Wow, five months, huh? I can’t believe I’ve known you this long! Then again, I can’t believe I haven’t known you for much, much longer than that. I still don’t think of “mother” as my primary descriptor (thank god for the Internet and Dad for that), but taking care of you is the main responsibility of my existence. And really? It’s kind of fun, even when things are sucky. And you’re becoming such a little boy instead of a baby. You aren’t changing, as much as you’re... amplifying. In every way.
You’ve had a couple of rough days this month, with the teething and allergies. No more new teeth have emerged, but a couple of unexplained night wakings coupled with your need to chew on your hands all the time lead me to believe that you’re still in the dental doldrums. (Never mind the copiously bubbly drool that falls from your mouth onto your chin and chest all day! We are now in “bib all day” mode.) Fall allergens came raging in this month, congesting you again. Those weird snorting sounds really disconcerted me. I got to nasally aspirate you some more, which neither of us enjoyed, but I think you finally resigned yourself to it because you may have noticed how much better it made you feel.
This month was characterized by development of your senses – suddenly for you, the world is a smorgasbord of sights, textures, and sounds. You’re insatiably curious; sometimes, you won’t sleep or eat (two things you desperately need to do sometimes!) because there’s so much to look at, or a sound has captured your attention. You watch cars zoom past our house on Westmoreland. You track Oscar as he runs across the yard. You look up when you hear Dad’s footsteps in the next room. You mouth anything you can get your hands on; your tongue is your fingertip on the Braille of the world. Crinkly items fascinate you, and mirrors give you opportunities to grin at that baby who comes around every once in a while and looks just like you. No psychology course could have prepared me for – or showed me more about -- this process of discovery.
Your ability to sense the world with your mouth is focused on your tongue, which you've delightfully discovered. If something's not in your mouth, you have your tongue sticking out of it.
Your motor cortex continues to form connections, too. You’re a proficient grabber now.
You grab your feet, your toys, Gran’s back hair, crib rails, Uncle Josh’s beard, blankets, necklaces, wires, and bottles. My carrying-you-while-getting-stuff-done regimen has changed due to your ability to “help.” And you are thisclose to crawling! You can lift yourself up from the waist, and you can maneuver your legs underneath yourself, but these acts are disparate for now. Couple them, and whoa. Life As I Know It is about to shift. But it’s cool; even when we put appealing objects in front of you and you can’t crawl to ‘em, you’ve discovered that if you simply pull the blanket toward you, you can get the toys. Damn, you’re a genius.
Several times I’ve been sitting with you as you played – once at the little piano you love – and you’ll turn to me and smile, as if to say, “Did you catch that? How cool!” I played “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” one of your favorite songs, and when I finished, you looked up at me and a supernova grin exploded across your face. Another time, you were on your back, tugging on your space mat/gym toys, and you discovered that if you kick the arch, then ALL of the toys move. Again, the huge grin: “Did you see that?!? I made it happen!!!” It’s fantastic, being your coconspirator in exploration.
And you continue to find your voice! You’ve tried out several new noises this month, from the squealy, loud noise we’re convinced is your attempt to speak Oscar’s yawn language, to the strange inhaling sound your make when you’ve pushed yourself up into upward-facing dog. You wake us in the morning with your coos instead of your whines. And oh, you continue to laugh:
After much camper-shopping and excitement, we finally got to go camping! I hope this isn’t projection on my part, but you loved it. Thank goodness Pitter and Gran have a truck, or there’s no way we’d get all your baby stuff to a campsite. You were enraptured by the greenness, the fire, the newness of it.
Pitter was sick, and it broke her heart that it wasn’t wise to hold you. Then, Gran was sick, too! And then there were ants!!! (But I’ve got to hand it to Uncle Josh – if not for his liberal spraying of your playard’s legs with ant spray, you’d’ve been annoyed all night like we were.) Thank goodness they weren’t stinging ants. And that we were 10 minutes from Gran and Pitter’s house when it got to be 102 degrees.
You’re in love with your dad. And with Oscar. When either of them enter your field of view, your eyes are on them, and you coo, grin, and reach for both. Only Oscar licks your hands and face (though who knows what Dad does when he watches you)!
And you’re so BIG! At your 4-month appointment, you measured in the 95th percentile for “height.” You’re the size of a 7 ½-month old. Dang.
I wish so much that I could get inside your head, to know what form your thoughts – or mere experiences – take. Is everything an experiential blur? Or do you have wordless feelings of “Oh yeah, I like this lady”? Do you have any concept of time? Are you able to remember things at all? You continue to laugh with your whole body, and my favorite moments with you now are when we giggle together. We laugh, sharing the moment, both of us suspended in ecstatic glee, and everything is perfect. And even though I know you can’t put it into words, or even into vague memories, and I have no idea what it’s like inside your mind, at those joyous moments, I know we’re experiencing the exact same thing.
SNAPSHOT: Dislikes: Being left alone, getting exhausted by push-ups, when I take things away from you, not being able to fit objects in your mouth Likes: Banging on things, being carried around, fabric in your mouth, bouncing in your exersaucer thingy, spiders Things You Can Do: Reach out and grab things consistently, pull your feet to your mouth, do a straight-armed “push-up,” turn over from your belly to your back, sit while supporting yourself with your arms