Noa-pdate: 6 months

Noa's half birthday is Monday (mine is today, thank you. Magical 32.5. Sounds like an easy listening radio station). I am obviously super annoyed that the baby who made me pregnant for what felt like 4 years somehow has become 6 months old in ten minutes. My precious little Time-bender.

Here is what she is up to these days as Noa Lou enters her third trimester on the outside.

Eating: LIKE A CHAMP! Sometime in March she officially became my longest breastfeeding baby ever. I may have fed Layla a few cursory snacks in her 5th month, but my supply was so dwindle-some that it was never a full meal. 

Noa has still never had any formula and my supply seems great (my body agrees as I am still cycleless...aka not yet a cyclist).  She is getting super speedy at meals...but also is a crazy distractoid. She loves to kick my stomach and push off (thereby de-latching herself in the most painful way possible) at a rate rivalling that of a hummingbird's wings.

OK. Fine. Kick me all you want, then.

With Judah we started solids a few days before his 4 month birthday (and gave him an ice cream cone before his 5 month birthday...whaaaa?) because he was our first and we were dumb and all into pushing the milestones. Layla was slightly later but well before 6 months. Despite Noa being very interested in whatever we are eating, she won't get solids until her actual 6 month birthday at least....just so I can actually say I have made it that far on boobs alone. I am really excited to make all her baby food just like I did for Layla. It's weirdly cathartic for me in a way that cooking adult food isn't (AKA turns me into she-Gordon Ramsay at the beloved people I am cooking for if they dare to interrupt me).

She DID have an illegal raisin fed to her by Layla (who DEFINITELY knows better). It was found by our nannying family in her diaper. Layla is a definite boundary-pusher when it comes to Noa (and when it comes to who is actually the mommy), and she got a long raisin-suspension for this infraction.

It's a pizza crust, but it was a teething stick, not a snack. She basically made a Gluten+Saliva smoothie and then wore it.

I am not sure how things really work from here. Do babies who nurse to/beyond 1 year just get down to breastfeeding only a a few times a day? and my body just slows down to match that? My big kids slept through the night (with training) at 3 months which is when I went back to work and was the beginning of the end of supply for me so it seems foreign to me that I would be able to make milk for 3 daytime meals and then slow down overnight...just naturally without running out? Is that how it should go?

Speaking of which:

Sleeping: HA! Noa is still in our room, and is getting very large and man-handley in her rock n play sleeper contraption. we definitely have to buckle her little seatbelt in that thing or she flips over and pulls herself up to peep over the back or side. 

What's the upper limit on this thing?

She takes 2 or 3 solid naps a day...usually in our bed but sometimes in the sleeper and rarely in the crib (since it is in the sewing room and when she's asleep that's usually what I am doing). She will go down for the night at about 6-7 and I give her a dream-feed meal whenever I turn in between ten and twelve. From there, she usually wakes up around 3 and then not again until morning. I would love for this night feeding to drop out magically, but it might take moving her into her room and letting her fuss it out to accomplish this.  I think she'd go back to sleep without being fed, but since she's so close, as soon as I hear any peep I am on autopilot just scooping her up (NEVER forgetting that she is buckled...definitely not) and popping her on the breast. Whereas in another room I might turn down the monitor for 5 minutes and see what she does when she isn't instantly fed...just for that one middle of the night session. But I am also still not feeling run down in any way so I am hesitant to move her and let her sleep all night since it was the harbinger of unwanted weaning with my other 2.

She weirdly prefers back sleeping (as opposed to side) in her sleeper, side in the big bed, and tummy sleeping in her crib. Or maybe I am making that up. I sense a pattern though.

Side sleeping and basically being perfect.

She does sometimes get so tired she refuses to do anything and not even my go-to nursing her down will work. for this we strap her into her bed and let her get super angry for a minute or two. Her paci will fall out and that makes her even more saddy-maddy. Then we just walk up, put the paci back in and she's almost instantly asleep. I call this "The Wilson Theorem." She's super angry and foresakes the paci, but once she sees how horrible life is without it she is so happy to get it back that she's just super loving and content and goes to dreamland with him. Much like how Tom Hanks punts Wilson, his VolleyFriend, in a fit of rage in Castaway and then regrets it so hard and is so relieved to get him back.

Nursing Down: it 90% of the time it works every time.

And when it doesn't work. IT DOESNT WORK (this wasa  pre "wilson theorem" discovery meltdown...AND when I had the biggest zit of my life and wearing a huge bandaid was literally more discreet than not wearing it. My chin grew a chin, yall).

New Developments: Easily flipping over both ways constantly. Taking pacis with a vengeance (hooray!). Eating her toes. Sitting up unassisted for 10-15 seconds at a time. Riding in the cart at the grocery store without her carseat. Getting up on all fours (briefly...the knees are mastered but she needs to work on her upper body strength).. Babbling G noises. Bottom two teeth almost visible (and have been for a month I swear!). Earned a PhD in drool studies with a minor in chewing on everything (she almost ingested a Publix receipt completely before I realized what was happening). Is trying to sit up from lying down by lifting her head and flexing her abs!

I call this "the curveball" first two fingers of her throwing arm, in the mouth 70% of the chews.

"the three-finger changeup" for the rare, extra tired situation. Also goes by the "hang ten" for the fingers NOT inside the mouth.

Feeling all the kinds of cheeky about her rolling over skills.

Photo cred: Judah. Smile Cred: Judah. Roly Poly Chunk Cred: mommy.

Sitting in a grocery cart instead of a cozy uterus? LOL, ma.

All the pedidexterity of a chimp.

Temperment: Are you kidding me? This is the world's happiest, chillest, most fun babe. Example: I took her to urgent care one Sunday because I suspected an ear infection. This was the interaction with the Doctor:

Dr.: So this is Noa. [Noa smiles cheesily and laughs at him] My daughter has a "Noa" on her volleyball team who is an excellent player. [I am filled with irrational pride that this somehow means something] So, what are her symptoms?

Me: Well she cried like really loud for a 5 minute stretch about an hour ago. And she has the sniffles. [Noa smiles some more and chews her fists]

Dr.: Um....is this your first baby? [Noa continues to smile and do jumping legs]

Me: Hahaha, No, dude. It's my third. I promise I am not just being an over-reactive noob mom. 

Dr.: This baby does not seem to have an ear infection, but you never can tell. [looks in ear] That one looks fine. 

Me: *gets worried that I AM an over-reactive noob mom after all and have just wasted a $50 copay*

Dr.: [looking in other ear] Well this one is about as red as a fire engine.

Me: [aloud] HA-HA! I TOLD YOU! *icky shuffles*

Ear infection. LOL

So yeah, this kid is the bomb. Except the part where she is like a world class goalkeeper at denying us putting medicine in her mouth. No matter what method, how sneaky or how far back we stick the dropper in her mouth, she manages to push ALL the medicine liquid out and get everyone sticky and bothered. So we didn't give her her antibiotic after wasting about 25 mL trying to get her to ingest 5mL. Luckily it turned out to just be viral and went away on its own. So far she hates bubblegum, cherry and grape flavors. Any pain relievers in "mommy" flavor for sale out there?

Stats: 25" long and 15.5 lbs at 4mo3wks. 16.6 lbs at 5mo2wks (according to urgent care). So much chunky thighs! they are delectable and straining the bounds of Pampers' leg holes. Has a booty like Jesse and Layla: perfect bubble muscle chunks. Finally shed her dark side-of-the-ears hair that she and Layla both weirdly had (like hobbits!).


Family Role: Beloved #1 favorite of every member. We spend much more time fighting over who GETS to take care of her than we do over who has to. I literally had to put both kids in time out at a friends' house because they broke out into a brawl over who got to lean over the carseat to see Noa (after they had already pushed our friends' kids out of the way...who NEVER get to even see her).

Layla feels Judah encroaching on her Noa time.

Every. Single. Day.

Judah is insanely tender and schmoopy with her, saying at least once a day, "Shes the cutest thing in the whole world!" If only he could realize he has TWO baby sisters and apply the same smooshiness to Layla sometimes. In his words "I have a baby sister and a regular sister," however.  

Another funny: He was looking at his chore chart the other day and said, "mommy, Noa should just have one job." I asked him what it would be. He replied, "breast-eating." Genius.

She's breast-eating? no worries, he has no boundaries!

Layla is aggressively in love with her (aggressive is her love language) baby sister. She pushes the limits with hugs, kisses, rocking, booty-patting, belly-pooting, and apparently raisin-feeding to the point where Noa loves it and then immediately starts crying when it goes too far and get too intense. We are trying to let her get her violent attachments out of her system on us and save the gentle for Noa. To be fair, it's a gentle giant syndrome, Layla is smitten to death by Noa and is never trying to hurt her. I really want to protect the sisterhood and not make Layla resentful of our protection of Noa or Noa resentful of Layla's brute force.

"Um, ma? You gonna intervene here?"

Daddy is also 100% sucker for this kid. This is the first baby that he has really been away from all workday. While that is a bummer it is also good because I, the milky one, am with her most, and because he gets to fall in love with her all over again every day when he gets home (and relieves me!). Noa loves feeling his scratchy beard while rabbit kicking/leg-pressing him in the throat. No one can put her to sleep in the crib as her Daddy can.

Jesse is thrilled to get Fridays off (preacher life) and he is the babysitter those days and brings her to my office to eat and hangs out with her the rest of the time. He is the babywearing daddy master. Noa spends about an average of 2 hours a day being worn by someone and about 2/3rds of that time is on Jesse. Love that bond.

 It's possible they like one another.

For me, Noa continues to be my magic baby. I know I am a better mom, having learned from my many mistakes with the first two, and am much more laid back about milestones, schedules, and routine. With all the time I spend not doing those things, I have hours a day freed up to just marvel at her and love her.  And boy do I.  It does also help that she is a delightfully upbeat and chill baby.   

She honestly makes me a better and gentler parent to the big two because when I find myself drowning in her, I also regret that I rushed past some of their babyhoods, or hurried them into growing up in many ways-- so she is a fabulous reminder that I want to treasure them and just let them be where they are right now (because really, they are ALL still babies in the grand scheme of things). 

Loves: outside, car rides (no stopping!), bamboo blankies, pulling hair, pushing (literal) buttons, my keys, being worn, pacis, assisted standing, jumping in her office, sitting in her highchair, looking at/chewing on my phone (has uncanny 360* awareness of where it is).

Hates: medicine, getting buckled in her carseat, being stuck on the ground rather than sitting/standing, getting out of the tub.

Nicknames: Noa-pie, Noa Boa, Nowee-Dowee, Baby Lou, Baby Sweets, Boo-ba Lou

One amazing story to sign off with.

About a month ago Judah and Layla were playing room and I kept hearing them saying "Baby Jesus likes it warm in here." So I went in to investigate wondering what on earth the meant, and found this scene unfolding.

I found it kind of genius that Layla was using her Merid (from Brave) costume to be Mary. Like, "Layla, who are you supposed to be?" And she's all, "I'm Mary. Duh." Get it?

I was curious about how in the world Judah would represent Joseph and was NOT disappointed when he came back in. In fact I almost passed out with glee at how much he nailed it (you can't really tell but his hoodie is inside out to the all-gray side as well).

Joseph Wan Kenobi, Baby Jesus, and Mary(duh). On a cold night in Bethlehem. You can tell they're good parents by how happy Jesus is.

And you can tell she's a good baby by how happy her parents are.

To my baby babygirl,

There just doesn't seem to be adequate vocabulary to describe how much you've added to our world, Noa Lou. Your name means "His conquering Love in motion," and I am delighted to report that some of the things that I have mourned or been ashamed or regretful about myself in how I mother have been the first things conquered by His love in motion in your little life. Your light is already shining into some of the dark places in me, your daddy, your brother and your sister and conquering that darkness with His love. Thank you.

I know you probably won't always be giddy to snuggle up to your mama, and odds are you won't always send me into raptures like you have done these first 6 months, but I promise to always try to let Jesus' love in/for/through you run wild where it wants and to conquer my selfishness, weakness, anger, and many other shortcomings. You've got something special going on with you, my dear, and I want to let it grow without getting in the way and to let it change the world.

The only thing beautiful enough to keep me from getting depressed about what you aren't anymore (in my belly safe and sound, a tiny newborn, a non-ambulatory infant) is seeing what you have and will continue to become. If the tiny little seed can do this much to our hearts, I am already praising Jesus for what the mature, fruit-bear tree-version of you is going to do.

With a heart full to bursting for you,

Your Mama.

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