Smiley baby hit 5 months yesterday
Seriously, this baby is so damn smiley, it just makes me so happy. Also, let it be known that as soon as I finished taking her 5 month pictures, I held her up over my head and oogled her cuteness and she promptly spit up ALL OVER MY FACE. And mostly my right eye. I saw it coming out and closed my eyes and mouth JUST in time. Lol. Oh, babies.
And, of course, here’s the comparison of her and Zoe
I like how I accidentally both have them in Raiders onesies for their 5 month pictures, lol.
It’s funny, Merritt was born with A LOT more hair than Zoe, but so much of it has fallen out that I actually think Zoe at 5 months had more hair than Merritt has at 5 months. Merritt’s hair color has also completely changed. It was black when she was born, and now it’s the same brown color as Zoe. And same with her skin color. She was born olive like me, but her skin has really lightened in these 5 months and now she’s fair skinned like Chris and Zoe. Her eye color seems to change daily as well, but at the moment they look deep turquoise almost. I find it hilarious that I’m olive skinned, dark hair (was black when I was little) and dark brown eyes and I have two fair skinned, light brown haired babies with eyes so light blue they’re almost gray and the other with turquoise eyes. Nature is a crazy thing.
Last month the biggest development was the development of lack of sleep, lol. We’re still struggling a bit, but things have greatly improved. I would say there’s 1 good night, 1 so so night, 1 bad night. And then the cycle repeats.
The things we’ve done this month to help improve things (with help from the behavioral specialist): we moved to two naps a day exclusively. We were doing this a bit before month 4 hit to try to ease her into it, and now we’re there solid. She takes a morning nap at about 9:30 that usually lasts about 45 minutes. Then she goes down for her second nap around 1ish. That one usually lasts about 2-2.5 hours. Then she’s up till her bedtime at about 6:30.
We also have a nighttime routine: we go on a family walk, nurse, read a book, sing a song and put to bed. I found the routine really helped with Zoe and it seems to be helping with Merritt as well.
We also removed the swaddle. That was terrifying.
In working with the behavioral specialist she determined that Merritt was a natural planner and doesn’t like transitions. This makes sense if you know Chris and I, and it also made sense in the way she fussed about certain things and already seemed to have a routine of when she wanted to eat even at 2 months (she would just flat out refuse the boob unless it was her own already designated feeding times). We felt the best way to eliminate the swaddle because of this was to just cold turkey take it away. No slightly easing into things, inserting a little crutch or helper for a couple nights – it was just RIP THE BAND-AID OFF. Otherwise, we’d just have a terrible night again as we were eliminating the things that helped us eliminate the swaddle.
That first night SUUUUUUUCKED. It was awful. I think Chris and I each got about 2 hours of sleep. But the next night, AMAZING improvement. And by the 3rd night, it was like she’d never had it.
Part of the reason why we took away the swaddle was because she is a little ninja when she sleeps. Seriously, her movement as she gets to bed is ridiculous. We would put her on her belly, in the velcro swaddle down to sleep and after hearing her scream and yell and be pissed off for 30 minutes we’d go in there and she’d have moved to the entire other end of the crib, rotated 90 degrees, flipped herself over and had her arms out of it. And she’d be screaming her head off. She was a danger to herself, lol. We determined that she’s just a kid that needs to move and wiggle to get herself comfortable and that the swaddle was probably making her more uncomfortable, whereas we thought maybe she needed to have that movement confined because that was what was working her up.
But after we removed the swaddle she went down initially for nighttime and naps so much better. Success!
Nighttime wakings still suck for the most part. We’ve finally eliminated the 10-11pm one. So that’s good. But she was still waking up at 1, 3 and 5. Ughhhhhh. We’ve mostly eliminated the 3am one, so that is STUPENDOUS. And I would say every 5 nights now she only wakes up once, HOORAY! So that is an AMAZING improvement. The thing that is still hard however is that a lot of the time it can take her a LONG time to get back to bed. Some kids wake a lot to nurse, then BOOM, the boob puts them out. Not Merritt. She’ll hang out in her crib, talking to herself, making crazy noises, fussing, crying for sometimes up to 2 hours. It’s rough on all of us. Luckily these nights aren’t as frequent (they used to happen at least one feeding every night almost). Now they’re about every 2-3 nights. So again, a big improvement.
I think the thing that has helped me a bit over the past about 2 weeks is just accepting the Merritt is a rough sleeper. I kept trying to MAKE her be a good sleeper. And while she will eventually get there, right now she just has a tougher time at night. And, honestly, I’m a shitty sleeper that wakes a lot in the middle of the night and sometimes can’t go back to bed for hours, so I guess she just got my crappy sleeping gene. I’ll have to let her know it improves once you can read, because then at least there’s something to entertain you in the middle of the night.
So that’s the sleep adventures thus far.
What else is there?
Well, I say it every month, but she really is the damn happiest baby. It is so adorable to see. I love it. She just smiles so big and it just lights up her entire face and sometimes it’s so big it makes her whole body do a little shimmey. It’s so cute 🙂
I LOVE when she wakes up in the morning or from a nap in a good mood and she’s just laying there playing around and she hears you come and say hi to her. She perks that head up, turns to you and just smiles SO DAMN BIG it doesn’t just melt your heart, it melts your soul. It’s the sweetest and best thing to see.
She also continues to love having Zoe around and would rather watch Zoe play and run around like a wild woman than just about anything else. Zoe continues to reciprocate the feeling and insists on hugging and kissing “baby Merritt” whenever she leaves the house, gets dropped off at day care, when the baby goes to bed, etc. It is wonderful to see
Merritt is definitely a lot calmer than Zoe was. Many people have made that observation. Merritt still reminds me a lot of Chris – she’s a thoughtful observer. She is definitely engaged in what’s going on and likes to be propped up either on your shoulder or especially now my hip so that she can see what everyone is doing and what’s going on. But she just has this calm and sweet energy about her – she’s looking around, but she’s just here to hang out.
Being held on my hip is just about one of her favorite things. She could do that forever.
She rolled over about 6 weeks ago now from back to belly and has NEVER done it since. It’s the funniest thing. She did it about 10 times that initial evening. And just flat out decided it isn’t worth her time anymore, “I conquered that task. Moving on.” She also only rolls over from her belly to back in her crib. NEVER while we’re playing. Again, it’s as if she only performs a task when she determines it has value: rolling over in the crib lets her play with her feet or see what’s going on. Why would she roll over while playing on her mat? There is no added value there? She’s our efficient baby.
Feet are fabulous this month. It’s best to grab and try to eat them while on her changing table. It is also best to grab and try to eat anything she can maneuver into her mouth. The gnawing is still in full effect this month and she will grab that hand of yours and shove a finger in her mouth and just chew chew chew.
She still doesn’t really love to play with toys. I remember Zoe was always grabbing for stuff and wanted to wiggle and shove things around. Merritt is just content to be in her swing, lay on her mat or just hang out with you. But you absolutely must be near. This child loves personal contact and close proximity. I can’t get mad at a snuggler.
I notice that she seems to also favor her left hand for grabbing and sucking. We’ll see if that sticks, or if I’m just hopeful (as a lefty myself). And she also has been loving running her fingers over things and scratching at them to feel the texture of things. She especially likes zippers. Funny how kids already have such a preference for things
One more of that GIANT smile
Alright my little cutie. Happy 5 months to you. Can’t wait to see what month 6 brings!