Rapidly approaching five months old, I wanted to hold some space for the little boy in our lives at four months of age. This is the month that we have seen him change and learn more rapidly than ever before. This is the month we seem to have gotten a tiny sneak peak in to the little boy he will become.
The first thing that happened was his sleep began to change. One night he was sleeping all night with only one wake up at 5am, and the next he woke up 12 times. Twelve. I can tell you that the following morning I did not feel like I loved motherhood! He woke up his usual smiling chattering self, I woke up feeling like someone had replaced my four month old angel with a newborn again. See here's the thing, with a newborn you expect to be tired. More tired than you've ever felt in your life in fact. They wake up to feed so frequently that you live in a constant haze of not really knowing what is day and what is night. They feed, they sleep for 30 minutes, they feed some more. Then along comes this beautiful period of time where they settle in to 3 hourly feeds and pretty much sleep all night. Or at least Oskar did. And so when he reverted back to newborn type wakings, each time wanting to breastfeed for half an hour at a time, and then still woke up and was awake for most of the day, it took some getting used to once more. But with this new waking pattern we held on to the belief that a change was coming. We knew frequent wakings could only mean he was entering a new leap in his development, or we could soon expect him to have a huge growth spurt.
Oskar currently weighs around 15.5lbs and still wears 0-3 clothes. His gorgeous 3-6 wardrobe is all ready and waiting for him, but he seems to be on the smaller side of average, and seems in no hurry to move in to the bigger size at all. Unless baby clothes come up large?! That's fine though, he can stay our tiny boy a little bit longer.
So the frequent wakings, also known as the four month sleep regression could only be accounted for some big changes for him that were about to happen. And sure enough, before our eyes, our tiny boy has been learning all kinds of exciting things this month. First, he perfected his grasp. All of a sudden we noticed he opened his hand out to grasp something, and without hesitation pulled it towards his mouth. His mouth is a big source of enjoyment, everything goes in there for a good old chomp, and if he's anywhere near your skin or clothing you can guarantee it will be licked, sucked and chewed on. So now toys are more interesting to him as he can hold them, look at them, and then shove them in to his mouth for good measure too.
Next came the physical abilities. His head and neck are strong enough now that he can really push himself up when on his tummy. Combined with more control over his little legs he likes to practice the crawling motion for a while at a time, and has gotten quite good at pushing himself backwards when lying on his back by pushing his feet on the floor. He can now sit with only a little bit is support, and lift his head clear when in the sling, for a good look around. Finally, he has discovered his toes! He has been rolling for quite a while now, bit recently had discovered if he rolls himself on to his side he can pull his toes towards his mouth. I honestly never though we would be so proud of something so simple!
Oskar has always been such a vocal baby. People always stop us to comment on what a smiley and giggly little boy he is, and he will happily squeal and coo away at anyone who talks to him. Recently though the sounds coming out of him have been far more distinctive and more consonant like - he will be chatting away in baby gibberish and then all of a sudden declare "L L L Laaah" or "y y yeee". His phonetic sounds are really taking shape and it's incredible to watch in such a tiny human being.
We both agree that we are loving this age, he is old enough now that we have developed a real relationship with him, the big delighted grin and look of utter adoration on his face when we pick his Mommy up from work, or when he wakes up in the morning and sees me lying next to him, is just so special. He has his own little games that he likes to play with just us, mainly trying to catch our eye and then turning away when we look at him and giggling his head off. And he's so ticklish! But only we know just how to get him giggling, and it is so absolutely adorable. He is a chilled out, easy going, happy little soul, he fills our world with so much love, so many giggles, so much happiness.
So with all this learning going on in such a short space of time, plus his body learning all about a circadian rhythm and how the heck to handle one, it's no wonder his sleep has been so interrupted for milk and cuddles. It's completely understandable that he needs the reassurance through all these changes that we are there, and we aren't going anywhere. And it makes perfect sense that the easiest way to get that is to want to sleep in our bed, squashed right up against one of us. Even if it is rather exhausting for us!
Having a baby changes your world in ways you don't even know how to comprehend. It's like life becomes about them, watching them grow, teaching them new things, observing their bodies handle new skills. It's amazing, beautiful and wonderful. We love being his mummies more than we ever dreamt we would. I wonder what next month will bring. More sleep, we hope!