It’s funny. Eight months doesn’t seem like a very long time, but for the little Dude it’s a lifetime. And because my life has changed so much since he arrived, it’s a lifetime for me too. He is now sitting up by himself, having just randomly done it one day a few weeks ago. We’re now in a stage I didn’t expect where we wait for him to sit himself up, then place pillows strategically around him in case he falls backwards or to one side, which he’s done many times. Without pillows he’d just fall and hit his head on the ground, and even with the carpet under him it’s still a shock and probably hurts. He’s tall too so he has further to fall. I shudder to think how hard it’s going to be monitoring him when he’s learning to walk! It’s nice now he can sit because it gives him more to do and he can play alone for longer without getting frustrated, although he still puts himself on his tummy and then starts screaming like he’s a beached whale and can’t move, it’s really weird. That’s usually an indicator that he’s tired.
Speaking of tiredness, sleeping has been reasonably challenging recently. He sleeps well at night, generally right the way through, but that’s only because he’s right next to me and can have boobie whenever he wants. Some nights I’m sure he sleeps right through without even a dream feed, but other nights he gets restless at 4am and will toss and turn and feed on and off for an hour or more, which can be a bit annoying, but not the end of the world. I’ve not had to get up with him in the night, so I think that’s quite good. He still has a really hard time actually getting to sleep, especially for naps, of which he has two during the day. Or at least I try to ensure he has two, and preferably for two hours each, although that rarely happens. Not that he doesn’t need it, he so desperately needs more sleep, but he just can’t wind down and stay asleep. Recently he’s been dozing off still attached for an hour or so, and then when I think I might be able to detach him and creep away he wakes and starts smiling and playing even though his eyelids are drooping and it’s clear he needs more sleep and will probably scream because he’s tired in about half an hour… So my life these days consists mainly of trying to get the Dude to a) sleep and b) stay asleep, which he rarely does without me for more than about 45 minutes. There have been occasions where he’s slept alone for an hour or even two, but those are extremely rare, so rare they’re just flukes I think. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this child is freaking intense! But I guess I shouldn’t have expected much else, given how his dad is, and the family history of insomnia on both sides… the poor little dude doesn’t stand a chance really! Sometimes he’s thrashing about so much I wonder how it’s possible for him to ever fall asleep, but it happens, and when he finally relaxes deeply after a couple of hours he will sleep pretty soundly, or at least I think that’s the case, I don’t remember being awake to find out!
Of course he’s massive, as usual. He’s actually off the growth chart all together in terms of his height/length, which at 7 months sat at 75cm (haven’t measured recently so not sure, he’s probably grown since). He was just shy of 10kg at 7 months, and that’s the 97th percentile or thereabouts. We’re predicting he’ll be at least 6’5″, as his dad is 6’3″ but I’m convinced his mum’s lack of prenatal care and his terrible infant nutrition contributed to him being slightly smaller, as his dad is 6’5″. I also think his strange eyesight (being very short-sighted only in one eye, discovered when he was four) and his odd digestion are related to that too. But that’s just what I think. Anyway, the Dude is huge and thriving, of course, despite my ignoring the stupid doctor and not plying him with iron fortified rice cereal made with formula! Speaking of the doctor, I’ve decided I’m never going back to her, as every time she just disappoints me, doesn’t help me, doesn’t listen to me, and says really annoying things. I’m going to try a new anthroposophical doctor I’ve discovered nearby and heard good things about, so we’ll see what happens there. I’m curious about what she’ll say about his skin.
Speaking of the Dude’s skin, it isn’t fantastic. I know it’s definitely constitutional and something his body has to work through, but I feel that there is more I could do for him. Sometimes it’s really quite bad and cracks a little around his right wrist and both ankles. He seems to have more on the right side than the left, which just helps confirm its constitutional nature. His skin on his bum is perfect, which was a real mystery for a while there, until I was bathing him and my mum was here and she suddenly suggested that having the nappy on was actually helping the skin retain its moisture, and so it’s a simple case of the skin being unable to retain moisture. That makes so much sense, given how much worse his skin got when we were in (dry) Melbourne, as Sydney is so humid most of the time. Husband said it makes sense to him as he actually has extra dry skin and has done for as long as he can remember and that’s why he slathers himself in cocoa butter every morning. So now we have a bit more insight into what’s actually occurring with the skin, and when it was really bad I did relent and apply a little cortisone cream which of course cleared it up very quickly, but I’m really not keen to put it on all the time because I know all its doing is suppressing the immune response, which is just a quick temporary fix and not a long term solution, plus it’s not something I want to do. The immune system is working, that’s good, I don’t want to block it. So we’ll see what the anthroposophical doc says and go from there. At some level I feel I could do more with my diet, but I just haven’t got the commitment; sad but true. So his skin has red, dry patches around his wrists and ankles, and a few bits behind his knees, up his lower arms and under his chin, although it changes slowly.
Anyway, as far as other developments go, he’s really moving around a lot, although not technically crawling yet. He can get up on his hands and knees briefly and rock a bit, but generally he sort of pulls himself along with his arms, and pushes off with his feet. He’s still really shaky and it’s very scary watching him try and sit and pull himself up. Because he’s pretty tall he can see over the coffee table, and earlier today I turned around for a minute only to turn back and find him about to pull a ceramic bowl of Christmas chocolates onto his head! It’s pretty awful when he falls backwards or sideways and he’s already had a few bumps on the head but we just do our best to keep cushions around him or be down on the floor with him and always watching. He’s extremely strong – I’m currently watching him pull a dining chair towards him across the floor with one hand… and yes, that’s a metal framed chair, quite heavy!
He’s recently begun saying ‘mum mum mum mum’ and ‘dthe dthe dthe’, and he also says what sounds like ‘yeah’, in addition to his ‘ngeng’ and ‘geh’. He laughs and responds to peekaboo and tickling, makes his mini Chewbacca noise, screeches loudly for no reason in particular, and cries out of frustration ALL the time. His eating is pretty good, I think. We’ve been doing combination baby-led solids, so I often give him big chunks of fruit to eat straight off his tray table in the high chair, which he is very capable of doing. Today he polished off about three quarters of a whole nectarine (his favourite). I’m holding back on all the nightshades – tomatoes, potatoes, capsicum, eggplant – as well as citrus and other allergenic fruits like strawberries. I’m sure he’d be fine with all of that, but it’s more about getting his body used to eating before we make it work extra hard to process this kind of food. He eats rusks which have a tiny bit of milk and wheat in them and so far is fine with it, but that’s as much as I’ve given him of those two things. He has also eaten a few crusts as well. Other than that, I spoon feed him a bit, usually with an organic veggie, fruit, millet mix I get from the supermarket. I’m a bit slack with making him food, and he loves the stuff in the packet and it’s completely natural and all organic and free of additives etc so I figure it’s all good. We’ve discovered that, like daddy, he hasn’t got a sweet tooth, so he likes his nectarines much more than something like mango, which would be my preference. He’s amazing with the nectarine actually. I cut him off slices like little boats, and he eats the flesh and spits out the skin. At first I was worried and was going to peel it but there’s really no need, he’s very capable of eating just the flesh.
So far he still doesn’t suck on a dummy, although I give it to him when we go to sleep. He does like it to chew on and play with, but when it’s time to sleep he will get upset if I put the dummy in his mouth. He doesn’t accept substitutes! At some level it’s as though he knows it’s just not the same. He’s like that with everything actually. I’m sure he understands what I’m saying most of the time. He looks at me so intently, listens to everything I say, and responds accordingly. He has known his name for months now, and will always respond, even if it’s to just give a cheeky look and go back to whatever havoc he was wreaking. Although usually he’ll pay attention and actually turn back, as though he knows exactly what I’ve said and is doing just what I’ve asked. It’s pretty amazing.
Anyway, at the moment, five days off eight months, he is just about to crawl, beginning to say words, and just turning into an amazing little boy. I wish he’d sleep by himself as I’d love to be able to stretch out in bed again and go to sleep and wake up whenever I want, but I know it will pass and eventually he will sleep in his own bed. For the moment, he is how he is, and he is just perfect.