Today you are 5 months old – I can hardly believe it! We went to visit some friends who’ve just had a baby, and it didn’t seem real that you were that small such a short time ago. If you’d asked me last year, I’d’ve said that five months wasn’t really that long a period – but in baby time, it’s whole epochs. I remember thinking you had quite a personality when you were born. PAH! I spit on that notion! Your personality then was NOTHING compared to what it is now, and I’d be willing to bet this is just the beginning.
For example, we can already tell that you’re a people-pleaser. You’ll nearly always smile on cue, and even when you’re clearly a little anxious about not being in my arms, you’re extremely good-natured about letting complete strangers (to you) hold you and coo over how sweet you are. Anxiety-ridden mama that I am, I worry a little that you’ll grow up to be someone who puts the needs of other people above her own … but then I remember that I have to cut down on the crack-smoking, because HELLO! I don’t even know anyone more strong-minded, and honey: you come from a goddamn strong-minded family. Holding you the wrong way? You’ll let us know about it. Not ready to go to sleep yet? Ditto. Ready to get up, regardless of the ungodliness of the hour? We’d be fools to think there was any other option. In short, so far your ability to assert yourself seems relatively unimpaired, so we’ll put that other stuff down to your inherent good manners. God knows where you got those from.
You’re also full of new tricks, just about every day. You know your name, despite the spate of bizarre nicknames your father and I regularly apply to you. You already have certain favorite activities and toys that you “ask” for with your best nonverbal noises and gestures (read: screaming in a ‘why the hell are you just sitting there and not getting me that thing I want immediately’ kind of way. Very effective.) And you’re so much more aware of your surroundings now than you used to be. You love watching the cats in their daily routines around the house, and you spend a lot of your time just looking around, taking it all in.
One of the cutest things you’ve started doing this month is adding a whole new range of sounds to your vocabulary. This last weekend we were visiting your grandparents and you stayed up WAY past your bedtime cooing and ahhing and mmm-baaing and shrieking and just generally taking the stage. You also enjoy talking while in the car, which is highly entertaining for me while I’m driving, and infinitely preferable to your old habit of howling like someone was dipping you in molten lava. Best of all, sometimes you’ll even talk yourself to sleep. There’s nothing more likely to reduce your parents to piles of gooey mush than the sounds of your breathy little baby voice coming over the baby monitor.
Speaking of sleeping and driving, you’ve finally figured out that they go together! On longer road trips, you’ll fall asleep only if you can clutch tightly to both my index fingers, one in each hand. But on shorter trips you can go to sleep all by yourself, and with a minimum of whimpering. Since I myself typically fall asleep on any car ride longer than 20 minutes, I say you go girl. You’ll never have a more comfortable seat than this one.
One thing I’ll remember about this month is how eager you are to help us out with taking care of you. You obligingly hold your toes up while we’re changing your diaper; you grab your bottles with a killer grip and shove them optimistically, if inaccurately, in the direction of your mouth. When your daddy is feeding you, you politely guide his hands into the correct position and hold them there for the duration. And when it’s time for cereal, we can hardly get the spoon in your mouth quickly enough to prevent you from diving head first, mouth agape, into the bowl. You’re still working on those teeth, but they aren’t making you quite as grumpy as they were last month. Your favorite thing to chomp on lately is my chin; you’re practically giving me hickeys, you’re biting so hard. Tonight the physical awkwardness of this position was making me giggle, which made you giggle, so there we were on the sofa, locked together chin to mouth, giggling like maniacs. It was the best fun I ever had.