Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Wonder Month (Month 4)

If you read my previous post, we've now left the Fourth Trimester and become a "real baby!"

It's amazing the changes that a baby goes through in the fourth month. 

Did you know babies can communicate with their parents from birth?  Yes, all that crying means something.  How frustrating must it be for a baby, who cannot do anything for their self, to be able only to communicate through crying?  My grandfather is deaf, and although I've never learned or been able to practice as much sign language as I want to truly be able to converse well with him, it made sense to apply what I did know to communicating with my children.  We began teaching Whit signs around three months.  By the time he was seven or eight months old, he was able to sign "all done" and "more." I can distinctly remember one of his first signs "all done" toward the end of a swim lesson when he was 8 months old.  I took him out of the pool with five minutes left in the lesson and avoided a melt down.

Although it's not typically my style, I hadn't done much research on the idea of signing with your baby when I started doing it with Whit.  Seeing how successful I was, I began much earlier with Eilidh, around 6 weeks.  And it's paying off. Although she cannot sign, or even approximate signs yet, she is learning them and their associated spoken word.  This week for the first time I asked Eilidh if she wanted to be in the carrier and did the sign for "carrier."  In response I got a huge smile and lots of excitement. Eilidh is loving the carrier these days.  Many days its the only way to get her down for a nap.  She also shows an excited response when I sign and say "nurse."  And the best use? While Eilidh is usually content to be down for periods throughout the day, there are some times when she simply wants to be held. But it's impossible to change a diaper while holding the baby without getting covered in poop (trust me, I've tried). The solution? I put her down, quickly sign and say "let's do a diaper change" and immediately she stops fussing.

Baby has almost doubled in weight.  Eilidh, born at exactly 8lbs weighs in just a few ounces shy of 16 pounds. She's also 2 feet long! 

Did you know newborns can only see shades of black and white and their eyesight limits their field of vision to less than 2 feet?  By 4 months they can see colors and all the way across a room. Although babies can recognize their parents early on, around this time they can recognize voices and people from several feet away and they begin recognizing other important (or frequently seen) individuals.  

When I was pregnant, I began getting a sense of Eilidh's personality.  She was mostly quiet and sweet but she would occasionally get very fired up and she could certainly stand up to big brother Whit when he bumped her or simply laid down on my stomach (she typically responded with a kick or punch).  These personality traits are continuing to show themselves and we are getting to know her a little better every day.

Eilidh is a sweetheart. She will smile for just about anyone and is rarely upset. Eilidh has a special smile for most of the special people in her life.  Brother, Daddy and Papa are current recipients of one of the most dazzling.  I don't get a lot of smiles myself, but we have our own special look that we share. But watch out if she gets angry.... Today she dropped a toy and lost sight of it.  There's no object permanence at this age, so out of sight meant the toy was lost forever.  What a reaction she had! She also gets very impatient when she is particularly set on getting something and seems to loose all patience at that point.

Eilidh loves her brother and watches him almost constantly. She is eager to be doing whatever he is doing and blossoms when he shows her the slightest bit of attention.

Motor Skills
Both gross and fine motor skills have taken a leap forward in the last few weeks.  Babies can grasp objects, sometimes pick them up and can navigate most anything to the mouth; good practice for feeding themselves in a few months.  Eilidh likes pretty much anything in her mouth but especially watch out for your fingers! She will also grab my face and bring it right up to hers for a kiss and enjoys holding my hand when she is nursing or trying to fall asleep.

Typically developing babies begin to do "big" things like sitting up and rolling over between the fourth and sixth month.  Our over-achiever did both almost two weeks shy of 4 months (albeit she was born nearly 2 weeks later than "typical").  This video shows a small portion of her newly honed mobility.

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