Penelope is like a new baby every week. Her progress and growth is really astounding. She is more aware and alert every day. Sometimes when I get home from work and am going on a rant about my day, I'll look down to see her big eyes staring at me, her forward wrinkled with curiosity, as if she's really trying to follow what I'm saying. It makes me nervous to hear that humans learn the most the first five years. Here I am complaining and rolling my eyes, doing less than flattering impressions of my fellow man, and here is Pea absorbing every tone and inflection I put out there, to put into practice her first day of kindergarten.
She's obsessed with screens. The computer, the television, but especially our cell phones. And she's really trying to perfect her grab. She extends her hand in a claw shape toward all objects-- my lips, empty Dr. Pepper cans, glasses of water, her own feet. Once she grasps the object, the next step is to attempt to put it in her mouth. What follows is confusing. Danny and I aren't sure what she expects, but when she finally gets the object to her mouth, she always seems disappointed. Not just slightly, either. But despairingly so. As if she's lost the lotto. She cries with her eyes shut as if she expected chocolate mousse and got steamed broccoli. After a few minutes of her going back to putting it in her mouth and taking it out with frustrated cries, we usually take the object away, and she gets even more upset. Maybe she's teething.
Last week we attempted 'sleep training'. Our doctor recommended that it was time. Sleep training, also known as 'neglect' to some parents, is where you let your child 'cry it out'. The purpose is for her to learn to sooth herself, and not depend on helpless schmucks (her parents) to rock her, walk her, sing her songs, stroke her face, etc, at her every beck and call. I've heard once you get past the initial crying, your baby is independent and everyone wins. We had heard you should try at 6 months, but the doctor said the earlier the better. So last weekend, we gave it a shot. After 45 minutes of straight up screaming, with her head turning purple, Danny threw in the towel and went and got her. Even after we picked her up she didn't instantly stop crying, but continued for a while. After she fell asleep she was still gasping and swallowing every now and then to catch her breath. I think we'll try again in a couple months. For now, we have weaned her off sleeping in her swaddle and nighttime feedings. Sometimes she sleeps through the night, and other times she cries until you pop her pacifier back in, and she goes right back to sleep. So, I consider that progress.
She's making some amazing sounds these days. She does some raspberry type affects, but lately she's also been screaming and shrieking like how I imagine a pterodactyl would. My favorite is when you're in dialogue with her, either mimicking the noises she's making or answering as if she's speaking in actual words ('Yeah? Is that right? You never told me THAT before'), and she pauses as if she's choosing her words carefully before saying 'ssJJJAAAAAAAbllllf!', coupled with a facial expression as if she's giving you the gossip on the neighbor.
This video is for sound only. (If I let her see the camera, it interrupts the natural environment and she tries to grab it and put it in her mouth.)
Baby girl is now starting to hold her own bottle! Sometimes she holds with both hands in the shape of a gun, which is not always very effective, but we're working on that.
And another huge milestone is her first solid food! We have given her baby oatmeal for the past few days. Her first bites are always tentative and followed by a shudder, as if the taste is jarring, but she always leans forward for more. Because she wants to put everything in her mouth, this is an activity that finally liberates her. After a few times of rolling her tongue around, and pushing the oatmeal out she starts to swallow. She usually only ends up with half on her face, which we consider a victory.
Overall, I'm madly, deeply, insanely, what seems unhealthily, in love with her. Even when she's scream-crying, I think she's so adorable. I follow coworkers around the office showing them pictures of her on my phone. I stare at her while she's sleeping, I look at her pictures every second I'm away from her. I love the smell of her breath, I've memorized the rolls on all her extremities. I even like changing her diapers. Danny and I figure she must get a minimum of a million kisses a day between the two of us. I can't imagine this kind of obsessive love can last, but people have warned me that it will. When she's a teen, will I still want to kiss her belly? Will I follow her around and congratulate her on successful bowel movements? Will I disapprove of her friends, once she branches out of her current circle? (Gerry the giraffe and Gordon the bear). This might become problematic.
In closing, here she is with her posse (Gordon bear) flashing a 'peace out'.