The fifth month has been, so far, one of the most exciting. I will probably say that another five times before Kaitlins first birthday, but what can I say. I know that she is learning and growing exponentially each and every day, but the fifth month is when we were able to see a lot of this growth and learning with our own eyes. She started rolling over (finally) and in no time was rolling from back to front and front to back like she had always been doing it. Before, when we put her to sleep in her crib, she would often stay in the same spot in the same position the whole night. Now she is rolling and scooting all over the place, many times ending up in the opposite position on the opposite side of the crib from where I first laid her down. This movement isn't only when she's sleeping - she is starting to scoot her butt up and down when she's laying on the floor. She's reaching for toys and rolling from side to side to get to them. Just the other day I put her down on her lamb mat while I was cleaning her room. I turned around five minutes later and she was four feet to the left on the hardwood floor. It's exciting to watch, and a bit concerning. I used to be able to plop her down in the middle of any of our beds and not have to worry about her. Now, even on our king sized bed, she can (and does) roll to the edge in a matter of seconds. And so begins a new era - The Movement Era.
She has always liked hanging out in her jumperoo and this month proved no different. She can now stay in it for twenty or thirty minutes without getting over stimulated. She loves playing with the toys on it and is bouncing all over the place, working those little leg muscles out. I got her a door jumper as well so she can work out more energy when we are upstairs doing chores. You can see how badly she wants to be mobile. She reaches for everything - whether she is sitting, standing (in our arms), laying on the floor - she wants whatever is just out of her reach. And when she can't quite get to it you can see the frustration in her eyes (and hear it in her cries). She is curious about everything, wants to hold and touch everything in her sight. She loves to play with rattles and noise makers and tries to hold on to all of them at once. She's also discovered that she can put things in her mouth - besides her hands/fingers/feet/toes. Anything within her grasp is in danger of going in her mouth - grass, bugs, toys, your shirt, cups...you name it she wants to hold it and try and put it in her mouth.
But perhaps the best development she had this month was learning how to laugh. Now, I use the word "laugh" loosely. As I mentioned last week its more of a screeching/cough/laugh combination, but it's cute as hell. She is all smiles these days and it seriously melts my heart.
We did some sleep training this month and have had great success with it. She still cries herself to sleep some nights but it usually never lasts for longer than fifteen minutes. She is now sleeping nine hours at a stretch then she gets up to eat and is back in bed for another 2-3 hours. Not too bad for five months old! Our pediatrician said I should thank my lucky stars she is sleeping that much at night. Basically she told me to quit whining about her crappy daytime naps and just be glad she's sleeping almost through the night. So, that's what I am trying to do. It's all about perspective, right?
A few more things I have learned...
Formula stains everything
Since her four month checkup revealed that she was on the lower end of the weight scale we have been supplementing with formula. Usually her bottle at bedtime is formula and she will eat anywhere from 6.5-8 ounces. Sometimes during the day I will also supplement with a couple ounces of formula if she only nurses for a few minutes. I have learned, rather quickly, that formula stains everything. She has never been big on spitting up and when she drinks breast milk it cleans up pretty easy. But formula is a different story. Clothes, burp clothes and bibs are now stained with its tan markings (not to mention have a peculiar odor to them). I didn't realize this would happen so now I am quick to treat everything with Oxiclean.
Babies will go at their own pace
For months now I have thought that Kaitlin was teething. I think the first time I mentioned it was after her two month check-up. There is no way, I thought, that a baby could have this much drool and chew on her hands as much as she does without some teeth coming in. Well, three months later and still no teeth. But since that two month appointment I have been trying to get Kaitlin to put teething toys in her mouth, hoping to relieve some of her discomfort or at the very least to chew on something other than her fingers. But all my efforts were in vain. Only in the last week has she started putting toys and teething rings in her mouth, and now she wants to gnaw on everything. It took her nine weeks from when she first started trying to roll over until she actually mastered it. As much as I would help her roll over she was never really interested in doing it on her own. Until she finally was interested in it and now that's all she ever wants to do. My point of this rambling is, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink (do people still say that?). And yes, I just compared my baby to a horse. Best mom of the year. You can do as much as you want to try and encourage development and try and get them to do something, but in the end they are going to do it when they are ready. So keep trying to help and nudge them in the right direction, but don't loose heart when they don't take to it right away. They'll get there soon enough (and then you'll probably regret helping them *think rolling, crawling, walking, talking...you get the picture*).
I will do anything to see that smile one more time
Since Kaitlin has started laughing and smiling so much more over the last month I just can't get enough of it. I find myself doing anything I can to get one more smile out of her chubby little cheeks. Sometimes I feel like such a needy girlfriend when she gets bored of my antics and looks away, I find myself becoming more and more desperate for one more smile. Silly faces? I'm a master. Weird voices and singing like a fool? I am a pro. Pretty much there isn't anything that I wouldn't do to make that little girl happy. It's a good thing she's still young and doesn't realize the power she has over me. I'm going to have to start hiding it a bit when she gets old enough to figure it out ;)