Every phase of Caelan’s life so far has been easy, hard, exciting, and fun in its own way. But these past 3 months have been SO eventful that this may have been the most exciting phase so far. I’ve heard that 7-10 months is a great age, and I definitely agree! Of course, no phase is without its challenges.
It was right around 6 months when I felt for the first time “I need a break”. We had gone out with out Caelan many times for dinner or a movie or whatever, but those times we went out because we wanted to go to dinner, not so much because we needed a baby break – at least, that was my view of it. Nighttime sleep was still a mess and we were pretty stressed out.
We decided to give sleep training another try. We had tried it when Caelan was about 4.5 months old but we had to cut our efforts short due to illness. We tried the Ferber method again, and what do you know, it worked. What used to be 3+ hours of rocking and shushing and carefully transferring a sleeping baby into the crib only to have him wake up immediately was now a much, MUCH simpler process. We laid him down in the crib awake and by the 2nd night, he was crying/fussing less than 5 minutes and then sleeping an average of 10 hours straight. By the 4th week, he stopped crying/fussing altogether and now he just falls asleep and regularly sleeps 11+ hours straight.
A huge weight was lifted off us when Caelan started sleeping so much better. I didn’t even realize how stressed I was about it. I still needed that break though and I managed to arrange a Friday off of work right before Christmas when Caelan would be going to daycare. It was my first free day since he was born and even though I spent it doing lots of last minute stuff for Christmas, it was wonderful. A friend suggested that I try to arrange a free day like this every few months and I think I will try to take her advice.
Caelan’s first Christmas was a lot of fun and it was around this time that he mastered sitting up by himself.
We left Caelan overnight for the first time on New Years Eve when he was 7 months old. It worked out really well. I wasn’t anxious at all about leaving him and it wasn’t until the end of the night and the next morning that I felt anxious to get back to him. He did wonderfully at his Nana and Pop’s house and I’m relieved that it went so well.
In January, around 7.5 months, we started finger foods with Caelan. It was really slow going at first and of course Bill and I were afraid he’d choke on anything we gave him, but he’s really getting the hang of it now. He went on several puree-strikes where he refused to eat anything we gave him – even his favorites. Maybe it’s because we introduced finger foods and he’s over the purees? Either way, we’re going to be moving away from purees altogether as he eats more real table foods. He’s still taking 4 bottles of formula a day and though we’ve given him a sippy cup to try, he’s not got the hang of that yet.
After cutting his first 2 bottom teeth way back in October, he cut 3 top teeth back to back near the end of January (7.5-8 months old). At the moment, he has another one that should be breaking through any day now for a total of 6 teeth!
Also in January, we packed away the swing and bouncy seat (which he has outgrown) and lowered his crib in anticipation of him standing up. Turns out it wasn’t a moment too soon!
Between 7.5 and 8.5 months, Caelan went from being a if-I-leave-him-on-the-blanket-he’ll-stay-there baby to being an ack-he’s-standing-up-on-the-other-side-of-the-room baby. Mobility changes the game. All the sudden, in a matter of just 2 weeks or so, he could get into a sitting position by himself, he switched to hands-and-knees crawling, and he started pulling up on anything he could reach (stable or not!). He is everywhere all the time and it is definitely exhausting but exciting too.
Somehow, we never got into the habit of taking Caelan out places with us. We probably should have taken advantage of his portability and constant sleeping when he was a tiny newborn, but that was when we were brand new parents and too nervous to take him out! We took him to restaurants sometimes and to our parents’ and friends’ houses, but we never just took him with us on errands. There wasn’t really much need because errands could usually be planned for a time when one of us could stay home with Caelan. But now I’m trying to make an effort to take him out more. He loves people-watching and has been very well behaved so far. He went on his first real grocery shopping trip with me at 8 months. It’s so much easier now that he can sit in the cart and I don’t have to bring in the infant seat!
Up until recently, I thought I had a handle on being a working parent. Caelan has been sick occasionally and I’ve had to take a couple days off work to stay home with him, but that’s no big deal. But then in mid-February he came down with a cold virus, followed immediately by a stomach virus and we had to keep him out of daycare for a week. I felt guilty leaving work early, I felt guilty calling out of work, I felt guilty going to work when he was sick – it was a no win situation for me. Thankfully, Bill’s parents were able to cover a couple days at the end so Bill and I weren’t out of work for too long, but ugh. It was a really rough week that had me wondering what it would be like to be a stay-at-home mom, or at least a mom with only a part-time job. And did I mention that Bill had food poisoning this same week??
Back on the up side, he’s so expressive lately and his language is really developing. He laughs much more often now and even has a couple different kinds of laughs (a machine-gun-like “heh heh heh” and a real belly laugh). We hear strings of babble like “dadadada” but nothing directed at Bill yet. A lot of his other sounds are starting to sound more like words and less like just ooh-ing and ahh-ing. Just in the past week, he’s started waving. Often it’s random, but occasionally he will wave at us or in response to our waves. We’re dying for him to actually SAY something we understand, but the waving is really cute and pretty much like a “hi” 🙂 He is also starting to object (sob) if we take a toy away or move him away from something he’s trying to get into. I thought we had a few more months until the tantrums started, but I guess not!
If my friends’ older kids are any indication, I know what’s on the horizon for us: walking and talking (not necessarily before his 1st birthday, but soon anyway). I’m sure there will be many times after he’s reached those milestones that I will wish that he would sit still and shut up for just a minute, but right now, I can’t wait 🙂
Now that we’re headed into the last 3 months of his first year, time to start (continue) planning that first birthday party 😀