Becoming a mom is a beautiful experience. I love my little girl, and most days I enjoy being a mom. It’s amazing the amount of love I feel for my little one, how deeply I feel for her, how profound the experience has been. Despite some ups and downs, I wouldn’t change it for anything. But that doesn’t mean it’s always pretty.
As I’ve mentioned, Harley is starting solids. That might be a bit of an overstatement, though. She doesn’t really eat yet. I actually don’t think she’s quite ready yet, so it’s more about the textures and experiences than it is about nutrition. That’s why I’m so glad that I’m going the baby-led weaning route – she gets to set the pace and we minimize the chance of making meal times traumatic for her or turning her into a picky eater in the future. Usually, I just offer her a taste of whatever I’m having, but today I thought I’d make her something just for her… but that doesn’t mean it was elegant to do so.
Harley is getting to that age where it’s time to start giving her solids. While I’ve loved breastfeeding – it was great for nourishing her as well as for us to bond – it’s time for her to lose the “e” in EBF (exclusively breastfed). She’s showing all the signs of being ready, but we’re still taking it slow. She has thrown up a few times as a result of eating her solids, so I want to make sure her digestive system is ready. I also have very specific ideas about what to feed her, and when, based on the research I’ve done on the topic.
That said, Harley surprised me and Dean the other night, and showed that she really is a unique girl. We were sitting outside after work, having a glass of wine and some crackers with tapenade. Harley kept staring at the food as I was eating, and it was clear that she was curious about it. So, I put about a half a teaspoon amount on my finger and offered it to her. She started with a small taste and made a funny face. As Dean and I were laughing about it, she then proceeded to lunge at my finger with her mouth wide open, eating the full amount.
Before Harley was born, people asked me if I would want her to use a dummy/pacifier or suck her thumb. I wasn’t too worried about it – I figured if she liked a dummy she could use that, if she liked her thumb she could suck that, and whatever happened happened. Then she ended up in the NICU and she had to use a dummy to improve her sucking reflex. That didn’t last long once she was out of there, but she didn’t seem to interested in sucking on anything other than boob, and even that was just for food and then she’d unlatch herself.
Lately, though, she’s been discovering that she can suck her thumb. She hasn’t quite picked a preferred hand, using whichever thumb happens to find it’s way into her mouth. It’s a noisy endeavor, too, as she talks and murmurs around her thumb while sucking, making bizarre sounds but seemingly having fun. I’m not sure if it just feels good while teething, or is generally nice for soothing herself, but I’m endlessly amused to watch her figure this out. Plus, I’m happy that she’s found a source of comfort for herself.
Motherhood is a big deal, and certainly changes a lot. It’s why I write about baby stuff, and parenting, and motherhood, and a whole host of other topics. Motherhood has changed me in some ways – I am even more sensitive to certain issues and current events, and I spend a good portion of my day singing The Itsy Bitsy Spider instead of watching hilariously graphic YouTube videos. But, that doesn’t mean I’m not still the same person that I always was.
Awesome friend of this blog, Cassey Toi sent me a great link yesterday. The writer talks about how she isn’t a shadow of her former self, she’s still in there. And no, maybe she doesn’t go out drinking the way she used to, but she’s also in her 30s now. This bit in particular resonated for me:
I’ve written before about my desire to help Harley develop. It’s not just about making her a genius, which would obviously be great, but also about making her a well-rounded person with all the motor, cognitive, emotional and social skills she’ll need to thrive as she grows up. But it’s really weird with a baby. I mean, on the one hand they are sort of like blobs who can’t really do that much, but on the other hand their brains are developing faster than they ever will. They are learning so much all the time, even if it doesn’t feel like it, and there are all sort of things that we can do to help them.
I’m enjoying Harley a lot more now. She is so much more engaging – she smiles when we do things, she loves to see me and interact with me, and she is so much easier to read now. Plus, the activities that we can do together are much more fun now, too. Sure, the 3-6 month activities were pretty cool, and the stuff we did when she was 0-3 months helped so much with bonding, but now it feels like we do things together instead of me doing all the work.