Dear Natalie: Week 19

Dear Natalie,

This week we had a playdate at a friend’s house, which I freely admit is more for me than for you at the moment. Your friend has a jumperoo, which I came home and immediately ordered for you. You already have an exersaucer (lovingly nicknamed the “saucer of neglect”), but you’re not really that fond of it.

But the jumperoo? Holy cow do you love that thing.

2013-12-10 10.17.45A blurry baby is a happy baby.

Your feet don’t quite touch the floor, which is why that towel is underneath you. As tall as you are, you seem to have inherited your mom’s stumpy legs and have most of your height in your torso. Sorry about that.

You can also see in that picture your playmat, a blanket, and the horribly-named My Brest Friend. Not pictured: your rocking chair, the saucer of neglect, your swing and bouncer, and the army of small plastic toys that are slowly but surely infiltrating our house.

Before you were born I swore up and down that I would never, ever allow my house to be swamped by a tsunami of “plastic crap.” Babies are small and easily entertained, I reasoned, why spend all that money on ugly plastic things when they’d be just as happy with a cardboard box?

Here’s my pro tip for you to file away for future reference, Natalie: babies love plastic crap. You lose your freakin’ mind over the jumperoo, and I haven’t even put batteries in it yet. (When I do, it’ll be like a whole new toy. Merry Christmas!)

That’s not to say that you can only be entertained by Baby Einstein branded items, because that’s not true. You’re equally fascinated by the strings on my hooded sweatshirt, or your own socks. But when I need a place to put you down so I can make myself a sandwich, or write you these letters, or just not have a tiny person glued to me all day who randomly spews milk onto my shoulder, it is really nice to have baby containment devices like the jumperoo.

You really only figured out yesterday how to “jump” in it, and watching you in that moment was magical. The dawn of understanding lit up your face and you started doing this crazy, jerky, baby dance, wildly bouncing and flailing and grinning like this is the best day of my life.

Your fine motor skills are also improving by leaps and bounds lately. Instead of smacking a toy with your whole hand when we place it in front of you, you reach out and grasp it surprisingly delicately between your fingers. If you drop something, you can usually retrieve it by yourself as long as you can still see it. And, my favorite use of that new-found grip: snaking your arm out of the blanket while you’re nursing and viciously pinching my upper arm.


Your sleep has not been great lately, particularly during the day. This is worrisome because I rely so heavily on your naps to get things done, so when you decide to sleep for 17 minutes instead of an hour and a half, it really puts a crimp in my plans for the day.

Four months is a tough time for sleep, though, because there’s a lot going on: growth spurts, a Wonder Week, and reaching new milestones that occupy all of your brain power and prevent you (and us) from having a decent night’s (or even day’s) rest. This week, that milestone was rolling from your back to your front. You’d come pretty close a couple of times, and managed to do it while on your play mat by bracing your foot against one of the arches that holds your toys and pushing yourself the rest of the day over.

But then a few nights ago you were hanging out on your back on your blanket while I was uploading a video to youtube (of you, of course). I was watching your sweet face on my computer screen, and then I looked over at you only to find you propped up on your tummy, big as life. Major mom fail.

Not to worry, though: you’ve repeated that trick several times since then, and it doesn’t seem to be a fluke. Unlike flipping from your tummy to your back, which still has you flummoxed despite having done it for the first time over a month ago.

And so the summary is the same as it always is: you’re awesome and handling this whole growing up thing beautifully.

(Unlike your mom, who still falls to pieces at the thought of you sleeping in your own room. We’ll get there.)

Love always,


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