*warning - this is a long one!*
I'm pretty sure I said this last month, but the sixth month has been one of the most exciting months yet. Not only has Kaitlin grown and developed so much over the last 30 days (31? I don't know) but it has also been a very busy month - we had family in town, she celebrated her first Halloween, started swimming lessons, got her first tooth and started solid food!
Over the last month she has become even more of a woman on the move. She is scooting and rolling and turning in circles like a champion. She is still lunging for everything in sight and wants to touch/grab/chew on anything and everything. This month she got her first TWO teeth (both bottom teeth have arrived) and we got to learn about the joys of teething. I think she lucked out pretty well with the teething thing. We had a few days of disrupted naps, definitely some irritated gums and an urgent need to chew/gum on anything wet and/or cold. But other than that she handled it pretty well, especially considering she had two teeth coming in at the same time.
In addition to moving around the floors like a wild woman, Kaitlin also learned how to sit up on her own. I still use the Boppy to help balance her but she is geting better and stronger at sitting on her own every day. She started off staying upright for a few seconds and can now sit for a few minutes on her own at a time. If she wasn't constantly trying to reach for something she could probably sit for a bit longer, but that would be too boring. I started putting her in her high chair at the beginning of the month to get her used to it because by the end of the month we were going to start solid food! We started off with some oatmeal baby cereal and it was a rousing success. She made a few funny faces and pushed the majority out of her mouth the first time around but overall she seems to really like it! Actually, what she seems to love is chewing on the spoon. But if it helps encourage eating and she gets excited about it then I am all for it!
We also had Kaitlin start swim lessons this month. Although they haven't been too successful - most of the time is spent with her crying and mom/dad trying to distract her - I think she will love being in the pool eventually. We got her a new bathtub that allows her to sit in the water and splash around. I'm hoping that helps get her used to being in deeper water. Of course her little ducky tub is a lot different from the giant community pool, but hopefully it will help a little.
Our little pumpkin loved Halloween. I hosted a Halloween party with all of her (my) friends and she had a grand old time. She didn't even seem to mind being in costume, she was too busy watching all the other babies and playing with her toys. We took her to a pumpkin patch (she was not impressed) which rounded out our fall activities and started to gear up for Thanksgiving. It was a super busy and very exciting month, and to say I learned a lot would be an understatement.
A few (more) things I have learned...
Kaitlin has always been very inquisitive about the world around her. From the day she was born she was constantly looking around, taking it all in and trying to figure out everything that was going on around her. Now that she is a bit older and can filter out more of the "stuff" that is going on, she can hone in her concentration to things that really interest her. One of her favorite things to do lately is look up. She is always looking at the ceiling when I carry her around - although what, specifically, she is looking at I'm not sure. Whenever we go outside she always, always stares at the trees and their leaves. You will very rarely find her outside with her head down. Sometimes I think she must be getting a neck ache with all the looking up that she is doing but she perseveres. Often times she is staring at something so intently that it causes me to look up to see what she's looking at. I've seen some beautiful sights this way - birds on a wire, leaves rustling in the wind, beautiful fluffy clouds - and I am thankful that she has caused me to pause, look up and observe these everyday, yet special scenes, that I might otherwise miss.
Everyone always says that having children is expensive. But, at first, I didn't really believe them. As Kaitlin gets older I am finally starting to understand. Now that she is on formula and starting solids her food budget has increased (not hard considering it used to be free). As diapers get bigger so does their price tag. Clothes are the same way. And toys...don't forget the toys. In the beginning there is very little that babies need and what they do need you will have probably received as a baby shower gift. But after the first few months the well dries up and this little, smiling, stinky bundle of joy starts to make a dent in your bank account. And it only gets more expensive as they get bigger. Soccer teams, rollerskating parties (umm, do kids still do that?), prom dresses - I can hear my bank account screaming as we speak. Now - finally - I understand why my parents were always on me about getting a college scholarship ;)
Babies are strong
Sure, they may look cute and innocent - but babies are freakin' strong! Kaitlins little legs kick with all their might and I am always surprised at how strong they are. I can't see a six pack but her abs must be made of steal. She is constantly trying to sit up when she's in a reclined position. I started pulling her up to sitting from laying down and now when she sees my thumbs she automatically grabs on and starts to pull herself up. I barely have to help her. And man, does she have a good grip. Your hair is only safe when securely tucked away in a tight ponytail, and even then it's not a guarantee. Your ears, eyes and nose aren't safe either. I'd guard your cheeks and chin too, just to be safe.
I will always think she is the best/brightest/smartest...
I think every mom/dad/parent/grandparent must think - at one time or another - that their child is gifted. Just think about all of the new things that baby learns in the first year of their life. When is the last time you have seen someone learn so much in such little time? Especially during the middle of their first year, they are mastering so many amazing tasks and learning new things every day. Personally, I don't really know much about when babies are supposed to learn what. I know rough timelines of when certain milestones are supposed to be achieved, but the time frame is usually so wide and varied that it isn't really much help. The phrase "every baby develops at their own speed" gets thrown around a lot and for good reason - it's true. I am continually amazed at what Kaitlin learns and accomplishes on a daily basis. I am almost always certain that she is ahead of the curve, mastering things many babies her age aren't learning yet. Sometimes I am right, sometimes I am wrong - but I don't really care. In my eyes she will always be the best, brightest, most talented, funniest, sweetest, intelligent baby/child/person I have ever known. It's hard not to compare your baby to someone else's, just as it is difficult not to compare your pregnancy to someone else's. But in the end it doesn't really matter what Johnny, Jack and Jane are doing. What matters is what your baby is doing at that moment and how proud of them you are. Just rolled over for the first time? Shout it from the rooftops! Found her fingers/toes/fist for the first time? Blast the news out on facebook/twitter/newest-social-media-too-cool-for-me. I hope I never get over the excitement of my child(ren) learning and accomplishing new things - big and small.