NOTE: He’s 4 months old now — I’m playing catch-up!
You’re 3 months, bub — no longer a newborn, but a full-fledged kiddo. This month was even more exciting than the last (though I have a feeling I’ll be saying that every month).
You took your 2-month shots like a champ, as hard as it was to watch you cry. You slept like a log the whole next day, but then we were back to your regularly scheduled programming of 30-minute naps and frequent night wakings.
Your smiles became our favorite part of every single day. Your whole face lights up; the delight you feel is palpable. It’s hard not to smile in return. You used to wake hungry and cranky, inconsolable until fed. Now, while you may fuss or cry to tell us you’re all done sleeping, you smile when we appear to lift you from your cradle. A frustrating side effect of this joy are the coy smiles you flash as we attempt to rock you to sleep. You seem more interested in flirting or gazing up at the artwork on the walls than sleeping, and it’s impossible not to smile ourselves and interact with you even though we must remain focused on getting you to close your eyes for just a bit. But how could we possibly get mad at that gummy, gregarious grin? Your smiles took over this month and you became a thoroughly happy baby who left behind the wailing scream-fests of your second month.
This month, you started grabbing at objects with more zest and purposefulness, succeeding on many occasions at wrapping your fingers around the tentacles of your Captain Calamari toy, the wings of the owl hanging from your activity gym, the spokes of the colorful Winkel we wave in your face during chill sessions on our bed. Your hand-eye coordination took a giant leap and you purposely began swatting at things instead of swatting near them.
You love to look in the mirror, so that’s entered our daily rotation of activities. You smile and laugh at the “other baby” in the mirror, and shyly turn your head from your reflection. You delight at seeing me there, even as I inexplicably hold you in my arms. We also discovered that you love to gaze at the phot0s hanging on the hallway walls, so we take you there daily, explaining who is in each photo. Your favorites are the shot of daddy and me kissing in a gazebo on our wedding day, and a snapshot of Zoe, grandpa’s Boston terrier.
We started to add a nighttime read to your bedtime routine, and though you’re sometimes a bit too cranky to finish the story, you have started to pay more attention to the book we hold in front of you, occasionally quieting down long enough for us to finish. You especially love “Little Blue and Little Yellow” and “Oh! The Places You’ll Go.” If you’re in a good enough mood, I’ll cradle you in my arms and softly sing “Hush Little Baby” or “Hey There, Delilah” until you yawn and start the slow blink. It’s so sweet to watch you entranced, gazing into my face, and growing drowsy. Truth be told, though, you more often than not prefer to be held in a sitting position or vertically looking over our shoulders, so you can look at the sights surrounding you, rather than cradled like a baby.
This month, you started to really notice Rosie and Andy, our dog and cat. You’re especially fond of Andy, probably because of his high-contrast black-and-white fur. In true Andy style, he’ll settle himself near you while you’re chilling out or eating, but as soon as I turn him to you and stretch your hand out to stroke his head, he bounds away. Rosie has become your constant companion, however, following you around the house and lying next to you as you play in your activity gym, as if to guard you from intruders.
We’ve started taking you out more since you received your first round of shots, to restaurants and a few stores. You are so good while out, and while you often end up skipping a nap, you don’t cry or fuss at all. We even took you out for an early dinner with the grandpas and Grandma P, to our favorite Mexican restaurant downtown (incidentally, I had my last pregnant meal at its sister restaurant the night I went into labor with you). You just played with your Captain Calamari, dozed off a bit, then gained a second wind as you gazed and smiled at the light filtering in through the mesh on your car seat canopy.
You’ve found your voice, as well, shouting joyfully at the toys in your gym and the Tiny Love mobile that you dance along to in your crib. I am convinced you’re going to be either a dancer or a soccer player, the way you kick your legs so vigorously. When you really get going, you point your toes and your arms pump up and down in unison with your feet, and you pant and coo. This is so much fun to watch — though not as fun to experience while trying to change your clothes and your diaper! You’ve even started smiling in the bathttub, and especially love it when I narrate what we’re doing. I’ve added a few moves to our nighttime post-bath massage, which you really seem to enjoy. I love this time with you to get quiet and connect before bedtime.
As my maternity leave comes to an end, I find myself gripped with fear at leaving you somewhere else all day long. I dread the time away from you, your face, your smile, your laugh, your little legs and arms, your chunky hands and feet, your cheeks, your hair, and your soft, hot breathing. Although I feel a sense of relief at connecting with the world as a working adult once again, at not having to struggle multiple times each day with your naps, and at gaining back some of my time to do some solo shopping and errands at lunch or to enjoy a hot meal (or a trip to the bathroom) without interruption, I can’t help but feel a sense of guilt and sadness at the span of time we’ll spend apart for 40+ hours each week. Daddy is getting a little misty, too, even though he chided me for feeling this way in the past. We made a quick visit to your daycare the week before you started, to get acquainted with your teachers and bring by some of your stuff. I think that’s when it really hit Daddy that you’ll no longer be the only baby around, that you’ll be one of eight other kids competing for attention. But we both do feel secure in knowing that your teachers are kind and loving, experienced and dedicated to making sure that you have the best day and continue to develop and grow as you have at home. In a way, a part of me is even envious that you have this social experience that I did not — not having spent much time with other children until I entered preschool at 4 years old, I know that you’ll benefit from seeing others achieve milestones you’re coming up on, and from interacting with those your age, learning how to play, share, and more.
I was certain that you hadn’t changed at all since your 2-month shot, but as usual, your 3-month picture side-by-side with the one taken 4 weeks ago has disabused me of that notion! You are far chunkier — you must weigh 15 pounds by now, if not more — and taller, able to support your head and sit propped up rather than toppling over like you did last month. While you’re still far from sitting on your own, you can spend some time in your Bumbo or on our lap without collapsing onto yourself in a pile of jelly bones.