Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Maya 5 Months

Maya is already five months old and I don't know how that happened. I hear a lot of parents say the first year of their second child's life goes by really fast. I get how that can be the case: you're kind of used to babies, so you're not wondering what's happening every second of every day and worrying about things, and you also have an older child on a different developmental level, so your attention is divided.

There are many ways in which our experience with baby Maya is very similar to our experience with baby Shep. She is like Shep: she nurses to sleep, she doesn't like to be set down, she does not like to be left alone (i.e., she is happier if she can see us when we're not carrying her in arms), and we carry her all the time. She's graduating from the Moby to the Ergo, and she is learning to like it. When dad is holding her, she likes to face out so she can see what is going on, just like Shep. Her way of being comfortable when carried by mom is to be nursing and sleeping and possibly also being outside. This girl likes to be outside quite a bit.

Maya's pretty distractible these days, and hyperaware of her surroundings, which makes daytime sleep a little harder. She won't nurse to sleep just anywhere anymore. She has to be covered up in a quiet-ish area now if I'm not wearing her or lying down with her, whereas before I could just drag her along and she'd sleep anywhere. Tim talks sometimes about how he used to hold Shep while he was sleeping a lot, but she never lets him hold her when she sleeps.

It's kind of interesting to compare. Maya is a much better sleeper than Shepherd ever was. She falls asleep quickly and stays asleep (as long as she is being held), but she probably falls asleep nursing even more than Shep did. I had forgotten that when Shep was a wee, colicky lad, Tim would strap him in the Moby and walk vigorously with him to give me a break, or bounce him, because Dude wouldn't sleep/stop crying. Maya is a non-colicky baby, so I have no urges to pawn her off to encourage sleep times. It's easier for me to just nurse her, usually, but if nursing by itself doesn't calm her effectively, bouncing on the ball while nursing or going for a car ride have been successful. Also Tim happens to just be gone a lot more often and isn't around as much as he was when Shep was a baby. Maya blessedly doesn't scream in the car seat very often. She usually falls asleep as long as the car is in motion, and these days she isn't even freaking out when we stop unless she is just mad about something else. It's a novel and liberating thing to be able to do the car with a baby.

Maya is rolling, more adeptly from back to stomach than the other way around, but can do both all the same. She started rolling a month or so ago and then quit for a while, but now she's back in the game. She likes to try and grab/reach for toys but her coordination and grasping skills are still developing. She's getting used to the world and doesn't freak out when we, say, put clothes on her.

She is starting to interact with her big brother which is delightful to watch. She thinks Shep is hilarious and laughs louder for him than anyone else, but I think she's alternately kind of worried/terrified by him. (Aren't we all.) It's fun to see their relationship grow. They'll be playing together without supervision in no time . . . every parent's dream, right?

Life is stressful with two kids and I'm not really sure we're completely sure what we're doing and how to meet everyone's needs, but Maya is just a peach and we're so much richer with her in our lives. Tim and I were talking about which stages of childhood are best, and I really enjoy the whole dependent infant stage, actually. It's really limiting (maybe even more so considering my style of parenting that I've adopted thus far) and pretty dang boring sometimes, but I like the simplicity and purity of love. Maya's pretty much always happy to see me, I'm almost always happy to see her. My frustration with her is always indirect and circumstantial--if she's crying, I don't hold her responsible for it. It's easy for me to see her as someone who needs me, and to feel good about fulfilling her pretty simple demands. I feel like it's just easier, I guess. As I'm discovering with Shep, that changes with growth: our relationship is getting a lot more complicated, and I'm not sure I'm negotiating that journey entirely well. I miss the good ol' days of pure friendship and harmony, but I guess there are advantages to kids growing up, too. I look forward to knowing what Maya becomes in the future.