by: Emma Aguirre

My daughter just hit the seven month mark. I’m noticing that the more I let her figure out by herself and the more I let her do, the more happy she is and the more able she is. Today while sitting in the cart at the grocery store she decided to chew on the strap of the diaper bag. I thought to myself ”Is she happy? Yep. Can it hurt her? Nope,” and I let it continue. Sure, there was drool everywhere, but she was squealing and laughing, making my shopping experience much more pleasant. I can literally see her confidence building. We’ve started putting toys in front of her while she’s sitting just out of her reach so she has to move to get it. A few weeks ago she would just wail a little and find something else to do. Now, she bends all the way forward (usually sucks on a toe or two) and edges forward to grab it. A few weeks ago she didn’t know what to do with the puffs we would put on her tray in her highchair. Now she grabs handfuls and stuffs them into mouth in hopes that one stays. She also had a hissy fit when I took away the sippy cup so I could finish feeding her dinner this evening, which was completely new and unexpected! She didn’t even know how to work the sippy cup until … Friday?

In the back of my mind though I can’t help but wonder if I’m doing enough. We hear all kinds of things about how impressionable babies are, how these months shape who they as adults, how their brains are like sponges. It’s a lot pressure! This weekend, I actually turned on cartoons and for a second I thought I shouldn’t be doing this. As she generally does, she has WOW moment when the TV comes on and then quickly loses interest. I don’t know why I did it. I guess I thought The Flintstones were more beneficial than CNN at the moment. I read to her at least once a day, and there’s always music on at some point in our house during the day, and the poor child puts up with my singing for hours. Mostly because daytime TV really is awful, but because I know music is good for her. I know TV is bad. I notice when the house is quieter, she is louder, and I like that.

I also found myself doing a dreaded comparison. I began looking at pictures of my friends babies at seven months to see what they were doing. Some were crawling, some weren’t even sitting up yet, some seemed to be talking in complete sentences according to their parents … my daughter is sitting, rolling along the floor and just figuring out that she has the capability to move. She babbles and my husband swears he hears “Dada” all the time (it really is just blabbing). It’s right where SHE should be and while part of me knows that, I can’t help but wonder if I should be counting with her or reciting ABCs or enrolling her in more classes. We signed up for sign language in July at TMC which I’m super excited about. The thought of being able to communicate after so many months of guessing sounds like heaven!

In the end, I use what I have in front of me to hopefully teach my daughter something every day and make the most of our time. I want to be an example, but I’m also realistic in that I’m not a teacher, or a child development expert and some days, I’m really just winging it.