Six months ago, I was miserable and swollen with anxiety. Six months later, I’m swollen with pride but still miserable*

We’ve come so far in just six months. Every night Jeff and I hover over the boy and cheesily whisper to each other, “can you believe he’s ours?”

To answer that rhetorical statement, no, I can’t. I still can’t believe we’re responsible for this funny little guy.

And you know what? So far, so good.

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I think.

There have been many nights over the past 6 months where I was mentally packing my bags and searching for the keys to drive myself to the loony bin. The breastfeeding, the mom constantly in my face, other relatives making judgments, the working mom juggling act, squeezing in some time for friends, finding the composure to still be a wife and searching for my professional higher ground– this motherhood stuff is no joke.

And Jeff is already naming the rest of the litter. HAHAHAHA.

It’s no wonder why I enjoy vodka so much.

And then, as quick as I envision myself en route to the crazy house, our sweet boy grabs my face with his chubby arms, pulls me close and plants an open mouth drooly kiss and emits a faint noise—an inaudible version of “mwah.”

Mwah!

That’s all it takes.

I haven’t had a good night’s sleep since the summer time. I have scars from PUPPPs, reminders of my first few months as a very hormonal new mom. My guilty pleasure, bargain shopping, doesn’t produce bags full of clothes for me any more. Now, it’s bags full of diapers and butt cream for the boy.

Without a doubt, motherhood suits me more than I ever thought it would. It’s been a fun first 6 months.

And kudos to my husband for putting up with my constant lunacy. His love for our boy and our family is beyond words. His love for that boy speaks volumes. That shiny happy baby is drooling proof!

Jack’s weighing in at the 23 lb. range these days. Now that he’s very mobile, he’s “slimmed” down in appearance. His triple chins are down to two and his buddha belly has maintained its size. He’s still in the size 3 diapers, but could probably move up to the 4s soon. He’s well into 12m and 18m clothing. The higher size is usually to cater to his, uh, bigger waist. So, sometimes, the length is a smidge too long. Nevertheless, his growth seems to be slowing down for now.

He’s built like a tank and plays like it too. He loves to sit, but often gets too excited and forgets that he’s sitting up and does a backward head plant. Though he’s not crawling yet, he loves to climb all over us. If he sees something he likes behind us, it’s not uncommon for him to unexpectedly lunge to try and grab it. Because of his size and his desire to be mobile, my mom says that we play rough with him. He likes climbing down my legs upside down and rolling 17 times until he’s hit a barricade.

At this point, we think he’s said his first word. He says dada over and over with a few other consonants thrown in. Now, when you ask him questions, he will answer you with “dadatatamamabooo” and give you a dumbfounded look if you don’t have the appropriate response back. He also loves to sing, especially at the most inappropriate quiet times in church. His singing sounds like high-pitched squeals that rival dolphin mating calls.

Speaking of communicating, Jack’s following his cousin’s lead in many ways. Not only have we discovered a fondness for gDiapers because of Miss Katarina, but we also have the intent to try baby signing. We were so intrigued with Katarina’s ability to sign before she talked that we’ve been reading up on it too. Actually, Jeff’s been the biggest advocate and has been slowly introducing the signs for milk, mama, dada and all done. It’s way too early, but if the kid can catch on to kissy and huggy, it’s worth a shot. Next week, I’m breaking out my linguistics books to teach him phonetics and sentence diagraming. Just kidding.

Right now, kissies and huggies are his favorite thing. In fact, you know he likes you if he kissies you nonstop like a lovable leach. Like I said earlier, his wet and sloppy open mouthed kisses can erase any negativty from my day. Baby kissies are a powerful force.
Over the weekend, Jeff’s mom noticed how Jack was such an affectionate baby. I guess I never really thought about it because I chalked it up as ‘normal.’ But, generally speaking, Jack is a very touchy feely baby. He loved playing with his cousins, uncles and aunts in Va. He loves good company and reinforces that with his hugs, kisses and gummy smiles. He knows when it’s time for mom to come home, but he totally lights up when he sees his daddy walk in the door. He knows the Jackson song happens as soon as daddy gets settled.

Jack’s very active with his rolling and endless Flatley routines. He kicks and kicks and kicks. Sometimes when I’m feeding him when we’re laying down, he’ll kick me right at my incision mark. Holy hell, that hurts. He loves to “walk” and stand with help. We like to hold his hands and let him “walk” i.e., tap dance. It’s too funny.

He is still very much the baby professor. He loves to study objects and textures. Ceiling fans are still his favorite fixtures, but shadows, especially his own, are the new attention grabber. If I say so myself, we’ve done a pretty decent job of containing his army of toys. We refuse to live in a daycare riddled with Fisher Price toys (we’ll leave that for Lola and Lolo’s house) so, we’re mean and make Jack play with his hands. haha. He has a basket full of stuffed toys and shelves full of books, but for now, we’re pleased with achieving our idea of a minimalism out of necessity. We recently bought stacks of Melissa and Doug toys at TJ Maxx that we’ll eventually introduce.

Over the past month, we’ve been feeding Jack cereal at sporadic intervals, to pique his interest in eating solids. He loves the idea of eating and has even shown interest in drinking from cups. mmmm Breastfeeding experts suggest to introduce cups earlier, so that babies don’t inadvertently wean themselves out of convenience. That said, Jack is a big fan of drinking sips of water from my cup and his own transitional cup. With no major signs of allergies, Jack’s 6m appointment is tomorrow where we’ll get the ok to move on to other solids.

Jack’s hair is still crazy. He’s rubbed off even more in the back. Soon, it’ll only be a party up front and close to complete baldness in the back. He’s still in the teething phase, which equals intermittent fussiness. There’s still no teeth, but plenty of gnawing on pacis and teethers. And once my breast. OUCH. I had to sternly tell him no, which resulted in tears when he realized he was wrong and that mama was mad.

And finally, it’s not only a milestone for the boy today, but it’s a milestone for myself: I made it my first goal of breastfeeding until 6m! Not quite the easy feat with returning to work full time at 2 months, being gone almost 10 hours a day and pumping in a glorified supply closet. Based on Jack’s cues, I’m hoping to continue as long as possible, with 1 year as my next goal. As I said in the very beginning, I’ll continue to breastfeed if I can physically do it. It works for our family and so, I don’t see a reason to wean just yet.
It hasn’t been easy, that’s for sure. 3/4 of my craziness and exhaustion stems from the demands of breastfeeding and the ignorance that comes with it. Like most women, I consider breastfeeding a very private thing. Thus, I’m a “shy” nurser. As much as possible, I find a corner or private area to feed, but when it isn’t possible, Jack’s needs come first– not society’s.
A few months ago, I was at the mall with my mom and the baby. We retreated to a privat-ish booth in the corner of the food court so that I could feed Jack. Problem was, my fat ass + my big kid couldn’t squeeze comfortably into the booth. With a baby blanket draped over us, I had to readjust which ended up not being as private.

My mom says to me, “breastfeeding in public would never be a problem in the Philippines.”

Clearly, we’re not in the Philippines. It’s 2008 and breastfeeding in public is deemed inappropriate to some.

Like many of my friends, before Jack was born, I got the same barrage of inappropriate questions about whether or not I was going to breastfeed. It blows my mind that it’s those same people who consider public breastfeeding obscene. Whatever.

We’ll continue to sit in the corner and shield our privacy from those hypocritical eyes 🙂

To sum it all up, we’re fat and happy, and that’s what matters most. Happy six months, baby face!

*for undisclosed reasons not involving my family.

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