It might be the eating, or the moves towards mobility accorded by a slithering action on her belly, but suddenly Elphie seems almost all grown-up and fast heading towards being a toddler rather than a baby.
The past seven and a half months have got incredibly quickly and at each stage I have felt behind the curve playing catch-up (don’t even talk to me about babyproofing). Before having a baby, it seemed like people had babies forever, that it took too long for them to learn to walk, to talk, to be an actual person. Now she’s on the precipice of all that, I miss her being tiny and wish I had taken more videos of her just being as it is hard to remember her being so small now she is a mega baby.
I reckon six to nine months is a lovely time – you are over colic, you’ve got milk feeds down, Elphie is much more interactive – smiling at everyone, laughing (sometimes without obvious reason), playing with food, starting to enjoy playgrounds, either sleeping a bit more consistently or you’ve just got used to sleeping in three hour batches, and most importantly not quite mobile (still within a metre radius of where you left her). I am glad I didn’t return to work after six months, as I thought I might when I first found out I was pregnant, as this would have been a hard time to miss.
I totally get why so many siblings have a 15-18 month gap between them like my brothers had – at this stage babies seem quite manageable before the nightmare of toddlerdom begins and you feel whimsical about the baby that is slowly melting away into a proper little person. A hotelier in Guadeloupe warned us about this – saying they referred to it there as like when a wave hits you in the sea and then immediately following it is another wave riding on the back of it.
Now don’t y’all get too excited about an imminent appearance of a little brother or sister for Elphie. I have been hanging out with toddler Evan too much to fall into the trap of wrangling an emergent toddler with a tiny baby. I fail to get anything done around the flat with one – what would two do to me?!
But I do totally get why adults exclaimed at how much taller or more grown up I was each time they saw me – the change is substantial (and I will somehow explain this to Elphie so she doesn’t find it as annoying as I did). Humans are slow at developing but the chasms of difference between one time period and the next are still huge – Elphie can now harness objects by pulling the material they are on towards her, which, assuming she is not doing it at random, suggests she understands, or is starting to, the relationship between objects – a quite complex phenomenon when you think about it, that action against one object can influence another.
It is truly amazing to witness the small steps that a baby takes to understand a concept – like rolling over, either shifting their shoulders or legs to one side and then the other till they gain enough momentum to get onto their sides and then eventually over. Then practicing that again and again until it is second nature.
I think the trick is to pay attention to the little things and not get distracted by the similarity of one day to the next, because one day they will add up to something immense and my little girl will running not rolling.