Wow! Today Holly is 9 months old. Meaning she has been here as long as I carried her inside me. I can’t quite believe it. The last few months have gone by much quicker than the months I was carrying her. And they are far more rewarding seeing as I am no longer blighted by throwing up in public (yes that happened) and nightly restless legs hell.
As with many second babies, Holly has basically just slotted into our lives and it’s like she has always been here. Of course, she has kept me awake every night since birth, an art she perfected whilst womb-side and decided from day dot she wanted us to hang out every waking minute be it via the restless legs and pregnancy insomnia when she was in Hotel Uterus or the new found boob addiction she discovered upon arriving on planet Earth!
Holly is a pretty relaxed baby to be fair to her. She will happily go to anyone for a cuddle and thoroughly enjoys being made a fuss of. I love the age she is at at the moment because her little personality is starting to shine through. She knows exactly what she’s doing though; there has been times I’ve put her down for a nap only for her to cry and kick off. I’ve always let her and Josh self settle (to a point – I’m not one for letting baby sob it out but I’ve been beyond lucky that my two have never been screaming criers, more whimpering and a bit “put out”) but sometimes she just won’t snooze and that’s when she lets me, her Dad and anyone within a 5 mile radius know about it. So we go back upstairs expecting to see this tear stained face and feel incredibly guilty but I kid you not, the second you go in that room and she sees you she is just grinning from ear to ear. She might as well just say “I win”! And as you can imagine, it’s hard to be annoyed with her. She’s pretty cute after all!
So what milestones have we reached. Well this is a subject I’ve actually grown to dislike. With all that we’ve gone through with Josh, I’ve come to learn that babies and toddlers do not conform to milestones. You know those emails you get; “your baby is 8 months and 1 week so they should be doing x, y and z”; I’ve made sure to unsubscribe from them all. Us Mums have enough pressure to deal with, without worrying that our baby isn’t crawling/walking/talking when some randomly generated emails says they should! The main milestones Holly has had a go at are crawling and of course, weaning. Crawling, well let’s just say I haven’t encouraged her! I know that makes me sound horribly mean, especially as with Josh I would do anything I could to help him get moving. But now that I realise how quick they move and how much hard work goes into running around after two of them, well I’m not in a desperate hurry to see Holly tearing around the house. But this week she has indeed given crawling a good go; granted she’s not great at it. After a few impressive attempts she gets bored and just commando drags herself across the floor to her desired toy or spot. I do think she will be crawling fairly well soon though and I expect we’ll then be getting into the sofa surfing territory!
Her more successful milestone has been weaning. My God, the kid can eat. I am surprised because for the first few weeks she couldn’t have been less interested. As I said before, she was all about the boob. I breastfeed on demand too so she just got it when she wanted it. But before long Holly came to her senses and started to demolish everything I fed her! It’s been a really refreshing change because Josh is not a great eater and to get him to eat fruit is something we would happily throw a party about. I’ve been trying to feed the two of the same things and at the same time to encourage good eating habits for the both of them and I also eat with them when I can. Holly is pretty fascinated when she sees me eat so I do think it helps. I’ve actually attempted a bit of Baby Led Weaning with Holly in terms of giving her finger food. I could tell from early on that she preferred feeding herself so she’s been having lots of toast, homemade egg muffins, fruit (she may well turn into a blueberry) and some good old Ellas Kitchen Melty Puffs!
When it comes to all the milestones and people asking “is she doing this yet, is she doing that yet” I do worry. Not because I have any concerns; she’s only 9 months old and is the happiest smiley baby I could be blessed with. But I’d be lying if I said Josh’s condition doesn’t make me anxious that Holly may also have challenges. I have to stress here this is simply my own neurotic worrying; Holly hasn’t shown a single sign for me to be concerned at all. It’s just a fear inside me. I know it would be rare for both my children to be autistic, and I know it’s even more rare in girls than it is in boys. I know deep down I don’t need to worry. But it does play on my mind a bit, and I have been spending time specifically trying to teach Holly how to wave and clap (these were key things that Josh never did and sparked my concerns).
Speaking of Josh, Holly adores her brother. When she sees him she smiles and kicks her chunky little legs with excitement. It genuinely fills me with joy knowing that she already loves him. Josh’s tolerance of Hols has always been limited. When she was first born he really struggled with her crying and would cover his ears but as time went on he seemed to be able to cope with it much more and wasn’t as upset. But in the last month or so he has struggled a lot with her crying and making noise. I am not too sure what I can do about it because I obviously want to encourage Holly to use her voice and babble. But if she’s crying I do try to sooth her as quickly as possible so Josh doesn’t become too stressed with the noise. I cannot wait for the day they play together. I have a feeling Holly is going to be very protective of her big brother and I imagine her encouraging him every bit as much as Sam and I do.
I am sure many Mums think this about their daughters but I have to say, I think Holly is all me. And by this I mean strong willed, stubborn and determined. I know it sounds crazy to say but I can already see it in her from her determination at dragging herself across a room to her stubborn glare when I dare to refuse her an Ellas Kitchen pouch over my home cooked dinners. I suspect she’s going to keep me and her Dad on our toes.
But my God, I love her. I love her so much. Sometimes, even nine months down the line, I still can’t believe I have a daughter. She may not sleep as well as her brother did but her delightful early morning wake ups are times for us to snuggle up together; yes I’m tired but I do remind myself to treasure those moments. Holly will be my last baby so I want to soak up every moment of that baby snuggles. Life with two is hectic; it’s busy, some days it all goes to plan and other days you’re crying in the toilet and bringing bedtime forward by an hour because you just need the break. But I am honestly so happy; Holly completed our little family and I am the luckiest mama thanks to her and her brother. For all the Mum guilt, the illogical worrying about things, the lack of sleep and the fact it now takes me a week and not a couple of hours to produce a blog post, every little thing is worth it. Being a Mum of two is knackering but it’s also bloody brilliant (although if you fancy sleeping through the night now Hols, that’d be champion)!