Our Noodles is delighted to inform you that she has hit the ripe old age of half-a-year. She laughs uproariously, seldom fusses, rarely cries, and has gone from three-hour daytime naps to almost none. This would bother us more if she weren’t doing so well at night. She sleeps in her crib, uninterrupted, a good ten (10) (!!!) hours a night on average. We nurse twice a day now: first thing in the morning, reliably, and at bedtime, when the timing works out.
Best of all, she has taught herself how to chew on her toes. You have not lived until you’ve watched a baby grab her foot, cram it into her mouth, and squeal with delight through a mouthful of toes.
She’s beautiful now. She’s always been cute, especially through the eyes of her parents, but at six months she’s achieved official Gerber Baby-hood. Her face is symmetric and plump and rosy, her eyes bright and sparkling. When I am not busy nom-nom-nomming the peaches of her cheeks, I get lost in the rainforest lushness of her eyelashes.
She’s up to 14 pounds 10 ounces and a height of 25 1/4 inches, which seems big and healthy and even chubby to us even though the stupid CDC still thinks that puts her in the 25th percentile. A Bronx cheer to you, CDC, because our little girl is heartily awesome and I simply can’t imagine her underperforming on any scale. In fact I will make that Bronx cheer on her belly right now, in response to which she will giggle, and you can take that as more mocking laughter, CDC tyrants.
We have upgraded to a new pediatrics practice, one which refuses to sully its white gloves with the stain of health insurance. They bill directly to your credit card and leave the claims processing to you. I would have found this offputting except that OH MY GOD they are wonderful. After grudgingly growing accustomed to brusque assembly-line treatment at the place on our HMO, I was stunned and delighted by the doctor (the doctor! a real one!) who promptly (without an hour’s wait!) attended to my daughter. This place serviced Natalie as though she were a Ferrari in for a tune-up rather than a Honda Civic in the motor vehicle inspection line. And they use the WHO growth charts, which put Noodles above the twenty-fifth percentile for height and weight, so there.
If our new pediatrician is Big Win #1 for the month, our daycare center is Big Win #2. Natalie loves to ride the bus to Commerce, smiling broadly at any fellow passenger who makes eye contact with her. She loves Miss Mary and Miss Karen in the Bunnies Room, and they love her right back. By the time I’ve stowed her bottles in the fridge and the Babybjorn in her cubby, Natalie has forgotten all about me and is engrossed in a toy or a teacher or another baby. The teachers report that she continues in this good humor all day. “She is the happiest baby here!” says Miss Anita, the afternoon teacher. “She does not cry!” I am inestimably chuffed to hear this. That’s my girl. The happy one. The one who does not cry.
(Apparently she is also the best-dressed baby in the Bunnies Room. “Fashion girl,” Miss Karen calls her. Thanks largely to Wiggle Room and Zulily, I am making sure that my daughter does not inherit her mother’s drab, utilitarian sense of style. Fortunately, once you step away from Carter’s Pink, baby clothes are some of the most riotously colorful, adorably kitschy things that humans can get away with wearing in public. And baby shoes can melt even the hardest of hearts.)
In three days we leave for a series of firsts: Natalie’s first long road trip, her first vacation, her first trip to the beach, her first time spending the night in a strange place since she came home from the hospital. But our little girl is game for anything. She may have no idea what sand is, or a pool float, or water that is anything other than bath-temperature. But she’s about to find out, and I’m convinced that we’ll all have a blast.
That’s what we’ve been doing for the past six months, after all.