Friday, February 27, 2009

Four Months

Dear Peeper:

You are four months old today.

I hope I get to finish typing this tonight, because you're sleeping right now, but you've had a rough couple of days and have been quite a little grumpus lately, and were awake almost hourly last night.

We're thinking it's probably just from the shots you got a couple of days ago, or possibly the dairy proteins clearing from your system (I hear that, for some reason, symptoms tend to get worse for a few days before they get better). I hope that's all it is.

But let's don't talk about that, let's talk about what you're up to when you're not being a poor baby.

Of course, your upcoming surgery is pretty all-consuming for us right now. We are terrified, and we can't stand the thought of you going through that, and we hate that it has to happen, and we wish we could just get it over with and have you already on the road to recovery.

It's funny, though, when someone asks "How's the baby?" invariably, our answer is "Great!"

Then we feel kind of stupid when we have to then go back and say, "Well, um, except that she's going to have open-heart surgery in a couple of weeks. Oh yeah, there's that."

But the thing is, you are great.

There's that one little thing we have to get taken care of, but that's just a thing. It's not you.

Having holes in your heart sucks.

Medications four times a day suck.

Doctors appointments and echocardiograms and surgery suck.

But you?

You are great.

You know, I often think that euphemisms and PC language and such are kind of silly, and I kind of rolled my eyes that one time, when the perinatoligist's genetic counselor made reference to "birth differences," but yeah, I kind of get it now, because I cringe a little inside whenever I hear - or use - the word "defect" to describe why you're having surgery.

There is not a damn thing "defective" about you.

You are perfect*.

(*With a couple of perfect - and, I've no doubt, adorable - little holes in your heart, which just need to be perfectly closed up so your perfect little lungs can breathe perfectly.)

So, all that said, what is four-month-old Peeper up to?

You are really starting to be more and more social, smiling and sort of laughing (just one "heh!" at a time) fairly predictably at a few favorite things.

And, of course, that smile completely melts me.

You often smile at strangers, which of course, just makes them gush over you that much more.

You're starting to notice the critters now, too. A few days ago you were checking out BoyCat and yesterday you smiled and laughed at BigGaloot.

I think you also laughed when he licked your hand, which is much better than when you used to cry when he licked you.

(We still try to avoid letting him lick your head, which is what he'd really prefer.)

I'm starting to feel less like I'm performing for myself when I play games with you, because you're becoming a much more responsive audience.

One of your favorites "Peekaboo" because, evidently, " 'dere she is!" is just the funniest joke you ever did hear.

You also enjoy "Guess What/Why/When/How/Where/Who?" - especially the part about your chin.

I think you might be starting to be a bit ticklish, and are starting to understand "Tickle Monster." I think I can alllmost see a look of recognition and anticipation in your eyes as the "monster" starts "comin' to get you."

Our newest game is the one where we inhale dramatically and blow a puff of air into your face. You startle and blinkblinkblink and smile/laugh over and over. You definitely "get" this one, and will startle after the inhalation, even if we delay the blow part. Because you're a genius.

You also enjoy looking at that really cute baby who lives in the bathroom mirror. You especially like fist-bumping her, and get a kick out the fact that her Mama always taps her on the nose/chin/cheeks at the same time I tap you.

(Does it freak you out that she seems to have your Mama in there with her?)

Speaking of bathroom games, you also like the sound of running water, and almost always smile at it.

(Okay, that was totally a euphamism. "Running water" = "Mama pee-peeing in the potty like a big girl.")

You are cooing more and more and gurgling now, as well, and are starting to blow bubbles and spit (especially while taking medicine).

You're drooling more and more every day, too. Sometimes you've got so much bubbly drool going on that it looks like you're foaming at the mouth.

(That, combined with your recent grumpiness, prompted me to explore your gums today, just to see if anything dental might going on there yet. Nope, not a thing.)

You continue to do great with your gross motor development, and the doctor agreed (or, at least, did not disagree) when I said that I thought you were actually a bit ahead there.

I'm glad, because I figure you'll lose some ground while you're recovering from surgery.

After saying, a few days ago, that you still have trouble "bringing your head with you" when lifted from supine to sitting, you're suddenly doing much better with that and, once, I think I almost caught you "leading" with your head a bit, holding it maybe a degree or two forward!

You enjoy sitting up and standing, and support your weight on you legs completely; a lot of times, we're only providing balance, not really holding you up at all.

Because you are so tiny, it's just incredibly cute when you stand up and I like to say that you look like "Cindy Lou Who" because, although "she could be no more than two" I seem to remember that she looked more like a baby than a toddler.

(Perhaps I misremember, but it's cute to call you that, so please don't disillusion me. And so what if I could probably reach the book from this very chair and look it up?)

You're making progress in the fine motor department, as well, and have finally gotten your thumbs and fingers into your mouth!

You still miss sometimes, and often gag yourself (we're very sorry for laughing at that) and you've yet to figure out a preference for any particular hand position or technique, but they are getting in there, and that's progress. Sometimes you even seem to prefer your own fingers to mine for chewing and sucking purposes, which is fine by me.

I am amazed at what loud sucking and smacking sounds you can make with your mouth and hands, especially when I'm holding you on my shoulder, and you're right by my ear.

Mommy says, "It's baby acoustics. Just like with the burps and farts."

Even when they're not in your mouth, your hands are exploring each other, and a couple of times, you've accidentally (?) grabbed a toy and held it for a few seconds.

(Other than last night) you sleep great. You've often been asleep for an hour or two before Mommy and I are ready for bed (around one or two am), and when we change your diaper and give you medicine before turning in, you either don't really wake up at all, or you nurse right back to sleep.

Then you sleep for usually 5 - 7 hours, get a clean diaper and maybe medicine, and nurse back to sleep for another hour or two.

If we've no where to be that morning, we usually lather, rinse, repeat until ten or even noon.

I realized yesterday that, because I'm not getting up to go to work, I actually get more sleep now than before you were born.

(I'm also awakened much less often in the middle of the night than I was during the last several weeks before you were born, when I was getting up to pee all the time.)

You still enjoy hanging out on your changing table, looking at your panda mobile, and the panda and rainbow bears, and all the books.

You also like lying in the middle of the bed, looking the light/fan and listening to Mama babble at you.

When you're grumpy or not feeling well, but not hungry, the most effective way to make you happy is to dance with you to the last five songs from kd lang's album Shadowland.

Your favorite is "Don't Let the Stars Get In Your Eyes", which we often have to play two or three times, before letting the rest of the CD play out.

Mommy really needs to get that on her iPod before your surgery, so we can play it for you in the hospital.

Oh yeah, there's that.


I wish you didn't have to go through it, and I'd do anything to make it so you didn't, but Mommy and I will be there with you the whole time, and although you're going to feel really yucky for a little while, once you're all better, you will be all better, and no more medicine, and way fewer doctor's visits, and you'll probably feel a lot better than you do now.

Let's hope this is the worst thing the three of us ever have to do together.

I love you, my little grumplette, and I hope you're feeling better soon.



What say you?