The 8 month itch, nobody tells you about. I lasted 8 months being the "perfect" textbook Mother I always dreamed of being. 8 months in I have now I've reached my limit and succumb to being a regular, doing whatever-the-hell needs be to get by, Mum. I now feed my child Pombears while I do the laundry to keep him quiet, I suddenly am desperate for bedtime to hit for a glass of wine- not even for the wine itself but to hold a wine glass with a cold beverage and sit on the sofa, undisturbed watching anything but Baby TV. I put cartoons on Channel 5 at 6am and watch Disney films on rainy afternoons just for a bit of peace and quiet. I've fed him bits of my chocolate cookie and let him lick my strawberry ice cream- because who am I to deny him of these delicious wonderments when he reaches for them.
I realise how judgemental and naive I used to be and how everyone is simply just doing their best to keep their baby happy and remain sane. It is enevitable in my opinion that you will become that Mum. It makes me wonder what I'll be like with a screaming toddler in the middle of ASDA... I already have thoughts in my head of 'I won't bribe my child with sweets and chocolate to finish a meal' 'I wont use 'no iPad' as a punishment' or 'I won't give in and let them have what they want at the shop because they're having a temper tantrum' - Ha! I will no doubt do all of these. I'd like to think I'll try not to at first but fuck it- if it happens, it happens. Whatever it takes to make it through parenting alive!
I really feel 6 months and above is the mark when it gets tricky and really difficult to do ANYTHING. Hours can pass by and I will have achieved so little. When the baby naps it becomes about doing things that are impossible to do with the baby awake. This can mean my hair goes without being washed for a week because I need to use those naps to organise his clothes, sort through cupboards, take out the bin bags, pick up dog poo in the garden. The changes that make your baby go from being a baby baby, to a colossal, climbing clingy monster (just kidding, love you Oscar) are the following:
Oh boy, oh boy. Ok - so I was warned that when you start weaning the poos get so much worse, but it took a long time for me to see HOW bad they really get. When I started weaning Oscar they pretty much stayed the same, changed consistency a tiny bit, maybe the odd different coloured nappy and a sweetcorn lump here and there, but on the whole I wasn’t that disgusted by them. Oh holy hell, was I in for a treat. Now that he is on three meals a day, and I mean adult meals like fishcakes, cottage pies and pastas, his poos are UNREAL. They’re like human, no not human, COW shits, that get sat on while he's in his highchair or carseat, and turn into cow pats. They are horrific. It’s unbelievable that such a cute, tiny, precious little baby can create such enormous, adult poos. Take that, combine with the fact that they now won’t lie down or stay still when you try and change their nappy, results in a lot of squirming, frustration and poo everywhere, unless you’re on the off chance quick like a ninja. I’ve found the only way to get Oscar to lie still is to give him a small, intricate toy. Like a small rubber duck from his bath set. Anything bigger and he will quickly get bored. I’ve also changed to pull up nappies because once you get the feet in, since he’s now on his feet, I stand him up and pull the nappy up, meaning there’s less time I have to get him to lie down! I don’t know if it’s just Oscar but at this age, he seems to be pooing as soon as we get in the car, or as soon as I put him in his chair for breakfast/dinner. I don’t think I’ll have any problems potty training him because that boy loves to sit and shit!
Crawling is a bitter sweet milestone. It happens oh so gradually so it’s something you have a while to get used to the changes. It’s the most amazing thing and I am so proud of Oscar. He started with an army crawl which is in some ways worse as they can go even faster! He soon started whizzing around getting into everything he shouldn’t. This means the days of putting him in a safe place so I can go for a quick wee or grab something from another room are gone. When I first went to the baby shop to baby proof the house I didn’t really have any idea what I was looking for. I found plastic stoppers for plug sockets and some rubber stoppers for the edge of furniture, I took one look at the dressing room when I got home and these stopped about 2 of 200 hazards in the room. It took a lot of moving plug sockets in reach, finding an alternative plug and having an extension cable in a safer place, getting rid of all the junk that didn’t have a place, so just ended up on the floor (which has actually motivated me to organise the house properly and get rid of unwanted crap) and most importantly, keeping and eye on him at all times! It seems to make no difference whether I put out twenty toys or three toys, he still wants the coat hanger, my phone, or handles on drawers. We’ve had to get a hideous, multicoloured, huge, plastic baby fence in our lounge because there was simply far too many hazards, including a fireplace, so we now have a big pen for him and his toys. Luke naively thought that the pen meant I could leave him in there with some toys and get on with something elsewhere while he happily played by himself. Not quite. He is still quite unpredictable when he crawls and can often fall on his face or into toys when he tries to go from sitting to crawling. And when sitting is still a bit wobbly so can often bump his head or fall on the floor from sitting, so leaving him is out of the question! He is full time work!
Oscar was a really content baby so this is the first dose of crying I've really had to deal with. You can't help but feel bad when they're bumping their head or dropping toys on their face a hundred times a day- but when they're crying for what seems like no reason it can get frustrating! The whole day seems to centre around distraction.
If they bump their head you find a new toy or pick them up and show them their reflection in the mirror. If they really hurt themselves you'll know but otherwise I think most of it is the shock. Oscar was sat in the lounge and fell into a stacking cup that was facing upwards and he screamed his lungs out. It was such a heart breaking cry and there was very little that could stop him crying. He got a big purple bruise in a curved line down his cheek so I'm not surprised he cried after seeing the bruise it left! His face was so sore from the bruise I couldn't wipe the food off without hurting him so I just had to let him be covered in yoghurt!
Most times that he has cried in the highchair while eating can usually be dissolved by offering him yoghurt (yoghurt is his favourite, I think if he's crying because his teeth ache that the yoghurt cools the gums and therefore the pain) but if it's that he's getting bored or tired, a little bit of BabyTV calms him down long enough for me to either get him to finish his meal or clear up just so the kitchens always moderately tidy. Too many times I've just picked him up when he's crying and disappeared upstairs and found the food on the highchair I left either eaten by the dogs or covered in flies. So I now take the time to try and calm him down and tidy up properly before we leave the table, it also means I don't end up covered in food by picking him up!
Teething is a nightmare. It's so unknown. It's a total guess whether they're fussing because they're teething or it's because they're just being fussy. And then bam, the teeth pop through and it explains everything. Oscar is 8 months and has 6 teeth. Which I believe is early to have that many! I tried everything and in the end found really only Calpol works. Distraction in the day, Calpol at night. I even tried an amber teething bracelet to wear as an anklet for him but I'm not convinced it's worked. He can go a day without it and act the same if not worse as the before, or wear it and have a really good day. I'm not sure how much the bracelet has to play in his moods but when you're this desperate for him to be out of pain and a little more settled, you'll try anything.
Sleeping & Clinginess
I feel like I really missed my window with getting him to self soothe. I started swapping our bedtime routine around when he was 6 months and would feed him first, then do bath and into pyjamas and then put him in bed and he would babble and have a little whinge and then fall asleep. He then started to teethe and all hell broke loose. I had to scrap all the sleep training and comfort him through the pain. Now that his 6 teeth have cut and it doesn't seem any are coming, I’m trying to get him to fall asleep independently but it’s happen to fall at the same time he goes through a clingy leap. Where if you leave a room he screams bloody murder. He hates being put down and cries, only to stop crying the split second you pick him up again. So far I’ve been able to simply cuddle him to sleep so at least the sleep association with breastfeeding has sufficed. He is still sleeping well from 6-12 and then gets up every two hours from then. I can’t complain as he is only ever awake for about 10 minutes and I’ve never been up in the middle of the night trying to get him to go back down for hours on end.
Grabbing and touching
It’s no secret that babies are obsessed with car keys, iPhones and TV remotes. We have recently bought him ‘Baby’s first gadget kit’ so that he has his own to play with as we’re both slightly fed up of the channel being changed or turned up too loud. He is always touching things he shouldn’t. He doesn’t touch other babies or our dogs gently and is always taking a fist full of whatever’s in front of him whether it be a clump of dog fur or another babies nose. He also enjoys grabbing hair - whether that be hair on your head, Luke’s chest hair, Luke’s beard - you name it he grabs it - and won’t let go easy! If he’s not grabbing your hair, he’s beating you up - whether it be a kick to the tit, a kick to the throat, grabbing the skin of your throat, smashing a remote into your head, smashing a remote to his head! It’s all a nightmare of bumps and bruises and the worst thing is you can’t get annoyed at a baby! How can you! You just have to grit your teeth and bare it because he means to harm and has no idea what he’s doing!
Having an 8 month old is extremely exhausting, it’s exhausting all night and exhausting all day - but SO rewarding. He now has such a dirty laugh whenever he is tickled and gives the biggest smile whenever you catch his eye. He really has such a cheeky personality and I’m so excited for him to start walking and talking. Oscar you might be going through a lot and be a miserable butt munch sometimes but I love you!