YOU ARE THE BEST BABY EVER! You're so good that the caps lock key just doesn't do my declaration justice, so I'll try it in bold, too: YOU ARE THE BEST BABY EVER!
Around five weeks old, you decided to actually sleep at night. That first morning when I woke up and realized I had gotten about seven hours of uninterrupted rest, I wanted to run outside and brag to the world about how wonderful you are. Instead, I just ran into your room and smothered you with kisses.
Much to my surprise, it wasn't a fluke. You consistently sleep between six and eight hours a night, briefly wake up to eat, then take a nap for another few hours, freeing me to do other things. Things like appreciate the fact that you are the best baby in the entire universe, including all the other species and micro-organisms. Even amoebas.
It's not just your sleeping pattern that has me convinced. You never cry when we change your diaper. You cooperate while we tug clothes over your head and arms. You even like bathtime.
And have you seen how COMPLETELY AND INCOMPREHENSIBLY ADORABLE YOU ARE?
Another big change this month was your first smile. It's as if you discovered the joy in using your facial muscles and now you don't want to stop.
You had been turning up the corners of your mouth while you were sleeping for a few weeks, and then all of a sudden it morphed into this big open-mouthed gummy grin. It is usually accompanied with some sort of sound like "eep," which I translate to mean "Wee!"
When you were born, I thought my heart was going to burst every time you opened your eyes and looked at me. But the smiling? I can feel the endorphins being released from my brain and flooding my veins. I do everything short of don a red styrofoam nose and ride a unicycle to get you to do it again. And when you do, I want more. I just can't get enough.
That said, please ease me into your first laugh. If not, I might keel over and break a limb.
One of the habits you've formed is looking to the left. I know, it sounds strange to call it a habit, but I spend every waking moment with you, and I can count on one hand the amount of times you voluntarily look to the right throughout the day.
At first I assumed it was simply the direction you were forced to look in the womb, and after a few months of having your neck in one position, I can imagine that would be kind of hard to break. But then I took a harder look at your surroundings and realized we always have you in situations where you're required to look to the left in order to get the best view. Like the changing table, your rocker and even your play mat.
So I rearranged a few things, and all of a sudden you've discovered that your neck swivels in both directions.
It's a wonderful thing.
You're starting to stay awake more during the day now, and I'm really enjoying getting to know you. One of the first things I noticed is that you're a multiple sneezer. As of now, you have never sneezed just once in your entire life. Three seems to be your favorite, but they often travel in pairs or even as many as five in a row.
I always know they're coming because you get very still, seemingly in preparation for the inevitable wave of spasms that will soon overtake your nasal cavity. Then you scrunch up your eyes and out come these tiny sounds as your arms splay to your sides and pump up and down in rhythm.
It doesn't happen often, but I enjoy them almost as much as your smiles. Mostly because it always ends with a look that seems to say, "Well, what the hell was that all about?"
It shows you have spunk. And that your father and I have no idea what we're in for.
You're changing so rapidly that I started taking pictures every day. I thought it was enough to pull out the camera a few times each week, but all of a sudden your clothes didn't quite fit you anymore. Then I freaked out.
I couldn't believe that at six weeks old I had to dig out the three- to six-month outfits. Your legs are just so damn long. Dad was the first one to realize that you couldn't straighten your knees in your footed pajamas -- I probably didn't notice because I was in denial.
It made me so sad to retire all of the tiny sleepers, many of which I never got your picture in. Then, to top it off, I realized you don't resemble your newborn photos anymore. I had been pacing around in the dark upstairs with you on my shoulder, trying to get you to sleep, and I stopped for a moment to watch our computer monitor scroll through images on screensaver mode. When one of your hospital pictures randomly popped up, I couldn't help but notice how much your features have changed.
I almost woke you up right then to capture your look because I knew it wouldn't be the same in the morning.
I guess it's simultaneously the most exhilarating and frustrating thing about your stage of life right now. I want you to grow and flourish more than anything, but it's happening so fast that I'm afraid I'll blink and you'll be slamming your bedroom door in my face because I won't let you go to a movie until you finish your math homework.
So it's moments like the ones where you're complete mush on my shoulder, your cheek taking on the properties of whatever texture my shirt is that day, that I close my eyes and just take you in.
I may not always be able to carry you around on my shoulder, but as long as I'm alive, I promise that you'll always have them to lean on.