Samantha,

I’m just about ready to stop apologizing for the fact that your monthly newsletter, while coming out every month, does not, in fact, come out on (or even very close to) your actual, specific birthday. I’m a more sporadic blogger than I’d like to be, and your newsletter suffers somewhat for that fact. Nonetheless, it’s here now, and I’m pleased to report that your fifth month was once again a banner month for you.

Finding hands fascinating

Finding hands fascinating

During this month, you became fascinated by the shape and movement of something that was frequently in your field of vision — your hands. Already, this fascination has started to dwindle, but it was neat to watch as you’d sit in your “punkin’ seat”, or lie on the changing table with your (usually right) arm outstretched rotating your hand with your eyes transfixed. As far as handedness, we’ll have to see how that develops. For the first couple of months, it seems like you favored your left hand. More recently, it seems like your right is the one that you prefer to do something with. You’ve also taken to opening and closing your your hands against whatever surface they are resting on making a scratching sound, and you’ve found your feet. One of your favorite positions when you’re on your back now is to be grabbing your feet or knees with your hands. You have some amazing abdominal muscles that support this behavior, no doubt in part because you are the only human I know who does ab crunches during dinner. Seriously, I’ll be bottle feeding you, and your whole body will be relaxed except that you’ll have one leg up in the air.

Finding feet with hands

Finding feet with hands

So just as you’ve been paying more attention to your own hands and feet, you’ve begun interacting with more of the world around you as well. Besides mama and daddy, your other main interests appear to be the cat and the halogen lamp, both of whom you’ve ‘talked’ to (made noises at.) We have two halogen lamps of the same variety, one in the den that you like quite a bit, and one down in the basement that you only see on occasion. When you first saw the basement one after a week or so of having chatted up the one in the den, you gave it something of a knowing look as if to say, “Hey, dude. I see you’re chillin’ down here in the basement too.”

You had your 4-month-old pediatrician visit this month. During this visit, in addition to a clean bill of health, you again got vaccinations, which made you quite unhappy, but as before, this unhappiness was not terribly long-lived. You also surpassed a number of your peers when you went from being in the 5th percentile for weight (and therefore worrisomely small) up to the 15th percentile for weight. This change encouraged your pediatrician to instruct us to stop watching your weight so closely. (We still weigh you weekly. We’ve not given up our data habit just yet.) Your pediatrician also told us that we could start solids and start working on getting you on a regular sleep schedule.

Eating (so called) solids

Eating (so-called) solids

The first of those has gone swimmingly. You’ve taken a shine to the rice cereal, and eat a pretty good amount of it when we get around to serving it to you which is almost daily. We’ve gradually made it thicker and thicker which you don’t seem to have minded in the least, and we expect to be introducing other items into your diet shortly. Keeping food in your mouth is not your highest priority, but you seem to do a pretty good job of it given what I’ve seen of some other babies.

Nap Failure

Nap Failure

The sleeping, however, has gone frustratingly poorly. This month, we started a sleep ritual for you. You and I dance (sway) for a song or two, then mom bathes you, then I read to you (and swaddle you), then mom nurses you. Then you sleep. At least that’s the idea. You like the swaying. You LOVE the bath. While you’ll tolerate being read to during the day, you HATE it when I do it as part of the ritual — probably because you also don’t like being swaddled, and you know it’s coming next. We know that you’re supposed to get about 15 hours of sleep per day, and we try to make sure you get that. But, you fight us every step of the way, and so we fail — usually settling for about 12 hours. As one example, a couple of days ago, I spent an hour and a half trying to get you to fall asleep for a nap. I swaddled you, rocked you and sung you to sleep. You finally went down for a nap that lasted half an hour.

Happy on Pappy

Happy on Pappy

Sometimes, I think you just don’t want to miss the action. Many times this month, I’d get you to sleep, and then start to make dinner for your mom and myself. No sooner would I serve us than you’d wake, crying. So, I’d end up bringing you to the breakfast bar (better named “meal” bar in our house), where you’d sit on my lap and grab at my plate or the place mat during dinner. It is in this position, that we began one of this month’s games that has earned me a new in-house nickname: “OPD”. You would look away, and then crane up and backward to see my face and smile. I’d smile back at you. This was sufficient, and you’d look completely away. This would repeat about every 2 seconds. I thus became known as “Object-Permanent Daddy” or OPD.

Environmental Awareness

Environmental Awareness

Finally, on a developmental front, you’ve ended the wet razzing sounds and have begun a little bit of vowel-consonant combinations specifically with the ‘mmm’ sound. However, you still haven’t made anything we could reasonably call a word.

In addition to tummy time, which you still only find mildly tolerable at best, we also spend a lot of time with you practicing sitting. This is one of those things that I never thought would really take much practice. One of my favorite Simpson quotes is from episode 4F10: “From the mightiest Pharaoh to the lowliest peasant, who doesn’t enjoy a good sit?” Between sitting and sleeping, I guess I just never understood how much trouble it would be to teach you to enjoy the finer things in life!

So, here’s to another month of the finer things. Thanks, sweetie.

Love,

OPD