Dear Owen: a letter at five months

You are five months old today, which feels really old to me. When I stop and think about it, your being a part of our family and a constant in this home now feels more normal than not.

This last month has held a lot of new experiences for you and has probably been the most difficult month of your life. (I like saying the phrase “of your life” about you since I can actually use it literally most of the tim.) For about three weeks, you were pretty miserable…unexplainably fussy, crying, visibly uncomfortable….and then suddenly, on Oct. 5 (at 4 months and 1 week), your first tooth popped through, and we understood why you were leaving drool pools all over our house and putting everything (including our noses and chins) in your mouth. Your second tooth surfaced just a few days ago, and at present you officially have the sharpest 1 ½ teeth of anyone in our family. Also, due to said teeth, your face and hands are continuously slimy, and the only appropriate word for how it feels when you “kiss” us is snarfie. As in, “Oh man! He snarfied me.” It’s really gross.

On top of all of the unfamiliarity of teething, you got your very first cold. I took you to the doctor’s office a day after your eye was gunked shut and red…her diagnosis was that you essentially had a cold in your eye. You apparently hate having colds in your eye as indicated by gassy, writhing motions, wanting to nurse every 2.5 hours, and lots of crying. We tried lots of things to make you happy…gas drops, teething gel, teething tablets, tylenol, and a particularly unrelaxing episode involving chamomile tea. Nothing really seemed to help much, and we felt so sorry for you.

But then, last week, with your second tooth coming through, eye cleared up from the eye drops your Aunt Jean encouraged me to use, and a change back to smaller, more frequent feedings, you perked back up to your normal happy self, and even gave us a five-hour chunk of sleep one night. It was, in a word, glorious.

In other firsts, you finally got your foot to your mouth, making diaper changing even more of a challenge. You continue to roll over from stomach to back, any chance you get, and you’re just on the verge of being able to sit up unassisted. Leaning against the boppy or a pillow, you push yourself up, sit-up style, relying heavily on your elbows and can do it for a few seconds, and then usually topple forward, but I don’t think it will be long now.

You, my darling, are a gigantor. At about 4 ½ months, you weighed in at 17 pounds, 2 ounces (75-90%) and at 27 long inches (90-95%). We’ve switched to size 3 diapers, and you are pretty much exclusively wearing 6-12 month clothes at this point. Your dad describes you as “meaty.” Your fingers are much stronger than we ever thought a baby’s fingers could be. The other day, your fingers were curled around your dad’s, and he basically lifted you off the bed that way, and you hung there, seeming unphased. We joke with your Uncle Neil that you have rock-climber hands, and we constantly compare your efforts to roll over to a tricky boulder problem.

You have fully entered the stage where we are very aware of what is in your reach. You see things within your range…the pumpkin on the dining room table, the salt shaker, my dinner plate, the lion extending from your exer-saucer, and you move with great purpose, sometimes using your hands to bring it closer, more often trying to move your mouth towards it instead. It’s a wonder to realize that you are determined about things.

Lately, we’ve been spending a good chunk of time each afternoon on our bed. I prop you up against our pillows and read a book or two to you, making sure to include lots of sound effects, which really grab your attention. Then, we wrestle with your dad’s red bear, or I “attack” you with Croc in Socks, which makes you giggle. I spend some time throwing your new ball at you, which you seem to “catch” as you clasp your hands together around it. I spend a few minutes letting you stand on my belly and then flying you through the air like Superman. Then, like a cat, you will spend 10-15 minutes, on your belly or in my arms, contentedly staring out the window. Your head turns as you watch cars and people go by, and you particularly like the buses. It still surprises me that you can see that far.

I love, love, love to make you laugh. I probably spend 20% of my day trying to do so. One fail-proof way is to nibble on your hands, while making a snorting sound. I often do this as you finish nursing, having spent the last 20 minutes with your hand gently touching my face and neck, and sometimes “palming” my chin for minutes at a time. You and I play “wolf” a lot, as I crouch over you and howl, and then pretend to groom your face with near-licks and soft growls. You think this is hilarious, and I will not stop, despite your dad’s indication that he finds this game weird. You laugh as your dad jogs from room to room in our house; you laugh when you drop things; you laugh when I clap, when we nibble on your neck…your simple joy is the light of my day.

Things you love: sitting with your dad as he plays guitar (though you’re getting dangerously close to “tuning” it), being sung to (“You Are My Sunshine,” “This is the Day,” and “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” are current favorites), baths, “standing” while we hold on to your fingers for support, your exer-saucer, nudity, going outside, going on walks, car rides, putting anything in your mouth (particularly Bruce, Sophie, and your interlocking rings), computer screens, being tickled, chewing on your feet and hands, grabbing our faces and shirts

Things you hate: rice cereal (we tried this a couple times and your face indicated that you cannot conceive of why any would alter your beloved milk with this strange new taste…we’ll see how introducing solids go next month, something I’m excitedly counting the days towards and something you’re probably subconsciously dreading), eye drops, having clothes put on you, playing on your back for too long, wet diapers

Your dad and I say it a lot. But you’re getting bigger every day. And there are moments, like when you are asleep and snuggled on my left shoulder, that I wish you would stay this little and cuddly and delighted in us forever. I love you now and always,
Your Mom

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