Monday, November 24, 2014

Caleb | Four Months

Dear Caleb,

This fourth month has been so much fun. Every day you're less of a squishy baby and are more curious of the world around you.  Your head is bigger, your cheeks are fuller, and your hands are larger. You're getting the cutest baby rolls on your legs. You're growing (so fast!). The first three months were hard for both of us, with all the nursing trouble we went through. But this fourth month? We're on a roll. Your temperament has evened out (so has mine!) and every day I find myself thinking what a joy you are to have around - I often tell your dada, "he's the best toy ever!" And you really are, baby Caleb. You're my favorite toy.

You're really moving around these days; you've taken to scooting around when you're on your back, wiggling when you're on your tummy, and even army crawling when we put pressure at the bottom of your feet. I rarely find you in the same spot where I left you. You conquered rolling from your tummy to your back when you were super little, and now you're trying to roll from your back to tummy. When you're on your back, you pull your legs to your chest, as if you're about to do the roll! But you haven't quite figured it out yet. You really enjoy sitting up (with us keeping you balanced), but standing with our help is your absolute favorite (you even shuffle your feet forward to walk when we stand you up, and you can rise up from sitting to standing when we let you use our arms for resistance!). When we help you sit or stand, you open your mouth and eyes super wide - it's as if we just lit up your world and you can't contain your excitement.

It's fun to watch you grow and become more interactive with us. When we're on the couch or bed, we put your tummy to our chest, and you start to wiggle all over us - "crawling" off our chests and squirming every-which-way - you literally jump out of our arms. IT IS THE BEST, almost as if we're play-wrestling. Sometimes you even grab for my hair. You're big enough now that dada can throw you into the air, turn you upside down, and fly you through the house. You are loving it.

You babble so much for your mama and dada, to your toys, and especially when we leave you to entertain yourself. Oh, goodness, we love to hear you babble. Sometimes it sounds like you're saying "hi," "hey," and "boy," but we've decided these are merely sounds and not your first words. You smile at us with the cutest little smirk. I hope I'll have that smirk ingrained in my memory forever. You're slowly starting to smile for photos, though, mostly people are still convinced you're the most serious baby ever. You love when the wind blows in your face - you open and close your mouth and heavy-blink with your eyes. I giggle just thinking about it. You have a funny patch that has grown on the back of your head... sort of like a beard right at the nape of your neck. Your dada and Uncle Tony love to pick on it, while I get in mama-bear mode and tell them to quick picking on my sweet boy.

Our hands are among your favorite toys - you could gnaw on our fingers and play with them all day long. Your favorite real toys are the stuffed orange fox that speaks to you in Russian (though, you enjoy eating most stuffed animals right now), your pacifier (that you've learned how to put in your mouth and take back out), and a rolling music ball. You have the best time playing in the covers or with the burp cloth - you seem to really enjoy the fabric touching your face. I play a lot of music throughout the day, both English and Russian kids songs, and you love all the sounds.

It's been touch-and-go for a while, but you've really come around to liking bath time (and you really enjoy being naked!). You kick your legs and your tongue sticks out just a little bit. I know this makes your dada happy - he really wants you to love the water as much as he does. You have so much fun on the changing table these days - you'll lift your butt, do a little leg lift, and touch your toes. The cutest.

Nursing has become such a funny time for us. You strongly prefer nursing to taking the bottle, and you absolutely will not drink formula - a breastfed baby is what I wanted, and that's definitely what I have! You are super curious and aware of everything that's going on around you. You latch and then unlatch to look around; you're so squirmy! You won't even nurse if someone else is nearby because you're too interested in what they're doing or saying. It's been hard to get you to look at and focus on me this month, since you're so curious about everything else. I admit, it was an odd feeling to have you focused on everything except me (selfishly, I'm hoping this is a quick phase and that you'll be back to adoring me in no time!). I definitely treasured the moments when you would pause long enough to coo and smirk at me. You still try to eat anything that comes near you, but we have yet to give you any solid foods.

Sleep has taken on a life of its own - I guess the four month sleep regression is a real thing. There's a lot of bouncing and shhhing that goes on to get you to sleep these days. You've started to fight sleep. But it's easy to know you're tired when you turn your head to the right, whine, and then, when you're the most tired, give me the sweetest coos, as if a last plea to keep you awake. Finally, you'll give into sleep - you take a couple big breaths in a row, give a slight smile, then you pass out (usually on someone's shoulder). This month you decided that no one except mama could soothe you to sleep, which has made it hard for dada to help out, or for us to leave you with someone else for any period of time. It's hard to see you get so frustrated when someone tries to soothe you to sleep, and it's been overwhelming for me that I have't been able to have a break. We've decided that sleep training is in your near future - we think it'll help ease a lot of your frustration and help mama and dada get the rest we need. We've taken the first step in sleep training by doing a bedtime routine every night - you get a bath, a massage with some soft music, then you eat and we put you to sleep. You've got it good, little man.

One of the hardest things about this month, beyond you refusing the bottle and screaming when anyone other than me tried to put you to sleep, was that your dada went to Germany to work for a few days without us. Oh, muffin, it was hard! We video chatted on the phone with dada every day (your first phone conversation, I suppose!). On the last day before your dad flew home, you had both of us in tears - you starting cooing at dada and grabbing at the phone to touch him. It was sad and sweet at the same time. It was such a moment - to realize that you recognized your dada, even through a video.

We took you into Boston again, this time to meet some of your mama's college friends. We brought you to one of our favorite restaurants, where you eventually fell asleep on dada's shoulder. We had an impromptu slumber party with your Boston aunties, then spent the next afternoon exploring downtown Boston. It really is so fun to take you to there with us!

We take you to church with us every Sunday and you sit in your carrier between your dada and me, holding on to each of our hands. I feel so full in those moments. You've been sitting through the whole service without hardly a peep, though the time is near that we'll need to put you in the nursery. One Sunday we left church to see it was snowing outside! Your first snow! It was just some flurries, but it was so exciting for us to tell you "look! that's snow!"

We love you so, so much, mister man.


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