The fifth month

Dear little E.,

It seems hard to believe that another month has passed. You didn’t have a doctor’s appointment this month, but we ended up at a lactation clinic right at the end of the month where they helpfully weighed you- and you came in at a whopping 16 lb, 9 oz! That means you have doubled your birthweight, and added another 11 oz, all in the last five months! You’re so long now- when we’re out with you and people ask how old you are, they’re always surprised by the answer. You’ve only got a couple more inches left in your carseat, and you’ve already grown out of your 0-6 month sleep sacks. Where once you had to stand on your tiptoes in your exersaucer, now your feet reach right to the bottom, and soon we’ll have to raise the legs. When you sprawl out on a blanket on the floor, or on our chests, we marvel at just how much space you take up. It still seems like only yesterday you were tiny, but the number of babies I see on the streets now who are manifestly much younger than you are tell me otherwise.

You started the month by figuring out how to roll from your back to your tummy. At first you needed to be able to propel yourself by pushing off against the couch, or the bars of your playmat. But soon you could just arch your back and flip over. You thought this was a great trick, and rolled over all the time in the middle of the month. The only problem was this meant you would end up on your tummy, and you were concentrating so much on rolling back to tummy that you seemed to forget how to roll from tummy to back, something you’ve been doing since you were three months old! There was a week or so where your Daddy and I spent a lot of time flipping you back over when you erupted into masses of rage and frustration at the dreaded tummy time. And then you obviously felt you’d mastered the art of rolling, as you haven’t been all that interested in it for the last little while.

Tummy time isn’t always hosted by the baby torturers. Now that you can push right up onto your arms and raise your chest, you’re able to look around at everything, and you can reach for toys. You enjoy poking at your Baby Einstein piano (yet another of the hand-me-downs you’ve received, you lucky boy!), and you will usually last a good solid twenty minutes or so before you get tired. During baby naked time (still your favourite part of your day, and the only thing that keeps you happy during those last minutes before we start the bedtime routine), you’ll kick with your legs like you’re swimming and wriggle around on the mat. I don’t think we’ve got that long before you’ll be creeping.

You’re also much more interested in sitting up. You won’t sit in your bouncy seat for very long any more- you’d much rather be sitting on one of our laps. You figured out this month that banging your hands on the table is great fun (although it is less fun when you lose your balance and bonk your head on the table because Mummy didn’t react fast enough). If we prop you up with your hands you can balance for a little while before toppling forward or off to one side. You hold your head perfectly steady when we pull you to a sitting position from lying down. Your tolerance for your stroller has changed massively in the last couple of weeks- we’ve raised the back right up, and now you’ll happily sit in it for a couple of hours while out on an adventure with your Daddy (you’ve been to the Arctic circle, Easter Island, the Nile and all sorts of other exotic destinations that look remarkably like sections of our city). You’ve even been known to take the occasional forty-minute nap in it, which would have been unthinkable even a month ago.

You are still intent on putting anything you can grasp into your mouth, and your hand-eye coordination is getting much better, so it’s rare for you to miss something if you reach for it. You’re particularly interested in grabbing onto Mummy’s hair and Daddy’s glasses. No signs of teeth yet, but you are still drooling like crazy and gumming everything in sight, so I think we’re solidly into ‘pre-teething’ behaviour. Your favourite thing to do if we hold you up to our faces is to gum frantically on our cheeks/nose/chin. We think you might be imitating us, since we’re always chewing on your neck and ears, as that guarantees us a baby giggle! You love chewing on Sophie the giraffe, but your favourite toy is a rattle that was made in 1982 and would have been used by your two aunties. You absolutely ADORE your Daddy. His silly faces and noises get the loudest baby chuckles, and you beam from ear to ear whenever you catch sight of him (your Mummy is trying very hard not to be jealous of this).

When feeding you will sometimes reach out for the breast and pull it towards your mouth, and if you can tell that you’re about to be fed, you’ll open your mouth super wide and get ready to latch. Unfortunately you’re also now much more interested in what’s going on around you, which makes feeding you if we’re out quite difficult. Even at home you’re liable to pop on and off the breast if something distracts you (including if your Daddy comes into the room). You are a super efficient eater- it takes you less than ten minutes to gulp down your meal (from both breasts). You’re starting to stretch your feeds a bit longer during the day- we rarely feed more frequently than every three hours now, and sometimes you’ve even gone as long as four hours.

I’m not going to be so silly as to claim that we have a routine established yet, but there is some consistency now to our days. You take either two or three naps, depending on whether or not the first nap is a long one (it ranges from thirty minutes to two and a half hours, and I have absolutely no idea what causes each one to be the length that it is- we don’t do anything differently). That first nap is starting to solidify about two hours after you wake up, which means we now have time to eat breakfast, shower and get our day started without suddenly having to put you back down again. We’ve had a few days with pretty rough late afternoons where your second nap finished too late to squeeze in a third, but too early for you to get through to bedtime without ending up overtired. You’re nearly always asleep by 7:15 these days, and 7:15 am is your usual wakeup time, unless you’ve got a sore tummy, in which case you’ll be up earlier and unable to settle. You are nearly always up twice in the night, although there have been rare occasions where you feed once around 3 and then go through until 7. Your Mummy still suspects that she picks you up too early some nights, but as long as you’re sleeping in our room, that’s not likely to change.

You’re still having issues with gas, so your Mummy cut out dairy towards the end of this month to see if that would have any impact. We don’t think that’s the problem- we suspect you’re just a gassy baby- but we figured it was worth eliminating it as a possibility. Luckily there haven’t been too many days this month where you’ve ended up sleeping on Mummy’s chest in the early morning- even if you are gassy you will usually go back down in the crib. And we were pretty lucky with the four-month sleep regression- there was a week or so where you started waking up three or four times in the night, but then you quickly went back to your old routine. If you wake up before we come to bed, you’re often able to self-soothe and settle yourself without needing us to come in. There is definitely more thumb sucking going on, but it’s not yet a firm habit. Right at the end of the month you started holding out your arms to be picked up in the mornings and after you wake up from your naps. Your Mummy thinks this is quite possibly the cutest thing ever.

This month we had our first vacation as a family of three, and you experienced your first cottage. You had a great time. You loved to go for tours of the property each morning, and you enjoyed the afternoon walks we took with you in the Ergo. We went into a provincial park one day and did some hiking, and you were happy enough to stay in the Ergo for most of the day. Your Mummy and Daddy were a bit worried that we might encounter a bear, but you didn’t seem concerned at all. We also had another wedding this month. You handled the noise and the lights of the reception much better than the one we attended back in July, although we still had to leave relatively early to get you home. At the reception you even put yourself to sleep while your Daddy was holding you by sucking your thumb- it had all obviously become just too much. That night you slept eight hours straight! This meant your Mummy ended up with blocked ducts, so we’ll have to be careful at future events where you end up super tired.

You have so much personality now- it comes through a little bit more each day. You’re not shy at telling us if you’re displeased with, or bored by, something, but for you to actually start to cry remains incredibly rare. You continue to love one-on-one attention from Mummy or Daddy best of all- you’ll play by yourself for a few minutes, but then the whines and whimpers start up that let us know you’re bored with that. You love it when I play “This little piggy” with your toes, and when I start singing “The wheels on the bus”, you get so excited you have to stuff your fingers in your mouth to calm yourself. You also love it when I read your book of wild animals, making appropriate noises for each beastie as we go. Your favourites are the monkey, the lion and the snake. If we pretend to make one of your toys ‘talk’ to you, you know full well that we’re the ones actually making the noises, so you’ll lock on to our eyes. You’ve become an expert at splashing in the bath, and more than once your Daddy has needed to change his shirt after we’re finished as you’ve soaked him so thoroughly. You continue to love going to new places and seeing new people. We went out one afternoon to a coffee shop with the other May babies and you were the only one who didn’t cry at some point during the outing, and you weren’t bothered one bit by all the lights and the other stimuli. You still get very excited by a lot of things, but you rarely degenerate into the bug-eyed, flailing, wildly over-stimulated baby with whom we used to spend so much time. We get the sense that you’re just better able to process your world now.

Six months is just around the corner. That’s when your Mummy is going to start work on her PhD again. When you were born, that milestone seemed incredibly far away. It seemed like we had all the time in the world to spend with each other, and yet, here we are. There are going to be lots of changes once you reach that six-month mark, but for now, I still have one more month with you as my only focus. I can’t wait to see what you’re going to discover.

As always, I love you so very much.
Your Mother

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1 Comment

Filed under Letters to E.

One response to “The fifth month

  1. Sarah

    I love reading your monthly updates, because our kiddos are so close in age :). Sounds like y’all are doing pretty well!
    I thought 4 months was pretty amazing – 5 months has been AWESOME. Not necessarily sleep-wise (although I’m thinking I cracked the code on that problem recently – our white noise maker went away a couple weeks ago…), but developmentally. Isaac is just plain FUN. He plays and interacts and giggles and is just a bundle of cuteness. I used to be a little sad about 6 months approaching so fast (next week, ahhh!), but I’m starting to get more excited about everything that’s coming next.

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