Today is quite a day. Today I can count your life by half years as opposed to by months or weeks or days. You are my half-year-old and you are perfect. You weigh around 15 lbs, are 26 inches tall, and the center of my universe.
I am sorry that you didn’t get a 5 months letter. It wasn’t that lots didn’t happen in month five. It was that at the 5 month birthday, Mama had a cold. I was coughing all the time. The coughing kept me up. The coughing kept you up. You kept me up. Mama was exhausted. You, however, were intrigued by the cough and spent quite a bit of time perfecting your own cough. Luckily, you weren’t sick (yay breastfeeding giving you antibodies), you were just trying to imitate that cool new sound Mama made. After 2 plus weeks, you got pretty good.
There are other things are now do great: you sit, play with blocks, spin a wheel that then sings you the alphabet song, grab things, pull the place mats off the table and throw them on the floor, put things into your mouth (without hitting yourself in the eye), smile, giggle, blow raspberries, squeal, shout really loud, grunt, give hugs, roll back and forth. On the rolling, you get around by rolling from back to stomach and then back from the place you came. Somehow you have learned to use this to rotate yourself in a circle.
Baths have chanced from being pure torture to the best thing ever. Yes, my smart little girl, you learned to splash. Now, just at the sight of water, you flap your arms like a little bird trying to take flight. When we bathe you in the baby tub (on the ground in the bathroom with 3-4 towels underneath), you efficiently splash the majority of water out of the tub. You stay in the water as your feet shrivel up and cry when we take you out. You splash water at Mama and Papa, not minding that it is getting on your own face and in your eyes. If we tilt you backwards, you kick too. Not as great as splashing, but almost as effective.
In things I am liking less, you have stopped being such a good sleeper. I used to brag about what a good sleeper I had. In the hospital, they had to wake you up for feedings. When you were two weeks old, after 7+ hours of sleep, you Papa woke me, terrified to go to your crib in case you had died in the night— you hadn’t, you were just an awesome sleeper. Until now. Now you get up multiple times each night. Sometimes you are hungry. Sometimes you want to know that Mama or Papa is nearby. Sometimes you want your binkie. Sometimes you want to play. Sometimes we don’t know what you want. It is killing us! So, Mama and Papa are trying to teach you to fall asleep by yourself and to sleep without your binkie. This is also killing us. I am sure someday I will look back and know we were successful, for now, I just look around and think about how tired we are.
Papa says you have “mamitis”, the disease of needing your mama and wanting to be with her all the time. When I start to leave for work in the morning, your lower lip puffs out, your eyes well with water, and you wail as the door shuts. My little girl, this breaks my heart. This morning, while I was showering, you made Papa bring you to see me 3 times just to make sure I hadn’t disappeared. If I am home, you don’t want to be with anyone else. I love that you love me. I love holding you and cuddling you. I hate not being with you all the time— but I think it breaks Papa’s heart a little bit each time you cry for me. At least you haven’t reached a phase where you have negative reactions to all strangers—you still love people, love meeting new people, and want everyone to hold you.
This month we spent a few days in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. It was cold!!! It was -15 Celsius as we walked to the restaurant one afternoon. Sadly, the trip was short and you mostly stayed in the hotel. When we took a car trip to visit the city, you mostly slept, all bundled up tight in many, many layers. The friends we traveled with, locals from several Central Asia countries, were impressed at how happily you allowed them to hold you—they said a local baby would never go to a stranger. In return, they sang and danced for you. You loved it!
Just before your 6 month birthday, we tried food. You love food. You have been fascinated by food and drink for months, mimicking the movements we make with our mouths, reaching for the plate, and sucking on the outside of glasses. Your first food was carrot puree and it was a hit. While you did like the spoon as much as the taste of the food, you had no problems swallowing. You smiled and cooed. Each time we placed you in your highchair, you were hopeful more food would be involved. Sometimes you waited patiently. Sometimes you screamed demanding “more, more, more”! Unfortunately, the carrots blocked up your system a little bit and Papa fund the lack of baby poops disconcerting. Food was discontinued for a week. Luckily, with your system all cleared out, for your 1/2 year birthday, you got to try a new food: squash.
Little elephant, I look back at pictures that were taken of you 11 months ago, still in my uterus, and I am amazed by the person you have become. You are strong and sweet, outgoing yet serious, the perfect combination of Mama and Papa. Your eyes are still so dark that at times it is hard to tell the pupil from the iris. Your laugh is infections. I can’t wait to see who you will grow to be. No matter what, Mama always always always loves you.