Gotta love the grin on that kid, don’t ya? She’s a cutie, I think I’ll keep her.
See how pleased she looks with herself? This was after the second time she rolled over from her back to her belly on Sunday — the first time she had ever done it! I was getting nervous that she was never going to pass this milestone. I can’t remember when Grace rolled over, but I do know she was ahead of the timeline that all the books gave for just about every milestone. I credit her being two weeks overdue for that.
The thing is, as with most second-born kids, we’re not giving ME everything we gave Grace. We can’t — we have things to do now. I was very careful to give Grace plenty of floor time when she was a baby to make sure she could strengthen her back muscles enough to flip over. With ME, it’s easier to keep her in her chair or her Exersaucer while I get some things done around here.
Our pediatrician reassured me that larger babies (and Mary Ellen is pretty big for her age) don’t turn over as soon as their smaller counterparts. She kept teasing us too! She would lay on her back, then slowly turn on to her side, and look like she was going to roll completely over, but right when it looked like there was no going back — she’d let go and flop on to her back. Sheesh.
But now she’s done it, so I can quit worrying. Yay! Now I just have to wait till she figures out the crawling thing. Grace started crawling at 7 months, which is too soon for my tastes when it comes to Mary Ellen. I would much rather her wait a bit! Grace was also cruising a week after she started crawling and walking at 10 months. Early milestones are great when you have just the one kid, but once you have more, you’re all for slower development.
The pediatrician asked at ME’s four-month appointment if we were going to start her on foods. I said, probably too vehemently, no way! He looked a little taken aback, since he had started all three of his kids on food at four months, but then I explained my reasoning. For one thing, Grace has a serious food allergy. When there’s a history of allergies in the family, it’s always suggested to wait. Secondly, I’m just too lazy. I don’t want to start having to bring food with me instead of bottles, and it’s just so much easier to make up a bottle than to prepare cereal. Thirdly, ME spits up a lot, and right now it’s just milk. Once we add in food, she’ll be spitting up all sorts of things that will stain whatever it touches. Milk is so much easier to clean up. And fourthly, I’d rather not feed a kid before she can sit up on her own. ME is getting better, but her back isn’t quite strong enough to support her yet.
That said, if you choose to feed your baby sooner than six months, more power to you. This is simply what works for my family, and I realize that not everything works for every family. I’ve known some folks to hold out on food entirely till the child is nine or twelve months old, and as long as the kid continues to grow and thrive, there’s nothing wrong with that.
Enough of Mary Ellen. Grace is doing fairly well. She is acting out a bit here and there, I think in response to the attention that ME receives. But she’s not mean about it. It’s just a normal four-year-old reaction to no longer being the only child. Sometimes she doesn’t listen, and I have to tell her something many, many times. It’s so frustrating when she does that, like get into Mary Ellen’s face. She’s actually trying to entertain her, but she’s so loud she ends up scaring the baby. I tell her over and over and over again, “Don’t get into the baby’s face!” but she does it two seconds after I say it. Eventually she’ll figure it out. I hope.
One thing that I am enjoying about Grace is how our friendship is developing. Obviously, I am still her mother, and still a figure of authority, but we’re moving into a new phase where I enjoy her company. There have been times where I’ve gone somewhere with just her, leaving ME with Kurt, and it’s so much fun to listen to her tell me all about her day at school or whatever is going on in her head. She’s a trip! Some of her gestures are so adult in origin, like cocking her head to the side or rolling her eyes a bit, but you can tell she’s just mimicking the adults around her.
She’s also becoming a lot more cuddly. It’s probably a response to how much cuddle time the baby gets, but I don’t really care what the reason is. Grace never was much for cuddling until now, so I will take whatever I can get. She’ll come up to me and ask, “Momma, can I cuddle with you?” So I put down whatever I am doing and pull her into my lap because I know only too soon, nothing will entice her to cuddle with me.
You know, I think the best decision I ever made was to have kids. Obviously it’s not a choice for everyone, but it was the best choice for me. They are my joys.