Tuesday, March 9, 2010

4 Months!

To my dearest, darling baby,

Happy 4 month birthday! It is hard to believe you are now a third of a year old. So much has changed since those early newborn days. You used to love gazing at the ceiling and walls; now you prefer gazing at faces, especially mine. You still love looking at people upside down in the bathroom mirror as you lie on the bathroom counter to be changed, but now you also like to look straight on into the mirror. I can't tell if you know that the cute little baby in the mirror is you, but the sight of me holding you makes you positively gleeful. You used to say "Ai" and "Hi" all the time (in fact, "Ai" was your first "word" if you will, spoken at just 19 days of age! :), and while you still include those sounds, your repertoire has expanded considerably. You even said two syllable vowel-consonant combinations as early as 3 months ("agoo" and "adee"), although you haven't said them recently. Sometimes when you're upset, you say something that sounds almost like "Mum." Is "Mama" not far off?

You spend your days blowing bubbles, cooing, crowing, and babbling, smiling and even laughing (your giggle/chuckle is the sweetest sound in the world!), and wriggling with delight. You love to kick and also to bear weight on your feet and bounce up and down with an adult holding you up under your arms. You love attention from adults, especially me, your mama. So far your burp cloth and your hands are your favorite toys, and you spend much of your waking hours chomping on your fists and sucking your fingers, sometimes to the point of gagging and choking yourself! I think you are starting to teethe because you seem to really need to chomp down hard with your gums. You are also constantly rubbing your ears, cheeks, and nose, which I've read is another sign of teething. The Prevacid is keeping your reflux under control or perhaps you are even outgrowing the problem (yay!). Since you've started taking BioGaia Probiotic drops, your intestinal problems (gas pains, cramps, straining during bowel movements) have also improved immensely.

This past week I moved out of the bedroom and now sleep in the hallway since you were waking all night long to nurse. Now that you can't sense and smell me, and I am not aware of your every little movement, we are both sleeping much better. You still eat twice a night usually (although for a few nights, you only ate once!), and sometimes awaken a couple of other times throughout the night. I let you fuss for about five minutes before going in to check on you. Usually you resettle on your own. Other times I need to go in and rock your bassinet for a few minutes to get you to settle down again. If that doesn't work, then I assume you're actually hungry and feed you.

We have developed a bit of a bedtime routine, and so far it seems to be working. After your nightly bath, during which you love to kick and splash, I change you into your nightgown and sleep sack, read a book or sing a song if you're still calm and time allows, and then nurse you to sleep. You sleep about 12 hours total at night, from approximately 7pm to 7am (give or take about 30 minutes), which is good because your napping is so poor. You used to nap for hours (granted they were always on me, either after falling asleep nursing or being walked in the baby carrier), but now you nap for no more than 30-45 minutes at a time before waking up. We even bought a swing for the purpose of helping you nap, and it does help to get you to sleep, but you still wont stay asleep. I guess you're just a short napper for the time being! I'm not too worried about it since most of the time you are such a happy and seemingly well-rested baby. But it does mean that you get tired sooner and need to nap 3-4 times during the day. Every week you usually have one catch up day for napping when you will sleep for several hours on me. You also fight sleep like crazy--it is almost amusing at times to watch you fuss and fret as you rub your tiny, tired eyes, refusing to give in to slumber.

You have started to express some interest in food and watching adults eat. I don't think you're ready to start solids just yet, but I know it wont be that much longer now. For now I love just nursing you and knowing that all your nutritional needs up to this point have been met by my body. Now that the reflux and intestinal issues are more or less under control, nursing has become a lot more enjoyable for us both. One thing I love is how you'll grab my hand while nursing and wrap your little fingers tightly around one of mine--it is the sweetest thing! Or you'll place your hand on my breast, almost like you're holding a bottle (by the way, you've never had a bottle or a pacifier--you vehemently rejected the latter). But since you're now more social, you tend to get distracted easily and take lots of breaks from sucking to look around, especially if I am doing anything, even just drinking a glass of water. Also, now that you're teething, sometimes you seem to want to nurse just so you can have something to chomp down on. I think it's hilarious how you'll be nursing and then suddenly you'll transition your sucking from my breast to your first or my arm!

You rolled over for the first time last week during tummy time. I looked away for one second, and the next thing I knew, you had flipped from your tummy to your back! You haven't yet repeated this new feat, but several times you almost fell into the sink while I was changing you on the bathroom counter. I need to keep my eyes and hands on you at all times now!

You have your four month check up on Thursday, and although I'm not looking forward to the vaccine portion of the visit, I'm eager to learn how much you've grown in two months. You are still a big boy with a huge (now balding) head that makes you look like a wise little monk, but I think the rate of growth has slowed somewhat. You are changing so much, nearly every day brings something new, that by the time I post this, some of it may not still be true.

Thank you for taking me on this wonderful, crazy journey of motherhood. At times it is exhausting, but oh so worth it! Each day I look forward to spending time with my favorite little man--I love you!

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