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Monday, July 27, 2009

4 months

Dear Asa,

This month has been our most challenging yet. Difficulties for you that are, in turn, difficulties for your dad and I. I must admit that we've had a pretty smooth run thus far. Your birth was calm and peaceful and there were no complications. You ate well and slept even better. You barely even cried. And then, all of the sudden, things weren't so easy, you weren't so happy and I wasn't so confident. And really I think what was hardest of all was your dad's first long tour that took him away from us for 9 days. This compounded everything and made it harder for each of us - you without the comfort of your dad, me without his help and support and he without his dear little boy. Not at all easy for anyone. And add to that your first bout of teething and some pretty extreme tummy distress. What a combination, eh? But we made it and we'll never have to deal with that exact set of problems again. New ones, to be sure, but never this. And for that I am very glad.

Lets start with the big one - TEETHING. What a monstrous beast!! The pain and frustration of your emerging choppers is really the first great discomfort you've known. And boy did you let us know you were uncomfortable! During the worst of the teething days the only thing that would calm you was to be held, your back to my stomach, while walking up and down (and up and down and up and down...) the front porch. We spent hours and hours out there, pacing and watching the cars. I'm still not sure exactly what it is - the fresh air, the sound of the traffic, the bright sunlight - that fascinates you so, but it works. We spent entire days traipsing to and fro, rivers of your drool running down your chin and my arms, one of my fingers (and/or several of yours) being gnawed by your red and angry gums. Teething rings really didn't seem to offer you much relief (or me either, as I'd have to hand it to you over and over again. You're still getting the hang of holding things in your tiny, chubby fingers). We eventually found that a cold washcloth could soothe you for a bit (if my finger happened to be otherwise occupied). Thankfully, the teething wouldn't last more than a day, perhaps two, then the drool and the fever, the sleeplessness and the crankiness would subside. Only to rear it's ugly little head in a few days. But at least we had a little break, both you and I, before the wee beastie of teething returned.

On a much happier note, you now laugh out loud - and it is the very best sound these ears have ever heard. The first time it happened I had you on my lap, facing towards me and I started to sing. Now, usually your dad is the one doing most of the singing so I understood the quizzical look that passed over your face. As I continued my silly little jingle your eyes narrowed slightly and the corners of your mouth turned upwards. Then, all of the sudden, you threw your big mouth open wide and the tiniest belly laugh erupted from you. Giggle upon giggle spilled out as I finished my song and I will never, for as long as I live, forget that sound. Now you laugh regularly, especially when you are on the changing table. You delight in grabbing your toes and pulling them to your lips as soon as your diaper is off. Then I give your ribs a squeeze or your armpits a little poke and there it goes again - the little grunting laughter that bubbles out of your happy face. It's just the Best. Thing. Ever.

You have also discovered the joy, nay the euphoria, of jumping. There is delight in your eyes when you hop in the jumperoo, and pride that radiates from your tiny self when we "stand" you on your little feet. It is such a wonderful feeling to clap and cheer for you as you pound up and down, up and down. Your face sparkles with a cheek splitting grin that grows as you realize that we are rooting for you, that we are reacting to your powerful little jumps. This, of course, only makes you jump even more, followed by more squeals of delight from us, and, well - you see the pattern. Needless to say, you are quite pleased with this discovery, and so are we.

It is an amazing thing to see your strong body start to emerge, following an even stronger will. Your frustrations have started to diminish as you master the muscle, tendon and bone of your body. I watch you as you eye the toy - a brightly colored frog-like rattle from your friend Iand - near your head on the play mat. Your tiny limbs twitch, wanting to have this appealing little trinket. Your fat little fingers flex and your elbow extends. Eyes still on the goal you wrap your uncoordinated digits around your prize. Satisfaction lights your face as you turn around, just to make sure I saw. I did baby, I did. And I am so proud.

As much as this has been a trying time for me (for us?) it has also been one of learning. I know now that you prefer a wet washcloth to teething rings, that you love to watch the big, red fire trucks that drive down the street and that you want to be sitting up as much as possible. And the best part is, no matter what, we are in this together. We are on this path as a little team, a little family. We shift and move and help each other every day. We react and change, we learn and adapt. And no matter how hard it seems in any single moment there is always your little laugh, your tiny smile, your small self that is a constant reminder of just how blessed I am.



bess said...

happy 4 months to asa! and you too!

Anonymous said...

For teething with upset tummy - buy the plastic molds to make your own popsicles, fill them with yogurt and freeze. The cold will relieve the baby's swelling of the gums and the yogurt will put good bacteria in the tummy!



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