Jun 28, 2011

Dear Daughter: Four Months

Dear Vivienne,

What a great month this has been! You have made some serious leaps and bounds in development. You're making great strides in rolling this month. One morning early in the month, you rolled from your back to your front while we were hanging out in bed together. I'm not counting it as the first official back to front roll, because you were lying on an incline (caused by Mom's weight depressing the mattress... *ahem*). Nevertheless, I was really proud of you, and you seemed quite chuffed with yourself too! Since then, you have done bona fide rolls all one your own! From what I understand, most babies roll from their fronts to their backs first. However, you so loathed tummy-time until very recently that I doubt we'll see that maneuver for a while. Besides, you have such great muscle strength that I am not worried. Nowadays, as a refreshing alternative to screaming, you use your tummy-time to practice crawling. Nana predicts that it won't be long before that happens. You've become really good at taking the pacifier out of your mouth, and you've started trying to pick it up and put in back into your mouth. You definitely know what it involves, but it needs some fine tuning, though you have had a few successes to date. It's very tempting for me to do it for you, but it's important to let you learn, so I resist the urge. You are grabbing everything: toys, bottles, necklaces, blankets. The world has definitely caught your attention as something that needs to be explored, and you love standing up to look around, touching anything you can get your hands on, and best of all, putting things into your mouth.

My very favourite thing about this month has been your laughter. The first time I heard you laugh, I was playing This Little Piggy with you. We'd played it before, but this time you cracked up laughing. It was the best sound I have ever heard in my life. However, you are no simpleton, and things do not amuse you multiple times, so I have to find new ways of eliciting your laughter. Nana has made you laugh too, and agrees that there is no sweeter sound.

You have gotten a lot better in the car. I still don't take you anywhere that involves more than ten or twenty minutes of driving without someone else in the car, but when you have company, you do really well. We were able to take you all the way to Parsippany. NJ, for the 2011 Star Trek convention. You were a definite hit with the other nerds, and you won a $25 gift certificate for dressing up as a Star Trek Voyager ensign. We've also done lots of traveling with our Mom's group this month. We went to the mall, the Springfield museums and our first trip to the zoo. You are so alert these days that it is a lot of fun to take you places (on previous outings you invariably fell asleep as soon as we left the house).

This month has been a little hard on me, as I am back to work full time now. Before Nana arrived, you went to daycare three days a week, and I was working part time. I really miss our four-day weekends together. However, as much as I miss you, I am happier leaving you at home with Nana than sending you to daycare. To be fair, your daycare minder, Maria, is wonderful. She commented that you have the most advanced cognitive and motor skills she's seen in a baby your age. However, she is nothing compared to all the love and attention you are getting from Nana. She is just in love with you, and you have taken to her in a huge way. She's making a huge effort to read to you, sing to you, hold you, and give you everything you need. When I get home she's generally exhausted, but also delighted to get this time with you. I am very nervous about how hard it's going to be for her to leave you in September.

You're getting so big! Last month we took the sling out of your bath, and you outgrew the bassinet, so you've been sleeping in the pack'n'play. This month I packed away all the 7-15 lb diapers; you're officially in the large diapers. We had your four month check up and you weighed in at 17lbs, and 26.5"!!! You've almost doubled your weight in four months, as opposed to the average six. I'm not surprised. With Nana, you were getting through up to 30oz of milk during the workday alone!

Everyone notices what a perfect baby you are. You are rarely fussy, always smiling and extremely engaged in the world around you. Adding to your perfection is the fact that you are about the cutest thing I have ever seen. We documented that cuteness by having our friend, Kristin, around to do a photo shoot. She is an amazing photographer, and we we got loads of wonderful pictures of you. We're going to have at least one framed for your nursery. Luckily, you have managed to keep our feet on the ground by fussing occasionally, and usually with good cause, such as having just received and immunization shot. Also, you were the spit-up queen until recently, but I have noticed a definite improvement on that front. I had gotten used to going to work with white splotches down one or both shoulders. It doesn't bother you in the slightest, in fact I sometimes think you enjoy waiting until I've left the house without a burp cloth before coating both yourself and me in curdled milk. Speaking of conspiracy theories, you definitely wait for your diaper to be changed before pooping. This happens so frequently that I usually have two clean diapers beside me for each changing, and once I have changed you the first time, I sit and wait to hear the tell-tale sounds letting me know I need to change you again!

For the entire time you've been alive, I have made ridiculous expectations of myself as a mother. I feel guilt any time I place you down, even on your playmate which is good for your mental development, or your swing when you need to take a nap. I think I am a terrible mother whenever I take the time to check emails, or catch myself wishing that you would nap for a couple more minutes so that I can finish my lunch. I've also come to the conclusion that I need to retract my promise to not worry too much. I worry all the time. I worry about things that might happen now, things that could happen in the future, and these worries cover the full spectrum of eventualities. I have come to the conclusion that motherhood is a specific type of hypervigilance disorder. So, I replace the former promise with the promise to do everything in my power to keep you safe and happy, and to make your life the very best I can. And of course, to love you with all my heart.

I love you, Princess,

Mum xxx

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