You are four months old today. It doesn’t seem possible.
That’s a phrase we seem to be saying an awful lot as we watch you grow.
You’re still a tiny thing – we keep seeing babies that are proportionally twice your body mass, and to me they just look like giants compared to you. You’re growing all the time, though. Those tiny fingers that used to be only as long as my fingernail now extend past my first knuckle. You have long fingers; everyone points out you’d make a good piano player.
In the past month, so much has changed. You’ve started smiling when you recognize someone Let me tell you, there is no smile as true, as big, as heartwarming, or as glorious as a baby’s, and yours seems bigger than anyone else’s. You’re often slow to wake up, and if it’s my turn to wake you I will hover for thirty seconds, a minute, two minutes – however long it takes for you to finally finish stretching, open your eyes, see me, and beam at me with that million-watt smile.
You’ve had your first road trip; your Grandma Carol, PaPa Darrell, Mommy and I loaded you into a van and drove for over twelve hours to visit your Aunt Amanda, Uncle Paul, and cousins Maggie and Mollie. We got to introduce you to a lot of your Uncle Paul’s family, who have been so wonderful to all of us for several years now that we think of them as our own family too. You were a hit. Nobody was surprised about that. What did surprise us is that on the ride up, you hardly fussed. You were ready to be out of your car seat with about fifteen minutes to go, but up until then you slept or just rode along, listening to us talk or sing to you, or playing with a small stuffed Snoopy doll.
That Snoopy is kind of your best friend right now, whenever you’re in your car seat. It’s been fun watching you develop your motor skills, too; when we first started putting Snoopy on your lap, you hardly noticed it. Now, I’ve watched you carefully focus your eyes, reach out your hand with a look of pure concentration, and grab onto it. You’ve pulled its ears, shook it around, even brought it to your mouth, and now you start to get excited when you see it.
Your motor skills are also allowing you to start to push your pacifier back into your mouth if it slips. If it completely falls out, you’re able to grab onto it sometimes, but you haven’t figured out what to do with it yet, or which end of it is which. That’ll come in time. I’m not impatient. I’ll put it back in as often as I need to.
You’re starting to get more hair, although you still look pretty bald on top. That’s probably from my side of the family. Your Aunt Katie and your cousin Lucy, both of whom you’ll meet in about a month, were practically bald until they were two years old. Fortunately for you, it’s cute.
And you are indeed cute. I know I’m biased, but you are ridiculously photogenic. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that you stay just as cute as you want to be as you grow up, but I also tell you often: “You’re beautiful – just make sure you make that an asset and not a lifestyle. Good guys like Daddy like smart girls.”
My absolute favorite development of the last month, though, is your laughter.
All babies giggle after a while, and you’ve been doing that for several weeks. But within the last week, you added honest-to-goodness belly laughs. Something strikes you as funny and you laugh and gasp and smile… and if we repeat it, you laugh again. It’s the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard.
The first time, a week ago tonight, I was holding you (face out so you can see the world, which is what you prefer these days) and I was talking to Mommy. In response to something she said, I jokingly reached for your tiny little fist and extended your thumb. Mommy leaned in and said to you, “Thumbs up, dude!” in a cute cartoon voice.
There is nothing inherently funny about this, by the way. It’s just the way people often talk to babies. I only take this brief tangent to point out that I know a lot of people who won’t do this because they feel it’s somehow demeaning or embarrassing. I love that your mother has no such concerns. We can act like total goofballs with each other and with you and not worry about what others think.
Anyway… you thought “Thumbs up, dude,” was hilarious. You laughed so hard – the first time we’d ever heard it – and the room was instantly full to bursting with joy. Mommy said it again and again, and for a couple minutes, you laughed. We never wanted it to stop.
We’ve gotten it a couple more times since then. Incidentally, once had to do with farts and once had to do with boogers, so your sense of humor is already going to fit in with a lot of your relatives.
It’s made it even harder for me to go to work sometimes, because I’m afraid that I’ll miss the next time you laugh. It was an instant and powerful narcotic – something I need to have and that I can’t stop thinking about.
At times, I think that I would keep you this age forever if I could. You know nothing but love, and even your most miserable moments are just temporary physical discomforts, like being hungry for the few minutes it takes us to get ready to feed you, or being tired of riding in the van like on the way home from Wisconsin. You snuggle with us, you smile at us, you laugh for, at, and with us.
On the other hand, life with you has been amazing so far, and the changes are part of it. I’m looking forward to meeting the person you are as you continue to grow up.
My advice for this month is simple: laugh, joyfully, as much as you can, as hard as you can, and as often as you can… and help others to do the same. This may be the most powerful thing you can ever do.
I love you so much, Sage. Mommy does too. We’re so glad you’re in our lives.