Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Happiest Baby in the World

Three months old today. Congratulations, Sam!

Sam had such a nice day, he is just telling me as he settles to sleep. He is in his bassinet, stroking the soft seam on the right and the meshy mesh on the left, creaking and drooling and snorting softly as he gets ready for sleep. He tried to convince us that 5:30 was time to get up for the day this morning - no, thank you, it is not. But he was ready for the day when it arrived.

He visited both his grandmas today and saw numerous aunts and uncles and was especially charming - laughing and trying to talk very obligingly. By bedtime, he was pulling himself off my breast to tell me things - happy and important things like "glah-glah-guh" and "om-mmom-glah." He also made a valiant attempt to follow the Vancouver Olympics women's curling round robin and men's downhill ski cross finals.

He seems to have come through the intense part of his three-month growth spurt and is settling in to new routines and a new size of diapers. He literally outgrew size ones overnight, in one of those amazing "didn't these fit him yesterday?" sort of moments that make parents wonder if their diapers or minds are playing tricks on them.

We wanted to jot down some of the special things about Sam in his first three months before we forget them. Some of these we might have mentioned already, but we thought it would be fun to compile a little list of quick memories in no particular order or developmental significance.
  • When Sam was born, we called him our Growly Bear for the grunts and growls he made, especially when he was hungry. Sometimes he seemed to think he had to hunt down the breast and subdue it with slobber before chomping on it.
  • Sam rarely cries during the night. He just growls until his mom wakes up - or he chews madly on his hands until the sound of slobbery sucking wakes her.
  • A great eater and lover of food, Sam often is grouchy at the supper table when the kitchen smells of supper and everyone but him is tucking in to a tasty meal. He can't wait to get his hands on something delicious.
  • It was impossible to say when his first social smile was because Sam has always been able to smile with his eyes and always defaults to a happy, contented expression when he isn't crying or howling in outrage. He started to turn on the charm on purpose at three weeks, but even though he is the happiest baby in the world, it has seemed hard to catch him smiling wide for a photo. This is partly because he is often photographed with his sister, and this requires wariness in his expression - a survival tactic, I'm sure. Also, he likes to stick out his tongue.
  • Sam loves to have his clothes changed. When I take off his shirtie, he giggles with delight. While he is on the changing table, he also loves the red wall beside him and since he was very small has loved to talk to the red wall. He loves baths, of course, but he has dry skin and so most often gets sponged down. I often seem to forget to wash my baby. Oops.
  • Sam gets the hiccups often, and if they last too long, he is outraged by them. He frequently hiccuped before he was born - but it mostly began at about eight months' gestation, about three days after I foolishly said out loud, "This baby doesn't seem to get the hiccups nearly as much as Anna did."
  • Sam is very tactile - he loves to explore different textures with his fingers and to stroke uneven and surprising surfaces. Nothing makes him happier. He is gaining more ability to manipulate his fingers every day. He still delights in hanging his right hand high over his head and watching himself sway it back and forth.
  • Now that he is three months old, Sam loves to sit up and take notice, and he also loves to test his feet under him to see how much of his weight they can hold, but when he was smaller, he liked to tuck his feet up under him much more than his leg-stretching sister ever did. Sam preferred to stretch his back rather than his legs, always arching deeply backwards to see what was going on behind him. He has always seemed fascinated by ceilings and ceiling-related architectural features!
  • Sam's back was so strong and flexible - and he was so squirmy - that he often flipped himself from his belly to his back (inadvertently) in the first few weeks of his life. The first two times, I thought for sure it was a fluke. The third time made me rethink that conclusion...
  • Sam squirmed in his sleep for the first week of his life. Then he used his sleep time to rest up for full-on activity while awake. Now that he is three months old, he complains if he hasn't had enough time to stretch and kick and sit up.
  • Sam has always been pretty focused on his food sources when his mom holds him, but with his dad, he enjoys more varied experiences. As a tiny baby, he loved to push his head under people's chins, especially his dad's bearded chin. He loved the texture. He and his dad also love to look in the mirror - and it's fascinating to think about what Sam sees and perceives there. Sam also loves to drift off to sleep on his dad's arm in a football hold, usually while we are eating lunch.
  • We used to call Anna's arms the "lateral stabilizers" because she thrust them out so forcefully from her body while she slept - but Sam has taken to falling asleep and waking up with his hands behind his head, in the universal gesture signifying "laid-back dude." Stephen thinks this might be a sign of his personality-to-come.
There are so many things we've probably forgotten already - but if others occur to us, I'll jot down another list soon.

Anna often describes Sam as "delighted," and she is right that he delights in life, in people, and in his senses. It's hard not to share his delight on these days of discovery for him - even though it can be a challenge to be delighted on six hours' (interrupted) sleep.