We are back in Melbourne, arriving last week to unusually steamy, tropical weather. I haven't seen Victoria look so green in years, not since I was a child.
I was feeling quite good about coming to Melbourne, since last time we were here, when Bethany was 4 months, she slept brilliantly. Sure enough, the first two days we were here she woke only once to feed each night. But then we had a really hot night, and her napping during the day became sporadic (from 2-3 decent naps to 4-5 - some occurring as late as 8pm and then having her awake till after 11pm), and before you know it sleeping - both night and day - is chaotic. The night before last were there 7 wakings? 8? I'm not sure. I'm now pretty good at getting by on the fragmented sleep of early motherhood, but this is crazy. I love visiting my friends and family in Victoria, but I desperately want to be home with our cot, and surroundings I know she feels comfortable.
Because what is making this chaos additionally trying is that we seem to have hit separation anxiety in a big way. I don't know if it's coincidence, or if the sheer overwhelming novelty of being away has triggered it, but she won't play on the floor for 5 seconds without whinging. She'll be held by a grandparent after she's got to know them, but she won't even tolerate being held by a stranger for more than half a minute, even if I'm a mere metre away. Sheesh! And at 8kg, she's getting kind of heavy to hold all day. Particularly when I didn't think to bring a sling.
And to additionally try my patience, she has developed a charming new habit of pinching anything that comes into contact with her hands, including me. What is within her reach when we are breastfeeding are my forearms, so she likes to grab and pinch the skin. Currently the inside of my arms are covered in bruises and red marks, giving me the appearance of 'junkie mother'.
But amazingly, despite all that, she still delights me.
What is most delightful is that at 6 months she's so much more aware. She takes delight in seeing a beautiful rose, or standing up in a new dress,
or feeling the texture of a new toy:
She's got a thing for cars and machinery, and when we went to the train station, her little eyes and mouth opened wide as she saw and noticed a train for the first time. (It was even more exciting than the fire engine we spotted going down Mitchell St the other day.)
I am calling this the 'Age of What'. She wants to know What everything is. She is too young for Why or How, but finding out What gives her a lot of pleasure. She has a number of simple experiments for figuring out the properties of any object: 1) Can I grab it? 2) If yes, what does it taste like? And what happens when I shake it up and down? 3) If not, what does it feel like? And what happens if I bang my hands up and down on it? Simple experiments, but it's interesting to see how methodical she is about it.
It's scary how fast the time is going. Only about 6 weeks and I'm going back to work 2 days a week. Bethany will stay with her Granny for the first 6 months I'm back, but I still have to sort out what we're doing about feeding. She drinks out of a cup - water at any time and formula if she's hungry - but it's a bit time intensive to hold it there, and there's a fair degree of spillage. I don't want to wean her onto bottles only to wean her off again. I think she's old enough to learn to use a sippy cup, but it's been difficult to find a sippy cup that actually works.
At first I got this Tommee Tippee sippy cup with a soft spout and easy to grab handles:
only to find that when she tips it up to drink from it, her nose squishes into the rounded lid so she can't breathe, plus she has to work out to tip it up to get the liquid out, and that's a bit advanced.
So then I tried these Nuby sippy cups with straws - plenty of room to breathe, and no need to tip them up:
only to find that getting liquid out of this is so hard that I struggle with it. It's like drinking from a camel pack. You have to get the straw into your mouth at the right angle, and kind of bite down as you suck.
Sippy cup fail.
So today, I tried this Pigeon one which actually has a bottle teat, hoping that if she got the hang of this, we could swap the lid for the 6mth sippy style lid. She has managed to kind of drink from this if you lay her down, but she hates that, so won't do it for long. It's a fairly slow flow teat too.
So far, the best sippy cup has been one of these cheap Take'n'Toss that Target was handing out to shoppers for free. It doesn't have a handle so she has trouble holding on, but at least she can breathe and she seems to get liquid out of it.