Every month we take a picture of The Engineer’s Baby lying on her sheepskin alongside her moose. As the months go by, it’s getting harder and harder to keep her on the mat, and there are more and more outtakes (like the one above). This month, the eighth, I had to rope in The Engineer if we wanted any hope of a good picture.
Taking the picture was an exercise in baby wrangling, which is appropriate, because this eighth month has involved a lot of baby wrangling. She is getting more and more mobile and capable. She crawls quick as a flash when the door to a “forbidden room” is opened. She stands anywhere and everywhere (although just the one time without pulling up on something first). She cruises around furniture and can easily transfer between objects. Most of these things she did a little at 7 months, but the change in her speed and coordination is clear.
As well as getting more mobile, she is getting cleverer by the day. Hiding something away will no longer convince her that it is gone. She is starting to understand words and gestures. She makes more sounds (a recent favourite is tssssssss).
And as she moves closer to toddlerhood (eek!), the parenting experience is changing. Gone are the days when play group was Mums drinking coffees while the babies snoozed or lay on floor mats. Gone are the days when I could leave things on tables and not have her find them. Gone are the days when she could just play with a few plastic things in the kitchen while I cooked.
But with those days leaving, I can see other days arriving. Days where she starts to talk. Where she can really enjoy a playground. Days where her amazing little personality starts to shine through even more. And at least as much as I miss the days that are passing, I am excited about the days that are to come.
This balance between past and future is a pivotal part of parenthood for me. But the more we get into it, the more I see that the solution (insomuch as a solution is required) is not finding the right balance between past and future. The solution is finding space in the present moment. The solution is enjoying the baby wrangling, the serious face she gets as she eats, the back-and-forth grabbing of babies playing “together”. To be honest, it’s probably even enjoying the middle of the night waking and sleep struggles. But let’s not get too crazy here – that part sucks!