Dear Jack, Dear Henry,
Today you are five months old, and I know I say so every month, but WOW, what a month this has been! You are both just such personalities! I usually like to begin by recapping the things that you both do, but there’s not a lot of that to report: you are both capable of turning over, but only one of you actually does it with any regularity (Jack…). And you both are exploring your vocal range, but only one of you takes it to extremes (Henry). And really, other than the fact that you both measure precisely 26.5 inches tall, the similarities are beginning to taper off. You both still imitate each other on occasion (vocally, especially), but mostly, at this point, you are becoming your own versions of tiny people.
This month saw your first Halloween. We bought adorable costumes on the 20th of October, and by the 31st, they didn’t fit (bumblebees. You were going to be bumblebees, and I was going to be a bee keeper. Another year, I guess!). So, my own terrible streak with Halloween costumes continues, only now, I get to involve my poor innocent children, too! Oh, well. I assure you that even if I stink at Halloween costumes, there are lots of other things that I am really good at (someday, you’ll learn what a cookie is, and you will be very glad that I am good at making cookies). Of course, your grandmother sent Halloween shirts, so at least you have these pictures of your first Halloween:
I did actually take you to a pumpkin patch the Friday before Halloween, and got some cute pictures of you guys there as well. You had fun, even if you don’t look like it in this picture of the two of you together:
My sweet Henny,
In many ways this past month, you’ve been our difficult child. You don’t always want to eat table food, you don’t always want to sleep for decent stretches, you aren’t always willing to ride in your car seat without a major fuss, and you want to nurse in only one specific position, and you get really grouchy when I try to correct it! It’s as though you’ve determined that you have real preferences, and nothing is going to come between you and those preferences.
But yet, you are mostly such a happy baby, and you really do go with the flow for the most part. Not much upsets you in general.
We had our four month doctor visit, and you spent most of the appointment doing your “scream” voice. The doctor commented that most babies go through a 2-3 day period where they make those sort of shrieking noises, and your father and I both laughed and laughed, because at that point, you had been doing it for 2-3 weeks, and you’re still doing it now, and now, you’ve got Jack imitating you! According to your Oma, apparently your father also did this as a child, earning him the nickname ‘Little Bird’, and so now, your father calls you his ‘kleine vogelchen’.
And that is just one more way in which you apparently take after your father (the aforementioned need to do things a certain way could be another…). It seems that everyone who knows your father or sees us when we are all out together comments on how much you look like him. And it’s true, you definitely favor Papa. But as you get older, I’m starting to see those little ways that you also look like me. It’s mostly just little things, like the shape of your eyes when you smile, or your wide, long-fingered hands, but it’s there all the same.
Your wispy, cotton-fluff blond hair (a definite Papa trait) is getting longer and longer, and more and more wavy, but the back of your head is still one of the softest things I’ve ever touched. I love to rub your head against my cheek, and you seem to love when I do that, too. You also love when I brush my fingers lightly over your face, and close your eyes and smile so sweetly when I do this– it instantly calms you.
-you have really found your hands, and suck your thumb often. It’s adorable AND helpful, as it gives you something to suck on…
-you’ve started doing this weird growl/scream/cry when you’re mad, or trying to work yourself into a real ‘cry’. If you had words to use, I imagine you’d be saying, “I’m PISSED! REALLY REALLY PISSED!” when you use this. You also like to “talk” with your fist in your mouth, or press your face against my shoulder and “yell”. You just make all kinds of new noises!
-you light up when Papa comes home from work. If we can judge by the size of your grin, you like Papa almost as much as you like the door next to our bed.
-Your new favorite food is oatmeal with prunes mixed in (which is good, because you really need the prunes in your diet…). You’ve really begun to “get” this whole eating thing, and now lean forward expectantly when you see the spoon headed your way (and will also give a little scream when you feel like your turn isn’t coming soon enough!)
-Oh, the kicking legs! You kick and kick and kick your legs. It lets us know you’re excited about something (good or bad). You get going with your right leg (bounce, bounce, bounce), and it goes for a while, then spreads to your left (bounce, bounce, bounce). Adorable!
-You can turn over, but you don’t do it often. As a matter of fact, just a few hours earlier, you turned over on your own for only the fourth or fifth time ever (this is the first time you’ve turned over since the day you first showed us you could). It shocked the heck out of me when I turned around and you were on your stomach!
-You love to touch faces. You pat Papa’s face at night while you sleep, and you reach up to touch mine when you wake up after dozing while nursing, and you touch your brother’s face, especially when he cries.
-You love to press your face into soft surfaces, which is sweet, but frankly kinda scares the crap outta me. You love to pull blankets over your head, and while sleeping, if given the chance, you would lay face down on the mattress, with just the barest bit of mose and mouth pointed outward for breathing. In fact, the first thing you did when I handed you the quilt I’d finally finished for you was to bury yourself underneath it. Sigh. It’s hard to be freaked out when I’m busy being charmed by your sweet face!
Sweet Baby Henry Boy
-You like playing “Up & Down”, where I lift you high in the air and then lower you down so I’m hugging you at chest level, saying UPPPP-an-Dowwwwwn! Cracks you up! You also like the variations on Up & Down, “Readyreadyreadyready– JUMP-ing baby”, or “I’m the TALLEST BABY IN THE WORLD, I’m the smallest baby in the world”. You just laugh and laugh and laugh when we do these games, and I LOVE listening to your laugh.
Henna-hoo, my Henny-boo– what a month it has been! I am really loving this phase in your life! I wish you slept for slightly longer stretches, but if that’s the worst thing I ever have to deal with from you, I will be a very pleased Mama! I would take all the sleepless nights multiplied by ten if it meant that I got to experience these days watching you become such an interesting, unique little person. You are truly such a charmer, with sweet smiles for all the people who stop to peek into your stroller, and I can already tell how much love and concern you have for both Papa and me, and Jackie, too. Baby Boy, it goes without saying, but I love you so much, too.
I always wondered why so many people call their babies (especially boy babies) ‘monkey’– was it just some sort of primitive ape-family connection, or something? Well, if other people’s babies are anything like you, I can firmly understand why one would call their baby ‘monkey’. You are just like the monkey babies I see at the zoo, curling themselves into balls, rolling here and there, clinging to their mamas, climbing the ropes in their enclosure– you just don’t sit still! You “climb” me, and cling to me, molding your body to mine when I hold you. You roll this way and that, and have even rolled yourself off the bed once (I learned my lesson, but sadly, it seems you haven’t! You cannot be left on the bed, even with me sitting next to you, unless my full attention is directed at you!).
At our four month appointment, you did your usual trick when you are layed down on your back, which is that you almost bounce as you immediately flip yourself over onto your stomach. And something about this scared you (the crinkle of the paper, or perhaps the mirror next to the doctor’s bench), and you wailed, and wailed and wailed and wailed. I picked you up and got you calmed down, but for the rest of the appointment, you screamed every time we tried to lay you on the table (which was a blast for the nurse trying to give you your vaccinations…). The doctor kept saying that we’d have to remember for next time that you don’t like to be on your stomach, and I kept telling him that, in fact, you much prefer to be on your stomach, but he didn’t believe me.
You continue to sleep well and eat well, too. You are also a fan of oatmeal, but then again, you’ll eat pretty much anything I put on a spoon and stick in your mouth. You are (and have been for a while now) a very eager eater– you lunge for the spoon, you “talk” with your mouth full, you scream and squeal when waiting your turn for a bite. You are just so excited about all of this new stuff!
And while Henry shrieks and screams (and while you sometimes imitate him), you prefer softer noises. And with each passing day, the sounds you make come closer and closer to sounding like words. You’re really experimenting with consonant sounds (along with the full range of vowel sounds), and you’re starting to put those consonants at the beginning and end of your “words”. You’re just so expressive, mimicking inflections and intonations and facial expressions. You’re clearly attempting to share something, and for the most part, whatever it is you’re saying makes you very, very happy.
You’re such a sensitive boy, too. You sometimes cry when Henny makes a loud sound, or when something startles you. Henny will cry sometimes, too, when you make a loud sound, but you really seem to look so concerned with what might be wrong with him when he screams.
Here are some more things:
-Your hair is like a baby chick, all soft and fuzzy, standing straight up like a fluffy little aura around your head. I just love it. And you have the thickest, darkest eyelashes I’ve ever seen. I envy them!
-Did I mention yet what a monkey you are lately? Sometimes, it’s so difficult to get you to settle in and nurse, because you’d rather be flipping around or standing up. You are absolutely fearless sometimes, just throwing yourself this way or that, knowing you’ll be caught. It’s exhausting!
-You and Henry both have begun really reaching for things, but when you grab something, it holds your interest for much longer. You seem to want to study things, really figure them out (usually by using your mouth). You love your bendy ball and also the whoozit soft toy with all the tags to pull on. You also found the vibrating pull toy to be intersting, so you might be getting one in your stocking…
-Like your brother, you are a genuinely happy kid. You don’t get upset often, but when you’re at the end of your rope, that’s IT. You calm pretty easily, as long as I’m there to comfort you. But most of the time, you’re all smiles:
-Like your brother, you also have really found your hands and will contentedly suck on your fingers forever. Of course, given the choice, you’d rather suck or chew on MY fingers.
-Again, also like your brother, you light up when Papa comes home. And in the morning, if Papa comes in while we’re nursing, you stop to stare and smile at him.
-You’ve started curling yourself in a ball while you nurse, pushing your feet into my side and arm. It’s totally weird, but I love it.
My Jackjack baby, I love how sweet you are, how much you clearly enjoy life, how much fun you seem to be having. You adore Papa and I, but you just seem to have so much fun with Henny, and I love seeing that relationship grow between the two of you. I can’t wait to see what new things the next month holds for you. I love you, love you, love you!
My boys, I’m simply blown away by how much you’ve grown, and how different you are, week to week. I can’t believe that the next letter I write you will be the one where you are half a year old! And babies, I cannot wait to write that letter, to learn what great new things are coming in the next month!
Love Always and Always,