Dear Joe – 5 Months

Dear Joe,

You are 5 months old!  Yesterday was the big day, and you certainly made an event out of it.  For the first time ever, you consistently rolled over by yourself each and every time I put you down.  Apparently tummy-time is growing more interesting, but you still don’t like it all that much.  It’s pretty funny to see you roll over, look around with an expression like, “What the heck just happened?!” and then focus all of your energy on reaching the toy… or sock… or whatever it is that’s just beyond your reach.

You’re doing so well with your crawling motions.  You haven’t started moving too much, but you’ll get there.  I think that the roll-over exercises and the crawl-stretch exercises that we learned at our PEPE Parenting Class have helped with that.  We turned rolling over into a game.  I sing, “There were ten in the bed and the little one said, ‘Roll over!  Roll over!’  So they all rolled over…”{and then I roll you over} “…and the _______ fell out”, where _______ is whatever animal I can think of.  We do that 10 times with lots of leg pumping to accent my singing, and you get a real kick out of it!  We also touch your opposite hand to your opposite foot when you’re lying on your back and I give you a big tummy kiss in between stretches.  This mimics crawling motions, and after 2 – 3 weeks of doing it, I’m starting to see you practice it on your own whenever you’re on your tummy.

Joe doing “Ten in the Bed” {yes, he’s in a disposable nappy… we were leaving later that day and I didn’t want to come back to a pile of dirty nappies}

You’re also trying as hard as you can to sit up.  We do “baby sit-ups” where I hold your little hands and you grip my fingers.  I just barely start to pull and you sit yourself up… and then we slowly go back down.  Your abdominal muscles are getting a work out!  You try to sit up on your own now, too, particularly in the bathtub.

You love your bath time, but you’re starting to get too tall for your FlexiBath!  Hopefully you’ll be sitting up soon and we can still use it.  Your daddy loves to give you baths and play with you in the water – I can’t wait till we get back from the US and you get to experience an NZ summer with plenty of beach and pool time.  You have a tiny rubber ducky, but your favorite bath toy is the plastic cup that we use to rinse you.  You grab right onto it and suck on it for all it’s worth.

You’re interested in our cups, too.  And forks.  And spoons.  And pretty much anything that has food or drink in it.  You watch with big eyes and reeeaaaccchhh with all your might to try to grab whatever it is we’re using.  Sometimes I’ll let you hold on and explore, but I have to keep you away from my morning tea – I don’t want you to burn yourself!

We’ve put a hold on un-swaddling you at night.  You love the comfort and security of being snuggled, so I’m not going to fuss about it.  You work your arms out every now and again, but mostly you’re happy to stay snug as a bug.  We aren’t swaddling you during your morning nap.  That’s a short one (about an hour and a half) and you’re usually OK with being free.  But if we unswaddle you during your afternoon nap (usually 2 – 3 hours long) you start to cry and fuss, so you’re still wrapped up during that one.  As time goes by, we’ll take you out of the swaddle for your afternoon naps and then transition to going without the swaddle at night.  We tried taking you off all of your swaddles at once, and that didn’t go over too well, so we’ll do it more gradually.

You do a great job with your sleeping, although there was a period of about 3 – 4 days where every evening just before bed, you would cry and nearly make yourself sick for about 45 minutes.  I didn’t know what was going on, so we decided to try something new – we put you in bed around 7pm, and if you start to cry, I turn off the monitor for 5 minutes.  After 5 minutes, I turn it back on and if you’re still crying (many times you’re not) then I go into your room, turn you on your side, and pat your bum while shushing in your ear.  This usually works and within a minute or two, you’re asleep.  I close the door and if you start to cry again, I repeat the cycle – wait 5 minutes and then go back in to shush you without picking you up.  I never thought I would do that, but I think that being held by me and/or having me pick you up repeatedly whenever you cried was too stimulating.

Whatever it was, it’s working.  Usually you cry for no more than 5 minutes and then you’re out for 10 – 12 hours.  You have the occasional “off” night where you wake up around 2/3am.  If you do that, either I or your daddy will go in and turn you on your side, pat your bum, and shush you.  Usually that works, but not always, and if you’re distressed and won’t be calmed, then I don’t fuss about feeding you – I just figure you’ve hit a growth spurt and need a little extra food and snuggles!

You had your 5 month Plunket (well-child) check when you were 4 1/2 months old.  We had to bump it up a bit because of (a) going on holiday to the States and (b) your Plunket nurse going on holiday for the 2 weeks right before we were leaving.  You are a big baby boy at 7.78kgs (over 17lbs – 75th percentile) and 68cms (nearly 27 inches – 91st percentile) long.  There’s another little girl at our church who is 13 months old and walking, and you’re just a little bit shorter than her.  I think that our tall genes are definitely making their presence known.

You love to watch our faces and mimic us.  If I make a “brrrrrrr” noise, you usually start to make one, too.  Of course, if you make noises, then I mimic you right back.  I talk to you all the time and explain what I’m doing when I’m taking care of you (e.g., “Time for a nappy change!” or “Let’s do some play time!”).  You’re also very smiley.  Our building manager refers to you as “Mr. Smiles” whenever he sees you, because you love to grin at him… or anyone else for that matter!

I’m excited for you to meet so many of your extended family.  I know that they’re going to love you just as much as we do.  Happy 5 months, baby boy!

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