Today you turn five months old. FIVE! WHOLE! MONTHS! You’re practically an adult! Isn’t it about time you started paying rent?
The first thing we should talk about is how you’ve slept through the night five nights in a row. And when I say slept through the night I don’t mean six or seven hours in a row. Six or seven hours is for three month olds, for babies. When I say slept through the night I mean 12 HOURS IN A ROW, from 7PM until 7AM. You’re sleeping better than most Harvard graduates, Leta.
You have discovered the joy of sleeping, something you definitely inherited from me. Your naps are now all an hour or longer, sometimes even two hours. And when we put you in the crib for a nap you smile, bring your fist to your mouth, and close your eyes. When you wake up in the morning you usually lie in the crib for five to ten minutes just playing with your blankets and examining your abnormally large hands, waiting for us to come get you. And when we come get you it’s like you’re playing the slots and have just hit JACKPOT! Your whole body convulses with excitement and you gasp and smile and squint your forehead with glee! The look on your face seems to say THERE IS THAT WOMAN WHO FEEDS ME! or THERE IS THAT MAN WHO MAKES ME LAUGH ALL THE TIME!
And since we’re talking about the laughing . . . you have this low, back-of-the-throat laugh that sounds like a fake laugh. Sometimes it sounds like you are laughing to make us feel good about our attempts to make you laugh, like, “Haha, I know you’re trying to be funny, but you’re really not that funny, and since I don’t want you to feel bad I’ll just go ahead laugh anyway, you sad, pathetic people.” It sounds so fake that I always expect you to roll your eyes.
But then there are the full-bodied chuckles that only your father can seem to elicit from you, and every time he makes you chuckle, open-mouthed and wide-eyed, he gives you the hiccups. This wouldn’t normally be a problem except that it always happens right before bedtime. So the whole time I’m feeding you dinner you’re hiccuping, and the hiccups continue throughout your bedtime story. Sometimes the hiccups don’t stop until about ten minutes after you’ve fallen asleep, so you sound like a beer-bellied frat boy who has passed out after drinking two cases of Old Milwaukee.
So you’re sleeping well and laughing and being a cute little kid all around, but there is something we need to talk about: Why must you make that awful noise when you are bored? Why can’t you be patient and quiet and lovable when you’re just sitting there, instead of going,”Iiiiiiiiiiiiihhhhh! Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiihhhhhh!!” like a sick and diseased goat who has been left by the herd on the side of a mountain to be gobbled up by wolves?
I live my life in two hour increments. Once you wake in the morning or from a nap I have to come up with distracting activities to fill the two hours until you go down for your next nap, otherwise you bleat, not out of discomfort or pain, but out of anger and disappointment at being left all alone in the room, except not really all alone because I’m sitting there RIGHT BESIDE YOU. If we aren’t engaged in a new activity with new toys you haven’t seen before, you assault me with the most annoying noise ever uttered in the universe. So we go on walk after walk after walk, and then we go to the grocery store, and then to the park, and then we read books and play with rattles and spoons and measuring cups, and that’s just the first fifteen minutes. After two hours of non-stop Project Distraction, I’m ready to collapse from exhaustion, and you seem only slightly amused as if you’re thinking, “Is this the best that you can do?”
This month you have learned how to reach for things which is rather unfortunate because you haven’t yet learned how to balance yourself, so anytime you reach for something you end up face first on the floor or the couch. Surprisingly, this isn’t nearly as frustrating as being bored (bleat! bleat!), and you could remain in the face-plant position for several minutes without announcing any sort of discomfort. I don’t know if that’s because you trust me to come running to your rescue or because you’re studying the pattern on the floor and want to be left alone in your research.
Also this month I have gone on a carb-only diet consisting of orange juice, strawberry pop tarts, and your chubby cheeks. I cannot keep your face out of my mouth, it is just so scrumptious and plump and chewy and round. You have a lot more hair on your head, so instead of putting your whole head in my mouth I bite off your ears and nose and gnaw on your chin. And then I go back for more cheeks. Sometimes I just can’t stop and I end up swallowing you whole and I walk around with your feet hanging out of my mouth. When your father comes home from work he asks, “Where’s the baby?” And I have to confess, “I ate her.”
P.S. Do you remember sucking on a binky? No? You don’t? I didn’t think so.