This will probably be my last monthly e-mail update, partially because this can't go on forever, and partially because we're moving to San Diego in two weeks and I'll be busy. I'll definitely send out an update when Sam turns a year old.
Samantha is doing all sorts of fun things these days. She can stand up holding on to furniture now, but hasn't yet started "cruising," which means walking around while holding on to things for balance. Just seeing her standing without my help blew me away. She hasn't crawled, so it felt to me like she went from baby to almost-toddler in an instant. Also, she's so small (fifth percentile) that it looks more like she's a really advanced 5 month old...kind of surreal. I wish I had gotten a photo of it for this update.
She started eating Cheerios this month, which was a bigger milestone than I had expected. It's nice to bring a bag of cereal around and know that I can keep her full and occupied so easily. She still doesn't have any teeth, though.
Sam has been into poking everything with her thumbs lately. I think that started when she learned how to purposefully push buttons. She can work the remote for our ceiling fan and we bought her a toy cell phone which she loves and which annoys us with beeping sounds.
We started giving her instructions and telling her "no" a couple of months ago, and it seems that she is now at the point where she can follow quite a bit. Using sign language along with instructions helps a lot, although she has not made her first sign yet. (We think she is now waving when we wave at her, but it's hard to tell if she is just reaching.) But now is definitely the time when we need to start giving her boundaries, which is a big change for us. We had started falling into the trap of going the easy way and allowing her to play with anything and touch anything if it interested her, and just taking things away when they were unsafe. But we don't want to parent that way. We want her to start learning that we have expectations for her behavior. I had no idea when it would be appropriate to begin but I can tell now that she is ready. She is already learning not to pull my earrings (yea - I can wear jewelry again!) or my hair, and she is learning not to put things in her mouth when I tell her no. For now, we give her gentle instruction and no "punishment" and she mostly doesn't seem to mind being told no, although she'll give us the occasional whiny scream of frustration and it passes in a moment. It is a wonderful feeling when she responds because it is so clear that we are communicating. And I thought it was great when the dog listened to me!
Finally, the thing we probably love the most is that Sam now turns the pages of her books. The small cardboard books are the best - we pull one page out a bit and she grabs it and turns it. She used to grab at books any which way and sometimes turn pages right to left or just close the book or put it in her mouth. Now, she understands the left to right process and can grab the one page and pull it over. She seems to know when to turn it as we're reading too. Sometimes she'll turn the pages throughout a whole book. It's so amazing!
I've started working out again, which is great. I really need the time for myself. Hopefully I'll be able to continue during our travels. The weather has been great and we've been going on a lot of walks. We took Sam to her second wedding last weekend and we had a blast dancing with her. She also attended her first live musical, "1776."
*Disclaimer: The Sam Update began as a series of e-mails sent to family and friends starting when Sam was less than a month old. To keep the chronology I've faked the dates here on the blog to reflect when the updates were actually written. They were really added to the blog in May 2008, with just a bit of editing. All subsequent entries will be posted directly to the blog.