Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Four Months

Where has time gone to... what happened to my tiny little newborn baby? I cannot believe that you are four months old today! I thought back on when your Daddy and I introduced you to our neighbors, Git and Bo - you were a wee few days old and their daughter Liz was as old as you are today, and I remember thinking: "What a huge baby!" Well, now you are the huge baby. Considering how I was able to follow Liz' development since, and how she is now sitting and crawling and pulling herself up to stand, I cannot help but wonder how soon you will start to become such a mobile little person yourself. How time flies!

This month I have started to find direct comparison to become very interesting. You are now at the age where new things are learned and are happening almost on a daily basis, so it is no wonder how Ann and I are constantly comparing you and Lee - who is just 11 days older than you are. Don't get me wrong, it is not like we have our babies "compete" against each other - I just find it fascinating to see how different each baby develops: Lee is able to hold her own bottle while drinking, and manages to put her pacifier back into her own mouth the correct way. You are more talented in the less detailed, but more strength-requiring tasks, which I will come to in a bit. What I find most fascinating about this is that already you are an individual: you do things your way and at your own pace, and there is nothing more interesting than to watch and wonder about what's coming next.

And speaking of your personality: this month has seen your first conscious act of rebellion against us! Your Daddy and I are very adamant about you not watching TV. I usually don't have it on anymore during the day, but when we do, we try to make sure that you don't get to look into it. So you were sitting on your Daddy's lap as he was watching something, holding his hand up in front of your face, so you wouldn't be able to take a peek. This didn't sit right with you whatsoever, so we were STUNNED to see you suddenly lean forward - just enough to be able to see past his hand and the direct line between you and the TV wasn't obstructed anymore. Flabbergasted, your Daddy moved his hand to cover your vision again, and you repeated your little trick: you leaned forward some more and looked past his hand again! To us, this was your first conscious attempt (and success!) at logical problem solving! Simply amazing!

For certain the very best thing this month has brought on though was your first real laugh. I heard it only a few days into your fourth month, as I was playing airplane with you. Holding you high above my head I suddenly heard it: apparently this was finally too much for you to handle with only a wide silent grin, and you gave a short but oh-so-beautiful laugh - and then you did it again. Again I had reason to break into a flood of happy tears, which was the way I welcomed your Daddy at home only 2 minutes later - he missed it by a mere two minutes...

Unfortunate as this was, you soon made up for it though, as your laugh became more and more frequent, and he got to hear it very soon after this for himself. A sure way to bring it on has since been your Daddy making faces at you - and soon you have gone from these short laughs to real laughing spells, the first of which I heard while you and your Daddy were bathing together. He was making faces at you while I was sitting in the living room, when I suddenly heard you laughing hard, and continuously! I grabbed our camera and dashed into the bathroom to see you having the time of your life at your Papa's silly faces. I am so happy that I was able to capture this on camera, your very first real all-out laugh.

Very soon after this came delighted squealing when we make you bounce or "fly" or shower you in kisses, and sometimes you seem to be doing this even for no other purpose than to hear yourself doing it, which is a blast to hear. And just when I thought this couldn't get any better and any more fun, two days ago you gave your first true hearty giggle during a particularly wild kissy-attack from me! I almost fell off the couch laughing when you did it, it was so much fun! Keep on being this happy and content baby, my love, who sees reason to smile or laugh or even giggle at almost everything! Keep this attitude while you grow, and when you are grown up - keep your ability to smile, truly and honestly smile, just the way you so innocently do now. And tonight? Tonight when I came into your room when I heard you becoming a bit cranky with your Daddy, and you started to grin with your whole face as soon as you saw me for the first time ever, tonight you made me the happiest person on this planet. I will always remember this moment, for as long as I will live.

Overall, we have seen a lot of new developments in your vocal abilities. You seem to love to experiment with your voice, and to listen to yourself doing it. Not only are you having "conversations" now, during which you intently mimick the way we speak by changing and varying the shape of your mouth while you coo, like a speaking person does, you also have figured out how to make bubbles with your spittle, which seems to has become your favorite pastime now. You combine your spit-bubbles with different vocal-intonations, and integrate them into your "conversations" as well. And most astoundingly: you have gone from simply listening to me singing to you to actually "singing" along with me... it now usually goes like this: you break into a wide gum-showing grin when I start to sing, then you listen to me for a while with a concentrated look on your face, then you start to coo in a really high-pitched voice along with me. It is the cutest thing, and it really encourages me to keep up my singing, and really forget the fact that I cannot sing whatsoever. As long as you enjoy it, I enjoy it too!

Also, your drooling has taken a turn for the worst, now! I will not let you spend a day without a bib anymore, lest I have to change your shirt about three times a day. You drool relentlessly and extensively, making me wonder if we will soon see your first tooth peeking through. You munch on everything you can get into your mouth, and you seem to get the most enjoyment (- relief?) from your own hands. You don't try to fit your whole fist (or both) into your mouth anymore, but only shove two or three fingers in anymore, and then you spend hours on any given day doing some serious chomping on them. I really wouldn't be surprised to see a tooth soon, even though it would strike me as really early for this to happen.

And speaking of early? You have started to want nothing but stand anymore when you are on anyone's lap. As soon as we sit you down on our knees facing us, you push your little feet into our tummies and pull yourself into a standing position - all by yourself - and all we need to do with our thumbs, which are tightly clasped by your fists, is to balance you. You do all the rest yourself. We are not pulling, you do all the pushing. And you are strong enough already to hold yourself like this for a while without your feet giving in. And as soon as you fall back on your butt, you try again - and again, and again, with serious determination that culmiates in the widest of grins when you stand there, full of excited praise from me or your Daddy! And when we hold you hovering above the floor or the couch, so that your toes barely and very slightly touch the ground, you start making walking motions... how much of this is still the walking reflex you were born with, and how much of this is actual "practicing", I cannot say, but proud Mommy that I am I tend to believe it is the latter. If it were up to you, you'd be running around the apartment all by yourself already! ;)

We have also been to a 2-day babyswimming class, together with Ann and Lee and Git and Liz. It was a great experience - for us as well as for you, that was obvious. You enjoyed the water a lot, some exercises more than others, even though I could tell that at very first you weren't sure what to make of all of this. As I carried you into the pool and the water started to engulf you, I felt you turning stiff as a board in my arms, with a look on your face that was closer to tears than anything else, but you were staring into my face, waiting for my own reaction to this new experience. Clearly waiting for reassurance. As soon as I smiled brightly at you, I felt you relax and give this new experience a chance... and soon I saw you enjoying yourself tremedously! The only thing I refused to do was to deliberately put you under water - holding-your-breath-reflex or not, it didn't feel right to do this to. Here you are, trusting me with all your heart, and there I go dunking your head under water on purpose? I don't think so. You will learn how to swim under water all by yourself, and when you are ready to, and whether or not I will have put you under as a baby will not make the slightest difference, thank you very much. All in all though this was a great experience, and I hope to keep it up with you at the pool at your great-grandparents', where they have warm water days every Tuesday.

The week after this we have met Ann and Lee again for a free baby massage unit, which you also seemed to have enjoyed a lot. Me, I didn't really learn too many new things, seeing as most of the techniques taught were things I was doing instinctively with you for many weeks already anyway, after your daily bath.

And speaking of your daily bath: you now recognize your bottle, and practically ask for it, giving your Daddy and me a whole of 5 minutes time between getting you out of the water and getting you dried off and dressed and placed on your Dad's lap with the bottle in his hand before you loudly proclaim your disapproval with us! After-bath time has turned from this drawn-out playing/snuggle/massage/play-time to a race to get you to your bottle before the screaming starts!

What else... so much is happening now, that I actually have to consult my list of notes to finish this letter accurately. If I don't keep tabs on what's happening and what you are learning, I would miss out on so many things, I couldn't possibly remember them all!

Let's see... you have taken your first walk alone with your grandma. She took you for a walk to see your great-grandma for her birthday in your stroller, where you coincidentally also met another Aunt and cousin of yours. It was weird for me to know you were out and about without me or your Dad, but I guess it's all a learning process, for me more than anybody else. Your grandma for sure enjoyed your little stroll. You have also been home alone for the first time last week, when we were invited for a Saturday night "out" next door with Git and Bo - we left you behind sleeping and only took the baby monitor with us. Worked like a charm, considering that your room is right adjacent to their living room! It was the first time your Daddy and I were out by ourselves ever since your birth! We also took you all the way up to the spinning restaurant on Danube Tower - the very last of our wedding gifts to consume. You behaved very well, allowing for your Daddy and I enjoy a rather romantic brunch, something that was given to us long before you were a part of our lives! We enjoyed this a lot, having you up there with us, and showing you our city from 150 m above ground level, at marvelous weather conditions and clear sight for kilometers on end! You have also received a VERY large package from your abuelita in Los Angeles: clothes, beautiful summer dresses, toys... and a few Spanish boos from your Tio#E from his vacation to Los Angeles!

However, this month didn't only see good times, unfortunately. For you, and our family as well. You have received your first shot at you last doctor's visit. I felt horrible having to put you through this and trying to console you afterwards - an almost impossible task. I have accidentally cut your finger while clipping your nails - which sent you into a brief but intense screaming fit that lasted for about a minute before you smiled into my face again... I was much harder to console after this than you, I almost cried myself, and finally had to be reprimanded by your grandfather not to make this bigger than it really is. I felt horrible having hurt you, and seeing you cry because of something I did!

And, above all, this month sadly has seen your Tia#R and your Tio#E split and end their marriage, a fact which has cast a big shadow over family life in those past weeks. I am very upset over seeing you probably losing your uncle before you really had a chance to get to know him and get to have fun with him - I guess the next month will see a decision over him remaining in the country or going back home. I strongly wish that you will still get your chance with him - he is a great person and could be a great enrichment in your life. Let's see how the dice will roll.

What a long letter this month, my love! I assume they will get longer and longer as you grow and learn new things faster and faster! Life with you has been so much fun and has been so uncomplicated and easy with you this month, I am very eager and curious to see what the next one will hold in store for us!

Keep it up, little sunshine, keep up the smiles and the laughter! We love you to no end!