Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Seven Months

Dear Peeper:
You are seven months old today.

It's been a big month for you, what with the eating of everything in sight and all.

When you began this month, it was all goody, all the time. Now it's still goody all the time, but also anything else we put in front of you.

I don't think there's been anything you've turned down, except that twice, you've not wanted the veggies at TGI Friday's, until I've washed off the butter at home.

I'm taking that as a sign that your dairy thing is still going on, and I'm probably going to wait a bit longer before adding it back to my diet, or introducing it to yours.

(Except that bit of butter, I supposed. The first time, I didn't realize it was there. The second time, I figured it hadn't hurt you the first time.)

It also seems like you've really matured alot in the past month. Maybe some of it is percetion, related to the fact that you eat like a big girl, but you are also suddenly seeming lots more communicative.

You are doing really well at finding another person's facial features, although you really can't care about your own yet.

Except your head. You don't usually point to it when asked, but you do this thing where you bonk yourself in the side of the head repeatedly, and you've always got your thumb and forefinger out, in kind of an "L" shape.

Mommy says you're calling us losers. She's probably right.

We wondered for a while if your cradle cap (which you have, and it's gross) was itchy, and maybe you were trying to scratch it, but we've been told that it doesn't itch. (How do grown-ups know that?)

You're not really petting your hair like you used to do, just bopping your thumb into the side of your head. I'd love to know why.

We've been signing to you, and are trying to be more consistent about it as you get older, and I (over) analyze every little move you make (including the one I just described) lest an attempted sign slip past us.

You've not signed back to us yet (that we know of) but, in your own way, you're making it much more clear what you want, and there's not so much guesswork involved these days.

For example, when you want to nurse, you've started reached toward the goodies, or grabbing at my shirt, or throwing your body into nursing position.

A few mornings ago, I realized that I'd known you were awake and wanting to nurse, not because you were fussing or rooting, but because you were patting around on the bed, looking for me. (I'm right there, but your arms aren't very long.)

Yesterday, we were in Target and Mommy was wearing you, and I was standing in front of you both, when you started groping me.

Mommy said, "Hmmm, subtle."

I'm sure it won't be nearly as cute when you do that in the middle of Target in a year or two, but for now, it's kind of nice that you're being so clear about it.

You've also, just in the past few days, gotten more consistent and more obvious about raising your hands to be picked up. It's still pretty subtle (actually subtle, not ironically subtle like the goody grabbing), but I can see it.

And, despite my repeated attempts to teach you the sign for "all done," you've found your own way to tell us that you are finished eating and ready to get out of your high chair.

You start trying to unbuckle the seat belt!

Now, I'm not at all concerned that you will actually get it open, because it's hard for me to do, and by "trying to unbuckle," I mean "slapping at," but you definitely understand that piece of plastic is what's keeping you in there.

I just noticed that today, so I'm thinking that we will emphasize the "all done" sign when I see you doing that, and see if we can't get you to do that instead.

One problem I've noticed with the signs, though, is that I almost always have to sign one-handed, because if I'm not holding you, I'm holding a piece of food, or wiping you up after a meal, or something. So, I'm not sure how you're going to learn any two-handed signs from me!

Speaking of holding a piece of food, we usually have to hand things to you, because you're not quite coordinated enough yet to pick them up on your own. And your little arms can only reach about a inch or two onto your placemat, so the food tends to run away from you, too.

I've gotten some tips on ways to prepare things that are easier to pick up and hold on to, and I hope that will help, but mostly, it will just take time and practice.

You're practicing your gross motor skills a lot these days, too.

You are making real progress toward sitting up on your own with no propping, and can often stay upright for several seconds at a time. Other times, you keel right over. So, there's still some work to be done, there.

You still aren't rolling from back to front but I swear, everytime you play on your back, it looks like you're going to. You have been thiiiiiis close forever!

I'm sure you can still roll from front to back, but you've not done it very recently, mostly because I give in and take you off your tummy first.

You still hate being on your tummy, but I am trying to "encourage" you to do at least some tummy time each day. You can do some pretty impressive push-ups when you want to, and you think about rolling, then you lay your face down, nose-first, on the freshly laundered and disinfected designer baby blanket pet fur covered carpet and whine pathetically.

I have started putting a toy in front of you, just out of reach, to lure you into attempting some sort of forward movement. Today, I think you scooted an inch or so to get your monkey!

When on your back, you scoot around quite a bit, but I don't think it's particularly intentional, or goal-oriented.

You're squealing and laughing and "talking," but we're still waiting for you to start imitating sounds, or to repeat specific sounds. Expecially ones that start with M.

You squeal and laugh the most when you are playing with Mommy. Because she is a nut.

You love it when she sings to you (favorite song: Chantilly Lace) and reads to you (favorite book: Are You My Mother?).

Or, you're just as happy with a recitation of Are You My Mother? from memory. Which Mommy and I can both do, complete with voices.

(When you are older, you will realize that the voice of the cow who is not the baby bird's mother comes from the snooty-attitude cow in Babe, who says, "The way things aaare, is the way things aaare." This cow is pretty snooty herself, actually: "Hoooow could I be you mother? IIIII am a cooooow.")

When you are fussy or whiney, all we have to say is, "A mother bird sat on her egg. . . ." and we've got your attention.

You've also learned the "guess what/why/when/how/where/who?" game. I'm looking forward to you being able to point to the answers (Peeper's butt/thigh/chin/brow/hair/-ooo!") but already, you know what's coming and when I say "Guuuesss what?" you start to smile a bit, and by the time I get to "Guess when," you are grinning in anticipation of the chin-tickle.

And, speaking of your butt, you are also pretty good about raising your legs waaay up to give us access to it for diaper changes, which is very helpful. (Except when you are trying to roll over while we're trying to fasten up your diaper; that's less helpful.) Sometimes you even do it when I ask you to.

More and more (but certainly not all the time) in fact, you seem to be responding appropriately to instructions or requests, which is really cool, but also kind of freaky.

(If you can understand these things, how much else of what we are saying do you understand? I suppose we should start assuming you understand everything, huh? I'm really sorry if we're screwing you up by saying things you don't need to be hearing. Oh, hell, I'm just really sorry we're screwing you up, in whatever way it is that we're screwing you up, because I'm sure there's something.)

Everyday, you are becoming more and more of a person, with opinions of your own, that you can express, and that we can more and more often actually understand.

It is fascinating to watch as you learn about the world, discovering how things work, and how to interact with them.

Sometimes you get so frustrated, because you know what you want to do - like picking up a piece of food, or getting a toy that's out of reach - but your body just can't make it happen yet.

But it will soon, and then you'll be on to new challenges and new things to learn.

Tonight, I was watching you on your playmat, as you reached out and touched one of the toys gently, with one finger, then batted at it, and then grabbed it and pulled on it.

It seems like just yesterday that you'd accidentally hit the toys every now and then, but we weren't even sure you even realized it!

It is just amazing how much you grow and learn and change so quickly, not just from month to month but even week to week, and sometimes day to day.

I can't wait to see what you're working on for your next trick.

One thing that will never change, though, is how much I love you, my little Roo-Roo.


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