Well, Sam, I’m off to a late start again, but I’ve not forgotten your newsletter. As in previous months, a lot has changed this month. Highlighting these changes has been your basic physical shape. I’ve been facinated by reviewing pictures from previous months. Dr. Karp (The Happiest Baby on the Block) talks about the first three months as the “fourth trimester” and it was certainly a reasonable description for you. Your early months were in many ways that of a fetus that happens to be out in the world. Your body this month, while still very baby, has been starting to seem more… “person-like” for lack of a better description.
Nonetheless, your mom and I still manage to worry about your size and weight gain. We were told by the pediatrician last visit (or was it the one before) that the growth target for you was an ounce a day — or 7 ounces per week. You rarely make this goal. The Internet is a little more forgiving, saying “4 to 7 ounces per week.” I’m pretty sure that you regularly make 4 ounces, but we’ll see if that’s good enough when we go for your four-month checkup (and more shots) later this week. However, even at your slightly diminished growth rate, you’ve managed to more than double your birth weight this month, and your mom and I aren’t too worried about your growth as we can see from SamTrak that you still have sufficient output in terms of wets and dirties, and you’ve got plenty of energy too. So, you don’t seem like a starving infant to us!
Probably the other biggest change for you this month was that Mom started back to work. Her maternity leave over, your mom now teaches a comparative literature class on Sleep and Dream and French 2 to PSU Altoona students. Fortunately, her Spring schedule is lighter than her Fall schedule, so she only needs to teach those two classes, and she’s able to do so on a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule. On these days, we have a little bit of a schedule. Mom nurses you at 6:00 AM, and then gets you to go back to sleep. At about 8:20 AM, you wake up cranky because you’ve come unswaddled. I re-swaddle you and we both go back to bed. I get up at about 9:00 AM to get my breakfast and shower, and get you up at 10:00 AM to feed you and we start to play together. Of course, this play mainly consists of me holding toys in front of you while you bat at them, or some time in the bouncy-seat. We walk around the house, or outside if the weather’s good. We frequently do our walks with you in the Baby Björn, and this month, we’ve turned you around to face forward. It may be a little hasty, but you do seem to have the head control for it, and it definitely seems like you prefer to see what’s going on.
One of our outside walks this month was rather hastily planned as I discovered that I left my keys dangling from the back of the car when Mom drove it to work! We hightailed it to campus following the route that Mom drives, and it all worked out in the end. But as a result, you got your first trip to campus which was really your first social event outside of family and a few visitors. You were quite a hit in the halls of the new Hawthorn building where your mom’s office is. Word of your visit spread pretty quickly and several adoring fans of yours came to check you out.
You also got to meet your Pop-pop (my dad) — the final genetic grandparent. Pop-pop came up to visit for his birthday, and in so doing, got to meet you and saved me from having to make the trip down to Washington DC where we had traditionally met for his birthday. Pop-pop is often mistaken for Santa Clause, no “mistaken” is the wrong word, because, after all, he is Santa Claus. It’s a fairly complicated situation that I’ll probably have had to explain well before you actually read this blog. The best way I can think to explain it is in Object-Oriented Programming language terms. Santa Claus is a class, and Pop-pop is an instance of the Santa Claus class. Unfortunately, you’ll probably want your questions about Santa answered well before that definition does you any good.
You’ve made a number of developmental changes this month as well, as one might expect. You started giggling this month, or at least something very close to it. You were playing on the floor with your mom when she got something stuck in her throat. She coughed, and you thought that that was just the funniest thing on the planet. You giggled like a mad-woman. Mom tried again, and sure enough, mom’s cough is apparently a very funny 4-month-old joke.
Also on the floor this month, you rolled from front to back. You were reasonably primed for it at first — placed with your hands together in front of you, but you did it, and you’ve been back for several more since. You frequently have three or four rolls in you before you start to get the idea that every time you roll on your back, we put you back on your tummy. What a waste! And with you having to lift that heavy head. It gets a little frustrating, and you pretty much decide to put your head back down on the floor and have a good wail about it. We stop then. Usually.
Finally, you’ve manage to turn up the drool. It’s impressive how much spit can come out of the mouth of so small an infant. Of course, your mouth is usually open these days which certainly contributes to the situation. Fortunately, it’s usually open because you’re sticking things in it. Mostly still your hands, though you’ve also started reaching out for things. It’s neat to see. You’ve played with the kick-and-play much of your life, and it’s clear that you’ve connected flailing your legs with making the sounds. But your leg movements are still spasmodic and uncoordinated. But when we put a toy in front of your face, you’ll reach out for it. Even if both of your hands already contain toys. Toys in your hands are oft forgotten quickly and therefore it’s happenstance if one finds its way to your mouth. If that happens, it usually because you just hadn’t let go when you decided it was time for the toy-containing hand to be in your mouth.
We even think you may be starting to teethe, though it’s hard to tell. Sometimes during sucking you can seem to be in some pain — pain that seems to be alleviated at least somewhat by a gum massage. Also, when feeding from a bottle, you’ll push the bottle nipple with your tongue over to the side of your mouth and start to gnaw on it — well, gum it at least. You’ll do the same sort of thing to a finger inserted in your mouth sometimes. The teething toys we got you do little good. They’re too big to reach the side of your mouth where you want them to be, and you don’t like them cold despite the fact that they’re designed to be refrigerated because the cool is supposed to help ease the teething pain. We’ll have to see if you take to them more later.
To go with the increased head and neck control, you’ve also started bearing your own weight on your legs. In fact, you like to stand. We’ll see if this prediction holds, but your mom and I think you’ll be an early walker. It’s fun to help you stand. Sometimes I support you just by holding your hands. Sometimes, I’ll hold you around your waist. While you do stand, it’s a process that takes constant adjustment and sometimes, you just don’t adjust in time. It’s definitely a sight to see. You impress me that you manage to attend to other things while standing given how much effort it seems like it takes just to maintain your semblance of balance.
Finally, this month you met your “classmate” from your birth class. Well, OK, Mom and Dad’s birth class. Even though he was born about three weeks after you, he was much larger from the get-go and he’s maintaining his lead in that front. He even gave you some hand-me-down diapers (thankfully, unused!) — ones that were too small for him, and too large for you. We’ve got ’em saved up for later in this coming month.
Once again, it’s been amazing to get to witness all of these changes. It’s been a challenge, and a joy, and I’m thankful for another month with my growing, ever-changing, and wonderfully cute baby daughter. Thank you. Let’s do it again! 🙂