It takes nine months for your body to grow a baby; expect nine months to get back to your pre-pregnancy you. Or so they say. In other words, I am officially not pregnant anymore, right?
But while my body may be (almost) back to its pre-pregnancy state, my life will never be. And with every month passing by, I am more assured that it changed for the better.
Without a doubt, there are moments I feel restricted and wish I could go on overnight hikes, exotic trips, train for marathons or stay up late without worrying about the next morning. Life with a newborn was tough, and worries will always remain. But when I see how much joy Maria brings to our life, I can only be grateful and soak up all those precious moments, no matter how cheesy this sounds.
This joy seems to expand with every inch she grows. At nine months, Maria’s personality is clearly emerging, and Ahmed and I are in love.
Where to start? There is the crawling, which she has been doing for quite some time now. But what is new is that she is now trying to pull herself up. On the coffee table. On us. And soon, I am sure, on anything she comes across. When we hold her by her arms she makes a serious attempt to step one foot in front of the other. A mother with an elder child in one of my coffee groups even believes Maria will be walking before she turns one. I have yet to see that happening, but who knows?
We had several firsts this week. Last night, when I walked into Maria’s room to feed her, she clearly said, “Mama.” This morning, when she had woken up from her nap, I heard a soft melody coming from her room. Did I turn on the music? I wondered. I had, as always, turned on the goodnight music app on the tablet, but it stops after 30 minutes and is out of her reach. When I walked in I realized Maria herself had turned on the musical nightlight on the side of her cot!
As most babies her age, Maria loves playing peekaboo. This morning, I hid my face behind the curtain and popped out again several times. Maria roared in amusement. A few minutes later, however, she moved the curtain in front of her face and came out, smiling at me. She was playing peekaboo with me!
What is it with straps and cords that make them more fun than the fanciest and most expensive toys? Maria loves playing with them. We started hiding our cables and charging our phones only in the bedroom with the door shut. Fortunately, she also happily plays with the straps on Ahmeds backpack.
These days, Maria doesn’t need to cry anymore when she wants a feed. She simply pulls my shirt. I often read and hear about babies that go on a nursing strike, but Maria still loves her good ol’ milk, as long as it comes straight from the boob. The bottle remains simply a toy for her.
Teething is in full swing. Maria’s fifth tooth cut through last week, and I have a feeling number six, seven and eight are not far away. She is biting like crazy, including us if she gets the chance!
At the risk of jinxing myself, sleep hasn’t suffered much from teething. In fact, it seems to have improved. On average, she wakes up once at night. During the day, she often has a 1.5 hour sleep in the morning and a shorter, 45-minute nap in the afternoon. And, more importantly, she usually goes to bed now without crying, saving me a lot of heartache. Hurray for that!
The new year has started well for us, with Maria’s Dutch passport arriving in our mailbox at last. That means we can finally start planning some trips abroad. Most likely, we will stay in New Zealand this summer, but we would love to explore one of the pacific islands later this year, in addition to a trip back home. Here’s to a year of travels!