I have a big crush on you right now.
I think it’s the giggling. You used to be so careful about doling out a single heh-heh. This month everything is a laugh riot for you. Tickling under the chin is hilarious, as are your dad’s acrobatic shenanigans, not to mention almost everything the cats do.
But there’s something else, too. For weeks and weeks, you’ve been working on sounds. Ohhh WHOA. Bababababa. Fffffff. Last month you started experimenting with dadadadada, to your Dada’s great delight. I played it cool. I mean, I know you don’t really know what you’re saying. You’re not playing favorites.
Then this week you busted out your first mamamama, and it was amazing. Addictive. I cannot get enough.
This month has been full of amazing new tricks. You learned to pull yourself up, and went from barely being able to do it to old pro in a matter of a week or so. There were a few rocky days where your body wanted to practice all the time, including when you were trying to sleep, and I would have to go into your room and uncurl your tense fingers from the crib rails and manually lay your weepy face back down on the crib mattress.
That won’t be a problem soon. Since yesterday, you seem to have figured out how to sit back down from standing.
You started eating more solid food this month, and a few days ago I deemed you ready for the essential rite of passage into toddlerhood: Cheerios. Since Monday, when I gave you a few crumbled pieces, you have evolved into a Cheerio-eating machine. You love smashing them in your gums, and I love how easily a cheerio plopped on top of the spoon can distract you as I shovel less-popular foods, like yogurt, into your waiting mouth.
You can’t pick them up yourself yet. But I assume you will be able to by tomorrow.
Last month you might still settle quietly on a blanket and play with toys for a few minutes. This month I don’t even bother to get the blanket out. You’re on the move, pulling toys and “toys” (wooden spoon, tupperware lids, colander, honey dipper) from every hiding place. When I open the refrigerator, I have to watch carefully or you will shimmy underneath me and begin licking all the beer bottles on the door. Yesterday you snuck off when our heads were turned and crawled into a corner to play quietly with the cat scratching post. We had no idea where you’d gone, since you weren’t in either of the places you normally scoot off to when we’re not looking: the kitty litter or the cat food.
We had a major sleep breakthrough this month. Some switch flipped, some experiment worked, and suddenly instead of having to nurse you to sleep and then carefully lay you in your crib before you realized I was gone, now I can nurse you until you seem sleepy and full, and then we go over to your rocking chair and I read you Goodnight Moon, turn out the light, and sing you a few songs while you wiggle and squirm and bury your sleepy face in my neck. Then I lay you, still wiggling, down in the crib, and walk out of the room. And then you go to sleep. No crying. Just sleeping.
Now that isn’t to say that we’ve attained that holy grail of infant sleep: sleeping through the night. No, though you’ve done it a few times, you mostly still need or want a little comforting in the night. On a great night, you’ll sleep from 7 pm until 3 am, wake to nurse briefly, then sleep until 6:30. Most nights, you sleep from 7 pm until 11 pm, cry for just long enough that I start to get upset, put yourself back to sleep, wake up again at 1:30 am when my defenses are down and I go nurse you because I can’t bear to be awake, then wake up again at 5 am for the same deal, and then sleep until 7:30. It’s not unbearable, but I’m hoping that the balance of nights is going to shift toward the one-wakeup schedule soon.
But perhaps not next week. Next week we’re taking you on your second plane trip: a few days in Puerto Rico on the beach, and then a few more days in Florida with your Grandpa Peter and your youthful Uncle Martin and Uncle Andrew. The last time we took you to the beach, you were tiny, immobile, sleepy. This time, we’re planning for crawling, digging, sand-eating, and even a little bit of swimming.
We expect that you’ll confront the beach the way you approach everything else: fearlessly, deliberately, and with delight.