Oh, my Asha. She rolls, she screeches, she grabs, she laughs, she does all the things 5-month-old babies do, but with a style all her own.
Asha is a hard one to put into words. Some babies (not naming names here, ahem) bowl you over with their obtrusive personalities. They're picky, particular, intense, the givers of grey hairs from the get-go, but that is not Asha. There's something about her that's mysterious yet unaffected. She's gentle in all things - even when she wakes me up 3+ times per night, her squawks are less, "damn you woman, come get me!" and more "hey mama, I miss you, can we snuggle for 20 minutes while I kick-box your boob and eventually pass out? Thanks."
Yes, you are gentle. Subtle. Sunny and sweet. You smile and giggle all the time, never frantically, but with a slow and genuine delight. You are neither reserved nor suspicious, but open and curious about others and the world. You love to move around by rolling and scooting, making your way over to something new you can explore with your hands and mouth. You can sit up with assistance for short periods of time, and I can tell it's opening up new worlds for you. Your dad and big sister earn your easy smiles, but it's still my left shoulder that calms you when you're tired or upset.
Speaking of your sister, she is over the moon for you still. She loved you from the beginning, but I'm continually amazed at how maternal she feels toward you. The jealousy has been minimal, and she's quick to defend you and tell me to, "be nice to Asha mom! She's just a baby, she can't help it!" any time I grimace at a dirty diaper or express disdain at an aborted nap. If I could have one wish in this life, it's that the two of you always love and defend each other so fiercely.
Asha Likes: Riding around in the baby carrier, being talked to and tickled, sitting and standing with assistance, playing with my necklaces, chewing on her hands, walking around outside, watching sister dance and sing, lavender oil massages before bed, getting her diaper changed.
Asha Dislikes: You really only cry when you are tired. Everything else you don't like (being left on your playmat, for example) is often a direct result of needing a nap. You are not particularly fond of hats or anything on your head, and you still seem rather sensitive to being cold. Baths are still not your favorite, though you don't cry any more, you just look very serious the whole time.
Eating: You are becoming very interested in food now, following every bite we take at meal time and enthusiastically reaching for our forks. One more month, and you'll be joining us for dinner. As for now, you're doing just fine switching between breast and bottle and, though you are tiny, you're growing just fine on breastmilk alone.
A typical feeding schedule:
6am - Breastfeed in bed before we get up for the day
9am - Breastfeed or 5oz bottle
12pm - Breastfeed or 5oz bottle
3pm-4pm - Breastfeed or 5oz bottle
6:30 - Breastfeed in the rocking chair before bed
1-3am - Breastfeed, then back to bed
Sleeping: You've more or less regulated your daytime sleep and are a great napper. You need your first nap about 2 hours after waking in the morning, another short nap 2 hours after that, and then will take an epic 3-hour or longer nap in the afternoon. Bedtime is between 6:30 and 7, and you don't put up any fight. I've been trying to create a ritual around bedtime, so usually you eat, I change your diaper and massage you with lavender oil, put on your jammies, read a short book, sing a song, turn on your white noise, and lay you in your crib. You find your thumb and fall asleep immediately. After that, though, it really depends. Some nights you only wake up once to eat, around 2am, and then go back to sleep until 6. There have been a couple nights were you wake up at 10:30 and won't settle down until 1 or 2am. You've slept all night but then woken up at 4am ready to start your day. You're transitioning into big-kid sleep patterns and it's exhausting and unpredictable, but I know it will pass. You'll eventually sleep through the night, and then in a weird way I'll miss the sleepless nights and that quiet time we spend together.
Asha is our joy and our balance, and I couldn't imagine our family without her.