Dear Brooklynn, Last weekend, you turned five months old. Fittingly enough, it occurred while we were in transit, which is why this letter is a little delayed, but more on that later.
This past month of your life has covered two of the larger celebratory holidays in our country, Halloween and Thanksgiving. While I don’t think that either of the days held any great significance to you personally, we participated just the same.
Halloween was an opportunity for us to dress you up however we wanted, because I don’t think you really had any idea of what was going on. Luckily, it was a nice afternoon so we could take you out a little and show you off to the world. I would say that you tolerated your costume more than anything, but you sure did like to chew on the candy you grabbed with your little hands.
Grabbing and chewing were two of the larger parts of your life over the past several weeks. We have transitioned into putting a bib on you almost all the time when you are awake because the chewing on various objects (including your own hands) tends to allow copious amounts of slobber to escape your gums.
You chew on towels, clothes, toys, the floor, your hands, other people’s hands, and pretty much anything else you can get your mouth on. And you are getting better at grabbing anything that you can see, which makes it all that much easier to get objects to your mouth. I have a feeling that our house will be undergoing some baby-proofing steps in the not too distant future.
Although I think that you would be content to lay on your back and gum up objects for the majority of your time, your mom and I are still working on getting you some time on your stomach. This task has been made a little more difficult by the fact that you have recently learned how to roll over from your front to your back. The first few times you did it, you would get halfway around then flop on to your rear, but lately, you have been getting much more smooth and graceful about it. I’m pretty sure you get that part from your mom.
Not everything was all smiles and hand chewing. For the last two weeks, you developed a pretty nasty head cold, and a cough, and a stuffy nose. Funny thing about kids your age – you have no idea how to expel mucus build up from your nose on you own. Luckily, there is a solution to the problem: saline drops and a nasal aspirator.
Don’t worry, you love having your nose sucked out. In fact, on a scale of 1 to vaccination shots, having your nose cleaned with drops ranks just below the shots. I don’t think it hurts you nearly as much, but it lasts quite a bit longer and can happen several times each day.
We cleaned you out for a few days every time before we fed you a bottle, and we have a fear that you will either grow up to associate food with the trauma and not like to eat or you will find food as a great comfort and overeat. Sorry about setting you up for lifelong food struggles so early on.
As much as we do things to you that you don’t care for, your own behavior leaves something to be desired as of late as well. When you were about two months old, you suddenly started sleeping through the night every night. It wasn’t anything we did intentionally, but we got to tell everyone how wonderful you were and we were sleeping wonderfully, thank you for asking.
Well, early in November, you woke up in the middle of the night. And we were very unprepared for it, but we fed you, put you back down, and moved on with our lives just slightly more sleep deprived. And the next night, you did it again. And again.
At first, we thought growth spurt. Growth spurts do not last for three weeks. Then we thought the sickness might have something to do with it. Now, we are beginning to think it’s just a habit. Whatever it is, please stop. I think karma has been paid, and we would just like a full night of sleep.
I’ve read that babies really like routine, and since waking up in the middle of the night started to feel like a routine, we thought that maybe some shake-up would help you reboot, kind of like a mini human computer. So we traveled. We went to North Dakota to see your Aunt Sarah play in the State High School Volleyball Tournament.
Two plane flights, 600 miles on the road, and several hours in a loud indoor stadium. Aside from the several hours after the flight there when your ears didn’t pop and you cried the entire time, you did great. And you still woke up each night.
We came home for three nights. We left again – another flight, this time to Minneapolis and then a 240 mile drive to your Grandparents for Thanksgiving. You were awake and happy for the first time on a flight, and you managed to poop for the second straight airplane ride. And then you blissfully slept in the rental car for the majority of the drive.
And, even thought you were sick and we were giving you small amounts of Benadryl to help your cough, you still woke up every night. Your first Thanksgiving dinner was spent on the floor while we ate, which will probably be the last Thanksgiving dinner that you will be content to spend on the floor.
Before we left, my parents gave you a few early Christmas presents. The best present of all? The wrapping paper. Tough, foil-like, glittery wrapping paper. It didn’t get soggy, but it did help you get glitter everywhere. The presents… eh, you would look at those briefly before demanding the paper.
Even though you are not sleeping consistently, you’ve been sick, and we don’t always know exactly how to make you feel better, we still sit back and marvel at the new things you do and wonder how we will even keep up with you in the future.