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2015, October: Wisdom from the Eighth Month

Seven whole months ago I wrote the post "Wisdom from the First Month." I cannot believe so much time has passed and how much better I am now at dealing with everything parenthood has to throw at us. I also cannot believe that my tiny baby is now a crawling, sitting, standing, cruising, drooling, teething, babbling, wriggling, shouting STRONG miniature human being. Here are some more tidbits of knowledge and advice I have gleaned from eight months with the droolmonster:
  • You get through those tough first few weeks (months) and it does get easier/better/happier. In hindsight, the rough period seemed to last no time at all, though I know it felt never-ending while I was in the midst of it.
  • Sleep is a rollercoaster. Declan started sleeping through the night at nine/ten weeks old. It was amazing. The world was a wonderful place to be and everything was shiny and happy. Then at four months he stopped. At five months he started doing well again with some major-sleep-training-effort from us, then seven months brought a helmet and a cold and teething and it all went to hell again. Celebrate the good nights for sure, but don't get too comfortable...
  • Get used to being damp. We live in a damp world now: damp patches on the carpet, damp clothes, damp burp rags, damp blankets, damp furniture, damp baby. Don't walk around the house without your slippers because the drool and/or spit up will get you. It's EVERYWHERE.
  • Eight month old boys would rather eat board books than read them.
  • Teething sucks. You can buy every teething product that Target has to offer (I did), but in the end a cuddle and some Tylenol might be the only things that help.
  • It's better to have a daycare that cares about (and possibly overreacts to) every cold/cough/rash/long nap than one that doesn't pay attention. Try to remember this the FIFTH time that you leave work to rush the baby to the doctor only to have him giggle and blow raspberries (the baby not the doctor) for the entire appointment like the healthiest child in the world.
  • Babies instantly know when there is a non-toy item potentially within their reach. You can cover the floor with exciting, colorful, noise-making baby toys, but the kid will bee-line for the single, hidden item that they are not to play with. This might be a remote, a cup of tea, a pile of DVDs, or an important document. If it is not designed for babies, they will find it. Potentially dangerous items are even more appealing. Babies can also hear a baby-gate open from any distance and will suddenly be able to move at approximately 40 mph to get through it before it closes.
  • Napping is a nightmare. I'm constantly aware of when Declan last napped, how long he napped for, when he next needs to nap, how long that nap should be, when he shouldn't nap, and whether a nap was a good nap or not. I've spent a huge amount of time (and gas!) driving past my destination and around in circles to ensure adequate napping, and ALL outings are planned around naps. It would be nice if some of those naps were mine.
  • Babies can go from lying and barely rolling to crawling, sitting, standing, and cruising in just a couple of weeks, at which point...
  • Some babies never, EVER stop moving. There is no such thing as cuddle time with Declan. I'm sure that he was a restless/cranky baby because he was frustrated with being immobile, and now that he CAN move, he doesn't stop. Ever. A typical five minutes in Declan world goes: wriggle/crawl/roll/stand/bang/shout/cruise/chew/wallop/fall/crawl/headstand/giggle/roll/wriggle/bite/hit/crawl/stand/rattle/chew/fall/cry/crawl/yogapose/scream/roll/crawl/pound/stand/collapse/shout/crawl. As a result...
  • I am not capable of being a full-time mum. I don't know how all of you do it. I work four days per week and have three-day weekends with the miniature man. Those three days are absolutely, completely, 100% exhausting and by Monday afternoon I am most definitely looking forward to going back to work to have a rest. They are a huge amount of fun, too, don't get me wrong, but I couldn't do it seven days a week every week. No way. Did I mention that he NEVER STOPS MOVING and BARELY NAPS? I'm tired just thinking about it.
Now I'm going to be one of those annoying gushy parents. Declan is amazing and funny and crazy and incredible and I can't believe how lucky we are to have him. He is definitely the best thing to happen to me and to us. In those first few weeks I felt regret and fear and worried that we had ruined our happy lives by having a baby. We hadn't. Thank goodness. Declan rocks.

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