I wish I had been a baby born in November. I am amazed at the wonder in the eyes of a baby whose awareness of the world is blossoming at the same time that the world itself is blossoming with spring flowers and grass and leaves. Sam loves plants. Ever since he was tiny, he would grasp at the green leaves of houseplants. That the world is full of these green wonders is a sheer and utter delight to him.
Sam is six months old today, still a healthy and happy baby, thriving as his world blooms. He sat up by himself - unsupported but un-expertly - for the first time in mid-April, on what would have been his granddad's eightieth birthday. Now, he sits up straight and true for as long as ever you may please. He cut his first two little teeth last week, in a torrent of drool and with two sleepless nights of discomfort. He spent the rest of the week running his tongue and lower lip over the sharp new edges on his lower gums. This week, he took his first tastes of rice cereal and quickly grabbed the spoon from his mom and his sister, the better to shovel it into his mouth.
He has been grabbing for our food for weeks and his reach has been getting longer. I had to pry some arugula from his gooey hand the other day to prevent him from making vinaigrette his first food. He has always been interested in the food we eat - when he was small, if he was hungry and the house smelled good he would cry and cry, hopeful of a morsel. He would open his little mouth like a hungry baby bird, hoping for tidbits. Rice cereal doesn't quite live up to his expectations, but he is not complaining. I think he knows it is just for practice and that the real deal is coming soon. He ate up all the cereal in his bowl tonight without remarking in the least that the rest of us had eaten pizza for every meal today.
I'm happy he's making a transition to eating some solids, finally. He has been a hungry boyo at the breast these past six months, and I've loved the convenience and healthiness of breastfeeding, but six months of sleep deprivation caught up with me after five months and this past month has been a blur of exhaustion and several rounds of colds and viruses. I'll be happy for a week (any week) with a full household free of snot, sneezes, and coughs. Ever since I had a terrible cold two weeks before Sam was born, we've all been susceptible to every bug going.
I'm beginning to think the sleep deprivation is designed to wipe a mother's memory clean of all but the happiest and most pleasurable moments of a baby's first months, though, because the memories of struggle are hard to hold onto - and who would want to hold onto them anyway? The world must be peopled!
Perhaps I am remembering wrongly, but Sam seems to me to have a lot of manual dexterity for a baby his age. He picks things up and holds them carefully and turns them around and around in ways that seem difficult. He still doesn't roll from his back to his belly but has mostly lost interest in rolling compared to sitting up or trying to crawl or testing his weight on his chubby legs.
He still has the most amazing smile and a great laugh. He still laughs most of all and hardest at his sister's activities. Whether she is galloping through the kitchen on a hobby horse or digging in the garden or hopping on one foot or pushing him on the baby swings in the park, he hollers and laughs with happiness. When Anna and Youdin play together, he follows their every move, and if he is being held in your arms, you have to hold him carefully, because he waves his arms and jumps his legs with all his might, trying to join in the games. We're still waiting for Sam's new cousin to be born and to enjoy all the stages of life we have witnessed with him this half-year gone.
Happy half-birthday, Sam. Much growing lies ahead in the next six months!