9 Apr 2006

Monthly Newsletter — Month 6

Posted by AC

Dear Sam,

Cute Sam

Cute Sam

When I started this, “monthly” seemed like the right time frame. In fact, it seemed a little aggressive. Thinking about my own life, it seems that little actually changes month-to-month. Maybe my vocabulary increased by 1 word (this month, it was papabile), maybe I put on a pound, (or took if off if I was lucky). I was worried that I’d have nothing to say about your growth. How wrong I was. Here you are at 6 months old and already, I can barely remember the 5-month old Sam, and it’s not just because of daddy-brain. Constantly changing, you are. (Typing like Yoda, daddy is?)

Sam enjoys a good sit

Sam enjoys a good sit

Let’s take sitting for example. One month ago today, mom and I were amazed at your 30-or-so second sit. Now, if you fell over after just 30 seconds, we’d be astonished. You now completely have the balance to sit. You don’t always have the strength to maintain it, but you have the balance. I can even push lightly against your shoulders in various directions and you can compensate and remain sitting. You still topple over on occasion, and when you topple forward, your mom and I usually let you try to get out of it on your own. The problem is that you’ve always hated tummy time, and if you’ve toppled forward, it’s probably because you’re tired. Tired and tummy time really don’t go together. Somewhere, sitting is described as a “master skill”, and last month you were somewhere between an apprentice and a journeyman sitter. While I’m not sure which sit, exactly, would have been your masterpiece, I am proud to pronounce you a master sitter this month!

Towering Sam

Towering Sam

Had I written this newsletter on time, I might have expressed a worry about your verbal development. It seemed like you were concentrating so much on the sitting, that everything else was pushed to the side. However, as I ‘m a couple days late, I can gladly report that in order to show off how comfortable you are sitting now, you have started to babble. It’s a wonderful thing to hear, the subject of yet another post to come.

Maybe all of this developmental progress has been helped by your sleeping. You still aren’t getting the 14-15 that the books say you should be, but you’ve pretty much never been a textbook baby. However, you are, generally, sleeping through the night now. Last night’s hour wakefulness between 3 and 4 AM has now, thankfully, become the exception rather than the rule. We usually start the ritual anywhere between 8:00 and 10:00 depending partly on our schedule, and partly on yours. When I write that down, it seems so irresponsible, and we should start it every night at 7:15 sharp or something, and maybe we should, but I’m sure that doing so would be tough on the whole household. Still, now that we’ve got you sleeping regularly between at least midnight and 6:00 AM, maybe we can begin to slide your night start-time earlier and earlier. While Mom and I still don’t get as much sleep as we’d like, your extended night sleeping has wafted through the family like a cool breeze on a sweltering summer day. As if to make sure we knew you still weren’t a textbook baby, and to add a small note of irony, you started this pattern 1) while you were sleeping in your pack-and-play in a hotel in New Jersey, and 2) just after we begged, begged, the Internet for help.

Sam at her first conference

Sam at her first conference

Yeah, that’s right, New Jersey. I’d have wished for a somewhat sexier state for your first out-of-state experience; MA, VA, CA, AK, HI — something, but Mom had a conference at Princeton, so it was off to NJ. That said, Mom and I really enjoyed Princeton. It feels to me like the archetypal semi-rural, small-but-yuppie, North-Eastern town — to a southerner like me, it seems “New England-y”, but when I came up to PA for college, I learned, that no, everything north of DC was not, in fact, New England. Oh well. So Princeton, the town, seemed archetypal for some ill-defined town-archetype that I have, and Princeton, the university, seemed only slightly less the elite ivy-league university archetype that it pretty much defines. I say slightly less just because I was (sometimes pleasantly) surprised at some of the ways the architecture didn’t seem to match my mental model nor the rest of the university. So, you went to your first conference in Princeton, NJ. You even got to wear a little shirt that Rebecca made for you specifically for this occasion. You didn’t attend any sessions though, which I think was just as well.

Sam and Dad sit on art

Sam and Dad sit on art

We did try to take you to the art museum there — which, from what we saw, may have been better named an artifact museum, but after 15-minutes or so, you were an inconsolable wreck, and we had to leave. I do hope you overcome this aspect of your (ahem) rural upbringing and come to enjoy museums a little more as you mature.

During this trip, we also stayed with Mom-mom and Granddaddy. You thought Mom-mom was funnier than [insert your favorite comedian whenever you’re reading this] as long as she was a few feet away and making faces. However, being held by her or Granddaddy, (or anyone that’s not Mom or I) caused you great consternation, and as far as we can tell, still does. While we appreciate the cautious attitude you have toward strangers, there are some trustworthy people in this world, and Mom-mom and Granddaddy rank pretty high among them.

Sam reaches for the lens cap

Sam reaches for the lens cap

You’ve also become quite a bit more dexterous this month. Passing things from hand-to-hand is not uncommon now, though I still can’t always tell exactly how purposeful it is. You also grab at just about anything. Once, on the changing table, you reached over without paying it any attention, grabbed, pulled and eventually put in your mouth, the nail-care kit we keep nearby for your ever-growing, and razor-sharp finger nails. Taking your picture has become more or a challenge, because of your fascination with the lens cap. You’ve even tried to grab the high-contrast words off of the page of books we’ve read you. You also reach out for Camus (the cat, not the author) whenever you see him, though he only rarely comes within your grasping range. I think he’s adjusted pretty well to your presence now, but he’s going to be in for quite a shock once you’re mobile.

Playing with Mollys Keys

Playing with Molly’s keys

Finally, you’ve pretty much started winding down your spitting up. Though, it seems like you thought you should go out in style. I never wrote the blog entry I’d tentatively titled “spit down” wherein I would have described in detail the scene in which you managed to spit up directly into my mouth (yuck!), but yeah, you did that. And later in the month, after weeks of little to no spit-up, you were visiting people on campus. You’d been a little fussy, on the way there, so Mom nursed you in her office. Then you guys came out and were social. You showed off your object fascination by playing with the keys Molly wears around her neck. Then, you drenched that poor woman, spitting up like you’d never spat before. I was amused and horrified all at once. Molly took it amazingly well though, and claimed that every faculty baby has spat up on her. True or not (dang faculty brats!), it at least lightened the situation. I got to hold you the rest of that campus visit.

And with that, I raise a glass, to you, my daughter. You’re out of the serious danger-zone for SIDS, you continue to brighten my life in immeasurable ways. To more sits, and fewer spits, and another amazing month. I love you.

–Dad

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