Today you are four months old.
This month you have found your voice. You squeal, squeak, shout, grunt, and love to make noise. You extend all of your vowels and oooohhhhhh and aaaahhhhhh all the time. You are inclined to drool a lot as well, which makes for some excellent gurgling; if we can echo the gurgling sounds, you think that is fabulous. If you get tired, bored, or want to be picked up, you tell us by using a couple of very distinct grunt/whine sounds. You are happy indeed when you realize that you have succeeded in communicating with us.
You've also had a bit of Austin Powers in you this month. I am referring to the manner in which you increase your vocal volume. You have a healthy set of lungs and you enjoy using them. Apparently you had some trouble controlling the VOLUME OF YOUR VOICE. Or, you rather had quite the control; it depends on one's point of view. Thankfully, we responded with quieter sounds for a while and you are now mostly back to acceptable levels.
One thing is for certain: this month was a doozy. You started it off by rolling over, which was a shock for your Dad and me. Then hurricane Ike decided to come our way. We had already planned to be out of town that weekend and therefore had hotel reservations. We went to a Marriott resort in Horseshoe Bay which is west of Autin near a small town called Marble Falls. We were there with many from the Houston area.
This was your first trip of any distance, and I must say you were splendid. You rode in your car seat like it was your favorite place to be...because you were sleeping most of the way. We stopped and I fed you in the car...which became a common occurrence over the next week and a half. A three-day "vacation" was anything but and it extended far beyond what we would have liked. So it goes with mother nature.
Speaking of the healthy set of lungs, you have also made use of them when scared. Once was when we first arrived at the hotel in Horseshoe Bay; I set you down in a plush chair that could contain you and your rolling tendencies. I sat with you for a moment and made sure you were happy and comfortable. Then your Dad and I were unpacking things from the car. I obviously didn't stay with you long enough because all of a sudden you were crying like the world was ending. I am talking loud, screaming, red-faced, very not good cries. You associated your feelings with the room and the only way we could get you to calm down was to leave right now and walk you around outside until you fell asleep. This took about 45 minutes. Luckily the hotel has some beautiful exterior areas. Once you calmed down, we came back to the room and everything was fine.
Your Dad had some work to do while away (curses to you, Ike!), so you helped him out a bit. We all enjoyed being together more than usual. I took some time to go shopping to find bathing suits for all of us. You had never been swimming, so that was good fun. You have been chewing on your hands all month, and this makes for some fabulous drool all over everyone. You drool when helping your Dad work and you drool while swimming.
Every chance you get, the hand is in the mouth for sucking or chomping. It is amusing to watch you aim and miss. Usually you punch yourself in the forehead. Lately you've been opening up your fist and just aiming with your thumb sticking out. When you do it that way, you poke yourself in the nose with your thumb. You're making progress for sure.
Our time at the Marriott was cut short because we thought we'd be traveling to Dallas after the hurricane. We piled into the car, drove most of the way home only to find out that Dallas was a no-go and we didn't have power, so we turned the car around and went back to the Austin area. We were in the car for a loooooong time that day, and you didn't enjoy the post-eating portion of the ride. Why, oh why did you have to be in the car seat? Whyyyyyyyyyyy?
We had your uncle Jenky make us a reservation and we ended up at a La Quinta. As soon as we got there we placed you on the massive bed and you immediately rolled over...
...so that you could do this:
A couple of days before we left for Austin, I mentioned to your Dad that I thought we needed to do a better job of exposing you to new things.
New things were all over the place while we were away. New hotels, new schedules, new beds to sleep in, new experiences. You even had a bath in the sink in the La Quinta. That was fun for me. You are so very squirmy now, and a wet baby makes for a slippery baby. You didn't seem to mind the sink or making it difficult for me. A baby's prerogative I suppose!
We had to eat out for every meal also, and gone are the days of sleeping in your car seat while we enjoy a quiet meal. In fact, the only dinner we had that was mostly normal was one in Georgetown. The trick? Placing you on your back on the booth next to your Dad. He is a master at cornering you on the booth so that you cannot roll off. You got to spend waaaay more time with him this month and boy did you enjoy it!
We spent a lot of time out and about while we were away and this translates to our going out much more now that we are home. The weather is finally not oven-like and aside from the mosquitoes, things are nice outside in the morning and evening. You have an aversion to having your feet covered. You kick blankets off of them at night; you squirm in your gown so that your feet stick out...
...and you make sure that your feet stick out from under the mosquito netting we have placed on the stroller:
You ended up with two bites on your foot after a day of this (I ended up with about 15 bites on my legs and arms), so I have since figured out how to attach the netting over the bottom of your seat. You are much happier facing out than facing me when we take walks. I can hardly blame you; the world is much more interesting than I.
Now that you have seen what the world can offer, you are very excited and happy to go out in it. Well, not so much with the car seat if you are tired, but these days you are almost always awake when we take you shopping or out on errands.
You are still having a love affair with your hands, but you have learned how to do so much more with them. There has been an evolution of sorts: first you would clinch your hands together while eating as if all would end if you let go. That changed to attempting to put your two hands in your mouth to eat instead of the proper things...which makes it a juggling act for me to get you in the right place without your precious hands. Joy, oh joy.
After that phase, you went through a week or so of grabbing me/hitting me/petting me while you ate. You do this on occasion now, but not too much. Your favorite action now is attempting to suck on me and your thumb while eating. Usually I can catch you in the act and prevent it, but sometimes I am not paying attention and suddenly you sneak it in there. You don't seem to care that it prevents you from getting as much milk. Milk? Who cares about some silly milk? I want me some thumb, lady!
In the mornings, during your first and second breakfasts (you hobbit!), you have developed the habit of latching on, eating a bit, and then pulling away to study me. You stare and observe and if I look down at you, a big smile breaks out and you talk to me. Hey! I see you! Good morning, Mom! It is terribly cute and special, but something I don't want to continue forever since it takes much longer for you to eat when you do this. I know, I know...one day I'll be wishing you were still doing things like that. At least when you are watching me you don't attempt to eat your hands at all.
You can hold onto just about anything you want to these days. You hold your washcloth when we bathe you:
If we hold our hands in front of you, then you grab them and try to put our fingers in your mouth. You hold onto your toys and attempt to put them in your mouth:
You even grab for your links and pull them over to, you guessed it, put them in your mouth:
You are so much more aware of your surroundings this month. You find such delight in recognizing places and objects. When we were out shopping in Georgetown, you noticed the trees overhead and giggled and squealed because "Hey, I know those!". The same was true when we returned to the house. I placed you on the floor in the living room and you immediately looked up for one of your favorite things: the ceiling fan. Luckily, our power had just come back on and it was moving. You laughed, squealed, and talked to us about how happy you were to see them for twenty minutes or more. In fact, your delight in the ceiling fan rivals your delight in seeing me or your Dad. We appreciate the love...no, really.
Your awareness has definitely changed the manner in which we get you to sleep. You used to like being held as if you were laying down. These days, that is not acceptable! You must be held upright. You want to milk every moment to see as much as you can. You then fall asleep in the most uncomfortable looking positions, with your behind sticking out and your head conked over to the side at an impossible angle.
I am pretty sure that another reason you want to fall asleep this way is that it is very easy for you to get your thumb in your mouth in this position. Again, it is all about the hands. The good news is that since we have returned from Austin you have been sleeping in your crib in your room. You even manage to sleep for seven hours or more without interruptions. That is so very nice for us. As one of your Dad's colleagues says, we'll sleep from now until you are a teenager...and then we won't sleep again! I don't know about your Dad, but I certainly plan on enjoying more consecutive hours of shut-eye for as long as you'll let me!
Obviously a lot happened this month. You changed in many ways and frequently. We also had the experience of being in a one-room hotel for a week and a half which led to more discoveries. I don't want to leave anything out in these letters because I want to remember everything and I know this is the only way. In a week you'll be doing something new and I won't even remember how you learned to roll over step by step or how much you grew this month.
You are 25 inches long and in the 80th percentile for height. Your Dad is hoping for a basketball player; I think volleyball would be fun; Papa Jim judiciously points out that you can do both. He is right, of course. If you want to, you can do anything.