Theo turned seven months old on September 11 while we were vacationing in Beaune, in the Burgundy region of France. We had a quiet, snuggly day filled with naps and books and slow dancing, because our sweet little boy had a low-grade fever. What we thought was teething advanced to his first cold.
I had been afraid of the first cold, not knowing exactly what to do or what he would need to ease his discomfort. Turns out, all he needed was extra love. He was a little fussier than his normal cheerful self, so over a few days we stayed in, nursed a lot, read his favorite books over and over, and even watched our first episode of Teletubbies. (Hey, Elie and I both watched cartoons when we were kids, and we turned out okay.) Although he has been sleeping in his own bed for several months now, he ended up in our bed a few times over those days, because he was having a hard time settling down and staying asleep with his stuffy nose. Thankfully, it only lasted a few days and we all survived Theo’s first cold with not much trauma at all.
Aside from the cold, there are a few other milestones we want to remember about Theo’s seventh month. Warning: this is probably only interesting if you really love Theo or you are also the parent of an infant his age.
Communication: Theo’s not talking yet, but boy is he finding more and more ways to communicate. He’s constantly ‘talking’ in his own vocabulary, and while it often sounds like he’s complaining, when you look at his face, he’s smiling and happy. He’s just figuring out how to talk to us. Since we’ve been in France, he will start conversations with strangers. If we sit down at a restaurant or walk in to a store, he will look at people and say Hi. (It really does sound like Hi). And he will start ‘talking’ to them. It’s quite charming.
Mobility: I’m afraid that Theo is going to skip crawling and go straight to walking. He’s not at all interested in rolling over, and he now hates being on his tummy. He can crawl when he pushes off of my hands, but he’s not that interested in doing so. He loves to stand, though. He can stand on his own, holding on to the side of a chair or table, or our hands. And he can almost crunch himself up to a seated position from lying on the floor. i know it won’t be long before he’s walking, and i’m not ready.
Dexterity: When Theo’s sitting, he can reach and grab toys, even those that are far away. He can lean all the way over until his belly is on the floor and then pull himself up. He can also twist all the way to the side to find toys. He has also been mastering his grip, passing toys from hand to hand and dropping them on purpose, only to pick them back up again. He’s also started to master the pincer grasp, picking up small objects between his finger and thumb. Especially if it’s bread.
Eating: Speaking of bread, this little one loves to eat! While we’ve been in France, we’ve tended to eat lunch in a restaurant and eat dinners at home, since we usually eat dinner after Theo has gone to bed. Theo has taken to wanting to eat everything we’re eating, be it fish or duck, pizza or pasta, ice cream or almond croissants. Luckily, our little boy doesn’t seem to have any food allergies, because he happily and gustily eats anything we give him to try. We just have to be careful what we eat in front of him, because we know he’s going to want a taste. Elie and I both want Theo to have a healthy relationship with food, and not to consider any foods ‘good’ or ‘bad’ but to understand balance and pleasure. And so, while the bulk of what he eats is fruits and vegetables and whole grains and protein, we have given him the occasional taste of ice cream or pinch of pastry. We feel like that’s a healthy, balanced approach, and we hope that will give him a lifetime of appreciating good food.
Sleep: Elie and I are so thankful we went through the sleep training process with Theo when he was five months old (blog post coming soon). We can’t imagine doing this trip if we were still co-sleeping or with our old crazy nap habits. We use a baby-centered approach to sleep, which makes it a little harder on us, but better for Theo over all (we think). He now takes three naps a day, and he generally goes down for a nap two hours after he wakes up from his previous nap. For example, if he wakes in the morning at 7 a.m., he will go down for a nap at around 9:00 a.m. Sometimes he sleeps for an hour, sometimes for two hours. So his next nap will be two hours after he wakes from his first nap. Bedtime is somewhere between 7 and 8:00 p.m. (at home it’s earlier). And Theo generally sleeps for 11 hours (and by sleep, I mean he wakes up several times during the night to nurse, but he always goes back to sleep right after). We’re going to work on night wakings when we get home, but not while we’re traveling. Overall, he’s doing great.
As with every single month of his life, this stage is our favorite. The way he studies and observes the world around him, how he grabs our face and crinkles his nose in a smile, how he laughs hysterically before bed because he wants to distract us from bedtime, how he flirts with strangers, how he loves FaceTiming his grandparents, how he becomes very proud when he does something for the first time. The joys are endless and more than make up for less sleep and missing long, romantic dinners with just the two of us, uninterrupted by Theo’s attention. We wouldn’t have life any other way.