Monday, December 10, 2007

Month 5, week 4

Ella is one week away from her 6-month birthday. Her hair is growing in, and is very soft. It still stands up at the crown, even after she's worn a close-fitting hat on her head for more than an hour. One of the moms in the June babies group said she looks as though she's put her finger in a socket. A nurse (Jen) at the pediatrician's office said Ella looks like Shiloh Jolie-Pitt (meant as a compliment).

Ella does many fun and sweet things: she walks her fingers around my face, in my hair or in my mouth while she's nursing; she reaches out now to touch everything -- the flow of water under the faucet, the walls as we're going upstairs, items in the refrigerator, Michael's and my face and hair; likes to pull herself up to a sitting and standing position holding onto our fingers, and smiles when she does it as though she's just won a prize. Loves to look in the mirror, and says a lot of syllables now ("da da", "la la" and "thppppp"). When she's crying her 'mad' cry, she sometimes 'talks', saying "DA DA DA DA DAAAAAAAAA!!" as though she's telling us what she's upset about.

Technically, her first word was "Da Da", though Michael and I are pretty sure she hasn't used it yet as a reference to Michael; and occasionally she'll say "Aay-la", which sounds a lot like her name. We often practice with her, saying "Ma Ma, Da Da" and (pointing to her) "Ella". She watches us intently, grins in response and says "da da da thppppp". She has recognized her name for months now, responds when we call to her, and understands the gesture/word "look!", "shhh", and others. When we point to something, she follows the direction of our finger to whatever we are pointing, and when she's fussing and I'm finding it hard to think, I'll look at her and put my finger up to my mouth and say "Shhh", and she'll stop and look at me as though it might be the start of a fun game and she's waiting to see whether I'll do something else that might be entertaining.

She's been rolling from her back to her stomach since her 4th month, and does it very quickly. At yoga class, when I lay her at the head of the mat on her back (like all the other babies), she flips over very fast and pushes up on her hands to get a look around the room.

She prefers to sleep on her stomach now, and when she wakes in the middle of the night, she cries and pushes up on her hands to look at the doorway from her crib. When Michael or I tiptoe to the bathroom at night and the floorboards creak, we'll see her fuzzy head pop up over the side of the crib and she'll see us through the doorway (darn those creaky floorboards). We're starting to crawl to the bathroom on our hands and knees now in the middle of the night to get past her doorway without detection.

She's sitting up independently for short periods of time and if she starts to tip, often catches herself and corrects her balance well enough to avoid tipping over. Right now, the safety labels on her toys are more interesting to her than the toy itself, and when Michael wears a Magpie T-shirt from the Australian Football Club, she studies the logo with interest (black and white) and reaches out to touch it.

Pictured: sitting on the rocking chair in her room; sitting on the living room sofa with the TV remote; her camera face; sitting in her bouncy chair (hair sticking up).

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