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Dear Zella: Month Four

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  • Commenters Nana Adrienne

Dear Zella,

This post is a little delayed because your 4-month birthday fell during a weekend that featured your first plane ride and your first overnight trip. We were in Massachusetts having a reunion with three of my college roommates and their husbands and kids. You were the belle of the ball, rarely set down for more than a few minutes, and then only so that friends could marvel at you from another angle.

You continue to reject the old wives’ tale wisdom I heard so many times before you were born, which said that since Ezra was pretty laid back, you were going to be high-strung. You’re not. On both plane rides, you nursed, looked around, and then slept. Each night in the strange house, you nursed, looked around, and then slept, asking only that I keep you close to me in the king-sized bed we’d managed to commandeer, rather than bundling you off to a sleeping pad on the floor.

Your smile, which was a big hit this weekend, is so big that it seems like your cheeks are going to fall off the sides of your face, and even then sometimes you get frustrated that you can’t smile any wider. Lately, you pair the smile with throaty giggles (“gee-go, gee-go, gee-go” is one of Ezra’s newest phrases, which he repeats while tickling your belly), or wild squeals. The squeals, combined with the mohawk that just won’t quit even as the rest of your hair thins out, are extremely punk rock, and I like it.

A few weeks ago, a heat wave rolled through town, and I decided to brave the beach with you and your brother. We met a friend and her sons there, so at least there would be another adult on hand. Still, wrangling a wily toddler and a crying baby in 95 degree heat among hundreds of strangers seemed daunting, and I was anxious about shielding you from the sun, since you’re still a bit young for sunscreen. But you were a dream, pleasantly nursing yourself to sleep under a blanket so I could keep you out of the sun, and then snuggling into the stroller for a long nap.

You’ve been remarkably flexible with me about those naps. Once in a long while you get to take a morning nap at home, but mostly those are on the run. Afternoons, I usually try to force you to sleep while your brother is napping so I can have a little while on my own to get a few things (like this blog post) done. It’s not always exactly when you want to sleep, but you’re persuadable. I was terrified that once I stopped swaddling you, you’d wake up constantly, but you’ve proven me wrong, sucking on your fists to calm yourself down, or throwing your arms out to the sides. This week I discovered a new magic trick, figuring out that you like actually being tucked in, with a heavy blanket holding down your legs.

We’ve had some bad nights, but mostly you’re still a pretty reliable sleeper, waking up just once to nurse, and then heading back to sleep. On the other hand, you still refuse to take a bottle. Recently, your Nana and Papa babysat while your Dada and I had a movie date. I had to race home between dinner and the movie to nurse you and put you to bed. Those days are coming to an end, baby girl. This month, I’m going to be observing a childbirth class one night a week as part of my studies to become a childbirth educator, and you’re going to have to let your dada put you to bed. With a bottle. For real.

You’re starting to pay attention to toys and roll onto your side, so I know the big stuff is coming: rolling over, sitting up. But for now, we’ll content ourselves with the endlessly joyful task of helping you practice your giggles.

Kisses and tickles,



Nana Adrienne

Jun 17 / 11:06
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