The babies are growing by leaps and bounds.
In the short months since he arrived, Spork went from wobbly sitter to walrus to professional crawler to determined stander-upper. His babyhood is flying by; a combination of being a little sib and us having a jump start on those first six months makes it feel like he's on Miracle Grow. Emerging molars and the inability to keep up with big brother make for frustration. You have to work for his smiles and giggles, but that makes them all the more rewarding. Spork has the natural temperment of a crotchety old man. We say that's his "default setting". You can almost imagine him yelling, "You kids get off my lawn!" When he has to cough or clear his throat, he tries to make the loudest cough imaginable, reminding me for all the world of a hacking old man with pants pulled up to his armpits. He is happiest when his tummy is full or he's in the water. When he's having a meltdown, my quick fix is pulling off his shoes and socks and dangling his feet under the tap in the bathroom sink, and he sure does love his swim lessons. He prefers to be out of the house, which suits us fine as we're an on-the-go kind of family. He likes watching the hustle and bustle of crowds, so long as one parent is in within arm's reach. He is going into the stage where he's initially wary of strangers approaching him, but when he realizes that we're not going to hand him over, he perks up and tries to win their affection with a wrinkled-nose grin. His teeth are big for a baby and look like shiny Chiclets. He has barely visible stork bites on his nose and left eyelid that flare pink when he cries. He has the same soft curls as his big brother, the kind that tighten after a bath or a sweaty day and flatten under a hood or hat. He babbles to himself when he's at play: dis, bvv, gook. He can say, "More", "Mama", and "Up".
Ironically, Spork is definitely a Daddy's boy but has yet to master the word, "Dada." I have a feeling that once he gets that down, that's all we're going to hear. When he hears Daddy's voice, even if he was happy a second ago, he immediately twists to find the source and throws himself on the ground with a scream, desperate to get into Daddy's arms asap. Since the Nugget, Noodle, and Tater have all been Mama/Mima's babies, instead of taking it personally, I think it's great that Daddy will get his turn for being a preferred parent - the challenges and sweetness of being the only one who will do when a knee is bumped. Of course, Daddy isn't around 24/7, so there's pros and cons!
Tater's growth is slow but steady, then you get her up from a nap or first thing in the morning, and she's noticeable bigger, the weight of her in your arms suddenly changed. She loves being upright in the Jumperoo, or down on the floor staring up at any toy. She is the most content and peaceful baby I've ever had the pleasure to know. Her new skills include bubbling and burbling and wrapping her limbs around me gracefully for the hip carry. We've removed the sling from her baby tub, retired the Babyhawk for the Ergo, and just moved her into the 6 month pajamas. She rarely cries unless she's hungry or has felt she's been in the car seat a little too long. Oh, and at the library - for whatever reason, the library always makes her cry.
And our sweet Nugget is struggling with Spork's mobility and the access to toys it provides. As an oldest myself, I can relate to his feelings. Although I imagine it's worse for him, having all these toys to himself for so long and all of a sudden going to sharing constantly with a playmate who drools and spits up on his treasures. We're reading a lot of big sib books and trying out different strategies to give the Nugget a safe, baby-free space. Yet their secret brother giggles in the car are more than enough to make up for the squabbles.