I missed Isaac’s four-month update as we were in the thick of the holidays, so this post is a two-fer with lots to share – get ready to scroll…

Will I ever not start one of these chronicles with “I can’t believe how quickly he’s changing!”?.  Maybe when he’s 12, but at this point I’m struggling to remember what he was like even a week ago.  We were at the park over the weekend and I heard a newborn crying and realized I haven’t heard that kind of quiet-but-loud drawn-out waaaahhhhh in months now.  Lately Isaac is more prone to a squawky shriek when he’s upset, like an angry cat mixed with a pterodactyl in pain.  He got extra fired-up a few nights ago in his crib; Shane went in to soothe him and said he went deaf for a moment when he held Isaac close.  The volume and pitch range on that kid is…impressive?  And so intense.

BUT (there’s always a but with babies!), he is exceedingly generous with his smiles.  All it takes is a moment of eye contact and a friendly “Hi, Buddy…” and he will reward you with the sweetest of grins.

He’ll make you work a little harder for a giggle, which requires a belly nuzzle or a kissing of the armpits or some variation of head-bobbing while chanting digga-digga-digga-BOOP, but it’s always worth the effort.  Shane is king at eliciting the fullest gales of laughter, though I’m queen of airplane chuckles.

He’s a sturdy little guy at just over 18 pounds.  He loves to be naked and Juliette and I love to fawn over that round belly and those squishy baby thighs.  I lay him by the fire after bathtime and give him all the diaper time his heart desires.

Though that chub is 95% breast milk, we’ve started experimenting with solid foods – his first bite of applesauce was mildly confusing but by his second bite he was hooked and now starts flapping his arms in eager anticipation every time he sees his plastic spoon.  We’ve had to scale back on the snacks to let his digestive tract catch up with his mouth, but soon…tacos!  (Kidding, but oh, the flavors that await!)

He’s had a pretty continuous river of drool running down his chin for the past few weeks and last week I noticed a little white nub on his lower gums.  First tooth, at almost five months!  The second one broke through a day later.  He didn’t seem overly bothered by it, though that new brand of shrieking did develop about the same time the teeth appeared, so who knows?

He figured out a couple of weeks ago how to roll from his back to his stomach and now he flips the moment I set him on the floor.  This was exciting for all of us for about 45 seconds – we whooped and hollered over his progress and then realized he doesn’t know how to get back onto his back….  He makes it onto his tummy, pops his head up and looks around as if wondering, “How’d I get here?!”, and then flails his arms and legs while squawking in frustration over the fact that he’s not going anywhere.  Little bud is dying to crawl.

Now, a sleep update.  SLEEP.  It makes or breaks the both of us and we’ve had some ups and downs over the past few weeks.  The good news is that we have whittled down what was a two hour evening put-down (nurse, doze, jolt awake, nurse, doze, repeat…) to about 30 minutes.  Shane let Isaac cry it out on the evening I did my Cedarbrook getaway with Nancy and LaVerne in December and though it took about 45 minutes of wailing, Isaac eventually was able to get himself to sleep.  We put him down still-awake the next night and he cried a little less, and then a little less, and now he’s (usually) asleep within 15 minutes of me leaving his room after he eats.  This has been so good for all of us – Shane, Juliette and I are back to playing a game together most evenings, I’m showered and the house is tidied by 9pm, and even on the nights that Isaac cries for awhile before falling asleep, he never holds a grudge.  He’s thrilled to see me at that first middle-of-the-night feeding, which used to consistently be around 2am, but lately could be at midnight or could be at 4:00 and could be the only time he wakes or it could be the first of three wake-ups….  It’s sleep-issue whack-a-mole.  We’ll find our groove.  Someday.

With the progress on bedtime independence, it seems we should move onto proper naps?  Every Monday morning I tell myself, “This is the week!  He’ll nap in his crib, on a schedule!”  And then Monday at 10am I realize I’ve been nursing and rocking him for over an hour and I know I should put him down, but I don’t.  Partly because I know he’ll wake within 20 minutes of me leaving the room, but also because this is the last baby I’m going to rock, and dammit, it feels so good.

I’m so thankful for my body’s ability to nourish him, for the way his breath often slows and his eyelids droop the second he latches.  If he’s not so sleepy, he’ll nurse for a couple of minutes, pop his head up to give me a big old cheesy grin of gratitude, and then get back to it.

Seriously, though – what’s sweeter than a milk-drunk baby?

Maybe a baby that’s just woken up from a marathon doze in his mama’s arms?

On the occasion I do get Isaac to sleep in his crib, I find myself wandering back into his room to watch him sleep.  I’m a crazy person.

When he wakes up, Juliette and I arm wrestle over who gets to go get him.  If she wins, I watch on the monitor, just to see his smile.  Insane over this kid, I tell you!

Other notes for the time capsule:

Favorite book is Little Blue Truck, a Christmas gift from the Rusts.  Juliette has the whole book memorized by now and I think everyone in the family has some variation of “truck says beeeeeep” looping through our heads during the day.

He rubs his left ear when he’s super-tired – I worried for a couple of days that he had an ear infection, but now I realize it’s just a cue to get him down for a nap.  I prefer this signal to the pterodactyl sounds mentioned at the outset of this post, but often we get both at the same time.

His favorite toy is the stuffed giraffe my mom gave him when he was a few weeks old.  We call him Gigi and Isaac has gnawed on its ears, arms, legs, tail…here he his trying to fit Gigi’s full head in his mouth:

New nicknames primarily focus on his recent efforts to “develop his voice” and include Chatty Pumpkin (Juliette’s favorite) and Screech Owl.  Also Cheese Ball and Soggy Biscuit on days that he’s done a lot of spitting up.  Don’t worry – he knows he’s cute as all get-out and that we’re all head over heels.

Every day is another step in the journey of getting to know our boy better – Juliette and I were trying to figure out the source of his distress a couple of weeks ago and she ultimately shrugged her shoulders and said, “He’s just such a sweet mystery, Mama…”.

Indeed, Isaac.  We’re here waiting when you want to tell us more (but please use your inside voice).