Eight Months

Weight: 17+ pounds
Length: 27+ inches
Likes: Having his face wiped after eating, being within sight of Mommy.
Dislikes: Having his nose wiped.
Clothing Size: Still rocking the 6-9 month clothes!
Diaper Size: He started the month in size 2 and graduated to size 3.
Favorite Toy(s): Not toy things (such as Gatorade bottles), tags on toys—not the tags that are intentionally for playing, but the brand label tags on pretty much anything (including bibs).
Skills: Sitting, doing planks while he works on his crawling muscles
Eating: All kinds of things! He still loves bananas, but we give them to him less often. He’s started in on yogurt (his first dairy) and we keep letting him try all sorts of new things. He still drinks plenty of breast milk and nurses frequently during the day.
Sleeping: He’s still pretty inconsistent, but I would say when we are not travelling he sleeps through the night more often than not. He is not a great nap taker during the day.
Firsts: Trip to the drag race track, ear infection, parade as a spectator
Mommy’s Highlight: Going to library story time and watching LT interact with the other babies.
Daddy’s Highlight: Taking LT to the drag race track for the first time.

Parenting After Loss Thought of the Month:
I had that moment. A moment I didn’t really think I would have… like maybe I was better than this. Or I believed people were better than this. But it happened anyway.

We were heading to the quiet restaurant attached to a local grocery store, and a little family was coming out. A little girl, probably in the 2-3 year old range, was being a little whiny in the parking lot. Her mom, to those within listening distance, said, “Anyone want a toddler? Anyone?”

Oof. Right in the gut. I would take her. Truly, I would. We SUPER DUPER love our smiley and good-natured 8 month old. And, we would take a fussy toddler in a heartbeat if it meant we had our Rayna back.

I’m certainly not the only one to do this, but I can be a bit snarky when the momma bear part of me comes out. You know, the part that reacts with horn honking and defensive gestures if someone cuts me off in traffic in a dangerous way and my baby is in the car. That’s why I’m surprised I didn’t say anything to this mom in the parking lot. Or just take her daughter to dinner with us.

Instead of saying anything to that mom, I settled for muttering under my breath to Nick, who missed the whole scene while he was carrying LT into the restaurant. We ate our food, and fed LT some oatmeal. I was seething and still pretty focused on the toddler I wanted to hug. But, of course, LT was smiling at everyone and making friends with those sitting at nearby tables.

As we were finishing eating, an older lady he had befriended with smiles stopped by our table. I was in a mood and braced for the loaded questions about first babies, but instead she said, “I have something for you,” and rummaged through her purse. She pulled out a tiny angel figurine and advised me to keep it in my pocket, “so you always have them with you.” Then, she and her dinner companion left the restaurant.

This woman didn’t know us, our story, or our babies. She didn’t know about the parking lot observation. She didn’t know how very kind and well timed her interaction and gift was, and she took the snarky momma bear right out of me for the night. It’s the ups and downs of parenting after loss. I am always keenly aware of who is missing from our family and wanting others to cherish what they do have. And, if I keep my eyes, ears, and heart open, I find encouragement and connection when I least expect it.

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