Letter to Bella, month five

Dear Bella,

It's been only five short months since you came slipping and sliding into the world, but it feels like we've known you forever.

I can sum you up with a look at any given time. Last night, you were fussing while I made dinner and Daddy tried all the usual tricks: rocking, bouncing, exersaucer. I came into the room, took one look at you and knew you wanted to swing. It was that simple. Daddy buckled you in and you were asleep in seconds.

This is the visceral part of parenting that I'd forgotten about it. When your brother was a baby, it was all so new to me that I often second-guessed myself or assumed that my Mama-stinct couldn't be right. But this time around, I've learned to trust myself and to trust you.

And what a wonderful little five-month-old girl you are! No matter where we go or who you see, your face is lit with a smile. People stop to smile at you, exclaiming "Is she always this happy?!" I have to be honest with them: Yes, you are the happiest baby on the block -- and it has nothing to do with us.

That's not to imply that we aren't loving parents or that your brother doesn't fall over himself to make your laugh (because both things are true), it's just that your personality is one that bubbles, that giggles, that only drops the smile when a stranger won't smile back at you.

In fact, when we took big brother to meet his first grade teacher, you flashed a huge smile at a man next to us in line. He saw you but then looked away. You grunted, then screamed at him until he finally spoke to you. You were immediately happy again.

But more than your personality has grown this month. You have become quite the mover. You roll around the room without stop. Often, if I leave the room, when I come back you've rolled up against the entertainment center or you're pinned against the couch. I think the problem is once you get going in one direction, you have a hard time going back the other way. This probably speaks to a latent stubborn streak - or it's an indication that you'll be the complete opposite of your Sag mom who can't make her mind which direction to go in.

All this rolling has forced a huge change: You've finally moved to the crib! You were clunking into the sides of the bassinet, so we had to give you more room to move. In the crib, you sleep like a rock from 9ish in the evening until 8ish in the morning. You wake up ready to chew on your little stuffed puppy or gaze in wonder at your farm animals mobile. Sometimes I find you just staring at the dragonflies and ladybugs on your crib bedding. The crib is a whole new world for you to explore and you're happy to take your time.

You're also eating up a storm. I gave in to your demands for FOOD! and have introduced you to rice cereal. Okay, introduced is an understatement. You are now eating cereal twice a day, pretty much everyday. I let you try Stage 1 foods, but you don't prefer them alone - you like them mixed into the cereal. So far, you've gobbled up peaches, carrots, bananas, peas and applesauce.

Everyone warned me that you'd never take vegetables if I introduced fruit first, but you were a huge fan of carrots and peas, but seemed to think bananas were from the Devil. I agreed with you after seeing what bananas did to your diaper. I don't think I've met another baby who doesn't like bananas, but I'm sure you'll get over it the way your brother did with mashed potatoes -- which he used to loathe but are now his favorite food.

Cereal and baby food are yummy, but your heart's true desire is a biter biscuit. You get excited when I strip you down and put you in the Bumbo because you know what's coming next: the cookie! You struggle to keep the gooey, gloppy mess in your hands and mouth. My favorite part of this struggle is when you try to throw your head back with the cookie in your mouth, but it falls out of your hands and you snap back up with a confounded look on your face.

Of course, I'm not telling your pediatrician about the cookies. At your four-month check up (a month late, of course), you weighed in at 15 lbs, 9 ozs and a 17" head, putting you in the 90th percentile all around. I thought this was great considering you were 95th percentile weight and 50th percentile height at your two-month visit. However, the pediatrician gave me an obesity lecture and offered me child nutrition classes. Needless to say, I'm currently shopping for a new pediatrician.

This month has been more fun than all the last - you're babbling up a storm, smiling and fluttering those eyelashes, belly laughing, eating your toes and even trying to sit up. Even though you hate to nap, you're still a calm, sweet, lovey baby who perks up when Daddy, Mama or big brother walk into the room.

Just as we've figured you out, you know exactly who we are. And none of us would have it any other way.

Love, Mama


  • grandma

    Hi Bella, It's 5:30 am. I got up early just to see your pictures. I love them all, but the 1st one is my favorite. You are the prettiest Granddaugher ever and remind me so much of your mom. She was a happy baby too. Love, Grandma

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