Ender hit the six month mark on December 1st.
It’s pretty shocking how much a baby changes in such a short amount of time. I thought babies grew faster in the womb than at any time in their lives, but this is clearly not the case. Ender was born 7 lbs 7 oz and 19.5 inches. He doubled his weight at three months. At his six month visit he was 19 lbs 13 oz and 27 inches.
We’ve given him “age appropriate” toys since he was a few weeks old (toys hanging from the baby gym to start) but it’s only in the last month or so that his actions have started to resemble anything recognizable as play, or that he’s been aware of objects that aren’t dangled directly in front of his eyes.
It’s true, most of his play involves trying to figure out how best to get the object of his attention into his mouth: gnaw, suck and slobber, but it’s still play.
He smiles when you smile, he smiles when you make faces. He smiles when he first sees you in the morning or when you come back into the room a minute after leaving. He laughs when you pretend to eat his tummy, when you pretend to throw him in the air, when you pretend to throw him on the bed. When you drag him backward by his ankles, or pick him up and hold him upside down. He’ll grin at a picture of his daddy.
He stands easily and eagerly if held by the waist, and he climbs if there’s something in front of him, usually up my shoulder. He squirms like mad, whether he’s nursing or sitting in a lap, or especially getting ready for bed. He doesn’t mind being dressed, but he doesn’t cooperate either. He loves baths, and getting Matt’s shirt all wet from splashing. He likes slapping the pictures in books and sometimes he’ll turn the page if you’re patient. He’ll sit still when Matt reads to him, but when I read to him, he tries to eat the book.
He is the perfect size to hug. He doesn’t hug back yet, but sometimes when he’s calm, he’ll cling around your neck and rest his head on your shoulder, and it’s almost a hug. He doesn’t give kisses yet, but he opens his mouth wide and sucks on my chin, or my cheek, and smiles while he’s doing it because it makes me laugh so hard, and the chuckles shake my whole body and him with it.
He doesn’t sleep like he used to in the car, but if it’s naptime, sometimes he’ll fall asleep after long, drawn out protests. They sound like: “Uhhhhhhhhhh. Uhhh. Uhhhh. Uhhhhhhhhhh.” He doesn’t sound upset, just persistent. We think he’s saying, “I’m AWAKE. I’m AWAKE. I’m STILL AWAKE BACK HERE.” Then he falls asleep.
He has his unexpectedly fussy times, but on those long days when we fully expect him to lose it, he’s a champ. He dissolved into sobs after his six month vaccinations, and showed me that he knows how to GLARE. Fortunately, it was aimed at the nurse, not me.
He is starting to notice the cats, and they have mostly learned to stay out of reach, though they’ll tolerate him petting them for a time. He usually comes away from “petting” with a fistful of fur, but they don’t make a fuss. He likes dogs as long as they aren’t TOO eager.
He likes his stuffed bunnies and Sophie, his giraffe. (Apparently all babies like Sophie.)
He does not yet like carrots. He is traumatized by rice cereal, and unimpressed by oatmeal. Anything inedible goes directly into his mouth, but if it’s food, and it’s not produced by my breasts, he’s not interested. Actually, he’s not interested in breastmilk from a bottle either, though he’ll play with the bottle or sippy cup if given the chance.
He grins at his reflection in the mirror, and at my reflection in the mirror. I say, “Who’s that? It’s Ender!” but I don’t have any idea whether he knows it’s him, or when he’s supposed to recognize that it’s him.
He isn’t sure how to react when we play peek-a-boo by covering our faces, but he SCREAMS with joy when we cover his face with a blanket or towel and pull it off so he can see again. He holds his breath when his face is briefly covered, which is a little freaky.
He likes to be held in the air, and on several occasions, has successfully dropped a drool bomb right on my eye or nose or mouth.
He loves Brown Bear, Brown Bear, even though I find the plot pretty uninspiring, and the protagonist unconvincing. The Very Hungry Caterpillar is more three dimensional, but his plight merely reminds Ender that he’s also hungry, and not interested in empathizing with someone else’s problems.
In just the last few days he’s changed from aimless swimming in the air movement to pushing up on all fours. Baby development websites say he should rock back in forth in this position, but Ender bounces impatiently instead, like he’s gearing up for a race. Right now he can only stay up that way for a few seconds at a time.