This month has been huge. So much growth, so much change. If there’s one phrase I’ve uttered to Peanut more than anything else this month, it’s “You’re such a big girl!” This was the month that I felt Peanut went from being a newborn to being an honest-to-goodness baby. She smiles spontaneously. She giggles. She babbles. She plays with toys – and her hands. It’s like she’s growing up right before my eyes. Too weird.
I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I’m so proud that my little girl is making such huge developmental strides. Every time she does something new, I cheer (outwardly and inwardly). I congratulate her and tell her how great she is. Every milestone is extra special to me, after the drudgery of days spent in the NICU. But they’re also a little bit bittersweet, because… well… like I said, she’s growing up before my eyes. When she was under three pounds, I didn’t know what the next day would look like – and that was awful. But now I can picture her as a toddler, a preschooler, a kindergartener. The days are going by so fast and I just want time to sloooooooooow down. (Seriously, where was this light-speed time when we were sitting in the NICU? I’ve never seen a seconds hand crawl so slowly as it did in there; now the days race by.) I’m just trying to enjoy every moment I have with my cuddly baby before she’s yanking all the pots and pans out of my cupboards.
Speaking of enjoying the time we have together, now I really have to make it count, because – another big change this month – as of a week ago now, I’m back at work. I have to say… I knew it would be difficult, but I didn’t know it would be this difficult. The first thing I did when I got to my office last Monday was to set up about half a dozen pictures of Peanut on my desk, but it’s not the same thing as having the real, live, cooing and smiling Peanut right in my arms. I got plenty of good advice from my mom friends about how to make the transition easier, and I’m trying to take it, but it’s going to take awhile before I get used to leaving Peanut at home – if I ever do. And I have it easy, when you think about it. Peanut is at home with her aunt all day (an experienced nanny in the family = jackpot) and I have an interesting job that I actually like, where I get to work with a great group of kind, caring people. And still I’m a wreck. I can’t imagine what it would be like if Peanut didn’t have a caregiver who loves her almost as much as I do, or if I hated my job or worked with mean people. I’m lucky, and I’m still a weepy mess. For a couple of days I really enjoyed wearing dangly earrings all day (Peanut is grabby) but the novelty’s worn off and now I just want my baby. Ah, well, I’ll get used to it.
Peanut at 5 Months
Adjusted Age: 3 months
Weight: 10 lbs, 7 oz
Clothing Size: 3 months – yay! It was sad to pack away so many of Peanut’s cute clothes, but she got TONS of outfits in her new size from Santa and her grandparents this Christmas, and the silver lining is that I get to play with them all. We’ve been having fashion shoots on the Boppy lounger.
Sleep: Still challenging. On the advice of Peanut’s pediatrician, we’ve instituted a 7:00 p.m. bottle-and-bedtime. (Before, we were feeding Peanut on a more round-the-clock, NICU-style schedule.) The bedtime is mandatory, but Peanut views it as a negotiation. We’ve had many, many nights of cuddle… put down… cry… paci… cry harder… cuddle… put down… cry… paci… cry harder – and the cycle can go on for hours. Seriously, there have been nights on which I’ve “put Peanut down” at 7:30 and not fallen into bed myself until after 10:30. Three hours of “negotiating” with a baby who is determined not to sleep in her crib is nothing short of exhausting. Especially when it happens multiple nights in a row. I think part of the problem may be that Peanut has experienced a lot of changes in a short period of time – her feeding schedule changed, she was unswaddled, Mom went back to work, Auntie Em started taking care of her, and she was hit with a new bedtime, all pretty much at once. So we’ve gone back to swaddling for awhile, just until she gets used to some of the other changes. I do think the bedtime will eventually click if we’re patient, but it’s the process of trying to establish it that is just wiping me out. I’m bone tired, and so is hubby.
Likes: Her hands. They are the coolest. THE. COOLEST. Also likes playing with her soccer ball and her zebra; Lady GaGa (big smiles whenever Mommy sings the opening bars of “Bad Romance,” which I agree are pretty funny); the pendant lights in the kitchen (I hate them, but now I’m so glad I was too lazy to replace them when we moved in).
Dislikes: Bedtime. Bedtime. Bedtime. Socks. Bedtime.
Favorite Toys: Aside from her own hands, which are the most fascinating toys around these days, Peanut is in L-O-V-E with her Fisher Price Ocean Wonders rattle – it was the first toy she intentionally reached for – and she can’t get enough time playing with her Taggies soccer ball or her Bright Starts zebra.
Milestones: Reaches for and grasps toys; has discovered hands and spends hours looking at them, bringing them together and putting them in her mouth; smiles spontaneously; giggles!
Quirks: We’ll have to wait to see if I’m right about this, but I think Peanut might be left-handed like her dad. I don’t know if it’s a trait that can be observed this young, so I could be totally wrong. But I’ve had this suspicion for awhile – even back in the NICU, she had more success getting her left thumb in her mouth than her right thumb. I didn’t think much about it (had other things on my mind) but a friend with a baby boy about a month older than Peanut told me at the time that her little guy had been going after his left thumb too, and she thought he might be a lefty. I forgot about it until recently, when Peanut started playing with her toys and I noticed she reached and grasped more, and showed more dexterity and strength, with her left hand than with her right. At first I thought it might be because I am right-handed, so when I sit facing her and hold her toys for her with my right hand, they’re on the left side of her body and of course she reaches for them with her left hand. But I tried switching my hand and I noticed she wasn’t as good at reaching and grabbing toys with her right hand, and that she would sometimes even reach across her body to get at a toy with her left hand. And I also took note of the fact that she still has more success getting her left hand to her mouth than her right (although by now, she can get the right hand in her mouth quite readily too, and she really has no preference – she’ll suck on any hand that comes within licking range). So I am now becoming very curious to see which hand will be her dominant hand. I really hope it’s her left, because I think it would be so cool to have spotted it when she was five months old. But only time will tell if I’m right!