You were four months old yesterday, and I am a day late writing this. Mommy isn't perfect, I think it is time you learned that. Yesterday was a big day. We went to the pediatrician for your four month check-up and learned that you are healthy and perfect and sixteen pounds thirteen ounces. You had to get three shots and you screamed very nicely at the nurse and then promptly fell asleep. The other big thing from yesterday is that you looked me straight in the eye, grinned from ear to ear and broke into your first ever, no doubt about it, great, rolling belly laugh. It was like every bell in the world pealing in tune and if I never sleep more than 30 minutes straight for the rest of my life (which is starting to seem likely) it will be more than worth it just to hear you laugh.
This month, you learned that you have hands! And a mouth! And the hands! Can go in your mouth! Sometimes you are happy to loudly slurp your thumb, but most of the time you look like you are in a contest to see how many fingers you can fit in your mouth and you are determined to win. Your aim is getting pretty good, although you still sometimes get a finger up your nose or in your ear.
The other thing you have learned this month is to pick things up, either when we offer them to you or when we carelessly leave them within your reach, and cram them into your mouth, usually along with a couple of fingers. One of your favorites is a toy that looks like a strange butterfly/bee hybrid that we have named Muhammed Ali.
Your attention span seems to get a little longer every day. We can measure it by how much of the sports report on the local news you watch each night. You love the sports report. It doesn't matter what you are doing - playing, sleeping, eating - when you hear the promo you stop and fuss until I sit you up so you can see the tv. I don't know whether you have a particular affection for football or that is just what they usually show first, but you do seem to pay special attention to the football. You like it so much that your father and I decided to turn on ESPN and see what happened, except that we couldn't find it. I'm very sure that our television has never been on ESPN. Are you rebelling against us already?
We stopped swaddling you to sleep about a week and a half ago, and so far it has not been a rollicking success. You were waking yourself up at night trying to get your arms out of the swaddling so you could suck your fingers, but now you wake yourself up flinging your arms around and smacking yourself in the face. This morning, you got up at three and refused to go back to sleep, so your father got up and took you downstairs to try to stop us both from crying. It worked.
Speaking of your father, you have finally decided he is pretty cool, after a few months of a rather lukewarm reception. You save your biggest smiles for him when he gets home from work every day and where you used to only want to look at me now you much prefer to watch him. He has been spending lots of time playing his guitar for you, and you watch him do it with a look of complete awe.
Two weeks ago I went to a wedding and left you alone with your father for 5 hours and 42 minutes. It was the longest we have ever been apart and the farthest I have ever been from you. The wedding was an hour away, which turned out to be a good thing since it gave me time to stop crying before I got there. You spent about three hours screaming, because you were hungry and refused to take the bottle. It was a hard day for both of us, but I am glad we did it because I think that day you started to learn that you can be away from me and it will be ok. Since then, you have been a little more willing to go to other people and a little more accepting of letting your father be the one to comfort you. I am glad that you are becoming more secure, are learning how to spend a little time away from me and know that I will be back and that whoever I've left you with will take care of you, but watching you grow up a little bit every day is bittersweet.
Mia, I am lucky if I get an hour a day when I am not either taking care of you or running around like crazy trying to just unload the dishwasher in the five minute stretch in which you are content to amuse yourself, and even during that hour a day I tend to check you three or four times. Sometimes, that starts to seem like a hardship and sometimes I get upset about it and feel like if I don't get away for a while I will go mad. I'm telling you this now because it will probably continue for many years to come. But, even when I feel like I need to get away for a while, I also feel hugely fortunate to be able to spend all my time with you, to be able to put all my efforts into you. There is no job, no hobby, no anything that is more important, more valuable, more rewarding or more wonderful than you. I would not trade being here every day to see you learn and smile and play with you and wipe your chin for any amount of money, power or fame.