We’re in double-digit territory! Clara is ten months old!! This month felt so full of changes that it’s hard to include them all in one blog post, but I will give it my best shot.
This was a huge month for her physical milestones:
• After a couple months of army crawling, something clicked and she started crawling regularly one day after turning 9 months! It’s been so entertaining watching her explore on her own terms.
• Once she mastered crawling, she also figured out how to sit herself up. We walked in to find herself sitting in her crib one morning…that was a surprise! She was just staring at the door waiting for us to come get her!
• We call her our Swiffer baby because she crawls all around the apartment picking up lint and trying to eat it. We sweep every day but it’s never enough – she will find and eat the tiniest specks of dust.
• She also learned how to pull herself up to standing! On July 12, I left her on the playmat to go wash my hands. When I looked back, she had stood up using the couch and had the biggest grin on her face! It was super cute until she decided to practice her new skill during every nap…yikes. She would pull herself up on the crib bars but couldn’t get back down to go to sleep. Thankfully she quit trying that after a few days, and E and I learned to never take our amazing sleeper for granted ever again.
• Now that she’s standing and crawling, E and I are always on high alert and have gotten more serious about baby-proofing. We took out our coffee table and replaced it with a playmat in the living room and a giant playpen in the dining room. Clara’s quest for total apartment domination is working so far.
Clara’s favorite things right now:
• She loves to kneel in front of the book bin and throw all of the books on the floor one by one. She’ll keep herself entertained for half an hour this way!
• The TV remote – she pushes the buttons and then expectantly waits for the TV to do something. If it doesn’t, she just sticks the remote in her mouth instead – ha! We’re not sure how she learned this, since we don’t watch TV with her. Hmm…
• When we give Alexa commands – she’s known the word “Alexa” for months now! When we ask the speaker to do something, she immediately turns toward it and waits for something cool to happen. She knows where the speaker is in every room. We are not sure whether to think this is adorable, or if we should be embarrassed that she is already such a techy baby?!
Other things I loved about this month:
• She keeps coming up with “tricks” like coughing to make us laugh and get attention.
• She’s started “dancing” by bobbing her head and bouncing up and down to music
• She offers to feed us with the spoon during meals
• Clara learned to shake her head no, which makes me feel like we have a toddler already
• Her top two teeth have come in, and she has more on the way! It feels like she’s teething every other day. She doesn’t ever get too upset or fussy, but you can tell she just doesn’t feel quite like herself. The rosy cheeks are adorable though!
• E and I have been singing a lot of Spanish songs and rhymes from his childhood, and I think they are so fun and quirky. One of them is about an iguana who drinks coffee at tea time, and another is about giving good potatoes to mom and burned potatoes to dad.
• When she was younger, she didn’t laugh much, and I worried she was going to be a serious child! But this month she has started giggling all the time, and I couldn’t have been more wrong. I tickle her belly a lot because her laughter is the sweetest sound!
• I’m so impressed by how she studies things carefully and observes the smallest details, like a loose thread on a hat or the sound of footsteps far away. You can see her brain gears turning.
• She is trying to clap but can’t quite figure it out yet
• She has started “hugging” by burying her head into my chest. One time when I left for a midday client session for a few hours, I came back and she was soooo snuggly for a whole half-hour and didn’t budge from snuggling on my chest. It was like she was saying, “I missed you mama!” It was just the best. Feels like she’s slowly turning into less of someone I take care of and more like a tiny friend.
• I have to be sneaky when I leave the house for work, since she cries when she can sense that I’m heading out. Instead of saying goodbye, I tell her “hello” so that I can still sneak in a few goodnight kisses.
Figuring out the work/family balance
Trying to leave space for meaningful family time felt difficult this month. I planned to go back to work part-time, but I am trying so hard to make room for all the returning clients I wasn’t able to photographing during COVID/maternity leave…so part-fine has quickly turned into full-time. And while it is extremely rewarding work, and I’m glad to have a purpose outside of family life, it’s also felt a bit overwhelming. I went from zero plans and being with her for her entire life since she was born, to working 40+ hours a week and feeling like when I’m with her, my mind is just running crazy with to-do list items.
Since E had to return to the office full-time, we are working opposite schedules to make sure Clara is covered. I take care of her by myself from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and work during her naps. Then E comes home to take over, and most nights I leave to photograph a client session at sunset. When I get back, Clara is already asleep and I edit until 10:30 p.m. or so. So it’s a 15-hour a day without much of a break, and it life feels pretty nuts lately. I finally found a description for it…I am a work-at-home/stay-at-home mom. This article explains it so well!
I know Clara doesn’t mind and won’t remember, but I feel desperate to still be present with her in her last few months before her first birthday. I’m trying to remember it’s just a few months of chaos, and I survive busy season every year! But the guilt now that I’m a mom is sooo real. I don’t want to look back on this season and feel like I should have worked less…but I also really miss my clients and want to serve the families that I work with to the best of my ability. I want to be 100% amazing as a mom and as a photographer, but at the end of the day, I’m still just one person trying to make it all fit.
For the rest of the busy season (until Thanksgiving), I’m making it work and trying my hardest not to drop any balls. In the future, I might try one or two days a week of childcare, or maybe taking on a little less work. We’ll recalibrate as we go.
We kicked off the month with E’s very first Father’s Day! He is our expert snuggler, Captain of Silly, Spanish teacher, poopy diaper changer, singer of nonsense songs, soccer coach, and (according to Clara) the owner of the world’s most delicious nose. He is the glue that holds our family together, and watching him become a father this past year has been the highlight of our entire marriage. With E by our side, Clara will always have a wonderful example to follow. ❤️
I’ve had too much fun playing dress-up with her this year! I’ve been collecting these for when she’s a little older 🙂
Clara & daddy, always twinning!
Clara got to meet some more family members for the first time, which felt very exciting after so long in isolation this past year! Here is her Aunt Sandra – I think they really hit it off! 🙂
And cousins Kim, Peter, and Hannah!
Emmanuel’s aunt knitted this beautiful blanket for Clara, and it arrived as a special delivery all the way from Mexico! What a gift that we will treasure forever!
Our neighbors planted this beautiful hydrangea plant in our backyard…couldn’t resist getting a picture with a little tiny Adirondack chair next to it 🙂
My mom came to stay with us again to help ease the work transition for both of us. She has truly been our angel this year! Clara adores her, and it’s such a relief to be able to step away to edit or grab a shower and know that she is in great hands. I was worried that Clara wouldn’t be able to have a close relationship with her grandparents since both of our families live in different states, so I’m very grateful that they’ve been able to come here while we’re waiting for the baby to be able to get vaccinated.
I hardly ever get to watch her sleep, since we put her to bed in her crib and close the nursery door. But once in awhile, when I’m feeling extra sentimental, I’ll let her fall asleep next to me and soak in the snuggles and tiny breaths. She’s so peaceful this way.
Officially crawling and getting into trouble!
Since we don’t see each other much at all during the work week, those Saturday morning family snuggles feel extra special!
Her first 4th of July! We kept the celebration pretty low-key and walked to get pizza and ice cream with my mom. On the way back home, we passed a red, white, and blue playground and stopped for a minute. It was her very first playground visit!
She still LOVES to pull all the books out the bin one by one!
The many faces of Clara 🙂
Recreating one of my own baby photos. We’ve been trying to dig up the original and we’re still looking!
First time splashing in a puddle! July was the second rainiest in Boston history since 1872…it was WET! I had to capture the mood with a little outing in her rain boots after another big storm.
I felt like I barely took any pictures of Grandma during this visit, so on her last day in town, we took a whole bunch!
Those thigh rolls…I just cannot!!!
Seeing my baby bond with my own mom….there is just no greater feeling.
Crawling around with Daddy! He calls this game “dinosaurios” and they stomp around together like dinosaurs.
Huge yawn but still playing hard = accurate representation of this working dad!
She always, always finds the lint.
Belly photo to close out her 10-month post 🙂
Updates from previous months: