You are two-thirds of a year old today. I am numb with amazement.
There have been many changes this month. You got your first tooth, and then a few days later you got a second one. I think another one is coming in now, because your fist is in your mouth at every available opportunity. You also learned how to crawl. A friend of mine reported that when her son began crawling, his temperament improved vastly, as he could now exercise so much more control over his environment, company, and activities. This happened for you, too, but it only lasted a couple of days. It's as if this new skill of mobility enabled you to see how much more there was in the world to explore, and you're never content until you've explored the hell out of it.
To this end, you've been spending a lot of time on your knees or even on your feet, leaning against whatever object you can find to support you. This results in a lot of falls, either because you chose an unsteady obect for leaning, or because you have no idea how to get back down to all fours safely. (If you would just learn how to sit already, you might be a whole lot safer moving between those two positions!) You've gotten more bumps and boo-boos in the past two weeks than in the previous seven and a half months of your life. And the fun, I know, is just beginning.
Your newfound mobility and the power it brings you ensures that you are never, never still. If I want you in my lap, I have to tolerate your constant squirming as you twist your entire body from side to side, trying to see the entire room, making sure that you don't miss anything. You are not the kind of baby we could easily take out to a restaurant or other non-baby-centred activity. While I miss the cuddles and the feeling of you drifting off to sleep in my lap, I have learned to treasure the moments when you do relax in my arms, which come just before and just after sleep. At the end of our bedtime routine, I sway gently near your crib with you in my arms, singing a lullaby, and inevitably your body melts into mine and you lay your head on my shoulder and snuggle in. This never fails to melt my heart, and it's the favourite moment of my day. Another high point is when you wake up from your nap, hair rumpled and eyes dazed, frowning and blinking as you try to take in the fact that the world still exists. You move slowly during this stage, slowly enough that you are satisfied to rest in my arms and even nurse for a few minutes before your energy returns and you need to move on to more exploring.
Another development this month is that you have learned how to whine. I have always known that I despise whining in older children, but I had no idea that a pre-verbal baby could also produce that sound, the one that's developed to pierce straight into a parent's ears, burrow into his or her brain, and trigger the cerebral cortex, thus immediately entering "Stab Self in Eyes, Ears, and All Vital Organs Until that Hideous Sound Stops" mode. Your whine sounds like this: "nnnnnNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!!!" and because I haven't figured out yet what makes you whine, I am not very good at making you stop. Stabbing myself hasn't worked yet either.
Ten days ago, I did something new. I left you with your dad for an entire day and went to Victoria with a friend. I was gone for over eight hours, the longest we've ever been apart. You were absolutely fine, had a good time with your dad, and took your naps right on schedule. I was fine too. I can't believe that leaving you like that every day is only a few months away.
The diaper rash I was so worried about last month has gone away. I think stripping your diapers made the difference. It's probably something we should do every few months, regardless of your skin condition. You continue to enjoy solid foods, and I think in the next month or so you will start to be able to feed yourself a little better (which is good, because the dull and painstaking process of feeding you is starting to wear thin for me!). We've introduced fruits a couple of times now, and on some days when I'm really organized I manage to give you real food more than once a day, as well. The only food you have outright rejected so far is pears, though 'they' say you have to offer a food up to 30 times before concluding that your child genuinely dislikes it, so there will be more pears in your future. When I get around to it.
Another intriguing change this month is in the different ways you relate to your dad and me. When you first wake up, or when you are scared or hurt, you want your mom, and you make that quite clear. But no one can make you laugh the way your dad can. He makes you giggle loud and long and with absolute and perfect delight. The two of you have so much silly fun together, and I just love to watch.
This month, you also got to experience your first snowfall. As soon as I could, I got you into your snowsuit, took you outside, plopped you down on the ground, and took some pictures. I soon realized this was ... kind of all there was to do, with you and your first snow. You could barely move in the snowsuit, so crawling around to explore was out of the question. And your hands were inside warm cozy mittens, as they should be, so you couldn't touch the snow to learn about its strange texture, temperature, and taste. So after snapping the obligatory "Gwen's first snow" pictures, in which you are staring at me like you're trying to figure out what the hell I'm so excited about, I took you back inside, took your snowsuit off, and set you back on the course of your normal day with a resigned shrug. I guess next year's snowfall might be a little more exciting for you.
We love you so much, Gwen, and every day you amaze us with your strength, your intelligence, and your wonderful personality. We are so happy and proud that you chose us to be your parents.