If you ask me if I bargain with my not-yet-verbal child, I would tell you, "No, that's silly." Well, that's a lie. I do bargain with my child.
"Give mommy 30 more minutes to sleep tonight, in any stretch, and I promise you'll get the best birthday party ever!" (At 1:30am, a wrestling match and a battle of wits to keep the waking baby asleep begins. I pat, I cradle, I sleepily rock. Nope, not happening. He's awake and immediately in crawl position.)
"Please don't pull down anymore books from the book shelves. I'll buy you another toy to ignore if you don't." (Forrest proceeds to pull down photo albums, yearbooks, and more and attempt to tear out pages at random.)
"Eat all of this yogurt and I'll never make you take a nap again." (This is a blatant lie and he knows it. He refuses another bite of yogurt.)
"Please just go to sleep. Please just go to sleep. Please just go to sleep." (This is whispered as I try to rock him to sleep at night. He is now close to 17 pounds and over 2 feet long; holding him in a cradle position is like holding a hyperactive fish coated in oil. It's not going to happen.)
"Stay right here, right where I put you, and you'll get whatever it is you want. I just need to do one thing." (Forrest gives me one look from his spot in the living room, grins, and immediately dives towards the forbidden TV stand.)
Having a newborn is hard. They are fragile and confusing and very, very new. However they're also terrifyingly easy once it's 8 months later. I miss the days of napping all day, eating on a very strict schedule. I could lie Forrest down anywhere and, ok, maybe he'd cry, but he couldn't move at all. He just lied there. Why didn't I take advantage of that?
Forrest is everywhere now. Sitting himself up and taking off his own pants and socks, throwing things, tearing DVDs and books off of shelves in the blink of an eye. He can crawl and he does it fast now. He's across the room in seconds. He tries to get into crawl position in his sleep, effectively waking himself up, and then screams at me... or falls off the bed. Whatever comes first. He eats ravenously, mostly at night, waking up every 2 hours and demanding, demanding, to be fed. He hits me in his sleep and has to have his hand on my face when he eats. When he doesn't get his way, he throws a fit. When he does get his way, he might also throw a fit, just for fun. He falls over at least twice a day and hits his head almost every time.
But then there is this: he says "mama" sometimes, randomly, but looking right at me. When Danny practices the guitar, he reaches up to touch the strings, curious and cute. He props himself up on his cute little butt and grins at me from the living room when I'm in the kitchen cooking. He climbs onto Remus and lies down, giving him a big bear hug (Remus is never amused). He plays with books now, looks through them, and likes being read to. He says "dada" too. When he sees someone he likes (Danny getting home from work, my mom coming to visit), he grins and squeals. He gives real hugs now. He can sit up in the grocery cart and charm the old ladies in the store. He can feed himself (messily). He has favorite toys. He knows what I mean when I say "no," but I don't think he actually cares.
Mobility is a terrifying reality. He's moving. We have to baby proof. No more cell phone chargers in the living room. No more easy access either. Our TV stand is baby proofed shut and so are all the kitchen cabinets. Every outlet in our house is blocked by a little plastic cover.
I find myself thinking of new things we need to baby proof. The closet outside his room is stocked with cleaning supplies. cold medicine, and laundry detergent; the laundry room is also right there, with more laundry detergent and probably toxic dryer sheets. His crib is hilariously positioned right in front of an outlet. We need to move it. What about the oven? What about the patio door? What about Remus's food dish and water dish?
This line of thought isn't helped by everyday horror stories forced on me by my Facebook newsfeed: a little boy is internally decapitated in a car accident because he was forward facing at, gasp, 3; a baby is horrifically burned by a too-hot garden hose; a little girl eats a Tide laundry pod; and more. It goes on and on. There are a million things to worry about--and trust me, I already worry enough.
It doesn't get easier; it just gets different. I don't have to worry about SIDS (as much) anymore, but I do have to worry about Forrest bringing down a bookshelf onto his head. I don't have to worry as much about how much he eats, but I do have to worry about him having an allergic reaction to peanut butter, or egg whites, or any number of things.
I do have to say though: it is nice to be able to work while Forrest plays in the living room (as long as I'm on the couch beside him). It's nice to make dinner and listen to the radio and sing to him--and have him laugh and wave his hands in response. It's nice to go to Target and put him in the cart like a big boy and talk to him the entire time.
There are days where having a baby was definitely "not fun": the days where he refused to nap or didn't eat well or had weird poop; the days where he was sick; the days where he was fussy and screaming all day and I didn't get a chance to shower or wash my face or even put on non-pajama clothes.
But even with his new found mobility, almost everyday is fun, if exhausting. He doesn't sleep as well and he definitely is not any less stubborn--but he's way more fun. And honestly, that's kind of a win at this point. Especially when your idea of a win is "I slept three hours in a row last night."