This is the month in-which your baby has lived outside of you, as long as she lived inside of you. I have paused so many times throughout the week thinking about this while looking at Wallis over and over again. We had no idea what to expect, we thought we had some idea…but it’s truly impossible to imagine.
I could never have imagined something so transformative and soul flourishing as raising her. My heart sings and nearly bursts every single day. I can’t stop saying, I love being her mom as though I’ve concluded my very existence. I may have my days of angst, my goals are not without passionate forethought, but Wallis made me a mom and that day, 9 months ago will be what forever moves me forward and through this life.
The last month, Eight months could only be described for Wallis, as The Great Disappointment, she has pretty much let us know for the last 4 weeks that we are not entertaining enough, and that she wants to do it allllllll by her self.
The whining has been a bit mind numbing for Andrew and I. She seems to be whining even when happy…we’re so confused? I finally looked it up because I started to say to Andrew, I think we broke Wallis. Luckily, it’s supposedly a phase in which they are so frustrated to not be able to do all the things they want to do, they tend to express it a lot…some more than others (of course, Wallis falls under the category of more).
Wallis has also been exhibiting temper tantrums. They are a combination of many things. Teething (her two front teeth are painfully coming in…so teething continues to dig my early grave), her never-ending Gerd, and not being able to communicate. She’ll ball her fists tight and squeeze until her face goes red when she’s very frustrated.
It was alarming at first (and funny because the first time was so unexpected…you’d have to see it) but I read about that too. I was worried that she was getting angry too easily, and we had created an angry baby somehow…too much Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see?
I read a few things about babies and tempers (apparently some do have them early) but one thing that stood out to me was a post congratulating me on having a creative, persistent and sensitive child…and Wallis truly is. We all know she’s persistent and yes, I believe creative — but she is so sensitive too, not only to sound but also, her surroundings.
Sensitive is a word that has been negatively thrown at me often, a word to make me feel less than and invisible. If Wallis is lucky enough to be sensitive, I will be sure that she knows that this is a good word and a good characteristic to possess.
Wallis is always watching everyone and everything, and she is incredibly in tune not only with music but emotions – the tone of my voice will change her expression drastically, and I’ve learned that if I am telling a story about a frustrating situation to Andrew, I need to be careful that she doesn’t think I am upset with Andrew, or she will become irritated with him.
I watch how she watches me. I know we all do. Children are so mindful – you’ll never feel more exposed as a flawed human being than in front of your own child.
We are working on the tantrums though, and much progress has been made. Now when she goes to squeeze her fists as hard as she can – I calmly stop her and say, Wallis use your signs and then show her the sign, I think she might be trying to communicate. I have to admit, I always start to laugh a little when I say this to her, because it seems like such a pretentious thing to say, use your signs Wallis – I’m always half expecting her to give me the bird. Luckily she doesn’t, and instead, sslloowwllyy brings her fists back down while giving me a bit of side-eye. Who couldn’t love this kid? Ha!
One thing that I wish she would stop doing, is her I’m hurt cry has now become her I’m frustrated cry and it puts me into a panic. I have learned now, but when she first started doing it, I was besides myself thinking, what! what happened?
For a while now, Wallis has been experiencing some separation anxiety from me. She’ll turn her head away from the person trying to take her and clasp my clothing tightly in her fists and straighten her legs against my side as to bear down as tightly as possible, and if the person succeeds in taking her, she’ll do that crying where no sound comes out for a few seconds and then an all out wail.
Mercy, it gives me the sweats, I feel so immensely guilty that sometimes I take her back (which I am not sure is the best way to handle it) and other times I do this dancing jig thing, so she’ll transition her focus to me but not being in my arms. I’ll pretend to chase her with the other person (usually Andrew) carrying her, and that typically works to move us through it.
She is good at going to my mom. My mom thinks it’s because we’re so similar and we really are, I think it confuses Wallis some times. We even sound the same. Other than that though, war cry.
It’s one of those bittersweet things, I love her for needing me so much because I know one day she won’t even think about clinging to me, but at the same time, I feel upset that she’s in distress.
Crawling vs. Walking so…here’s the thing. Wallis is crawling AND walking. We always knew that if she ever decided to crawl, it would only be because she wants to walk so desperately and it provided some bridge to that. Her crawl is very interesting….she crawls with one knee down and one knee up. She moves fast too, and sometimes we may or may not call her Lieutenant Dan. She crawls like this because she’s just trying to get to a bigger object, so she can pull herself up and launch her wobbly body forward as though she’s been walking for years.We call her walking, semi-assisted walking because she takes plenty of steps by herself but we’re always very close by. Most of the time, we hold one of her hands and walk with her because she’s still wobbly and figuring out her balance and her parents are very fearful of her falling…but she’s growing more and more independent, and I wouldn’t be surprised if in another week or so, she’ll no longer be assisted at all.
This both excites me and terrifies me. As I’ve mentioned many times before, Wallis has been trying to walk since she was 3 months old and I can’t even explain the exhaustion of that. My back has aged 20 years and after she goes to bed, I have to lay on the floor just to relieve the pain of being bent over all day walking, walking and walking. The terrifying part is pretty understandable, as walking unassisted that young is scary, because she’s still so small, and it’ll also introduce a whole new amount of worries and stresses on my body, I’m sure. So it is to be a parent, the moment you adjust is the moment everything falls apart…and you start again.
I feel like I was just writing her 8 month post and here she is turning 9 months. Andrew and I both started to cry the other night – it hit us so fast looking at her in the bath – that neither of us could speak our eyes filled our throats closed for a good 5 minutes. We avoided each others eyes knowing that if we looked at one another we might just burst from where it all began and how we’re here now, 9 months in and 9 months out. Dear Wallis, oh how you’ve changed our lives.