Monday, February 3, 2014

Letters to Serene: 4 months

serene joy at 4 months
My dear Serene Joy,

You underwent quite a few changes this month, sweetheart. The most significant interruption to your normal was when your mama went back to work full-time the day before you turned 3 months. Which makes me feel like time sped by in a hazy blur this month. I bade farewell to maternity leave to commence a season of adjusting to my not being your primary caretaker during the day anymore, which was as challenging for your daddy and me as much as it was for you. You hated life the first couple of weeks to the point where you howled all the day long and refused to take the bottle. You’d eventually give in and drink almost 2 ounces until I came home, which was when you’d perk back up to your jolly self and nurse all night – every hour until bedtime. I think that’s why you slept for 8 hours through the night for those first couple of weeks after I returned to work. You were plumb tuckered out from wailing all day.

Thankfully, you’ve been adjusting better these last couple of weeks – still snoozing for at least 6 hours and up to 8 hours through the night in your crib before you woke up to nurse, following with a nap for another 2-3 hours. In the earlier weeks of this month, you needed the pacifier to sleep, except you’d wake up several times a night, screaming because you lost it. We’d get up like zombies each time you wailed to stick it back into your mouth until our sleep deprivation made us lose it. We let you cry it out for the first time at 16 weeks, and your daddy whimpered the entire time because he believed you’d grow up with identity issues. I had to convince him not to get up to rescue you, and you ended up crying for about 20 minutes before you knocked out. Since then, you’ve needed the pacifier less or not at all, and we are so thankful. Though we hope you maintain sleeping a 6-8 hour stretch at night, it would be dreamier if you weren’t such a night owl. You usually don’t sleep until 10:30pm or 11:00pm, which is more likely our fault that we don’t start your bedtime routine until 9:00pm, since we’re out and about until then most nights of the week.

You’ve also been settling into a new routine better in terms of drinking more from the bottle rather than outrightly succumbing to a meltdown. You even grasped your bottle and fell asleep with it while I was at work last week. I thought it was the most mind-boggling development, considering your detestation of it a mere week ago. You absolutely won’t take the bottle if I’m around, though. Our primary activity together these days is parking ourselves on the bed to nurse, and grinning goofily at one another. I was so anxious that you’d forget me, or become mopey, but I’m so grateful you’re generally no less cheerful than when I was around. You are such a jovial babe, specifically around your daddy and me. We are hands-down your favorite people as evidenced by the force of your smiles. They overtake your entire face as you throw your body backward or forward in utmost exuberance.

Though you have a sunny disposition, you’ve also discovered how to skillfully pout and whimper, and your cry has increased in volume and passion – so much so that people have told us that your robust vocal chords indicate your future as a soprano singer. We absolutely wouldn’t mind if that occurs, since we’re not gifted in that department ourselves, and so your daddy's dream of having kiddos who sing like the Von Trapp family may be fulfilled. But, goodness, dear girl, sometimes you scream-cry like you’re dying. Usually when you’re hungry or when we’re out of your sight. I had an evening work event last week, so your daddy and I dropped you off at your grandmama's for the longest stretch we’ve ever left you at night since birth – nearly 8 hours and, apparently, you put her through a 3 hour crying marathon.

You can't help this new wave of fussiness though. Your cries have been more pronounced this month not only because you're dealing with our increased absence, but also because you've begun teething. Your gums have been the bane of your existence since 15 weeks, so you chomp on anything your mouth touches –your blankets, my hand, Sophie the giraffe, and especially your fingers. Your greatest comfort is nursing, and if you fuss during a session, deft pats on your bum soothe you just fine.

Speaking of your bum, you're still wearing size 1 diapers. At 4 months, you're in the 25th percentile, weighing 13 lbs 6 oz and measuring 24 inches long. You're still rockin' your 0-3 month clothes, and they're fitting you pretty perfectly right now. You have some pieces in that size that are still loose, so perhaps you'll transition to 3-6 month clothes next month.

Though you're petite, you’re growing strong, little love. You prefer to be held sitting upright against us, and you gurgle with glee when your little hands grasp my index fingers so that you can lean forward. We position you sitting up against the Boppy too as you stare at your environs while sucking on your fingers. You’d stuff your fingers so far into your mouth that you’d end up gagging sometimes. You’ve become more adept with your hands overall, grasping at toys and my clothes at 13 weeks, and batting nimbly at your car seat mobile and baby gym at 17 weeks.

You’re cooing more varied consonant sounds, and for longer periods too. You coo along with you daddy when he sings his little naptime song to you, and you smiled at me so hard this past week that you emitted premature laughs. They sounded more like “KUH!” I can’t wait for the day when you laugh for real. It might be coming soon!

Your first crawling foray may be forthcoming, too. When you did tummy time this past week at 17 weeks, you pushed your legs under you so that your lower body was practically above the ground. You rolled over for the first time this past month too, at 15 weeks. Your daddy had put you down for tummy time, and you pushed up and rolled over onto your back. Twice. While I was working. Which made me so sad that I missed that milestone of yours for the first time. I had to wait a couple of days before I witnessed that for myself. And you can bet I celebrated that occasion with you. Because when I am able to spend any snippet of time with you now, I cherish it all the more fiercely. Those moments with you and your daddy are my absolute favorite times of the day. You are so precious to us, little love, and it amazes me to see you grow a tad more as each day passes. God is too kind to entrust you into our care.

Love you so,

P.S. Serene Joy at 0, 12, and 3 months.

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