The baby is seven months old today. Seven months!
It always sneaks up on you, this growing up thing they do. I would love to have a pause button for babies (and of course, a fast forward button for terrible two tantrums). Seven months is such a likable stage. Sitting up, standing up, getting around on all fours, babbling, smiling, cuddling, playing, crying less, sleeping more.
He is lighting across wooden floors. I’m sure his physical prowess is really just a result of his need to keep up with his big brothers. When they run into the next room, he speeds up his crawling pace to follow them. “Wait for me guys!” he seems to be saying as his chunky legs scurry across the floor.
He now effortlessly pulls to a stand on anything he can prop himself up on: his brother’s play kitchen, crib rails, the bed, the sofa, a pair of legs hovering over him. He’s cruising now too, letting go of one hand to support himself only with the other as he glides around furniture or his crib. He can balance quite nicely on his gigantic, chubby thighs. I think he’ll be an early walker. He crawled at five months. At seven months, I see him gaining the confidence to let go a little more each day.
I think I’m the one having a more difficult time letting go of him.
I’ve been laid-back about starting solids with him. The toddler was ready to eat solids from what seemed like four months. To this day, he relishes his food like a gourmand. The 6-year-old is still an extremely picky eater and never really cared much for food to begin with. I was by-the-book with that one, starting with rice cereal, followed by green veggies, followed by fruit. He would eat it, but never with any enthusiasm. Not much has changed six years later.
I’ve skipped the rice cereal, purées and spoon-feeding altogether with the baby. A few weeks ago, we let him play around with some mashed banana in the high chair, then some baked sweet potato, a little chunky avocado. He mostly spread it around like finger paint at first, running it through his hands, until he realized he could also stick his fingers in his mouth and taste it. We recently progressed to letting him gnaw on a whole banana, bigger pieces of avocado, a soft chunk of broccoli, or a wedge of cantaloupe. He’s done really well with it all, seeming to love textures, breaking off small bites with his two tiny bottom teeth and sort of gumming the rest. I’m not sure if this is officially considered baby-led weaning, but I find this more casual, intuitive approach better-suited to our style of parenting. I’ve never been big on absolutes or highly structured “plans” to begin with. I find going with the flow and feeling out a baby’s sensibilities and tendencies to be much more stress-free for everyone involved. This could be a sign of third time around parenting. I’m not sure if I was more rigid or structured with my firstborn as a baby — it’s all a little blurry now.
I’ll admit, solid feeding makes me wistful. It means less breastfeeding, those moments when I get to hold him close and give him comfort and sustenance myself. It means he also needs me just a bit less now (sigh). But that’s the point, right? I know it’s all a part of his development and growing sense of autonomy. It all leads to ushering them through the stages: infancy, childhood, adolescence and into adulthood, where they hopefully become self-reliant, responsible human beings.
Feeding himself is just that tiny first step in getting there.
And so my baby grows on.