Letter to Samuel: 5 Months

Dear Samuel,

You are five months old! And this past month was quite an eventful one. It seems like you reach a new developmental milestone every day.

You can grasp and shake a rattle. Pick up a plastic ring. Turn the pages of a book. Open and close the lid of a box. Spin a ball. And push your toy train. You can roll over in both directions. Raise your chest while lying on your stomach. Hold our hands and pull yourself into a standing position. Bounce in your jumperoo. Sit with minimal support. And turn your head when we call your name. You are such a strong little man!

You are also working hard on your communication skills. You mimic the sounds that we make — from mmmm to ggaa and ggrr to cckk. And you make these sounds with a wide grin on your face and drool on your chin. You grunt when you want something (i.e. another bite of banana) and grunt when you don’t want something (i.e. to sit in our lap). You make great eye contact and respond to our voices with smiles and babbles. You want to be part of the action and part of the conversation.

Your little giggle has turned into a baby belly laugh, which makes us laugh, too. We gently toss you into the air and nuzzle our noses into the soft space between your ear and your shoulder and you laugh and laugh and laugh.

You now sit in your high chair at the table during mealtime and eat up to four tablespoons of solid food every day. So far, you haven’t tried a bite that you don’t like — from bananas and avocados to apples and pears and peaches to butternut squash to sweet potatoes and carrots and parsnips. We make all of your food, and you love it. You make the mmmm sound while eating and reach for the spoon and grunt for more. You certainly inherited our appetites and appreciation for good food! I also still nurse you up to six times per day. It’s no surprise that your cheeks are getting chubbier and your grip is getting stronger!

You have grown into size 3-6 and 6-month clothes, and you are still in size 2 diapers. We suspect you weigh between 14 1/2 and 15 pounds.

You outgrew your nighttime swaddle earlier this month, and we spent about a week transitioning you out of it. You still sleep in a SleepSack, but your arms are free to move and are typically stretched out on either side of you or raised above your head in the “touchdown” position. We also added the (breathable) bumper to your crib to prevent your little arms from getting stuck between the rails.

Unfortunately, we had quite a few sleepless nights this month as you continue to develop your new sleep patterns. Some nights you woke between 5 and 6 times and would only fall back asleep if I nursed you and rocked you. I even, admittedly, brought you to bed with us several times. So we worked for about a week to break you of these habits. I now nurse you before storytime, and then you have a few minutes with both Mommy and Daddy before I turn on your white noise machine and snuggle you and lay you in the crib while you’re still awake. And without your pacifier. You’ve gotten much better at putting yourself to sleep (typically around 7:30pm) — and staying asleep. You still wake up between 3am and 4am to eat, and then it’s back to bed until about 7am. In the morning, you are content to lay in bed and talk to your birds for a few minutes, and then you get the biggest grin on your face when either Mommy or Daddy comes in to see you.

Naps continue to be unpredictable and challenging. After 1 1/2 to 2 hours of playtime, you start to rub your eyes and yawn, and I know it’s time to go upstairs. We read a book or two, then I set Pandora to Lullabye Radio, and we sway around your room while you wind down and cuddle. Then I lay you on your back in the crib, and you immediately roll onto your belly. You typically fuss for 5-10 minutes before falling asleep. But you almost always wake up after 30-40 minutes. (If you make it past this mark, you can sleep for as long as 2 hours.) I have a tough time listening to you cry for more than 15 minutes before I pick you up and cradle you. Sometimes I sit in the rocker in your room, and sometimes we lay in the bed beside your crib. I feel the rapid rise and fall of your belly against my chest, and you easily fall back asleep in my arms. You tuck your hand under my shirt and rest it against my skin. And how can I not smile and savor this moment? Forget the dirty dishes in the sink and the stack of laundry to fold and the work assignment to finish. I know these moments are numbered.

You and I spend all day every day together. In fact, I haven’t yet spent more than 3 consecutive hours away from you. It’s no surprise that you’ve developed a bit of attachment to your Mommy, and this month is the first that you exhibited a bit of stranger anxiety. You have perfected the pout and can cry — with real tears — in a matter of seconds. But you’re getting better.

You may be a Momma’s Boy, but you also adore your Daddy. He often gets you out of bed in the morning and brings you to me and then we’re able to spend a few minutes with him while we drink our coffee and he gets ready for his workday. He calls to chat with us several times during the day, and I know he looks forward to opening the door when he gets home and shouting, “Daddy’s home.” The two of you then have “guy time” while Mommy goes to the gym or prepares dinner or lays in bed with a magazine and a latte. Hey, some days you exhaust me!

Sammy, you are such a love bug. You reach up and touch our faces with your pudgy hands — Mommy’s lips and hair and Daddy’s nose. You open your mouth when we give you kisses. You wrap your arms around us when we hold you and sometimes lay your head on our shoulders. In your own simple way, you are incredibly sweet and affectionate.

We love you so much, baby boy.


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