By Jeana Lee Tahnk
There is something about reaching the six-month milestone of a baby's
life that is worth celebrating. Congratulations on making it past the
"fourth trimester"! Hopefully by this point, you are into more of a
routine, 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 surroundings
through semi-crawling, sitting, tummy time and of course, putting everything in
their mouths. Or as I call it, Droolfest 2014. My baby could be the
headlining act: There is a constant stream of saliva coming out of her
mouth at all times, requiring regular bib changes and a never-ending
supply of Kleenex.
What I love about this age is her recognition of familiar people and
things. 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 this
stage is her newest development: the baby hugs she gives. The grabby,
drooly, hair-pulling hugs that start with her grasping hair from each
side of my head, pulling my face to hers and then glomming onto my face
with 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 those
sleepless nights were worth it. The months of night wakings, the
constant worry and being clueless about what she needs all fall by the
wayside when she reaches for me and knows who I am. My actions have
taught 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 of
one-way interaction. You are doing the talking, singing, laughing,
touching and hugging while baby is happily receiving these actions. But
when these interactions start becoming a two-way street, parenting
becomes even more fulfilling.
There are so many milestones to celebrate in a baby's first year, but
of all the milestones thus far, these adorable, slobbery baby hugs have
been the best. I may be singing a different tune when we officially hit
the "sleeping through the night" milestone, but until that point, I'll
take the hugs.