Why didn't anyone tell me that having a baby would wear me out? Even though Adriana still doesn't move very quickly, chasing after her is somehow exhausting. We're slowly childproofing things around here, so that I don't have to spend the entire time chasing after the baby as she get into the cat's food, plays with the stereo, pulls the phone off the hook, or heads for the cords under the desk. I spend what seems like a ridiculous amount of time repeating, "Gentle. Pat the kitty gently." We go back and forth with her sleep. We recovered from the cold last month only to face two new teeth coming in (only one has actually broken through so far; the other one remains just below her gums, where we can see it, taunting us) and the disturbed sleep that comes with that. Last night I put her down to bed at 7:30, and she woke up every hour after that until went to bed and let her sleep beside me. After that she was up only twice, so I counted it as a good night.
My main frustration these days actually isn't sleep, but that Adriana seems to have decided that she's not interested in solid foods. Finger foods are the only thing she doesn't pick up and put in her mouth. When I present her with a spoon of rice cereal or applesauce, she no longer leans forward for a taste, choosing instead to seal her lips and turn her head away. I'm trying to be patient with it. I like nursing her--we both get so many benefits from it--and I know she is getting enough to eat. She will eat read food when she is ready. Still, I wish she would drink milk from a sippy cup from time to time.
As tiring as this age seems to be, I am really loving it. Adriana claps, waves, bounces to music, and giggles. She is learning about the world and it's fun to watch that happen. Although we've shown her her reflection in the mirror since she was a newborn, she somehow is more aware of it now. I don't think she's aware that she's seeing herself, though. About a month ago I gave her a toy with a mirror on it, a hand-me-down from some friends, and it was amazing to watch her explore it. She would lean over the mirror and then pull away, only to lean over it again a moment later for another peak. She tapped it gently with her finger, leaned down to taste it, and looked up at me and laughed.
She loves being around people, and wants to be put down on the floor so she can play with other children whenever we go to a La Leche League meeting or yoga class or anything where there are other babies. She is particularly fascinated with toddlers, crawling around behind them or staring at them with awe from across the room. But I find it comforting that she checks in with me often. She crawls across the room to get a toy or check out another baby's blanket, and then turns to make sure that I am looking at her before returning to the task at hand. It's sweet to have her crawl over to me and pull up onto her knees using the leg of my jeans as she asks to be picked up once she's decided she's had enough.
I do find that I must remind myself of how wonderful these little things are, though. "She's only little once," I tell myself nearly every day. It's my mantra. It gives me perspective. And it works. When Adriana is having trouble falling asleep for her nap and I find myself bouncing her in my arms and wondering if she will ever sleep, I think, "I will only be able to hold her like this for such a small part of her life," and bouncing her a few more minutes until I can lay her in her bed doesn't seem so bad. Later in the day, when I start to wonder how long before Brian gets home, so I can put together dinner, or get some wash put away, or maybe just read a book without one eye on the baby, I tell myself, "She's only little once," and then I am happy to stack blocks for her to knock over for the 54,898th time that day and read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom one more time. I Some nights, when nursing isn't doing the trick to get her back to sleep, I sit with her in the rocker in the dark living room, tired and wondering why she thinks it's time to be awake, and then I remind myself that she's only little once, right now, and I can relax while we rock back and forth and wait for sleep to come.