Happy half birthday, buddy! Sometimes it seems like just yesterday that I held you in my arms for the very first time. Daddy sang “happy birthday” to you while the nurse counted your fingers and toes. And you stared up at me with those blue eyes that seem to get bigger and brighter each day.
Other times, though, it feels as if you have been in our lives forever. It’s difficult to remember days without your sweet snuggles and contagious giggles.
It’s true, Sam, that you fit so perfectly into our world.
Now I’m sure that I’ll say this with each upcoming month, but this month has proven to be my favorite yet. You are more aware of and more captivated by the world each day. You still do much of your exploring by mouth, though you also now like to raise toys (and your socks and my phone and other random objects) above your head as if to say, “look what I found!” And sometimes you forget your own strength and rapidly flail your arms — toys in hand — and we have to duck and take cover. If something you want is out of reach, you can usually figure out how to get to it — either by rolling or scooting or squirming.
No signs yet of crawling, though you can completely straighten your arms and lift your chest and belly off of the ground. Sometimes, too, you’re able to tuck in your knees and raise your booty into the air. Once you figure out how to do both at the same time … well, we’re in trouble.
At home, you babble and coo and grunt and, occasionally, whine. But out in public, you are quiet and observant. You study and process new details with such curiosity. You are most likely to interact with others while in the comfort of Mommy’s arms. Though sometimes you just bury your head into my neck with a bashful smile.
I believe, though, that your stranger anxiety peaked at the beginning of the month and has gradually gotten better. In fact, Mommy and Daddy enjoyed a night out while Great Aunt Mary and Great Uncle Frank watched you. And I’m happy to report that you shed not a single tear! I suspect it helped that they distracted you with food.
Because, yes, mealtime continues to be one of the highlights of your day. And you’ve become quite the adventurous little eater!
We continued to spoon-feed you homemade purees until about two weeks ago when we placed a chunk of banana onto your tray and watched with great delight as you picked it up and put it into your mouth. I think you were surprised that it tasted sweet and so unlike the plastic and cloth that usually ends up in your mouth. So we phased out the purees and moved on to slices of apples and pears, cucumber spears, sticks of roasted carrots and sweet potatoes, wedges of cheese. You don’t have any teeth yet, but you’ve become quite efficient at biting and chewing with your gums. Also, your hand-eye coordination is improving by leaps and bounds. You will basically attempt to eat anything that we put in front of you — including lasagna, enchiladas, and chicken tikka masala. Other favorites include waffles and pickles. Yes, pickles. You are certainly your father’s son.
You also love to drink water from your sippy cup. Sometimes you throw your head back and tilt the cup into the air and water runs down you chin.
We’ll know your official height and weight at your six-month check-up next week, but we suspect you’re about 15 pounds. Getting bigger by the day, though! In fact, I do believe that you feel a bit heavier each time I lift you out of your crib. You now wear size 3 diapers and mostly size 6 month clothing. Some of your size 3-6 month shirts still fit, though your pants have become too short.
You and I have definitely found our daily groove. You still wake up for a “snack” between 3am and 4am, then it’s back to sleep until about 7:30am. Daddy typically gets you out of your crib in the morning, and I think it’s his favorite way to start the day. Then I nurse you and bring you downstairs to play while I eat a bowl of cereal and drink a cup of coffee. We head back up to your room around 9am for more playtime and stories and then we sing a few lullabies before I put you down for your first nap of the day. And, just like magic, you now nap for more than 40 minutes in your crib! In fact, some days you sleep for almost two hours. I have to admit, though, that I do sometimes miss rocking you and cuddling you.
After your morning nap, I nurse you and then we sit at the table together for “brunch.” We usually share some fruit and toast or a waffle. Then it’s back to the floor to play. You can now sit on your own, but you still occasionally topple over. I believe, though, that this has more to do with your desire to get to a toy — or the tag of your blanket — then your lack of balance. We also try to get outside — whether for a walk or to run errands — before your afternoon nap, which usually starts around 1pm.
Then we play, play, and play some more. (Have I mentioned that it can be challenging to keep you stimulated so many hours each day? Challenging, but oh so rewarding.) And we count down the minutes until Daddy gets home. When he walks in the door, you both get the biggest smiles on your faces. I nurse you, and then Daddy enjoys some quality Sammy time while Mommy makes dinner. Though you both usually end up watching me work in the kitchen. The three of us sit down to dinner around 6pm, and it only takes about 10 minutes until half of your meal is on the floor. Then we clean the kitchen and go for a walk before we start your bath around 7pm.
You now sit on the “toddler” side of your tub, and you happily kick and splash and play with your Thomas the Train bath toys. I wash you while Daddy sings “splish splash, we were taking a bath” in his best Elvis impersonation. Oh, the things we will do to hear you laugh.
Then we zip you up in your warm PJs, and you snuggle in for your last nursing session of the day. Daddy anxiously waits for you to finish so he can read to you, though sometimes you can’t help but fall asleep in my arms. Either way, we both “tuck” you into your sleepsack as you reach up and so sweetly touch our faces. Such an innocent, yet significant, moment that you share with us each night.
You no longer take your pacifier to sleep, though you sometimes suck your thumb. And you now always sleep on either your side or your back. But who knows how we’ll find you in the morning! Sometimes you do a 180 degree turn, and sometimes you end up with your head crammed into the corner of your crib. It’s true that you never stop moving, even when you’re fast asleep.
What else have we been up to this month? Well, we were fortunate to have many uncharacteristically warm days, and we took full advantage of the sunshine. We put you into the Bjorn and walked around the neighborhood. We sat on a blanket in the grass and read books. We shared cocktails on the back porch. We even strapped you into the BOB and ran along our favorite trail. Daddy and I took turns pushing the stroller while you chilled in your sunglasses and listened to the Family Folk station on Pandora. Such a life.
Your playtime has become more purposeful, which certainly keeps us entertained. You spring off the ground in your jumperoo in an attempt to reach the blue frog that hangs above you. You push your toy train and lunge forward when it’s out of reach. You want to hold books in your lap and turn the pages while we read. You smile at yourself in the plastic mirror of your playmat. And when we cover your eyes with a blanket, you arch your neck to raise your eyes above it and squeal with delight as we say “peek-a-boo!”
And it’s no surprise that these monthly photo shoots are becoming more challenging. The stuffed dog that sits in the background of your photos each month? You want to pick it up and tug its tail and suck on its ears. Oh, just wait until you have a real furry friend to play with.
And the sticker that I’ve always been able to adhere to your onesie without you taking notice? You are now acutely aware of it and had such fun crinkling it in your hands.
Oh, Sammy, we love you so much, you silly boy. We can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.