if there is one thing I am certain of as your mother it is this: YOU ARE AN ORIGINAL.
There is nothing, no one, no experience in the world like you. You are unique and every little thing you do is yours. Sure, other babies have rolled onto their tummies before and others have slept through the night, but this blog measures and recognizes YOUR life. This month, more so than any, I have realized that you are such a unique baby. I hope I do justice to the changes you make in life. I hope someday you read this, when you are 20 or 30 and appreciate that, even then (now?) I respected how unique and different you are and that I encouraged that.
This month of our life has passed so quickly. I am saddened by this b/c what if I missed something? What if I wasn’t paying enough attention to or didn’t make a mental note of the changes or milestones?
Have I ever told you how much I love being your mommy? Having you as my little boy is such a blessing. I had no idea my heart could love this way. Never did I know it was possible to look into a face and fall over and over and over. Every time I look at you, I think you have gotten bigger, smarter, longer, sweeter….
FIVE MONTHS. That’s over 150 days. You have been on this earth nearly half of a year. I miss that tiny, sweet little peanut full of dark hair and loose skin on your arms and legs. I miss those days when you slept more than you were awake. I miss the tiny 0-3 size clothes and puppy/kitty sounds you made. I miss the tiny, little newborn, but am SO in love with the changing infant you have become. You grow and you change and, all the while, it is your brain that I am noticing has grown the most.
I watch your hands reaching and grabbing and pulling on things and remember back to when you were first home from the hospital with us. With your tiny beanie on your head and sleep sack on your body, Daddy would rub your hands together and make your fingers touch and teach you about your hands. I laughed at him and loved it at the same time. He was teaching you from that day.
This picture below is my clearest memory of that. Your hands caught a ball, played the guitar, touched your face….
Now, as you enter your fifth month, your hands do all of those things he once taught you. You can grab things placed above you. You can roll things in your fingers. You can place your hands on each side of your bottle when I feed you, nearly holding it on your own. You can take your binkie out of your mouth intentionally and put it back in (backwards, but still). When I put things in your hands, you turn them and look at them trying to decide what you have and then point it straight into your mouth…
You love touching my face or my nose or grabbing fistfuls of my hair. You love snuggling up as close to me as you possibly can to fall asleep, then properly awakening when I try to shimmy away.
You are a strong, smart boy this month. Perhaps my favorite display of your growing strength and brain power was on Saturday, August 18 when you reached for me for the first time when Tara was holding you. I had been waiting for that moment my whole life. I had thought it would happen randomly when I was taking you out of your carseat at some point, but it was beautiful with the mountains behind you and a moment my heart will never let me forget. You just love me and it is the best feeling to be so needed, so loved. To see your body NEED my body…
Your silly little personality has grown larger this month as well. Your tongue and blowing bubbles is your way of telling the world you are happy and that your heart is joyous. When Daddy and you spend time together, a lot of bubbles are spat at him and a lot of sticking out your tongue at him just makes you so happy. I shake my head that it has become your way of greeting each other. When I nurse you, you properly let me know that you are finished by blowing bubbles and making silly faces at me…often with my nipple dangling from your mouth. You blink quickly, bat your eyelashes and coo to say, “Enough, mom….that’s enough…let’s play now.” I think you are going to grow up to be a Class Clown as your repertoire of jokes makes you laugh so hard at times that to imagine you with a crowd at your feet is not that far fetched.
You are still breastfeeding, but not without it’s challenges. This month’s growth spurt meant I spent a lot of time quietly pumping milk in the early morning before you awoke and late night when you were asleep. As a Demand Feeder, I find that you eat anywhere from 6-10 times a day….vampire….you are sucking all of my energy out of me. I worry a lot that you aren’t getting enough to eat, but I see the chubby thighs and little dimples of cellulite on your knees and know that you are happy and fed and growing.
This month, you recognized the power a fake cough has on Mommy. Are you sick? Do you need a hug? What does it mean?!?!? Fever? No….you just like to play and think you are quite funny.
You have also MORE than mastered the pout this month. I love it. Shame on me for laughing each time you are crying and pushing that bottom little lip out as far as you can. As your chin quivers and your lip turns down, my heart jumps and my smile turns up. I long for those pouts like I do your little giggle.
This month, we love our 2 favorite games. Peekaboo and Cheeky. I can pop out from behind my hands or the carseat/stroller or a blanket and each time I say PeekaBOO your eyes light up and and your laugh delight me. Cheeky is your favorite game. With the Olympics taking up the first 2 weeks of this month, I spent a lot of time imaging you in the 2028 Olympics as the next Michael Phelps swimming your way to the Gold….but we aren’t quite there yet, so we created our own little game and set a World Record in doing so. Cheeky consists of me kissing your right cheek, then your left, then right…and so on….all the while counting aloud the number of kisses before you push me away, pull my hair or squeal. Our World Record is 19 kisses. After the last kiss, I squeal “cheeky, cheeky, cheeky” faster and faster into your ear until you bust out in full giggles….your cheeks are so smooth and full, I can’t keep my lips off of them, making sure you get more kisses than you can probably even stand.
Story Hour at the local library has become an important part of our weekly routine. I sing the dumbest songs to you and sit on the most uncomfortable rug with you, all because it is my hope that you grow to love books as I have. I can’t wait to spend time reading books with you as you are old enough to look at the pages and understand the stories.
Perhaps my favorite “trick” you have learned this month, is how to flirt. Old ladies. Young women. Teens. Other babies. There is NO mistaking when you are happy and when you are actually craving the attention of another. I have seen you coyly put your chin to your shoulder, bat your eyelashes and squeal all to get the attention of someone passing by, on the bleachers, sitting near you. And they all LOVE it….you are what I used to refer to as “tuning forks for ovaries.” Before I had you, I was one of those women who would see a cute baby and my ovaries would start shaking, as if to say “I want one”….now, you do that to my friends without kids or to grandmas. You love to have attention and can get pissed when someone walks by you without paying attention to you. I have seen you go from happy to straight pissed at a restaurant when you are in your carseat and someone walking by doesn’t pay attention to you. I have seen you put on your charm at Kirk’s baseball games. I have seen you stare down a boyfriend, then turn to his girlfriends and bat your lashes, coo and flirt…you love the Ladies and the Ladies love you!
One thing you don’t love this month if your Little Lamb Swing that you used to be so happy in. Your are getting so big, but not too big for the swing, yet you hate when we put you in it. It’s like you know that means we have to eat or clean or do something other than give you all of our attention.
You are loving baths this month. We now clean you in our big tub as opposed to the one in your bathroom. It’s easier for me to reach you and more stimulating. Your long legs dangle off the sides of your tub into the water below. You love to kick and splash the water, but mostly kick on the porcelain. You have some number toys that you love to chew on (particularly 7 for some reason) and a few boats. I pour water out slowly and you try to grab the stream…you don’t understand why you can’t grab it. Baths usually last about 10 minutes and you always feel so much better afterwards. We have taken to giving you one 3 or so times a week b/c you generally get fussy each night at 7:00 and we want to keep you awake until 8:00….to calm you, we bathe you and then let you roll around with us in just your diaper. We blow raspberries on your belly and styled your hair into a mohawk for the first time this month.
I have saved the Sleep portion of this Love Letter to you until the end b/c this month was 3 parts AMAZING and 1 part Oh Shit! For the first 3 weeks of this month, you slept 11 hours of uninterrupted, amazing sleep. You let me know promptly at 8pm each night that you were ready to go down as your eyebrows reddened (your physical sign of tiredness) and we put you in one of your pair of Big Boy pajamas (no more swaddling) with monkeys or stripes on them, gave you a bottle and then just easily put you in your crib.
IT WAS THAT SIMPLE!
You started out on your side each night. I watched you from the monitor for 30 minutes or so, then you just woke up at 7am, quietly waking me by cooing and laughing in your crib. I watched you from my bed as eagerly as I watched Seasons 1-3 of Big Love. You were that captivating to me.
You were so amazing. I was so proud. Sometimes, if you awoke in the night, I let you cry it out for 5-10 minutes and each time you just put yourself back to sleep. Sometimes back on your side, often on your back…arms over head, legs out…
My anxiety about how many times you would wake me up or SIDS or temperature in the room or the humidifier being at the right setting, or whatever it was I worried about on that particular night, lessened. I physically felt such relief…and pride. I didn’t brag b/c I knew the minute I said aloud ELEVEN HOURS, it would change, but I was so proud of you.
very slowly, around week 3, you started break dancing in the night.
That’s right….break dancing. I would look on the monitor to see your head where your feet had been or your legs kicking on the siderails. You were sideways, upside down, then back to where you started, then a foot up, a foot down….
On August 10th, you changed the game.
YOU ROLLED OVER FOR THE FIRST TIME.
It was okay, you weren’t confident quite yet with your new trick….you still slept through the night.
But then, with Don Linny here, you started rolling. On Friday, August 17th, I awoke in the night to find you sleeping on your stomach.
Holy Hell!!!!! Could you breathe? I went in to check on you, your face was mashed down into the bed. I came back, woke Kirk up, he went in to check on your and it freaked him out too. He rolled you onto your back and you woke up screaming. I fed you, put you on your back in your crib and not even a minute later, you were back on your stomach.
For the first 3 nights you preferred sleeping on your tummy, but since you weren’t 100% able to roll over easily (often your arms get stuck under you or stop you from being happy) you spendt a lot of time fussing and trying to get comfortable.
I just spent a lot of time worried.
I know they say once a baby can roll over, they are okay to sleep either way b/c they are strong enough to move to a different position if need be, but I was a mess over this! A full week in and you are back to eleven-hour nights. I wake up often to check on you, but for the most part, you are a champion sleeper. I just love that you are now a baby who sleeps on his tummy with his legs crossed under his butt, which is up in the air.
It’s just going to take some getting used to, but you are still a good little sleeper…at NIGHT…your day naps leave something to be desired.
Now that you roll, my days are a lot busier. I can’t just leave you on the floor while I shower or run to do a load of laundry, I might find you under the bed or dresser. I have seen you roll from front to back easily, but was most freaked out to see you do 3 complete rolls to get to me at the cabin in the mountains.
YOU ARE MOBILE!
Your neck is so strong and you legs push you over and your cheeks and knees are red and rosy from all the pushing off on the carpet you do. I place toys or objects just in front of you and it just frustrates the heck out of you that you can’t crawl to them. Your legs kick and you grunt and I see that brain working to figure out how to get what you want. Usually, as you are learning, crying until I get it for you seems to do the trick.
To think that a year ago you were just a tiny heartbeat in my stomach. A thought, really. I had no idea you were a boy or that you were going to be this loved and wanted.
A lady today at the library looked at you and asked you, “Did you find a good family?” I smiled at the thought, the beauty behind the idea that maybe you picked ME for a reason. Or, maybe you were “given” or “gifted” to me by an angel. Whoever or whatever it was just couldn’t have nailed this match any better. We are perfectly suited for each other and I certainly hope YOU are as happy with this pairing as I am.
As you get older and more mobile and your teeth start to come in and you fuss, I hope you know that I am always here. It’s hard being a Stay-At-Home-Mom. It’s often boring and you want to leave the house a lot and you don’t get enough house chores done and then just staring at everything that didn’t get done piling up on the counters is frustrating….but being at home with you, being able to watch it all, to know that you aren’t away during the day with someone else doing all the watching is my greatest gift from your Daddy. I love all of our moments together.
As I type this, you are asleep in your carseat with Hannah right beside you. Your long eyelashes curl up and your pink bottom lip is pushed out. Your cheeks are full, hair a mess on the right side from last night’s bath. Your big toes are touching, the other little piggies perfectly lined. A soft snore escaping. A tiny (yet strong) chin and jawline memorized.
Thank you for picking me to be your Mama. And if an angel did place you for mine, I have a lot of thanking to do to them as well. But I don’t let a day pass where I don’t give thanks. I simply look at your face, a little version of Daddy, and my heart always speaks a prayer.
I love you, Reeve Denver, and cannot wait for what life has in store for us this month…and the next…and each after that.