5 months

And last night she slept from 9pm to 7am, in the sidecar, startling awake only once at the clank of a pot while her daddy was putting away the dishes at 10:30.

And today she weighed in at a hearty 12 pounds, 4 ounces, which means she’s packed on a healthy twelve ounces per week since we started feeding her formula on demand. (We’ll just not talk about how my milk supply has visibly declined since I quit with the supplements, pumping, and all the other undesirable elements of the Campaign.) In perhaps the last piece of advice she’ll ever give us in that capacity (got a DC pediatrician to recommend?), Natalie’s pediatrician has suggested that we start her on solids.

It may well be time. Between that and graduating from the family bed, maybe five months is the new six.

Natalie looks so BIG to me. It’s not just that she’s put on so much weight so quickly; it’s the increasing definition of the Actual Person emerging from the putty of infancy, practically in real time. Just look at her face. It’s someone’s face now, not just a soft smushy thing with eyes gazing off into the middle distance. Her arms and legs are now fully operational and within her control. Her navel has caved in (alas, no more outie) and while she still has no visible neck, her proportions at this age don’t require one. I thought Noodles was cute as a newborn, but now she has redefined cute for me.

Her father has actually seen Natalie roll over from back to front, but I haven’t. Every time I watch her try, she almost succeeds and then her underneath arm gets in the way. I imagine that this will come to pass in short order. She has quit flipping over onto her back when you set her down on her stomach; now, instead, she starts to kick and tread air. “That’s crawling behavior,” more than one person has observed. Our days of a stationary cuddlemuffin may be numbered.

She reaches and grabs things (including, most frequently, my hair) with purpose and intent. She can manipulate the pacifier into her mouth, and often, the part that goes in is the part that’s supposed to. I’m impressed that she still likes the pacifier, after early indications that she’d tired of it; it’s a godsend when I’m driving and she’s fussing in the back seat. In the future we may come to regret cultivating Natalie’s affection for the bink, but right now, while she still has no teeth and there is no shame in falling asleep with the thing in her mouth, I’m glad of it.

(She still sucks her hands aplenty. And Sophie the Giraffe. And, most recently, her lower lip. We couldn’t figure out where the slurping noise was coming from, until we did.)

And she laughs. Natalie laughs uproariously, at length, both along with our own laughter and in response to actual funny things like Daddy making silly noises. She’s still the same happy, good-natured baby she’s always been — more so, even, since we’ve started feeding her so much — but the addition of squealing, snorting hilarity takes her personality to a new level altogether. One of the maxims of our marriage is “Every day we laugh together,” and now we are delighted to include our daughter in the mirth.

Five months is the best age. I know that a parent can never say this about a particular age without someone adding “until you get to X months/years,” but I’m going with it. Right now I can’t imagine anything more delicious than my little jellybean, so full of bright-eyed delight, and so incapable of escaping my constant hugs and kisses. But hey, if it gets better from here, I’ll take that too.

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