Oh, Harriet… Poor second baby Harriet. I diligently wrote letters to your big sister every two months for her first year of life. I documented her first foods, sleeping habits, new skills. And then there was you. Little sister, baby girl, big lungs as a wee babe and now settling into this crazy world around you, taking it all in with those big blue eyes. I won’t dwell on the months that I haven’t documented (I’m sorry) but rather I want to capture you just as you are, right now, six months old…
…except you’re now seven months old. (I’m sorry!)
Your first months of screaming and not sleeping and not putting on weight and the worry and the angst and the bone aching weariness passed…perhaps more on that another day. Six month old you though? Is thriving. Now that you are fed and rested and growing like a mushroom – you are happy. You are more and more like your big sister after all. I see the placid, gurgling, happy-go-lucky, easy going baby emerging, similar to Eleanor yet still not quite…Harriet is Harriet is Harriet, after all.
You started solids at almost five months old, a little later than Eleanor as we had just got your breastfeeding sorted and we were kicking goals, I didn’t want to mess with that. You were really not interested or had any idea what on Earth mummy was trying to do with you for a few weeks, then sort of got the hang of it and open mouthed…but still at six and seven months old you don’t eat much. A few spoonfuls here and there but you could take or leave food to be honest. You feed after you get up from a sleep – in the morning at about 7ish, after your morning sleep at about 11ish, after your afternoon sleep at about 3ish…then you have a third short nap from 4.30-5ish but because you’re used to being fed when you wake, and not quite into your solids yet, it’s a tricky transition to not breastfeed you after that later sleep but give you dinner instead. It makes feeding you for bedtime at about 6.30 much better though as you’re actually hungry by then and feed well and promptly fill up and fall asleep…sometimes.
Sometimes it still takes you a long time to settle, and this no-dummy baby business is a bit of a new ball game for mummy. Pretty much the only way of settling you is to feed you. You still cry if you are held or rocked or shushed or patted. So mummy feeds you. And that’s ok…for now. I’m sure you won’t need this as a three or four year old…right?!
Your sleeping has gotten so good now though, compared to where we were (goodness that cycle of no sleep, feeding to sleep, no idea how to get you to sleep, the screaming, the screaming). You suddenly learnt how to self-settle, and now I know you can do it. So you get wrapped up in your swaddle, your white noise on, lie next to ‘Crackle’ your piggy friend and cry for a bit (because: tired!) but then go to sleep. Except at night bedtime when mummy feeds you on the bed in your nursery, sometimes you fall asleep feeding, sometimes you don’t, mostly though mummy puts you into your cot awake and you snuggle in and go back to sleep. Mostly…sometimes not.
You roll over a few days after you turn six months old, at Mumma and Opa’s with everyone watching and cheering you on – you really wanted to reach that toy! Unlike your big sister, once you learnt how to do it you don’t want to stop! It’s a bit problematic though as you can’t get off your tummy…over you’ll go, again and again, then cry once you’re on your tummy! You no longer want to be a baby lying on the play mat, you’re a big girl now! Except that you’re not. You can’t sit up yet, and I think that’s quite a way off still. You like to be upright though so your ‘pink palace’ activity centre is fun, and the jolly jumper. You love to bounce in the jolly jumper! More than Eleanor ever did (perhaps because you actually will weight bear on those little feet of yours). But at your six month check up with the maternal health nurse she detects a clicky hip…no more jolly jumper until we get an ultrasound done at the hospital. All seems well though, so it’s back to bouncing, in a limited capacity.
Your blocked tear ducts clear up at six months old too – thank goodness! They were really getting quite tiresome, mummy kept cleaning them with breastmilk and then just as the doctor said, at six months they started to clear – hurray! You have some flaky, orangey cradle cap which is looking delightful too. Your hair is straight and spiky and going very fair, like your big sisters, born dark like mummy and then blonde like daddy.
Eleanor is your biggest entertainment, mummy asks her to go ‘talk to Harriet’ if you are a bit grumpy and she does dances and sings songs and talks in a silly baby voice to you. And you laugh. A gorgeous big belly laugh often that just goes on and on, big inhales of air and exhales of chortles. Especially if Eleanor is doing something naughty! Your big sister is pretty rough with you, lies on top of you to ‘cuddle’ you and mummy keeps saying ‘gentle Eleanor, gentle!’ But you do your big belly laugh and beaming smile and she tells me ‘Hanna likes it mummy! She likes it!’ Sigh… Eleanor starts to be able to say ‘Harriet’ instead of ‘Hanna’ when you are six months old – thank goodness, it was about to stick!
When you start to drop that third late afternoon nap it can make the afternoon/evening stretch verrryyyy looooong indeed – but you are always happy outside. In the pram around the garden, lying under the chestnut tree on a blanket, you are happy for so long whereas inside you will be grumpy and ‘tired’ and hard to entertain. Mosquitoes seem to love you though, like mummy, which is unfortunate given your love of the outdoors. Lying on the blanket under the chestnut tree you often get bites, unbeknownst to mummy until the next day when you’re covered in red dots!
You still wake up quite a bit in the night, but feeding you now is something to be really celebrated so mummy doesn’t mind so much. She is still so tired, but you feed and then you sleep so…that’s what we do. At about six and a half months you start to sleep a bit longer, sometimes only waking once a night! At seven months though you are often up twice in the night, but are learning to settle much better at the beginning of the night which is helpful. If you feed later and later in the night, 4am is a sweet spot, it means you will sleep in later which then makes the whole day run better! If you are up too early the first nap of the day can be too early and then we run into trouble late in the day! Mummy’s days revolve around your sleep, but that’s ok, it won’t always be this way.
We love your little pixie ears and your big beaming smile, your much more expressive than Eleanor ever was, perhaps you know you have to step up and stand out to be noticed in this circus of a family as the second child! You started life off looking so much like your Aunty Louise, now some say you look like mummy’s grandma. You definitely look quite different to Eleanor, but as you fill out those chubby cheeks and chunky thighs the resemblance is coming through!
But you are Harriet. Just Harriet. Our peachy girl. Kicking big goals in little ways just six months in to life Earthside. What a ride so far, we can’t wait to see what the next six months bring as you become a big bubba girl and do all of the things. The ride has only just begun with you my Harriet Gwen…