Another six weeks have passed since I wrote here with news about Sam. Six months and seven months are a great age - full of smiles and discoveries and emerging personality. Not many milestones in the seventh month that you can write down on a calendar, but lots of skill-building towards the big leaps that come in this eighth month and beyond...
Tonight, I watched Sam creep backwards in a circle around his vast frustration that he can't crawl forwards yet. He hates going backwards but is happier now that at least he can manoeuvre in a circle. He marks his path with drool, like a snail.
We suspect he wants to, or plans to, skip crawling and go straight to walking or possibly running. He can't sit up from a lying-down position yet, but he is adept at pulling himself to standing from sitting. If I set him down on the floor, he grabs my legs and tries to climb them. If I'm wearing pants he can get a grip on, he succeeds. If I'm wearing shorts, he wobbles around my ankle and reaches for my knee then decides if he can't pull himself up he might as well chew on my shin. With his two sharp bottom teeth, this is not comfortable for me.
Sam also loves to try to climb up on the box of board books in the living room. When he gets hold of a book, he is very pleased, and he either beats on it in an effort to open it or picks it up and chews on the corner. Beating on and chewing on are two favourite ways of manipulating objects. I read him Eric Carle's Very Busy Spider this evening, and he loved it - especially the farm animal sounds, which made him laugh. Especially the pigs.
Sam is still teething ferociously, but his third and fourth teeth are still hiding out in his gums. He is enjoying his first tastes of solid food but only likes purees - he spits out even the smallest lumps with precision. He has a sweet tooth and has yet to taste anything green that he greets with anything less than disdain and a sense of betrayal. If he likes something (applesauce, mango, sweet potato, squash) not a drop gets on his chin. If he's iffy about something, very little gets into his face and very much gets on his face.
He will put anything and everything in his mouth - except the baby crackers we got for him to gnaw on.
Sam still has a great sense of humour. He laughs and jumps with excitement watching his sister play, of course, but he is developing his own little jokes, too. He thinks it's hilarious to reach up while he's nursing and pull off my glasses. He never fails to make himself giggle with that one.
And the phonemes of the English language are set up as an elaborate joke on mamas. After nine months of gestating him and seven months of feeding him every two hours (though he is down to nursing just seven times a day, now!), I left him alone with his dad and sister just two afternoons in a row - just two afternoons, mind you - and came home to find him babbling "dadadadadada" happily. He is keen to express his opinions.
(I should note that I then paid for the two afternoons away from the baby with a blocked milk duct and I spent three days and long nights of full-time effort to prevent mastitis! Not the most fun I've ever had.)
Summer is here, and with it comes beach weather. Sam likes to sit in a puddle of warm salt water, digging in the sand with his hands and feet, tasting the occasional fistful of sand. Sam still responds in a special way to green growing things and to music. He is sitting forward-facing in the stroller, now, and he doesn't miss anything on walks. He likes to sing with his sister and loves the songs we have to mark his days, especially his "Yay, Sam, you ate it all up" song that we sing for him after every meal.
One very special happening since I posted last: the arrival of Sam's beautiful girl-cousin at the end of May. Her big brother got lots of practice taking care of babies by visiting his cousin Anna and playing with "Baby Sam."
Emily and Youdin call Sam "Baby Sam." Stephen tends to call him "Sammy" or "Sammy-boy." Anna likes to draw it out to a sing-songy two syllables - "Say-yam" - or to call him by his full name, which she pronounces "Sam-lee-oll." I seem to call him "Sam-sam" most of the time. He responds to all of these names with delight. He's never ungrateful for attention!