I apologize for taking a break from my two-post Thursdays centered around minimagpie! Since we last talked all things mom-related, minimagpie has entered a totally new phase of life, which breaks my heart because I was so busy with the move that I barely noticed when these changes started happening! When I was looking after mini while also trying to unpack, solve/manage various other logistical and practical issues that accompany moving (setting up Internet, interviewing nannies, etc), and figure out the details of living in our new apartment (like how do I take our huge dog outside in the middle of the day? do I put mini in the carrier or stroller? how long? where? what’s our new routine with regards to feeding schedule, running errands, etc? how and when can I possibly blog?), I felt that some days were spent in a strange and surreal “survival mode,” just trying to make it until Mr. Magpie walked through the door to a true hero’s welcome home, Tilly leaping all over him in glee, mini squealing at the sight of his face, and, of course, myself, exhausted and relieved. Somewhere in there, my newborn has become a baby who looks, in fact, more and more like a little girl than anything else. She has a personality. She has preferences. She has a fake laugh and a real belly laugh and I know the difference and both are so freaking cute I can hardly stand it. She’s flirty with strangers and sleeps with her butt in the air in a half-crawl pose and loves feeding herself Puffs very daintily, perched carefully between her pointer finger and thumb. She’ll sometimes wave those puffs in the air, her wrist moving ever so delicately, tantalizing Tilly in the unintentionally cruelest of ways (and Tilly has eaten her fair share off the floor and off her tray, and also recently ate an ENTIRE BOWL OF RAMEN off our kitchen counter) — and other times, she’ll clutch those puffs but not eat them and I’ll find them enclosed in her tiny palm thirty minutes after mealtime.
I love this little baby.
(In the photo above, she’s wearing a dress from Little Birdie’s Boutique in D.C., these ruffle sweater tights (love the heavier weight!), a cashmere cardigan, and a Burberry coat. And, of course, a big navy bow.
Minimagpie at 8 Months: Playtime.
When mini was about six months, I remember I was preparing to order some more Dreft detergent and I asked myself, “Does she need this phase 2 stuff yet? What qualifies as an active baby?”
I think I am getting a better idea.
Mini can’t *quite* crawl yet, but she’s trying very hard to. I can’t turn my back on her for a second without her rolling over 2398 times and somehow gravitating towards the one semi-dangerous thing within a few feet of her, whether it’s wedging herself under a chair or finding the one stray speck of food or debris on the floor. Church has become a whole new adventure: I come prepared with books, toys, a bottle, and teething crackers, take a deep breath, and begin an hour long entertainment show. She’s honestly very good — she’s never been a fussy baby — but she is very busy these days and I’m especially anxious about keeping her preoccupied while others are in prayer around me.
She loves being held. Loves. LOVES. She’ll be happy playing by herself in her activity center or Ingenuity booster seat, or rolling around on her mat for stretches of about 20 minutes, but then she’ll look up and think, “Hey, why are you up there and I’m down here? Come get me pls and thank you.” Mr. Magpie is better than I am about just letting her hang and whine through things, as she often calms herself and re-engages with her toys, but I tend to cave and pick her up if it goes on for more than a few minutes. Nowhere is she happier than in my arms. And sometimes, when she wakes me up in the middle of the night and I go to her, she clings to me like a koala — legs wrapped around my waist tightly, hands grasping my shirt, head burrowed into my neck — and it kills me.
Her favorite toys right now are bath books (even/especially when not in the bath — she will hang in her activity center and yell at these happily for a long time), plastic measuring spoons (y tho), and small stuffed animals of any kind — I think she loves that they are small enough to grab and turn around in her hand. My mom had a set of mini Winnie the Pooh stuffed toys that she FLIPPED OUT over. She loves talking to them and playing with their tags, too. And she still loves Sophie and will often squeal when she sees her.
Minimagpie at 8 Months: Feeding.
I fully weaned mini on her eight month birthday. We were not ready at six months, not ready at seven months, and then, all of the sudden, we were down to two nursings at night, and she stopped waking up for one of the feeds about half of the time, and the last feed involved about 5 minutes of her trying to angrily, frustratedly, get the milk going. (Did anyone else experience this with their let-down towards the end of weaning?) Anyway, I was telling Mr. Magpie that I kind of felt like a human pacifier and he said, “Maybe it’s time.” I think I needed someone else to say this out loud, because I instantly said: “You’re so right. It feels right. It’s time. OK, maybe I’ll finish this week?” And he said, “Why not tonight?” And again, it just felt right. It was her eight month birthday and somehow it felt like an appropriately ceremonious day to finish our breastfeeding days — symmetric and all.
It’s funny, because I had all this emotional energy about weaning for weeks and weeks — and then it just felt like the right time. I surprised myself with my pragmatism.
I told my mom the morning after, “Well, I weaned her.” And she said: “And how are you feeling, physically?” I puzzled over this. “Just fine,” I said, absently.
Only, two days later, things were definitely NOT just fine and I understand what she was angling at. Weaning HURTS! My breasts were — still are, TBH, a week later — so uncomfortable! Mini barely brushes her hand by them and I wince. Any remedies out there?! I don’t want to use a warm compress or anything because that might help things get going and that’s a step in the wrong direction. Eh well. Us moms are used to having our bodies feel uncomfortable in strange and unexpected ways for unpredictable amounts of time…
Meanwhile, on the solids front, mini’s interest in food has suddenly spiked. She loves yogurt and cottage cheese, goes nuts for bananas and pears, and flips her lid over teething crackers and puffs. I wrote a little bit about this awhile ago, but I’ve been super nervous about the possibility of her choking and am still mainly feeding her purees, with the exception of things like scrambled eggs and cottage cheese, which have a bit more texture. I plan on bringing it up to her pediatrician at her nine-month wellness check because I know this is my own phobia, but even with puffs, I’m always anxiously making sure she’s finished what’s in her mouth. (You moms who use the baby led weaning approach — I admire you and sometimes I wake up and say, “I’m just going to try some new things,” but then wait in agony as she gums around a bigger piece of food.) I’m still very much loving all of our food gear, but especially these spoons, which are just the right size for her little mouth, and these uber small tupperwares, which stack into one another like legos. (I’ve taken to feeding her lunch outside in Central Park, so I tend to put just the right amount of yogurt or fruit purees in these for lunch.) I also bought this cookbook and have begun preparing more complicated puree mixtures, storing overflow in the freezer so I can always have a stockpile of food on hand. I like this tray, which plays nicely with these reusable pouches for on-the-go convenience. I’m also drawn to these because you can remove the sections one as a time, as needed. But the first product I ordered was one of these from Beaba, a brand I’ve come to love, and I appreciate that it’s easy to pop single servings out while keeping the others intact.
Finally — and I realize I’m already running long on this post so I apologize! — but we had been feeding mini in this for weeks and weeks but we had to get rid of our enormous dining room table when we moved and have not yet purchased a new set in our “petite” (euphemism) dining room in NYC. (Well, let’s be grateful: at least we have a separate dining room in our new digs!) So, I’d been perching on the floor at mealtime and things would get REAL REUHL REUHHHHHL with our ginormous dog poised to lick mini and steal her food any time I’d turn my bag or sneeze or blink. It got real old, real fast. I finally bought her a proper high chair, which we’d registered for and not received. Guys, I could write a lengthy dissertation on all of the research I did on high chairs. Maybe I’ll write a separate post outlining all the options. But the finalists were the OXO Tot Sprout, ruled out because so many reviewers complained about how difficult it is to clean, and the Stokke Tripp Trapp, ruled out because I read there was a topple-over danger AND it’s pretty expensive once you add on all the bells and whistles. The Phil + Ted is sleek, folds up (!!!!) and can be thrown in a car trunk or closet, and reportedly easy to clean. The downsides I’ve read: it can be easy to trip over those tripod legs (I’ve been warned) and the tray doesn’t lay flat on a countertop when it’s not in the chair, which both sound like nuisances, but not as frustrating as a chair that isn’t easy to clean.
Also, and really I promise I’ll shut up soon (on my second glass of wine and things are FUH-LOWING), but I did consider this ridiculous $450 Bloom high chair — yes, you read that right, $450. $450. $450!!!!! But only because I found a gently used one posted to the LetGo app for a cool $65 and available on the UWS. I thought, “Well, that’s purttttty nice.” But then I read reviews and promptly decided against it despite my momentary obsession with the ultra modern design. Apparently it’s legit impossible to maneuver (hidden handles and no instructions) and absolutely a pain to clean. I read some hilariously furious reviews that had me in stitches and decided, “OK, Magpie, now is not the time to be impractical over design.” For less, you can get this better-reviewed but still ultra-modern looking style, though I don’t much care for the matte silver base (why can’t it be shiny?)
Minimagpie at 8 Months: Sleeping.
Mini’s sleep was a little crazy the last month thanks to our hectic move. There were many days spent in a car or stroller, and over a week spent in a hotel with a dog and parents close by, so we found ourselves in a situation where she was waking 2-3x a night and taking sporadic and unpredictable naps throughout the day. We just rolled with it. We had to! I mean, there were days like the one where we just had no choice but to wander the streets of Soho while waiting for our hotel room to be ready! However, I’m SO happy to say that since getting to my parents’ home in D.C., we’ve been in a great routine where she goes down for naps at 10 AM and at 2 PM, and then for the night at 7 PM. About half of the time, she wakes up around 3-4 AM, but there have been enough nights where she’s slept soundly until 6 AM that I think we’re just on the cusp of having her finally, blissfully, sleep through the night on the regular. We did a little bit of sleep training with her around month five, but I’ll be honest and say that I would let her fuss for a max of 20 minutes at a time and then go in and feed her or soothe her. Even though until a week or so ago I’d not slept a full night for NINE MONTHS (!), I feel like it was the right balance for us all. It never felt overly harsh or unbearable (except for the first few nights when I was getting used to ignoring her cries), and sometimes I genuinely think she was hungry in the middle of the night. My pediatrician insisted that she could go a full night without eating, but I would also usually nurse minimagpie before bed with no formula supplement, and who knows how much milk she was actually getting, since my supply never fully came in?
But the main thing is — I love having her on more of a predictable routine. I wrote that at around seven months we were still very flexible with her napping situation and would follow her cues. With my mom’s encouragement, I started putting her down a bit more proactively at 10 and 2, noticing that these times almost always coincided with her rubbing her eyes and getting a little fussy, and — even if they didn’t — she would usually go down pretty easily. It’s been a gift to be in this schedule while acclimating to our new home, as I can plan my day more easily. I know many moms out there are probably rolling their eyes and thinking, “Yeah, what did you think?!” and “DUH LADY, BABIES NEED SCHEDULES” and “Are you nuts for not putting her on a schedule earlier?” I know this. I know! But it’s what felt right to me. I also had observed — and I mean this with no malice — that some of my mom friends were legitimately stressed out by their babies’ schedules. We’d be out at lunch and their faces would blanche as they’d hurl all their belongings into a tote and hightail it home to be back in time for 1 pm naptime. Or, they’d text me and say, “I have no idea what’s going on, but Johnny hasn’t fallen asleep yet and it’s 20 minutes past his naptime!!!” Or, they would spend about twenty minutes debating how to make something work around bedtime/naptime. It seemed to me that the schedule was causing more stress than anything — but maybe I leaned a little too far in the other direction. At any rate, there are still days where she’s brighteyed and bushy-tailed at naptime and I just roll with it. I try to put her down, but if she won’t sleep, she won’t sleep! And I let her fuss for a bit and then go in and get her up. Balance, I suppose.
If you’re still reading, I applaud you. Sorry to have been so long-winded here, but I guess I did observe more than I thought over the last month! I probably could break these posts up into easier-to-digest pieces…more to come soon!