I cannot believe Ryland is 5 months old today. FIVE MONTHS. That’s like a month away from six months. Which is SIX MONTHS from a year. Which means she’s practically in college!
Okay so that may be a slight exaggeration, but it does feel like time is starting to speed up exponentially. The last few months have felt chunky and long, because newborn time is this weird, sleep deprived haze where you lose your bearings. But now that she’s becoming more of a baby and less of a blob (a cute blob, but a blob nonetheless) I can sense things moving forward far faster than I would like.
I have been a total failure at doing those cute monthly posts where I put a little number sticker on my baby and pose her in the exact same place. But I feel like I average about 20 pictures of her a day on my phone so her life isn’t exactly undocumented.
But even though I’m late to the game, for the sake of posterity I would like to try marking each month from here on out. Instead of doing the good old month sticker with the baby on her glider thing I thought instead I would write future Ryland a little note about what her life is like right now so that one day when I am old and demented, she can look to these for recollections of what her early life was like.
So, my dear Ryland,
Today you turn 5 months old.
5 months might not seem like a milestone birthday. It’s kind of like the 20th birthday of the first year, overlooked by the much splashier 6 month mark, but 5 months is still deserving of its own notice and attention.
In the last few weeks you have suddenly and without much warning turned into a full fledged baby. Gone are your squishy, blob-like newborn days where you were adorable but let’s be frank, a little one note.
Now you are bursting with personality, and it is the personality of someone with multiple personality disorder. You are either a cantankerous feral cat, squawking and screeching to the heavens, or you are the happiest stoner on earth, all lazy, gummy smiles and finding EVERYTHING hilarious. In these moods, you are particularly amused by our dog George. Your father and I will act like baboons to try and get a laugh out of you, with faces and noises. We practically perform choreographed song and dance routines in the living room to get a chuckle. You will blink at us. And then George will walk across the room and you cackle and giggle like it is the FUNNIEST thing you have ever seen.
You know how to turn on the charm when you want to and will grin at total strangers in Costco with that dazzling, mega watt baby smile that you will one day use to totally manipulate mom and dad (but especially dad!).
You also know how to express it when you are displeased. And express it you do. You have in the last 2 weeks or so found the ability to scream. And you love it. You act like you are rehearsing for a role in a horror film, what with the frequency and vociferousness of your screams. You scream when you are happy and you scream when you are mad. You scream in the car and on your playmat. Our house sounds like a baby torture den these days.
Even better is when you talk. You will look deeply into our eyes and talk for minutes with passion and urgency. I know you are trying really hard to communicate with us, probably something along the lines of “GIVE ME MORE FOOD MY SLAVES!”. Unfortunately for you, right now it is only coming out in disparate vowels and consonants. When you talk to us it is like being talked to by a drunk and opinionated Italian person. Unfortunately it is just not translating. But you do your best, and one day I promise you will get the hang of this whole language thing.
You have very clear likes and dislikes these days. On the “like” list: Mom’s boobs, bottles, anything you can put in your mouth including your toes, things that rattle or make noise, paper towels, magazines, pulling mom and dad’s hair, flailing your legs and arms, the jumparoo, fans and/or wind, baths, being naked, the changing table, going on walks, the vacuum, hanging out with your grandparents, and the dogs. On the “dislike” list: the moment when you finish a bottle (you like to put a dramatic flourish on drinking a bottle by crying hysterically for 2-3 minutes after finishing it like it was the LAST BOTTLE LEFT IN THE WORLD), cold food or liquids, getting strapped in the carseat, waking up alone in your crib, tummy time, similarly when you accidentally flip yourself over from your back and end up on your tummy, the bumbo, being put down anywhere when you are cranky or tired, and long car rides.
Your sleep is…interesting. Some days you are a champ and take a 2-3 hour nap in the morning in the crib and go down easily for the rest of your cat naps. You have slept as long as 7 hours straight in the crib at night. And then other days you decide you will do an evil laugh in the face of any attempt at sleep training and at night refuse to sleep anywhere other than directly adjacent to mom and her boobs. But as long as this preference is fulfilled, you will snooze happily all night, only waking up occasionally for a little thirst quencher.
You are happiest first thing in the morning, and you love to hang out in the big bed with mom and dad, cooing and smiling and smacking us in the face/pulling our hair.
You like hanging out at home, but you also like being out and about and seeing new places and people. Now that you will tolerate the stroller you will contentedly (usually) join mom on her errands or shopping, even though you find it a little boring and don’t mind showing your boredom from the comfort of the stroller.
You have a talent for toots, and while they have luckily stopped smelling like rotten eggs, they are still often as loud as the toots that a grown man could let out. You especially like to grab both of your feet with your hands, stick your butt in the air, and let one rip. It’s a move you’ve really perfected.
You can roll from your tummy to back and back to tummy (you’ve only done this twice) but only when you feel like it. You can grab things well and bring them to your mouth. You have hit all of your milestones like an over achiever.
You drool like a faucet.
You just tried your first solids, a sweet potato puree cooked up by mom. You were way more interested in the spoon than the food, but you might have swallowed a teaspoon full. You pulled a face like we were trying to feed you dog food, but gamely tried each new bite, even though you made the same disgusted/surprised face each time like it was the first time you had tried it (you don’t have much of a short term memory right now).
You have so many people who love you in fact. Two sets of grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, mom and dad’s friends.
Oh and you’re a Catholic! You probably don’t remember your baptism, but for better or for worse, it’s official that you are a Catholic now. It will explain a lot of your guilt when you’re older.
You are 13 (probably 14 now!) pounds of sweetness and perfection.
You are loved so very, very much, loved to the moon and back, loved beyond measure or comprehension. My heart cannot contain my love for you, so I feel it spill out to the tips of my toes. In fact your mom is a little obsessed with you, bordering on creepiness. I already am planning how I’m going to follow you to college (sorry!).
You are five months old my little monkey! And even though you’ve only been in our live for 5 months, it’s already impossible to picture a life or world with you.