Here you are, the baby I was looking forward to -- plump and goofy and ready to be friends with everyone. You are easy with the smiles. A lover of fake sneezes (ahh! ahh! ahh-choo!) and boogedy-boogedy-boos.
You’ve discovered your feet and found them to be delicious. I once caught you with both feet pulled up to your mouth, motor-boating your toes. You are finally able to consistently find your thumb and I foresee a day in the future when we have to smear that awful tasting goop all over your nails.
The nickname that seems to have stuck is, “Doodle”. “Doodle Bear Casperoo” (aka, “The DBC”) when we're feeling verbose. “Grosser,” still gets tossed around when appropriate, as does, “Lil’ Nakes” and “Nakerson”. We’re a family who loves nicknames so we’ll keep switching this up but I like that you have a standard now -- you are my little Doodle.
This month I actually found myself wondering if you might turn out to be too attractive and then I mentally slapped myself for falling under the influence of crazy mama hormones.That said, your dad and I have had actual conversations about our worries that you could grow up to be very attractive and we would have no idea how to deal with this. Nerdy awkward dork? We feel prepared for the challenges that plague that kind of kid. Popular and handsome? We’ve no tools for that.
You are still working hard on the back to belly roll. We know you can do it, having found you at least once in your crib on your belly, but I don’t think you know that you can do it. You spend a lot of time on your back twisting your hips and then looking up at us forlornly. On April 25th you rolled from back to belly while holding my finger and pulling for leverage. You do this a lot but your dad says that it doesn’t count as actually rolling over. That dad is a stickler.
On April 23rd you became mobile. Unfortunately the specific motion that you chose was leaping the 4 feet from the changing table to the floor. I had looked away for the cliched one second (to wash the poop off of your onesie, obviously) when I heard *BANG* *CRY* and I knew exactly what had happened. I ran into the bedroom expecting to find you at the base of the dresser, having finally mastered rolling from back to front. But there was no baby to be found there. After a millisecond of wondering where exactly you could have gone (rolled under the bed? under the dresser? jumped up and walked over the the liquor cabinet for a much deserved shot of bourbon?) I found you face down to the left of the dresser. (see my super awesome diagram below).
Only you will ever know how you managed to move in this direction. I’m pretty sure you didn’t stand up and belly flop off the edge of the dresser but I also don’t think you rolled over. After much discussion with Grandma Kay and Dad we think you torqued your hips and caught the side of the changing pad with a foot and then used that leverage to heave yourself over the edge. You were fine, by the way. Shockingly fine. I picked you up, you nursed for all of 2 mins and then you popped off all, “Hey! What’s up! That was crazy!” I checked and rechecked you for marks but there was nothing.
It would come as a huge shock to my pregnant self that this has been my most difficult month as a mom (and not just because of your suicide dive). I had built up a lot of dread around the newborn months, sure I would be a hormonal mess still recovering from major surgery with bleeding nipples and severe sleep deprivation. And then months 1-3 turned out to be mostly a joy -- not even the weeks on end of subfreezing weather could get me down! But just when I thought I was out of the woods and psyched to enjoy spring with an adorable baby you surprised me again.
From around 10 weeks through to 4.5 months of age you were a sleeping machine -- 6, 7, even 8 hour stretches of conked out sleepy baby would pass from 11pm onward. It was glorious. And, because I didn’t want to brag or jinx it, I said nothing to much of anyone. And then it stopped. So much for the power of not jinxing. You woke up twice a night. You woke up every 3 hours. Every 2 hours. Every 1 hour. You want the paci. You want the boob. You want to drive me to an early grave.
In one particularly irrational moment during a midnight crying jag (mine, not yours), I thought, "I should just stay up. I should not go back to sleep and thus avoid the awful moment when you wake me up again." This seemed like a good idea that was totally workable. I felt I had stumbled upon the answer: Just never sleep again.
Your remaining saving sleep graces are: 1) You can put yourself to sleep if we lay you down drowsy and 2) You go back to sleep pretty easily after waking in the middle of the night. Pop in the boob, suck for 3mins, back to dreamland. I also go back to sleep pretty easily, so though being awoken multiple times a night to baby distress is… distressing... I’m still (in theory) getting a decent amount of sleep. Things have improved from the low point a few weeks ago but you’re still waking 2-3 times a night and your future may hold some crying it out. You have been warned.
I am lucky to have mom friends who tell me that it is ok if I do not love every moment of being a mom (despite all of the Facebook shares claiming otherwise, you are not legally obligated to cherish every moment). I am doubly lucky to have truly enjoyed and cherished my time with you. Until this month. Casper, you are clearly going through some baby shit and, I get it, but I really need some sleep.
In light of the above Dad and I really needed a vacation, so we took you to Jamaica for a week (in fact I am writing this from our bungalow!). I can highly recommend traveling with an almost 6 month old. You discovered splashing and were all grins as we floated you around the pool. You tried your first food, a piece of pineapple, over the breakfast table one morning. You took many naps in the big bed, went for your first hammock ride and made friends with all of the hotel staff.
Half a year is unreal. Impossibly, it seems like I just brought you home and, at the same time, like you have always been in my life. Shortly after you were born Grandma Kay mentioned that being a mom was a love affair and she was right. My love for you often feels like a new discovery and I have to hold myself back from trying to explain it to others as if I'm the first mom to ever love her baby. I have to wonder occasionally if this love qualifies as an abusive relationship. Even after your worst nights when I'm teary and tired at 2am I look into your goofy face at 7am and all is forgiven. I let you get away with clawing my face until I bleed. I don't really mind when you pee on me. Babies are the ultimate deadbeats and mamas the most pathetic of victims.