Monday, February 22, 2010

Four-month letter to Opal

Good morning my dearest sweet peanut.
It is 7:45am and you are asleep on my belly in the sling and today is your four month birthday.
It seems like this last month has been wildly productive for you developmentally—your dad and I continue to watch you in a state of complete awe. We do what we can to support your progress, but it sure seems there is another, bigger force that is doing the majority of the work.

I won’t go into too much detail about how much your sleep has changed in the last week—I actually wrote an entire blog about that with tons of detail. But let’s just say that you have been sleeping in your crib for four nights now, for twelve hours at a time, and only waking twice in that period of time to nurse. (I still can’t believe it.) You are a sleeping fool. And you are getting better and better at putting yourself to sleep at night, and don’t ever cry during the night once you have gone down. A little pip is all I need to hear you and come running, to find you probably uncovered (you kick the blanket off), stretching and ready to eat.

You still take your morning nap in a sling because that is what you are so used to. Except that now it’s on me instead of daddy because you are not tired until later. (Naturally! You just slept for 12 hours!!) We are still working out how to get you down for the rest of your naps during the day without too much hubbub, but we are focused on the fact that you are at least getting good rest at night and in the morning.

(Pause for a sip of green tea for mommy from the miss piggy mug.)

I don’t even know where to begin to report the surplus of amazing changes, so I will just spew them out with no particular order like a handful of marbles.
*Sleep and self-soothing are the head-liners, front and center in bold lights on your four-month marquee.
*Hands. Let’s discuss hands for a moment. They are your favorite item of exploration. When we give you a toy you may enjoy it for a moment but will inevitably drop it to gaze and pull at your own hands. There is a heartbreaking level of intensity and concentration on your face as you knit and un-knit your fingers, suck them individually or shove them all in your mouth at once, rub your fingertips against the fabric of your clothes, your toys, seams and ruffles, snaps and zippers, making a case study of each. It is captivating for me to watch how much these tiny fingers enchant you.
But they don’t even have to be your hands. You also love grown-up hands and are happy to spend long chunks of time grabbing each finger and pulling it to your mouth. You are crazy for hands of all shapes and sizes—you do not discriminate.
In addition to loving to play with your hands, they are becoming so much more dexterous. You can hold on to your toys with no effort now, and fling them back and forth before letting go and watching them fly through the air. You grab on to my sleeve so tightly that I actually have to unwind your fingers for you to let go. You clutch my hair, my face, my neck, and I definitely don’t temp you with dangly jewelry! Lately, you have been grabbing for the phone as I talk and you love reaching for clear glasses full of liquid.
Funny story about this: last week we were visiting the Halperns’ and Carol was holding you in her lap. She went to take a sip of her margarita, fresh with lots of salt on the rim, and you reached for it with both hands, brought it to your little mouth and got an impressive mouthful of salt before any of us could react! You made the most precious sour face, but were fine in moments. We figured your grandma Ama would be proud.

*You are not rolling over yet, but I am seeing it begin to happen. You are very aware of what is happening above your head and look above you when you hear a noise. You also reach above you for a toy or for the dog who loves to lie next to you on the floor while you play. You also turn your body to the side to reach for things on your play mat or to reach for your reflection in the mirror. I bet by next month, you will be very close to rolling over. Very exciting.
*You seem to be more and more embodied, like you don’t have to think so hard to make your legs move a certain way or get your fingers to work. Your movements are becoming more automatic and well-rehearsed. You can move all sorts of body parts at once, consciously: while in the bath you kick and wiggle while grabbing the wash cloth with both hands. While on the floor, you can easily hold one toy with one hand, reach for another with the other hand and look up at me while doing this. You even pooped and smiled at the same time! A milestone in the art of multi-tasking!

*Something huge that I have noticed even in the last couple of weeks is your independence. You recognize family now and are content to go with Nibs, Grandpa and Auntie Alex. (You love Auntie Alex. She has quite a way with you.) This makes them all incredibly happy to feel your comfort with them. Especially Nibs. She spent the entire day with you last Monday. Jesse and I were both here, but at one point I went out and Jesse was in the shower while you were napping. You woke up and Nibs crawled into bed with you and you grinned at her when you saw her. This delighted her for the entire week.

Your smiles and laughs have so much power. Seeing you happy feels to me like lying back into a field of soft lavender. My whole body relaxes. My whole being remembers why I am here.

Your presence brings so much peace and joy to your mom and dad. We miss you at night while you are away for 12 hours in your slumberland. We savor the little coos and noises we hear on the baby monitor and in the morning we can’t help but to snuggle you and slather you with love. We have this lovely king-sized bed and anticipate you climbing back in with us in the mornings or to watch movies when you get a little older!

You have your four month check up tomorrow and I think you will get your first shot. Your dad and I have done some good research on vaccinations and are making decisions about how to vaccinate you while honoring your young immune system at the same time. We haven’t had you immunized for anything yet and aren’t against vaccines, persay. It’s just important to us to space them out so as not to bombard your system and to learn about the possible side effects. I hope the shot doesn’t hurt too bad tomorrow, little one.

As of a week ago, you weighed 13lbs, 5 oz, which means you only gained 5 oz in a month, so you are slowing down. But you are currently wearing your 6-month clothes and are out of most of your 3-month things. (I am saving most of your little outfits just in case you have another little sister some day in the future. ) You are also wearing cloth diapers during the day now, so they take up a little more room in the hiney and require a bigger size of pants. Baby got back!

Well, you have woken up and are squiggling to get out, so I will finish here, though I am sure I am leaving so many things out.
In summary, you blow our minds every single day, little girl.
We love you like crazy and you bring so much joy to the people who surround you.

Happy Birthday, little one.

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