Sunday, April 22, 2007

6 month letter

Every month we write a letter and give 20-30 pictures to Miguel's birth family.

Miguel opened the month with a roll. Having finally mastered this feat, he feels no need to continue exploring the floor-world from his belly. Before we even have a chance to lay him down, he starts clenching those core muscles and folding into his “rolling stance.” He digs both feet and his right shoulder into the ground and hoists his bottom in the air, creating a sort of sideways, almost upside down V shape. He teeters back and forth a bit until gravity pulls him down on his back with a thud, which is followed by a huge, self-satisfied smile. We have learned that this is an “immature” rolling strategy, but he seems happy with it. His left rolling style is more “advanced” but not nearly as charming.

We continue to visit the physical therapist, even though Miguel’s head shape and neck flexibility is much improved. She shows us many ways to play with him, and keeps us on the lookout for developmental milestones. Given how much he loves to stand (with help) and hates to be on his stomach, we wonder if he’ll skip crawling and go straight to walking.

He is definitely starting to assert his likes, dislikes and needs! We think his favorite color is orange. Out of a choice of 4 colors, he always picks the orange rattle ball to play with. On a recent, warm walk, he kicked off one of his shoes and kept thumping the stroller until we removed the other one. The sight of his bottle literally makes him wiggle and quiver with happiness. When he’s hungry, he smacks his lips. When he’s full, he tells us by starting to wave his hands in protest (curiously, before he stops sucking).

The world and his own body seem equally interesting to Miguel—one minute he’s whipping his head around to investigate the source of every sound, breeze, shadow and flash of color, the next minute he’s twisting around his hands for some home grown entertainment. He’s suddenly aware of things he’s always ignored: our green vase full of peacock feathers, Mommy’s earrings, the sound of keys in a door lock (which always seems to startle him a bit), the ceiling fan in our living room. . . it makes us wish we could get behind his eyes and ears to see how his senses are evolving.

As he works harder and explores more, he’s also starting to have his first aches and pains. The bottoms of his big toes are a little rough from pushing off the floor to roll or bounce. The chilly weather dabbed his cheeks with eczema; he looked like a pink faced boy in an old painting. We think he picked up his first cold last week—while his mood was fine, his nose was stuffy and his babble was wheezier and higher pitched than normal. But at his “6 month” doctor visit this week, the doctor assured us that he’s doing great. He’s still at about the 50th percentile in weight and height for his age (18 pounds/26 inches).

As we expected, being a parent is joyful and challenging. What we didn’t expect are the kinds of joys and challenges. For example, before Miguel, Gin had a total phobia about diaper changing. Whenever any of her friend’s babies needed a change, she was the first to duck out of the room. So she’s surprised to find that some of her favorite times of the day are at the changing table with Miguel, taking care of his most basic needs. And while Michael has never particularly been a morning person, he enjoys waking up to Miguel’s happy 6am babble and feeding and playing with him before heading off to work.

The never-eroding mountain of laundry is one of the challenges we were not prepared for! He goes through spitting up phases—just when you let down your guard and leave the burp cloth in another room: “Blurp!” Yesterday, Miguel somehow managed to deliver a warm load down the front, inside of Gin’s shirt—she got soaked to the skin, but he managed to stay dry and smiling, clever fella. We’re definitely dressing more casually these days. And now that he's moving into solids, we expect the laundry pile to keep growing.