Monday, April 30, 2012

Top 5 Signs that Walter Paul is feeling better

1. Starts making his new happy baby sound again ("eh-eh-eh-eh," a cross between throat clearing and machine gun imitating.)
2. Demands additional meal servings (we call this "third boob.")
3. Covers Mommy, Daddy, various stuffed animals and Hank the Dog in passionate, slobbery kisses.
4. Moves up into a new clothing size (18 months!)
5. Fights off our attempts to give him amoxicillin with the strength of a thousand angry babies.

Hooray for the return of our healthy Scooter!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Who's on firsts?

We tend to batch most of Walter's firsts in the monthly round-ups—he's developing so quÑ–ckly he seems to tick a handful off every day, and we'd rather spend our few waking hours enjoying the little guy (or napping.) But this one, I had to report right away.

This one is huge: today, Walter told his first joke.

Okay, he can't speak English yet, but it was definitely a joke. He told it twice, to Annie and then to me, his delivery was impeccable*, and we all cracked up.

Perfect timing: While snuggling/playing one-on-one with us, he maneuvered himself out of our line of sight, and then started nursing on Annie's knee and my elbow. When we craned around to see his face, he gave us this huge grin, "This isn't for nursing—breasts are for nursing!"

Of course, for the first month or so, he would nurse blindly on anything he could get in front of him. But this was different—he wasn't hungry at all and he was really deliberate about it, staying "latched" until he got our attention. When I started laughing at his joke, he broke into big giggle fit.

I realize I'm getting into "a joke explained…" territory here. I guess you had to be there. But don't worry, you'll get your chance; he'll be here all week.

*This was refreshing—his earlier delivery could best be described as labored. No joke.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Off the charts

Dear Walter,

You are six months old.  It's cliche to talk about how fast the time has gone by, but it's also true.  And it makes me really anxious about the next six months, and all the baby-proofing we probably should have done  by now!  For example, you used to enjoy table cloths on an aesthetic level.  You liked looked at the patterns and scratch the surface with your fingernails.  Now, you grab and pull. Hard. With intent to topple.

You are mind bogglingly smart and coordinated. I love the way you nonchalantly do new and amazing things.  When Grandma Sue and Grandpa Paul were here for Easter, you started un-stacking rings. We all completely flipped out over it and you were like,"hey, no big thing" as you effortlessly passed the ring from one hand to the other, waving it around while making UFO noises. You can re-stack the rings, too, but that's kind of boring to you.  You prefer taking two similar-sized rings and clapping them together in time to music.

Yesterday, Daddy and I were feeling a little down, a lot sick, and very broken. We let you play with your spoon for awhile while we gazed morosely into space for a moment.  We looked back at you just in time to watch you perfectly hold your spoon and, without any hesitation, put it into your mouth and serve yourself a little rice cereal. You're not supposed to be able to do that yet!  We showered you with claps and yays, and you smiled back at us, pleased and wondering what all the fuss was about.

The sickness and brokenness is in its second week.  Your fifth month was fabulously healthy right up until the last week before you hit that six month milestone.  You started getting sick on Sunday; by Wednesday you had pink eye in both eyes; a week later we started you on antibiotics for a double ear infection and a sinus infection.  Daddy and I are sick, too.  Sometimes the three of us sit around and cough at each other (occasionally, you think this is kind of funny, but you're also pretty sick of coughing these days.)  You've been incredibly resilient and a very good sport about it all, interspersed with times of extreme-but-understandable crankiness.

Right in the middle of the sickness, we took you out of state for the first time.  The timing, it could have been better.  But you were brave and took Minnesota by storm.  While I went to my meetings, you and Daddy strolled the Minneapolis Skyway, charming many sandwich and cupcake vendors along the way.  We found out that you're scared of elevators, but by the end of the weekend you'd decided they were tolerable. Because you were sick and far from the comforts of home, you got to do things you're not normally allowed to do, like watch TV and jump on the bed.  You were quite pleased with both of those activities!  You also got to spend time with Aunt Arden and Uncle Ben, and your cousins, Craig, Gina, Lydia and Eleanor Edison. Eleanor is almost 2 and was pretty amazed by you.  She kept coming over to me and saying, "Baby? Baby?" whenever you went out of sight.  She gave you the sweetest, most gentle hug.

Because you've been sick, you haven't had your 6 month check-up/vaccines with Dr. L yet (although you have seen a lot of him, lately!) We did get some stats on you this week: height, 26 and 3/4 inches (Daddy thinks they didn't stretch you out to your full height); weight, 22 pounds and 2 ounces.  You're in the 90th percentile for height and head-size and off the charts for weight.  We are very proud of how robust and strong you are. We think it helps you weather the ups and downs of baby life with grace and a little extra padding for safety.

Other highlights of your fifth month and sixth-month-so-far:
**As mentioned above, you're eating solid foods now!  You're doing great with the rice cereal and most of it does seem to end up in your belly (while a good portion is always reserved for mushing with your fingers.)
**You can roll all the way from your belly to your back and back to your belly again.  You can sit on your own without support.  You are getting really good at the "controlled fall" when you get tired of sitting up and want to be on your belly.
**You like to do leg extensions while you nurse.  Also, you do full-on push ups, with your arms extended all the way, your knees off the ground, balancing up on your toes.  It's pretty incredible.
**Sometimes you say "Da Da" for several minutes straight.
Like this, but really really angry.
**When you're mad, the space between your eyebrows furrows deeply.  You look like President Eisenhower.
**You love baths. Splash splash splash!  You have mixed feelings about bathtime ending.
**We don't have to trick you into sleeping in a crib anymore. We used to get you to sleep (by nursing/rocking/repeated singings of "Rainbow Connection") and then very carefully transfer you into your bed.  Often, when your head hit the mattress you would wake up, screaming of betrayal.  Now, you get a little sleepy in our arms and start arching away from us, casting longing looks in the direction of your crib.  We put you down on your side and tuck you in with a blanket.  You cuddle one of your favorite toys--one of your monkeys, often, or your lullaby seahorse--sigh, blink heavily, and eventually fall asleep.

This morning I gave you your antibiotics and you said, "phhhbbbbt.  Aghaghaggh. *head shake.*"  I looked in your mouth and caught sight of a newly erupted tooth, right in the front on the top. The one right next to that does not look to be far behind. You sucked happily on a wet wash cloth for awhile, and then I got you dressed up for picture day at day care (your first school pictures!)  I've lost my voice, so I had to whisper your morning song: "Good morning to you! Good morning to you! We're all in our places with bright shining faces.  Oh this is the way to start out the day!"  You leaned in to hear me, smiling conspiratorially.

You, my dear Walter, are off the charts.

-Your Goopy Mommy
Singing together on your 6 month birthday.

Monday, April 9, 2012

One big cookie

You know, if I had gotten, say, a fortune cookie two years ago predicting that in 2012 I would take a major financial hit, stagger around in a fog of interrupted sleep in drool-stained clothes, and have to take time off work to accomplish even the most minor tasks… I would have done anything in my power to avoid it, and also I would have tipped really poorly. Like 10%, tops.

The difference, of course, is Walter. As much as we try to emphasize the diapers and the razor sharp baby nails and Walter's favorite game "Pee on Daddy" whenever one of the teens at church begins to turn that enamored gaze on him, he really does make all those inconveniences trivial and bearable.

You don't notice. Well, I notice in the moment, and then it slips away. And the things that I retain? For weeks I've been unable to shake the thought that his first teeth looked just like two periwinkles in a handful of sand. Tonight he used my ears as handles while I gave him a piggyback ride around the house. He is a voracious eater of books, in a way that conveys a special appreciation for them that I would be proud of even if it were only culinary. He is so happy when he wakes up and we're standing there, bleary-eyed, over him.