Monday, August 2, 2010

6-month Firsts

First time eating carrots

For me, the first 6 months of motherhood were a trial and error period of parenting theory testing and boundary setting.  There were so many questions.  How much could I reasonably expect to do alone as a single mother?  How concerned should I be about when and how to start introducing new foods?  Is sterilization of every little thing a major issue? 

He learned how to sit by himself right before his 6 month birthday!

What I learned is that everything isn't as life or death as experts and family members may make it seem.  It turns out I can do pretty much everything on my own.  I may not sleep as much, and I may not do it in as timely a fashion as I would prefer, but if I have to, I can.  When it comes to foods, your baby will let you know in many different ways when he or she is ready for new things.  As far as sterilization goes, he hasn't died yet even though I don't always fully sterilize his bottles and eating utensils or worry about every toy that touches the floor.  In fact, he hasn't been sick at all since he's been born.  Here's an interesting tip for breast feeding mothers:  your body puts antibodies in the milk which are made specifically for the pathogens you encounter, many of which will come from your child due to the constant contact.  So if you nurse, you can worry even less about germs.

In light of the way things have turned out, I've become more laid back and less worried.  So last weekend, we did all sorts of things I've never done or tried to avoid including a sort of a day trip with my son all by myself against my mother's advice.  Please, Mom, don't have a heart attack when you read about everything we did.

First time riding with a friend

1.  Let him touch one of my dog's puppies.  He seemed to think it was like one of his stuffed animals.  I washed his hands after.
2.  Stopped freaking out every time my son rolls off his play mat onto the bare floor.
3.  Let him occasionally sit and play on the floor.
4.  Let my son ride in a WalMart shopping cart, but with a blanket to cover the seat.  He very much enjoyed sitting up and looking around like a big boy, but he wasn't a big fan of the bumpy pavement.
5.  Didn't try to comfort him every single time he got fussy in the car.  As long as he's not hungry or wet, it turns out he can pacify himself most of the time if I don't jump in right away.  The sound of my voice as background noise (like on the cell phone) but not actually talking to him seemed to be soothing.  Actually talking to him made him cry more.  Saving the best toys for last instead of giving them all right away also seemed to help.  I figure you've got nothing to bargain with if you give him his favorite the first time he fusses.
6.  Let him eat baby food from a not freshly sterilized spoon.
7.  Let him touch a client's dog.
8.  Let said dog lick his hand.  This made him giggle.
9.  Took him with me to a chiropractic appointment.  He loved the bench in the dressing room because it made impressive sounds when he kicked his feet on it.
10.  Didn't take my bagel away immediately when he grabbed it and decided to use it as a chew toy.   He thinks he needs to sample everything he sees me eating or drinking.
11.  Took him to Books-A-Million and fed him sweet potatoes on one of the coffee shop tables.
12.  Didn't tell him to stop when he chewed another baby's toes.  After all, he chews his own toes all the time.
13.   Bought gas with him in the car.  I usually let someone else do it or wait until I'm by myself because I didn't want to have an upset baby during an extra stop.  I set the pump on autopilot, played with Davie while it filled up, then put him back in his seat when I was all done.  He fussed when I put him back, but he got over it and ended up falling asleep.