bath mat and will try the big tub for bathtime tomorrow.

The list of items she is outgrowing keeps getting longer and longer! Just this week I've put away clothes, the Bumbo, the infant tub, and her hanging toy bar. Her swing will likely be on that list soon too (she's getting to the point of trying to climb out of it).

Maybe I just need to hurry up and have another one so I don't have to keep putting things away... hahaha!

1 week old:
6 months old:

It is absolutely insane how much Lydia has grown in the past 6 months! I treasure every last second of it. We have her next doctor checkup on Monday, so I will post again then with all of her new stats... plus new 6 month pictures!

6 months ago right now, I was mere minutes away from setting eyes on my sweet girl for the first time. Happy 1/2 birthday, baby love. You are such an amazing blessing!

The term "vacation" takes on a strikingly different meaning when toting along a 5 month old baby. Roughly translated, "vacation" = "a whole lot of work in unfamiliar territory." Feeding her, changing her, bathing her... they all had to be figured out within the confines of a rented condo that we shared with two other couples (friends of ours from church). Every outing required extra attention to what gear was required, what clothing Lydia should wear, if she needed sunscreen, and would she make it without a lack-of-nap meltdown.

We ventured to the beach 3 times with the baby, and once to the pool. Each time we had to very strategically plan out exactly what we could squeeze in during the approximately 2 hours we had between naps (tired Lydia = very very cranky Lydia). The typical scenario was this: Lydia would wake up, eat, get a bathing suit on, and get sunscreened. We would gather all of the gear together (stroller, sun tent, bumbo, beach towels, body boards, toys for Lydia), figure out how to manage to carry it, and make the quick walk to the beach... thankfully just across the street from our condo! We'd then spend the first 15 minutes at the beach finding a spot and setting all of the junk up. Brent and I would take turns attempting to keep Lydia occupied and sand-free (we didn't particularly want her to eat it) while the other one would spend a little time in the ocean. Riding waves alone is far less entertaining than doing so together.

After maybe 30-45 minutes at the beach, Lydia would be getting very bored and nearing the cranky tired meltdown stage. There's only so much you can do to entertain her while keeping her shaded. So we'd pack it all up, drag things (wet & sandy) back to the condo, and attempt to get ourselves and the baby rinsed off and decently clean before putting her down for a nap.

A lot of work for not a lot of time out.

This was a stark contrast to our kid-free friends who joined us on the trip. They enjoyed the luxuries of coming and going as they pleased... staying out late, sleeping in, spending hours on the beach or at the pool. That is not our life anymore!

But seriously, I wouldn't trade it for the world. I love my baby girl and we really did have fun taking her on vacation. Yes, it was a lot of work, but it is an experience we will never forget. She liked sitting out on the balcony with me, feeling the breeze and watching the ocean. We took her out to eat with us and discovered she loves sucking on lemons. She enjoyed the pool and the beach, even though our time at each was minimal. And we got to hang out with Brent's old friend Tara and her 3 month old baby, Lucy. Lydia and Lucy were immediate friends!

We also got to see how Lydia could do on long car rides. She did great! On the way down we drove through the night, so she slept most of it (yay!). When we came back it was during the day, so she was awake more but was generally content to sit in her carseat and chew on her toys. She wasn't a big fan of being nursed in the car and/or under the nursing cover, but we made due and all got home safe and sound... even took a different route home so we could spend the night at my parent's house!

All in all it was a lovely vacation. Not sure I'd suggest others do the same with such a young baby (especially one that cat-naps like Lydia does), but certainly an experience worth remembering.

In other Lydia news...
My baby girl is now what I would consider to be an "independent sitter." I have been sitting her on the floor today with no pillows or other items to support her and she will stay there playing for very long periods of time. She sat by herself the entire time I prepared and ate my lunch, and while I worked on organizing her clothes. Speaking of clothes, she's moving up to her 6-9 / 9 month clothing now. I held up a 9 month sleeper and thought to myself, "This looks huge! Surely it won't fit her, at least not very well..." But yep. It fit. Quite well actually. Weren't her clothes all of 20 inches long just yesterday???

She is growing and changing so quickly these days. I made my first official venture into the baby food aisle a couple of days ago and made our first purchases. I grabbed one each of the "1st foods" for us to try out. This past Monday I started getting "serious" about solid foods for Lydia. The entire time we were on vacation she was extremely interested in watching us eat and kept grabbing for things on the table. So I decided she might be ready to give it another try. Indeed she was! I mixed up some cereal on Monday and she actually seemed to enjoy eating it. So I've continued giving her cereal once or twice a day all week. I think it plugged her up, though, because today (Friday) was the first time she pooped since I started doing the cereal daily. I'm going to start introducing other foods soon and we may decide to pass on the cereal. It's not very nutritious anyway.

I'm trying really hard to be excited about all of these changes. Typically I'm not a big fan of change. I like structure and routine, so once something becomes routine I don't like to have it shaken up. I'm entering new and unfamiliar territories which always makes me feel unsure and incapable. But, I have to remember that I am in no way blazing new trails. Millions of moms have gone before me and they all managed to figure out how to get through the changes. So here we go... onward!
Alright, so I admit I am a total rookie housewife. I'm in no way a clean freak and the house primarily gets cleaned when it needs to be (ie, when company is coming). When it was just me and Brent, this wasn't a huge deal. We aren't very messy people.

Enter baby.

Things got a whole lot messier when our sweet little bundle came home... and my desire to have things clean also got a whole lot stronger! But alas, I'm still a rookie and feel like I have no idea what I'm doing. So I'm asking for your help! What are some of your favorite cleaning products? What are some good things for cleaning up those baby messes (wiping off highchairs, cleaning spit-up off the carpet/pillows/everything, surface cleaning the cloth toys that baby insists on stuffing in her mouth all the time, etc)? What do you use to disinfect toys that were, for example, thrown in the sand at the beach?

Cleaning products make me so nervous because I want to make sure anything I use on Lydia's toys or eating surfaces are safe.

Then of course there are bathrooms, floors, a kitchen, and more to be cleaned. So any tips you fellow housewives can pass on would be super appreciated!
Labels: 1 comments | edit post