Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Dear Gwen: Month Five

Dear Gwen,
Today you are five months old. I could probably fill this entire post with ramblings about how completely gobsmacked I am by that, but that would be terribly boring. Instead I will just indulge my sentimental sense of utter denial with two pictures.

(How did this happen, though? How did you go from being a tiny blob of baby to this amazing little person? And why can't I get over it?)

It blows my mind how smart you are. We just started putting you in the Exersaucer again after trying it out a month ago and deciding you were still too small. It took you about three and a half seconds to figure out how to spin around in it so you could take your pick of the toys at hand. And you immediately knew just how to use all those toys, and got down to business right away. When I watch you playing, I know there is a lot of truth to the saying that for babies and toddlers, play is work: you are developing all kinds of skills as you play. And you take that stuff seriously!

You are a busy little girl these days, constantly rolling from your back to your belly (which you've been doing since you were about 3.5 months old). I just learned today that apparently that is the more difficult roll to do, and that most babies don't do it until closer to 6 months, while rolling from belly to back is supposedly easier. You haven't rolled from belly to back in a while; in fact, you only do so when you're propped up on a blanket, which doesn't happen these days because if you're on your tummy chances are it's because you rolled there yourself. In any case, I'm pretty sure I know why you're a bit behind on that skill, as well as the sitting up milestone.

You see, this month I started taking you to the chiropractor, who identified a few issues that need work. For one thing, your sacrum doesn't move, which would make sitting really difficult as essentially you can't bend very well. And your right shoulder is ... well, I'd say "hooped" but let's go with the more elegant and optimistic "in need of adjustment" instead. This would definitely affect your ability to push up while on your tummy, which you would need to do in order to roll over. You have had three chiropractic treatments so far, and Dr. Dave thinks after one more you should be 'fixed' for the time being. We've definitely noticed some changes since beginning the treatments: you are crying less often, and when you do cry it's usually something we can fix with either food, a clean diaper, a cuddle, or a nap. Much nicer than the hours of inconsolable pain crying we endured before.

There is, however, one thing that still causes you pain. You have started teething. Although your Grannie was quick to point out that some babies have no problem with teething, clearly this is not the case for you (nor did I expect it to be). You are drooling a lot, constantly chewing on everything you can get your mouth on, and subject us to a fair bit of whining that we figure must be due to teething pain. I can feel one tooth on your bottom gum, but it will probably be a while before it appears. Based on what I've read, once the first tooth shows up you'll continue getting teeth at the rate of one every six weeks or so, and the teething symptoms will stick around for about two years. Oh, how delightful for all of us.

I have spent a lot of energy this month trying to create a more consistent routine for you, thinking that would help both of us get through our day. Thus far, it's not exactly a roaring success. I can usually predict how our day is going to go based on what time you wake up in the morning, but as that varies widely, so too does the day that follows. One might think that I could just alter your bedtime to affect your wakeup time and all the activities in between, but apparently you do not operate on that logic. So I'm coasting through life by the seat of my ill-fitting pants, unable to plan more than a day in advance. So far, though, I'm doing pretty well with that. I've learned that when it comes to making appointments, between 11:30 and 2:00 is workable, and outside of that could be compromising naptimes, so I do my best to stick to that.

This month has been the start of you and I really getting out and building a social life with some new activities, which is very exciting. You are an incredibly social baby, and whenever we are out in public people are drawn to you: not only because of your beauty, but because of the charisma and charm you exhibit. I get comments on it all the time, from everyone from your chiropractor (who apparently bragged about you flirting with him to his dinner party compatriots) to darling old grannies at the grocery store, and everyone in between. I'm really excited about us spending more social time together with other moms and babies, such as at our swimming lessons in November and our Mother Goose classes in January. Today I heard about an online group at that organizes playdates for moms and kids in Nanaimo, and I can't wait to get plugged into that. It will be great for both of us.

Today you and I did something new: I took you to the gym and dropped you off at their childcare for the first time. This was your first time being looked after by someone other than family, and in a place other than our home. I think it went pretty well. As soon as we walked into the childcare room, where there was another five-month-old baby as well as a couple "big kids" of three or four years old, your face lit up. You couldn't wait to get out of your carseat and start making friends. It was a little nerve-wracking for me, leaving you there, but I figured it was an important step for both of us, and you did really well. I am so proud of you!

Your dad wants me to mention that you giggle a lot more now. You and he are quite taken with each other, and he can make you laugh just by saying an interesting word ("Osteopath!") in a slightly silly voice. The two of you are going to have so much fun together as you get older.

As always, darling Gwen, you enthrall us, you amuse us, and you light up our lives. We love you madly and are so happy to be your parents.


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