Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Four Months Plus

Sam is four months and a week old, still a thriving and happy baby. Today, he cycled his arms in an effort to make lift-off from his dad's knee as he watched his sister circle the kitchen.

Whatever she does, he wants to do. Walk, run, dance, talk, sing, eat real food, play with toys. Watching a second child learn is different from watching a first child learn, because the second child learns so much from watching the first. He tries to talk like a child, not an adult - hearing his sister gives him more range and more options for self-expression. (Some of them shrill. Some of the quite shouty.)

Sam is more interested in toys and in manipulating objects than Anna. It could be a gender thing - he shrieked with delight the first time he played with Anna's firetruck with its wheels, ladders, and lights - but Stephen thinks it is simply an imitation thing. He sees Anna playing with toys and using objects, and he wants to as well.

Sam can flip from his belly to his back now, much to his surprise when he manages it, but he doesn't get to practise as much as Anna did at his age, mostly because Anna gives him no space at all to roll over.

All the same, I can see that these treasured and peaceful days with a baby who stays where you put him down are coming to an end, and quickly. Already, Sam kicks himself in circles and edges himself to edges. He has a body built for crawling and can already almost get his knees under him. His bum reaches an alarming height and will soon enough propel him forward and then there will be no stopping him. Those few little tasks that are now possible to accomplish with a just-set-down-for-a-moment-on-the-floor baby will soon be gone.

When he can catch up with his sister under his own steam, she will be the one who needs her parents' help to get breaks from a space-invading sibling.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


This week, Stephen and I celebrated our eighth anniversary. Tomorrow is my birthday. Next week (St. Patrick's Day, and my grandmother's birthday) marks ten years since I came to own our little house. And Saturday will mark a year since I found out I was pregnant with Sam. (I was too superstitious to try a pregnancy test on my birthday.) A few weeks later, we went through a tough several days of threatened miscarriage and then another week or two of constant follow-up of HCG levels and vague disbelief that anything could work out. A year later, Sam is here after all, almost 16 weeks old, and coming into his own more every day.

After eight years married, our anniversary was all we could have hoped for. Not in a romantic sense, of course. Instead, our day was filled with unromantic events and happenings. Trying to get a wide-awake, talkative, pee-filled baby back to sleep between 3:00 and 4:30 a.m. Getting up with a chain-talking stream-of-consciousness toddler with a yen for yogurt at 6:30 a.m. Contemplating the best ways to prepare our household to transition to daylight savings time. Spelling each other off for morning catnaps (complete with cat). Stephen having his leftover spaghetti and meatballs for lunch commandeered and eaten by Anna on the pretext that "it is good to share, papa." Going skating with Anna's playschool class and helping make sure she only fell on her face and bit her lip once. Getting a whole hour to ourselves (with baby) but foregoing the planned-for "date" at an all-chocolate restaurant for our usual, ordinary coffee place because it has good changing tables and is a comfortable place to breastfeed in public. Using up the non-nursing part of our anniversary-hour-to-ourselves to buy milk and vitamin D (and some on-sale chocolate, for celebration's sake). Preparing a special meal of smoked salmon while the toddler writhed on the kitchen floor crying for smoked salmon and decrying the time it was taking to cook her some potatoes when what she really wanted was smokes salmon NOW, PLEASE, PLEEEEEASSSE! because it is her FAVOURITE!! Watching a Winnie the Pooh video all together (including cat) on our broken-down couch. Putting the children to bed. And finally watching a children's cartoon on DVD - one that we had only seen half of at the movie theatre before having to leave with a not-quite-old-enough daughter.

Just the kind of anniversary we might have hoped for eight years ago.

And as for Sam these days... He is thriving. He is still easy, happy, full of delight. He is getting stronger every day and will soon be rolling over - though he is more intent on moving forward. When he isn't eating his fingers, he is able to hold and manipulate objects better every single day and can now play with toys - a ball with baby grips, a light stuffed doggie with floppy ears, and a schoolbus that he can roll forward and back are his favourite things to play with. He watches every move his sister makes attentively and jealousy and is especially keen to bounce like she can.

Sam still nurses nine times a day. He eats less frequently at night, which is a nice adjustment, but he makes up for it by eating about every ninety minutes in the daytime. He also still takes short naps. A few two-hour naps have given us hope that he might start a trend, but they proved to be exceptions. He can't wait until he can eat real food, though, and gets really cranky sometimes at suppertime when the house is full of the aromas of good food he is evidently too small to eat. He sometimes paws at my shirt and tries to find a way in to his supper. We call this "trying to break into the refrigerator."

Sam laughs more and more, too. Peekaboo is hilarious to him, now, and so are peeks into the mirror with his dad. Sneezes always make him laugh, and when I choked on a cracker last week, he thought that was a hilarious performance put on just for him. Getting his clothes taken off is a guaranteed cause for a giggle. As the temperature cracks above freezing and the sun comes out, he loves walks outside in the fresh air, smelling and seeing the spring as it peers at us from its hideout, just around the corner.

He is eager to communicate and likes to mimic the shapes of people's mouths. Stuck-out tongues and raspberries are a big hit with him. Singing makes his eyes shine. His favourite noises to make himself are a happy hooting owl-baby sound (hoo! hoo! hoo!) and "ngluh! ngluh!" He has never been very ambiguous in his messages. When he's hungry, he says so clearly. When he is tired, there is no doubt. When he is pissed off at his sister invading his space, he yells at her.

Sam also makes special grunts when he wants to play and grunts non-stop until he gets to lie on the floor and kick his legs or jump up and down on someone's lap. ("It's kicking time!" his sister says, and hauls out the playmat and then hogs most of the space on it.) He also loves to arch his back far back and stretch out his strong spine.

Sam is almost big enough for many things he is keen to do, but he is still just "almost" for now - almost teething, almost sitting up, almost ready for his exersaucer, almost ready to taste rice cereal, almost rolling over, almost outgrowing his 3-6 month sleepers, almost able to fend off his sister. In two more months, it will truly be spring and he will truly be past some of these signposts and gazing towards the next things he wants to be able to do.