Today Essley Morgan turns five months old. It's so cliche to say this, but seriously, where did the time go? How is she five months already? I remember packing away her six month clothes during the final month of my pregnancy, thinking about how it seemed like it would be an eternity before she wore them. And now she's wearing them, yet it only feels like it's been few weeks since that day. Parents are always all, "they grow up so fast," and "you blink and they're not babies anymore," blah blah blah. But honestly, it really does feel like that. Essley is a completely different person than she was even a couple of months ago. I look at newborn pictures of her and barely recognize her in comparison to what she looks like today, and really, they weren't taken long ago at all. The whole thing is weird and amazing, wonderful and scary. It's absolutely bittersweet.
I skipped doing a four month update to share our birth story, and in the three month update back in March, I mostly focused on the big revelation I'd had about parenting (in brief: books and advice from others are great but a mind that is open to figuring it out for yourself along the way is all you really need). I did mention some of the third month 'milestones': her consistent coos and shrieks, regular gummy smiles, an ability to sit up when propped up, an ability to self-soothe, a new alertness and interest in the world around her, etc. I'm glad I recorded these things, because reading about them now makes me feel so proud and excited about how much more she's accomplished since then. If I'm this much of a dork over her doing things like rolling over, I can only imagine how annoying I'll be when she has dance recitals or sports matches or field days or science fairs. Sorry in advance.
I'm not going to get too deep this time around - after typing out the birth story last month, I'm pretty sure I filled my dramatic/emotional storytelling quota for a while. And I'm not going to talk about my thoughts on being a new parent, because they haven't changed since the third month update - I'm still just going with the flow and learning as I go. But for those who want to dork out alongside me, here's what happened in Essley's fourth and fifth months, in one long run-on sentence. She took two road trips with me and confirmed that she has road warrior in her blood, she had her first Easter egg hunt (she just watched, but it was still freaking adorable), she gave me my first Mother's Day (and it was perfect), she learned to roll over from back to tummy and did it about a zillion times (she's still very awkward with the tummy-to-back method), she started rolling over to her stomach to sleep which resulted in much longer sleep stretches (she's since gone back to sleeping on her back though, bummer), she had a night where she slept for eight glorious hours straight (hallelujah!) and although it hasn't happened since she's still sleeping better at night, she smiles all the time and has full-on belly laugh giggling episodes that in turn make us have full-on belly laugh giggle episodes (video proof right here), she rocks tummy time on her own (but is still not a fan if it's our idea rather than hers), she's been going for walks on the daily and loves them, she cries much less but has mastered the art of whining (oh boy), she once again measured average weight but in the 95th percentile for height at the doctor (she's my little string bean), she constantly tries to sit up on her own and I have a feeling she'll be there soon, she's still nursing like a champ, she picks up and hold toys (and puts them in her mouth, every time), she discovered (and appears to be obsessed with) her feet, she says 'words' like 'ba' and 'ma,' she turns to look when we say her name, and, out of nowhere, she seems a lot more like a little person than a baby.
In this final month before her first half-birthday, I'm torn between anticipation for what she'll do next and a genuine desire for things to slow down. I'm also, of course, grateful beyond words that I get to spend each day with this spirited, curious, happy little human. It just gets better and better, and although it can be exhausting and frustrating and unbalanced and really, really difficult, not a day goes by when I am not appreciative. For all of it. None of the things I've done so far in my life - not my career, not my travels, not any of the amazing things I've been fortunate to experience - have come close to this. Being Essley's mom wins. Here's to the next five months!