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Most Memorable Firsts: Baby's First Hugs

By Jeana Lee Tahnk

There is something about reaching the six-month milestone of a baby'slife that is worth celebrating. Congratulations on making it past the"fourth trimester"! Hopefully by this point, you are into more of aroutine, are out of the severe sleep deprivation days (if you're lucky!)and are seeing your baby's personality come to life.

Six months is also when babies start exploring their surroundingsthrough semi-crawling, sitting, tummy time and of course, putting everything intheir mouths. Or as I call it, Droolfest 2014. My baby could be theheadlining act: There is a constant stream of saliva coming out of hermouth at all times, requiring regular bib changes and a never-endingsupply of Kleenex.

What I love about this age is her recognition of familiar people andthings. When her big brother is rolling around on the floor with her,she playfully grasps his arm; when her big sister is sitting behind her,she looks up and reaches for her hair. But the best part about thisstage is her newest development: the baby hugs she gives. The grabby,drooly, hair-pulling hugs that start with her grasping hair from eachside of my head, pulling my face to hers and then glomming onto my facewith her open mouth.

It's as awesome as it sounds.

Although her "hugs" require a serious toweling off afterwards,they're so incredible because they're validation that all thosesleepless nights were worth it. The months of night wakings, theconstant worry and being clueless about what she needs all fall by thewayside when she reaches for me and knows who I am. My actions havetaught her in her short life that I am someone she loves and trusts,and therefore wants to slobber on.

The first several months of a baby's life are filled with a lot ofone-way interaction. You are doing the talking, singing, laughing,touching and hugging while baby is happily receiving these actions. Butwhen these interactions start becoming a two-way street, parentingbecomes even more fulfilling.

There are so many milestones to celebrate in a baby's first year, butof all the milestones thus far, these adorable, slobbery baby hugs havebeen the best. I may be singing a different tune when we officially hitthe "sleeping through the night" milestone, but until that point, I'lltake the hugs.

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