A few days ago, I saw a friend who'd just had a baby. Her son was only a few weeks old, and when we ran into each other, she was standing and casually feeding him a bottle, wearing a dress and looking totally put together. And I kept thinking back to when Oliver was a few weeks old and what a mess I was. I'm pretty sure I looked like it, too. I hated wearing anything other than sweatpants, I hated putting blankets over Oliver when breastfed him, I was just generally exhausted and uncomfortable and yet really happy. But watching her, it looked easy. Oh, a newborn! They're no work at all! And suddenly I thought about all those women who talked about feeling inadequate when they see other women who look like they have it all together, and it all made sense. Maybe she felt like a total mess inside, who knows. But even though I loved, loved, loved those first few months of motherhood, and even though Oliver was a fairly easy newborn, I just felt like a mess basically all the time, so for a second, I was jealous of this friend who made it all look easy.
Oliver is eight months old now, and he's so perfect. He still isn't the best sleeper, but we're working on it. He's almost on a schedule now (after only eight months...) and he no longer nurses to sleep so we're basically declaring it a sleeping victory all around for the time being. He still nurses a lot and isn't exactly enamored of solids just yet. If you dare try to feed him something (by spoon or hand) he wants nothing to do with it, but if he gets to eat it himself, he just might enjoy it. Right now his favorite things to eat are mangoes, strawberries, broccoli and cheerios. He's also fond of asparagus and sometimes eats various things on toast. Mostly he makes messes and plays with his food, but whatever, I count any happy time in his highchair as a win (and he definitely gets some food down). He seems to take after me as a baby quite a bit - I get told a lot that he looks like me (or my dad), he is happy all the time, and has a happy little shriek that he likes to use at inopportune moments (like the middle of church). He has no teeth but doesn't care at all. His hair is still brown and light (but sometimes apparently looks blond or red to other people) and he has the brightest, bluest eyes I've ever seen. Strangers love stopping us to comment on his eyes or general happiness, and he usually loves getting attention (but not always being held by people he doesn't know).
His favorite things to do are swinging and walking around. He loves sitting the swing and could happily spend all day there, especially if there are other children at the park for him to watch. He also loves to walk while holding onto our hands, and could also do this all day long, but it's pretty hard on our backs so we pretty much last like ten minutes. He will sit and play sometimes with various toys, but usually his favorite things are whatever we're using that he's not allowed to have (like cell phones, computer mouses, etc...) He's convinced my phone is an amazing, delicious treat, and lunges for it whenever he catches sight of it. Changing his diaper has become a whole new challenge now that he flips over and wriggles away as soon as I try to lay him down, so that's been a fun change. He loves when we make funny faces or use silly voices with him, and will always laugh when we play peek-a-boo. He grabs and eats books when we read together, and doesn't always like to sit still in my lap. He is wriggly and squirmy and cheerful and cute and just the best baby ever. He has a hilarious laugh where he laughs on his inhalation and it comes out like this shrieking, wheezing thing that always makes me laugh, too. He's growing interested in animals, and will follow them around, pulling on our hands when we're walking to make us go look. We visited some friends with dogs over the weekend, and when they licked him he giggled and giggled. It's been so fun to see him interact with the world, and to see how delighted he is with the silliest things. When he was a few months old, someone told me that they thought ages 6-9 months were our reward for getting through pregnancy and labor and newborn days, and I smiled but totally didn't get it, because I thought three-month-old Oliver was pretty awesome. And he definitely was, but this Oliver is even better. It makes me so excited for the next few months and years, to see how much better it can get.