I stepped back for a moment and swore a lie had just come out of my mouth.
I was standing in line to order lunch when a woman came up and stood next to me. She was pushing a stroller in which a teeny, tiny baby was sleeping. I asked her how old. She replied, "9 weeks." She asked me how old. I replied, "Six months tomorrow."
It was an out of body experience. It must have been a lie. There's no way that my baby is already six months old. I just had him a few weeks ago. He's still a newborn. He's still brand new, isn't he?
I wrote about Noam turning six months old yesterday on my Instagram. Instead of rewriting and rewording it here, I'll just share what I wrote:
Tomorrow, Noam turns six months old. I've joked in the past about having a tough time with how quickly time seems to pass, how quickly he seems to be aging and how quickly he is going from a newborn to an infant to a toddler. But today, I have no jokes. Only very raw feelings and emotions that sting a little bit. A lotta bit. In my mind, I know that his growth is a positive. It's great that he's thriving the way he is, that he's getting so big and 'talking' and moving and interacting and doing all of the things and more that you'd expect out of a baby. But in my heart, I'm a little broken that he's getting so big, that he's changing so quickly. I guess I'm scared that one day in the not-too-distant-future I'll forget what he was like as a baby. And I just can't let that happen. Nursing Noam is also something that causes a rush of emotions. We'll be introducing solids to Noam in a little while and, while I know our nursing is nowhere near being over (at least I hope), I can't help but feel a little like it's the beginning of the end. I've fed him exclusively from my body - and many times from what feels like my soul - for six whole, beautiful, complicated, messy months. And if I could continue forever, I think I would. I took this photo while Noam nursed this morning before he fell asleep. He always reaches up to grab my hair or my necklaces or my face as he quickly chugs his meals. I need to document these behaviors, these moments, these feelings, because I know they will not last just as I know he will not stay this little.
Well that was a pretty lengthy caption.
So allow me to expand on my expansive caption. The birth of a child seems to induce some sort of alternate universe double- or triple-time. And nothing acts the way it did before. Nothing appears the way it did before. Your child has, put into the simplest terms, changed everything. Including how quickly our favorite social construct to ponder - time - seems to pass. You will never be able to prepare for it. You will never be able to alter it. And, in many cases I'm guessing, you will never be able to acclimate to it. Or, in other words, it will always surprise you (hence the "I can't believe X is X months/years old already!". Noam's half-birthday is no exception for me. (I can't believe Noam is six months old already!)
So, while I have not gotten used to it, I have not figured out a way to change it and I am, most certainly, not prepared for it, I have figured out how to soak it in and celebrate it, to - in the least cheesy sense possible - cherish it. And to respect it. If nothing else, Noam's six month birthday motivates me to be even more aware, to be even more present and to be the best possible mom to him and for him.
We just got back from the pediatrician's office, and I'm pleased to report that Noam is 18lbs 12oz. (50 - 75 percentile) and 28.5 inches long (90 - 97 percentile). Much to my surprise and dismay and complete unpreparedness, Noam is wearing almost entirely 12-18 month clothing (with a few remaining 6-12 months that still fit). He's in size 4 diapers. His eyes are still a dark bluish-gray and he's grown two adorable teeth on the bottom of his mouth.
Noam is still exclusively breastfed, though we'll be introducing solids later this week. I'm kind of having a tough time with this, because it feels like something sacred to me is ending. I will continue to nurse Noam as long as he wants to nurse, but the exclusive part - the part where he receives his nourishment and sustenance exclusively from me - is ending. And that, my friends, has been a tough pill for me to swallow.
Now, I know, logically, he will continue to nurse for (hopefully) a long time. "Food before one is just for fun," the adage goes, and I plan to make sure this is the case. And yes, I'm absolutely excited to learn more about my son through food. Which flavors and textures are his favorite? How does he react when he likes the taste of something? Will he be a messy eater (same answer as 'Is he Jason's son?')? But, my gosh, has it been tough for me to let go of the fact that my baby is no longer a newborn.
Noam actually sleeps pretty well, I'd say. Or my expectations have dramatically shifted since having him. Sleep is developmental and, until I began doing research about infant sleep in earnest, I didn't really understand it. My expectations were on a completely different plane than my reality. But now that my expectations are rooted in reality - in the reality that babies wake several times a night, that they do as a survival mechanism and have for millions of years, that babies sleep lightly and their sleep cycles are much shorter than those of adults or even older children - I no longer worry about the way Noam sleeps.
But to put it into numbers, Noam usually sleeps 12 hours at night (with anywhere from 3 to 8 wake-ups) and typically naps 3 times a day for about 45 - 90 minutes.
Activity & Development
Noam has become increasingly active, energetic and interactive this month. He loves to 'talk' with us and now says 'dada' along with some of his other favorite words like 'bah' and 'awawa.' He is constantly discovering and trying something new - he flaps his arms, sucks his toes and just started examining his fingers and the way they bend and move. He's incredibly dexterous and can pick up anything around him, move it from hand to hand and use his arms and hands to use instruments (he loves to shake bells and shakers). His favorite activity we do is music class.
He gets visibly excited when he sees certain things (like Jason and me, Riley and Millie, and my cup of coffee) and is very handsy as he attempts to grab whatever is in his line of sight and near enough (my hair, our glasses). Almost everything goes straight in his mouth. And, if it's not going in his mouth, it's being thrashed in his flapping arms.
He sits up completely on his own and pushes up so that his belly is off the ground when he's on his tummy. He isn't very interested in rolling over but I see crawling in our immediate future.
I just love Noam's little (big) personality. He's so happy and excitable and loves to be entertained. He laughs constantly. Like, all the time. And screams pretty often the sweetest high-pitched little squeal he can muster. He's pretty good company. But he certainly does not hesitate to let us know when he's frustrated or upset. Most recently, he has started to reject getting his diaper changed and it's a comical endeavor that more often than not ends in hair pulling, toe sucking, lots of grunting and a not-so-secure diaper.
Noam still loves strangers and will regularly smile at them as they catch his eye. He's really good at flirting and plays bashful, which I'm sure makes everyone's reproductive organs scream (it's really ridiculously cute).
I'd say I could not wait to see what other personality traits reveal themselves as he ages, but I'm more than happy to wait, honestly. This time of our lives - of Noam's life - is just so good, and I'm reveling in every moment we have it.