This month you witnessed your first change of season. You were born during a hot spell in June, and your first three months were mostly balmy and you sailed through them largely hat and jacket-free. Then autumn blew in this month with its rain and chill, and one day Grandma Amy took you for a long walk while your father and I pulled out the remnants of the garden we planted just a month before you were born.
We’ve had fun unpacking new warmer clothes for you. My favorite, of course, is the green sweater I knit for baby Floyd a few years ago, which his parents were generous enough to lend back to me for you. I particularly love it because I’ve had a strange knitter’s block going with you. Maybe it was that you were born in the summer, or that I’ve had some incipient new mom’s carpal tunnel syndrome, but for whatever reason, I haven’t knit you a single thing. I started a sweater for you on our camping trip, but couldn’t finish it before you outgrew it. The other night, though, I started an orange hat for you, and I’m almost done because it’s definitely time for us to hit the swings at the park wearing matching orange Malabrigo hats.
This month you’ve been perfecting your back-to-tummy roll. You still seem to like doing it best when I’m not looking. Perhaps you’re trying to grab my attention back, or trying to flip over to see what I’m doing from another angle. Last week, with my friend Catherine as witness, you got way up high on your elbows and finally rolled back the other way, twice. I haven’t seen you do it again since, but this morning, in honor of your four month birthday, you showed your dad the new trick.
When you’re not rolling, you like to bang your feet on your crib and changing pad, practicing your walking and crawling muscles while smiling and giggling comfortably on your back. You really seem to love the sensation you get from kicking and pushing with your feet, and more and more often I come in to get you from your crib and find you 90 or even 180 degrees rotated from where I left you, with a huge smile on your face.
We often find you with your fingers in your mouth. You’re getting more and more coordinated, and more frequently able to actually use your fingers to soothe yourself. Your favorites are the two middle fingers on your left hand. You also like your right thumb. Occasionally I see both of these configurations coming towards your mouth at the same time, like your hands are operating independently. They tangle and jostle, each trying to gain the dominant position. My favorite outcome is when you get the middle fingers of your left hand into your mouth, and then you press the back of your right hand against it, wedging it in there so it won’t fall out.
You are also getting smarter and smarter about nursing. Sort of. Now, when I start unlatching my nursing bra, you can literally pull yourself up to my nipple with amazing strength of muscles and will. But you often use that same strength and sense of purpose to divebomb my chin when I put you up on my shoulder for a burp, frantically sucking to no avail. I find it so funny that I sometime let you dangle there, mouth-to-jaw, for much longer than I should.
I’ve wondered a few times this month if you’re about to start teething. Your drooling never stops and you are constantly trying to find new things to gnaw on: your toys, your hands, my knuckles, my jawbone.
Another symptom of teething is disrupted sleep, and oh boy, your sleep has been all over the place this month. It was great for a while there, so great I was singing your praises to all the other mommies and feeling like they should give me a mommy prize. You were consistently sleeping for close to eleven hours, only getting up once or twice for quick ten minute feedings and going right back to bed with no fanfare. Then, last week: up every two hours.
Maybe it was teething, maybe it was this cold that you and I are sharing. Getting sick for the first time as a mom was rough. I scared you with my sneezes and woke you with my coughs and was generally not much fun to hang out with. You weren’t too much fun either, with your constant waking. I didn’t think you’d caught the cold, but you have been pretty sniffly this week, and so a few days ago I underwent a parenthood rite of passage: I suctioned your nose. You screamed, but then you seemed happier, so we’ve started doing it regularly and it’s getting easier. Last night, some suction, a humidifier, and sleeping semi-upright in your swing was the key to a really good night of sleep, and I’m hopeful that we’re getting back to your prizewinning sleep ways. At least until you start teething for real.
Your father and I spend endless hours looking at you, marveling at how much you’ve changed in your four months with us. You are so much bigger, but your head is proportionally so much smaller. Your birth hair has fallen out and been replaced with downy brown fuzz that sticks straight up on top. Your hands have opened up, your legs have straightened, your eyes have turned chocolate brown. We wonder all the time what you’re going to look like when you’re older, and yet can’t even begin to imagine it.
I’m excited to look at you with a huge smile on your face at age 10 or 16 and see the four-month-old you used to be.