Friday, May 3, 2013

Nine Months

Nine months inside and nine months outside. My baby has given me the best, most stressful, challenging and extraordinary year and a half of my life. Yes Michelle is now 9 MONTHS OLD and it's freaking me out. I wish life came with a pause button. Time is going by too quickly. Months ago it seemed like I had all the time in the world but it has flown by. We're into May now. Next week is Mother's Day (a holiday which will mean more to me now than ever. I never thought I'd actually be a Mom myself someday.)

There is so much to do and so many things to worry about in the coming months. In July I return to work. I don't know how I'll survive it. I don't know how I am going to leave Michelle for a whole day when I can't bear to leave her for even a minute. I know that I've been very lucky to have been able to stay home with her for a year as some women with grown children remind me that in their day they only got three months on maternity leave. The only one I trust to watch her is my mother (or my sister but she has enough on her plate with her own kids) and even then I worry. With my shifts being long and my Mom living in a different town it's going to be a challenge to say the least. Unfortunately I'd have to be a millionaire to afford a place closer to her neck of the woods. Even if I wanted to leave Michelle with a stranger (which I couldn't) my job has strange hours and no day care would be able to take her. I heard from other Moms who were put on waiting lists for daycare while they were still pregnant. Michelle loves her Grandma and Grandpa and she's always happy when we visit them so she should be OK. I've tried to work out a plan but until the time comes I really don't know how things are going to go. My Mom is nervous about it too. Of course she loves her granddaughter but she's never had to watch her for more than a couple of hours. Michelle will be walking by then so hopefully Mom won't have to carry her too much. It's hard to know how Michelle will be by then. I hope my Mom can manage. My Dad will be there too (thank God because Mom is not an early riser. Not sure how she'll survive my dayshifts dropping Michelle off.) It will probably be hardest of all on me. I'll likely be blubbering like a fool my first day back to work. Already my IBS has been off the charts worrying about everything. Michelle and I have been inseparable 24-7 since she's been born. Even before she was born of course because we were as one for nine months while I was pregnant. At least while I was pregnant I had her with me at work. Maybe I could try to sneak her in in a kangaroo pouch...I've tried to avoid thinking about it because it's too painful and stressful but I can't really avoid it much longer. It will be July before I know it.

Emotionally, physically and in every way it will be difficult for me to be apart from her. I am so attached. Even though she drives me crazy sometimes (and you'd think I'd be RELIEVED to have a break from watching her when she's so high maintenance) I love her so much. She's everything to me. I still have to try to wean Michelle gradually. She still nurses through the night which is the only way she and I get any sleep. I don't know how I'm going to cut out those feedings but I obviously have to when I'm working nightshift.

I've decided I may end the blog in July. This started as a "baby blog" to track my pregnancy and my experience with Michelle as a baby. She will be turning a year old in July. I think that once I'm back at work it will become more difficult, if not impossible to find time to write here. I may still post once in a while but I won't be able to keep up with the 8 post a month quota that I seem to have set for myself and I'll have to keep the posts short and sweet. I'm already finding it difficult to carve out time to write, though this blog has meant a lot to me. I started it when I needed an outlet (4 months pregnant and abandoned by Michelle's father) and continued it to share my thoughts and experiences, joys and frustrations. The feedback has been wonderful and I'm so grateful to everyone who has been following along and offering their support. If you do want to keep in touch you can always email me at -- just be sure to reference my blog in the subject line so I know it's not spam.

When Michelle was 6 months old and the doctor said she didn't need to see her again until she was 9 months, it seemed like a long way away. Now it seems like those months disappeared in the blink of an eye. The doctor said that Michelle is thriving, very healthy, meeting all of her milestones, tall for her age. Now the doctor doesn't have to see her again until she's 12 months old. What scares me is that these next few months will fly by too. I want to hold on. Maybe that's why I take so many pictures and why I write this blog. It's my way of holding on to these days because I know they won't last.

Instead of being stressed and worried about the future, I decided to try to enjoy the present, to cherish every moment I have with Michelle. The weather has been beautiful (it seems like we went from Winter to Summer without a Spring!) so we've been spending a lot more time outside. At my sister's place we hung out on the deck with May, Shannon and Reggie. Shane barbecued. Michelle was a little bit afraid of his beard. She doesn't see a lot of men and I'm not sure she's ever seen one with a beard. She seemed curious about it so I held her close to him and she reached out and touched it. She pulled her hand back in shock. "He's like the prickly monkey!" I explained. (I have a monkey made out of a coconut from the Dominican. Michelle used to be afraid of it but now she loves him. She reaches out to touch him and he's prickly.)

At my place we hang out on the swing on my backyard beach. I remember swinging on it last summer while I was pregnant. I'm so not a  Winter person but I love Spring and Summer. It feels good to get fresh air and sunshine. It seems to be doing Michelle good too. She's sleeping quite well again (knock on wood.)

There is so much to do that sometimes I get myself frazzled, but then when I take a moment to just decompress I feel so much better. Going for walks with Michelle or just sitting on the swing, doing a bit of gardening while she naps has been good for my soul. Doing some spring cleaning is helping too -- my energy can flow better when the house is tidy and everything is in order -- Feng Shui. Sometimes it's hard to find the time to clean but when everything is in its place I actually breathe easier. I was even inspired to do a headstand and was surprised how easily it came back to me. With all the stress I've been under lately I lost another 5 lbs. Now I just have a few more to go and then some toning up to do.

I have to say that I will miss this blog, if and when I decide to call it quits. It has become like a diary of my experience with the baby (though some have told me I may overshare on occasion and it may not be wise to wear my heart on my sleeve so much for the world to see. Hey, it's what I do. Why break a habit? I even wrote a song about it.)

I still can't believe she's 9 months old. Nine months used to sound like a long time. Now it's gone in the blink of an eye. I remember my baby brother explaining to my Mom why time seems to go so much faster the older you get. He was just a child but wise beyond his years. "A year feels like forever to me because it's like a quarter of my life but you have lived so many years that it's just a small fraction of yours."

Time does go by so quickly that's why it's so important to enjoy each moment. I'm going to try not to let stress over the minutiae of life ruin the time I have to spend with Michelle.

She can say "tree" now. She's still not saying "Mama." She was excited about the palm tree in the yard. "Tee" she kept saying and pointing to it "Tee!" There is a black iron tree wall decoration in my living room as well that she's become obsessed with. "Tee!" she says breathlessly, reaching for it. She even says "Eddy" for Teddy. And still no Mama. Sigh. Mother's Day is next week. I keep hoping she'll say it by then.

Everything is full of wonder when you're just learning about the world. The breeze on her arm, a bird flying overhead, purple flowers blooming in the garden. Watching her excitement is infectious. I realize what a beautiful, magical world it is when you take a moment to notice it. Michelle also enjoyed seeing a spider up close (a real spider not the cute smiling one in her book. I sang itsy bitsy spider and she clapped her hands.) She touches her head now when I say "head" or touch my head. She loves to mimic me. She makes me smile and laugh and suddenly all my worries melt away. Suddenly all the things that seem so urgent don't really matter. Time stands still and for that moment I'm just enjoying being with my little girl. That is the most important thing in the world.

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