Sunday, January 31, 2016

4th in a Series of 12

Before this calendar month disappears and February dawns, I really must finish something: Benjamin's four-month blog post.  After I turn around two times, fix a few meals, and lie down for three or four sleeps, it will be time to do his five-month one, I think!  :)

I usually intersperse my observations about his development between the pictures I choose for his monthly posts; but in this case, I want to do things a little differently.  Here is a series of pictures; and if you scroll down through them and focus on his face, it will give you a sense of what I often see when I look at him.  Ready?  Go!

Did you see it?  Those smiles of his are kind of like waves that roll in and break and then recede.  These days, when I catch his eye, he often gives me a huge grin, the kind that makes his entire body wiggle a little.  For a four-month-old, smiling can be a whole-body sport.  :)

Wanna see another one?  :)

I melt.

Who knew a fifteen and a half pound lump of boy could have such an effect on me, just by smiling?  :)

Well, now that we've got the smiling issue out of the way, let's see what else we can talk about.  :)
On the good side, Benjamin has much less spit-up now than he used to.  Occasionally he still spits up a little bit, but it's insignificant enough that I don't even carry/wear the burp cloth I always used to have with me when I was holding him.  Burping, as well, is not a big issue anymore.  After he nurses, he does not routinely have a burp--oh, once in a while, he does, but usually not.  I can lay him down after he nurses without fearing that he'll get a great big gas bubble in his tummy and fuss as a result.
On the...well...not-so-good side, Benjamin is not a fan of tummy time.  His tolerance for it is very short, despite our efforts to entertain him with all the bells and whistles we can conjure up.  Oh well, he's not the first of my kids to disdain tummy time; and so far, they've all turned out OK.  ;-)
Benjamin's eyes are beautifully blue; and despite appearances, he really does have some hair growing in on his head.  It's just that it's so light!  David was hoping that we would have another blondie in the family, and I do believe he got his wish.  Benjamin's dark hair that he had at birth has nearly all fallen out, and it's being replaced by a light peach fuzz that's almost indiscernible.  But someday it will actually be visible to all!  :)
When our other boys learned that we would name this son Benjamin, they started talking about nicknames and were quite opposed to certain ones.  We didn't plan to use any particular nickname with him, but so far this is what has developed.  I call him "Benjaboy," Jeff calls him "Benji-menji," and our pastor sometimes calls him "Ben-jammin'," which always makes a Bill Withers song start playing in my head.  :)  There's another man at church who sometimes calls him by his first and middle names, and I delight to hear "How's Benjamin Caleb today?" because I love both of those names so very much.
One big thing that occurred during this month was the need for some sleep training.  Because of Benjamin's easy-going, sleep-pretty-much-anywhere nature and because of a busy family schedule that did not make it easy to prioritize his naps, I had not done much sleep training with him during the first three months of his life outside the womb.  But then as he grew older, he did not naturally fall asleep in the swing or wherever he happened to be.  Plus there were a few nights when I would feed him, he would fall asleep in my arms, I would lay him down in his crib, he would wake up and cry, I would pick him up, and the whole cycle would start over again.  That gets old fast, and spending the hours from roughly 10-midnight (and sometimes longer) every evening doing that was not appealing in the least.  So, it was time for Sleep Training 101.

I started during the daytime when I have more stamina and clarity of thought and paid more attention to the eat-wake-sleep cycle that I wanted Benjamin to be able to follow.  For once, I looked at the clock when I fed him and then calculated when he would likely be ready for sleep.  Then it was a simple matter to put him in bed while he was still awake and let him learn to go to sleep by himself.

In my head, it always feels like SUCH A BIG DEAL to do sleep training; but when I actually do it, I am amazed at how quickly my babies pick up on the notion that they can put themselves to sleep if I place them in the crib when they're awake.  And then I wonder, "Why did I wait until month 4 to start this?"  ;-)

I will confess though that, aside for the sleep training that naturally bleeds over from the daytime to the night, I haven't done any training with Benjamin in the middle of the night.  If he cries, I still get up to feed him and don't let him cry it out--part of my rationale being that Jeff needs his sleep, too, and I don't want a crying baby to interrupt Jeff's slumber.  :)  Plus, Benjamin got pretty good at going for six or so hours of straight sleep and, although that is not as long as my other kids at that age, it's decent, and I can live with it.  Besides, he's the youngest, and everybody knows the baby of the family gets away with anything.  ;-)
This month, I particularly loved...
~ watching him discover his toes.  Such fascinating objects waving around at the ends of his feet!
~ dancing with him to "Secrets" by Jennifer Thomas (and remembering dancing with Josiah when we lived in Israel and Josiah was just a one particular memory, I held him in my arms and danced in the kitchen of our Tel Aviv apartment to the music of a lullaby CD...and now here I was 13 years later, dancing with Josiah's littlest poignant).
~ all his smiles.  He's at such a smiley age; all I have to do is look at him, it seems, and out pops his grin.  Those pictures I shared at the beginning of this post?  Well, I get the incredible privilege of seeing that happen on a daily basis.  :)
~ hearing him laugh one day when I gently rubbed his neck.  Jeff is still the pro at tickling Benjamin and getting the most laughs out of him; but on that day, I did it, too...and felt on top of the world.  :)
Oh, Benjamin, you are a joy!  Thank you for these four fantastic months together!!


Emily said...

Such sweet smiles ❤

Valerie said...

Oh my, those smiles! Love his sweet little face! :)

Anonymous said...

His smiles are adorable!

sally said...

Sounds like both you and Benjamin are doing wonderful job! I love those waves of smiles! I think he looks like David in these pictures. I originally thought he looked like Shav. I'll have to keep assessing. Maybe it's just these pictures, or maybe his looks are changing.

Anonymous said...

I agree that he looks more like David than Shav in these wonderful photos! ;)