Dear Sam,

Mom-mom and Ren with 
Dad and Sam

Once again, I find myself writing your monthly newsletter well past the end of your month. I have a little bit better excuse this month — we were traveling back from Mom-mom and Granddaddy’s on the day you turned 3 months old. This trip was interestingly exhausting and recharging for me. You didn’t seem to care much one way or the other, except you seemed to like some of the music you heard while you were there. Mom-mom put Disco Inferno on repeat, and you calmed to dancing to that as much or more than to Boom Shak-a-lak. You managed to continue to charm Mom-mom and Granddaddy as well as Uncle John and Aunt Rika, despite not yet having let go of unnecessary fussing. You also met, and charmed, several other people this month including others from Altoona, more family around Philadelphia, and friends out of your mom and dad’s past.

Alert SamJust at the end of this month (and beginning of the next) though, you do seem to be fussing less. This excites your dad tremendously. You’re just generally more fun to be around. Perhaps correlating to less fuss, you’re also just spending more time in “active alert” or “quiet alert” time. Hanging out, looking around, chatting.

Happy SamYou’re much more social. We regularly “talk” to each other. I prop my feet up on the coffee table and put your back on my legs, your head up around my knees so we can see each other and hold hands. Your favorite song (that I sing, at least) is the alphabet song. Sometimes you chime in with letters of your own, sometimes you simply study my mouth as I work through the letters. I frequently move your arms and hands around while singing this, but in a less patterned way than the song that Mom sings with you — a cute and catchy tune that I’ll try to get her to add to your blog. You are just generally more conversant this month, it’s great to see. However, you still don’t perform on command, and are often quiet when we try to show off your verbal abilities to friends and family.

Sam and Dad chatLast month, I talked about your “proto-smiles.” This month, there is no doubt. Your smiles are very wide-mouthed and take up your whole face, and your eyes can really light up when you smile. It’s a real treat to see. You even have a decent approximation of a laugh. It’s fairly common that you pee while you’re on the changing table being changed, and Mom says that one time you got her good, and as soon as you did, you let out a laugh. Maybe it was payback for the vaccinations you received this month, though, really, you took those quite well. It amazes me how much some things have changed since your mom and I were little, as we both have vaccination scars on our upper arms from an older-style vaccination that you’ll never see. Similarly, we just had to get Chicken Pox, but you will get a vaccine for it.

Traveling SamThis month, you traveled the farthest you have to date — We took you to visit Mom-mom and Granddaddy outside of Philadelphia. This meant a long time on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Fortunately, you slept through the turnpike both directions. You woke up hungry just before we reached Mom-mom and Granddaddy on the way there, but on the way back, you made it all the way home! This was a major relief for me as your cries still get under my skin, and I could only imagine hurtling down the turnpike, surrounded by tractor trailers in a foggy, rain with your ear-splitting howls as company. So, thank you for that! Despite what felt like a long-ish trip, we still didn’t get out of the state of Pennsylvania. We’re looking forward to showing you sites, places and people elsewhere in the US and the world, and I’m a little embarrassed that you’ve not already seen more of it. I take some small comfort in the fact that you’re really a bit young to appreciate it at this stage anyway.

Sam You AreWhile your cognitive development continues to proceed apace, I am starting to worry a little bit about your physical development. You didn’t gain as much weight as we’d expected/hoped while we were at Mom-mom and Granddaddy’s. This is probably because you weren’t bottle-fed quite as often. We thought nothing of it at the time, because you were still nursing pretty well. Still, we expected you to reach 10 pounds this month, and you didn’t quite make it. You also still really hate tummy time. I’m at a loss to explain it, and have a hard time forcing it on you, because I don’t want to make you so upset, even when I think it’s for your own good. That said, you’ve made some remarkable physical changes this month too. When we went in for your most recent check-up, the pediatrician warned that you’d start drooling a lot more soon. It seems like you took it as a command and no sooner had we brought you home from that trip then everything in the vicinity of your mouth got sopping wet. You bring your hands together now, and they often find their way to your mouth, though you’ve not really coordinated sucking on anything — even the pacifier Santa brought you for Christmas. Your head, however, is not nearly as floppy as it was before. You can almost always support it on your own — at least for limited periods of time.

Stocking SamOf course, this month also saw your first Christmas and New Years. You were fairly non-plussed by both events. As you are regularly up past midnight anyway, and didn’t know what Dick Clark used to sound like before his stroke, so you really couldn’t have cared less. As far Christmas went, you still didn’t have the manual dexterity to hand out the presents, so as the youngest capable family member, that honor went again to your uncle, John. We have no doubt that you’ll take over soon though. As you slept, and nursed, on Mom, that meant I opened presents for myself, Mom, and you. I was quite busy. You had a bountiful Christmas, not unlike your birthday. You got ornaments, clothes and toys, and your first Christmas book — Green Eggs and Ham because it has “Sam I Am” in it. You even got an early gift from Mom-mom: Your very own Pack’n’Play in which you nap as I write this. You also got a neat latch board from Nat&bk, though you won’t be able to play with that for a couple more years.

Sam Fusses

Just because you fuss less, doesn’t mean you’re all done with it. Remember how last month I said, that “I’d do it [have a late, cold family dinner] again for you in a heartbeat.”? I didn’t really mean for you to test that theory. But, test it you did. No sooner had Uncle John made a toast at the start of Christmas dinner then you started to fuss. Fortunately, this time, Mom took the first shift of calming you, and I took second. We both had fractured dinners, but at least my first course was still warm when I ate it.

Mom Bjorn

You didn’t fuss at all meals though. We were able to take you out to dinner during our stay with Mom-mom and Granddaddy. The whole family went to Yang Ming. It helped that you had eaten heartily before we left. You slept through the entire meal. While it would have been nice to stay for dessert, we didn’t want to push our luck, and as a result, we had a really pleasant meal out that night.

Thanks, Sam, for another month of wonder and amazement.