Dear little P.,
Another month, another (rather) late letter from your mother. Let me just say that it would be easier to write these if you were sleeping a bit more. But I’ll save that for your letter next month.
This was the month where you really started to be able to do things. At the very start of the month I noticed that you enjoyed holding onto your tag blanket or your soft bunny and chewing on them. Then you were able to reach up and deliberately grab a toy dangling from the arms of your play mats. And by the end of the month you were getting very confident holding a variety of toys and chewing on them. Your favourite seems to be your cloth/rubber elephant, with the crunchy books from Grannie running a close second.
Absolutely anything and everything goes into your mouth- if you succeed in getting it into your hands, you want to see how it tastes straight away, including Mummy and Daddy’s fingers. You spent a great deal of this month experimenting with sucking on your own fingers. It took you a while to figure out how to put them in without gagging, but now you love chewing on them. You still haven’t figured out your thumb, but I’m sure that’s coming. The other major body part you’ve managed to chew on is your feet. You spent a number of days working on trying to get your toes in your mouth, only to have your feet escape at the last moment. When you finally got them in, you were so obviously very pleased with yourself. When I get you out of your sleeper in the the morning to change your diaper you immediately start to chew on a toe or two. I think you are just reassuring yourself that they haven’t escaped during the night!
You are also now officially a baby on the move! At the start of the month you were working on rolling over back to tummy. You would pivot around 90 or 180 degrees when on your back and you would spend lots of time rolling from your back onto your side before rolling back onto your back again (and then you’d do the same thing in the other direction). Over Thanksgiving weekend you figured out how to roll from back to tummy and very cleverly did it for the first time with everyone watching. You also immediately figured out you could combine the two different types of rolling. You aren’t yet able to really roll with purpose to get somewhere, and sometimes you have days where you seem to have forgotten how to roll one way or the other, but most days you wiggle around quite nicely. There’s certainly no keeping you on a blanket any longer and I think we’re going to be packing up the playmats soon as you keep rolling and getting stuck in the arms.
Your head control is so good now that we’ve put the back of the stroller up partway. This means you can now see out, which means you will tolerate sitting in it for half an hour or so (something which you were most certainly not willing to do when you had to lie flat). I haven’t used the stroller a great deal, but it is nice to have the option to not have to carry you when we’re just running out to do a few errands. Your big brother also really likes when I pick him up after school with you in the stroller as it’s easier for me to give him a great big hug.
Speaking of your big brother, you think he is just about the best thing in the whole wide world. You spend every dinner sitting on either Mummy or Daddy’s lap and you just stare at your brother. You coo and make all your pterodactyl noises, flap your arms, kick your legs, and do anything you can to get his attention. If you’re crying in the car and he starts singing our “We’re ok, P.” song, you will stop crying immediately to listen. If you are fussing in the bouncy seat, you’ll stop fussing and start smiling as soon as he crouches down to talk to you. You love your Mummy and Daddy a lot too (and we love your full body wiggle smiles), but it is obvious that E. is something extra special.
Sleep continues to be a bit of a challenge. You adjusted pretty quickly to sleeping in the crib rather than the bassinet, although I did have a few rough nights when you first learned to roll over back to tummy where you kept flipping over and getting stuck at the bars on the side. You’ve also become much better at taking naps in the crib…just not long ones. We’re not yet into any sort of pattern with your naps because they’re almost always far too short. So you take four (or sometimes five) cat naps a day with brief periods of being awake between them. It’s rather hard to get much done as a result.
This month you took exactly two naps that were longer than 45 minutes: one of them was in the travel crib up at the cottage and the other one was after I nursed you back to sleep when you woke up screaming after a 30 minute cat nap. The cottage nap was 90 minute and the other one was 105 minutes, so I know you can sleep longer stretches during the day. I think I now need to work on getting you to put yourself to sleep in the crib rather than putting you down asleep. One step at a time. It’s been helpful that you can sometimes be transferred back into the crib if I nurse you back to sleep. Even if you then only do another cat nap that helps improve your mood as you clearly don’t enjoy the 30 minute cat naps any more than I do. We haven’t managed as many of our nurse/snuggle nap extensions this month because we had visitors for so much of it. I miss our quiet time together and I think you do too.
You’re so funny when it’s time to nap. I get you into your sleep sack, sing your lullabies, and then shush/pat you with you up on my shoulder. You will do ANYTHING to try to avoid going to sleep. If you’re really overtired you mostly just cry, but if I’ve caught your window you have a whole set of sleep avoidance strategies. First you arch your back and lean back as far as you possibly can to try to make eye contact (and beam a smile at me if I’m silly enough to look at you). Then you squish your face up against my neck and try to suck on my jawbone. Next you will stare at anything interesting or high contrast in the room, and then you’ll paw with one hand at the pillow behind my back. Finally, after all of these efforts fail, you will give up and go to sleep, but it’s clearly a struggle. You just have so many other things you want to do.
Night sleep continues to get progressively worse. We’ve succeeded in establishing a very reasonable bedtime of 7:15 or 7:30 p.m., which means I’m able to get you into the crib and then go out to finish E’s routine and have a snuggle with him. But you don’t seem to want to stay asleep for very long! This month you were up every 3.5-4 hours most nights. I’m having a terrible time keeping you in the crib from 5 a.m. onwards. You wake up and want to nurse and snuggle in bed. I’ve been going along with this because I haven’t been willing to deal with the noise you’ll make if I insist on you going back into the crib- I don’t want you to wake up your father and brother. But if you’re all tucked up in bed, I can’t get back to sleep. So most of the house is getting enough sleep, but I’m starting to feel very tired.
I finally found a smoking gun to prove that you, like your brother, have MSPI. I realized that one of the Lara bar flavours was not soy free (there must be soy in the chocolate chips) and, sure enough, when I looked back, you were reacting to it. So now I’m being extremely vigilant about reading labels and I’ve basically stopped eating out anywhere or eating food that comes in a box. I’m hungry pretty much all the time since you’re nursing so much, and it’s been a real struggle to find decaffeinated tea that I can drink (I’m drinking a lot of Tetley’s Orange Pekoe). But I know the sacrifice is worth it. You’re so happy now that we’ve sorted out your tummy, and I’m hopeful you’ll outgrow the intolerance, just like your brother did.
This month brought with it a few more long drives and I’m pleased to say that you’re becoming an excellent traveller. As long as you’re a little bit sleepy you’ll fall asleep in the car with almost no fussing and when you’re awake you’re happy to play with soft toys for at least a little while. We’ve still had some rough moments and you definitely don’t like the stop-start pace of city driving, but your Daddy and I no longer dread the prospect of driving for several hours. We took you up north to go leaf peeping and you enjoyed the walk in the woods (even if it was a very short trip). We also made the much longer drive to go and see your Grandpa and Grandma for Thanksgiving. You were a superstar visiting your Grandpa in the hospital. You smiled at him all the time, showed off how you could eat your toes, and were happy to spend the entire day being held by me (as your paediatrician gave you the all clear to go into the ICU as long as I didn’t put you down or let you touch anything). Your relationship with him will be very different from what it might have been, but he adores you and I know it meant a lot to him to be able to see you.
You also had the chance to meet your other Granny this month as she spent close to three weeks with us. It was great to have the extra pair of hands around to help, especially when the weather was terrible and I had to go and get your brother from school. You again loved all the attention. You’re still just on the cusp of full laughter but you gave your Granny some good chortles during her visit, and I know she loved being here to watch you reach some of your milestones.
You are growing like a weed! At your four month appointment you weighed in at 13 lb even (50th percentile) and 67 cm long (off the charts for height). The paediatrician said we could start solids and sleep training any time, but I think we’ll wait until the six month mark for solids and at least until then for sleep training. You are still so little; I’m happy to go with your flow as much as I can. I’m looking forward to having a bit more time together, just us two, next month. You seem like a much more grown up baby this month (I think it’s the head control) and it makes me even more aware just how precious and fleeting your infancy is.
I am grateful, every day, that I get to spend so much time with you. I love you so very very much.