At her four-month check-up on Tuesday, she weighed in at 17 lbs, 6 oz. She's in the mid-nineties for all her percentiles, which means she's tall, too, and her doctor says she's perfectly proportional.
Nell at four months is so much fun. She is exploring her vocal capabilities, with an ever-expanding repertoire of sounds. Her laugh is infectious, and she's developed a real skill with blowing raspberries, bubbles foaming everywhere and drool soaking her onesies. She can find her own hands whenever she wants to now, and regularly sucks her thumb -- a skill she had moments after her birth but then managed to lose for a few months.
Nell loves to gaze at her own hands lately, and seems fascinated by them. When she holds her arms outstretched, looks to her open hand, and babbles, I imagine that she is delivering a great oration.
A couple of weeks ago she finally rubbed herself a little bald spot in the back, just when I thought we had managed to avoid that awkward phase. Her hair on top is long enough to cover it, though. And speaking of hair, in some lights, it looks reddish these days. It's lightened a lot since she was born.
Nell is still a great night sleeper, just waking twice in the night to nurse and then going right back to sleep. Occasionally she even spoils me by taking a long morning nap beside me after she's only been awake for an hour or so -- and letting me take that nap, too. Most of her naps during the day are short - this girl is queen of the cat nap - but I can't complain, because she will usually go right to sleep when I see that she's tired and swaddle her and give her a pacifier.
Within the past couple of weeks, our baby girl seems to have developed the so-called "stranger danger" sense. I know... it's not supposed to come along for several more months, according to the books and the websites. I guess Nell didn't read those books or websites. We've left her with babysitters a couple of times recently (evenings when both Nathan and I had gigs), and she has not always been a happy camper. Sometimes as soon as I hand her to someone else, her little face crumples and she begins to cry until I hold her again.
We asked her doctor about it, and he said, "Well - and I'm being serious, actually - maybe she's just advanced, and has an advanced sense of herself and her surroundings for her age. But we'll see; don't call Harvard yet."
He's a funny one, Dr. L. We like him.
Anyway, Nell is the best.
She is, I think, the apple of her Dad's eye.
Her uncle Andrew calls her 'Nelbert,' and usually wants to hold her as soon as he gets home from his new job as a middle school music teacher.
And her mama? Well, I love spending my days with this girl.
When you were just a few days old, I began to have a better understanding of God, I think. I've grown up hearing that God 'delights' in us, his creation, his children. You'll grow up hearing this, too. But I didn't understand it until I held you in my arms. The way you puckered your tiny lips, the way you stared back at me with your steady, unblinking gaze, the way you curled your fingers around my pinky... I stared at you for hours at a time in wonder.
These days you are more active than ever. You sit and stand with just a little help for balance. You grasp my shirt, my hair, my glasses, and your favorite - the soft diapers we use as burp cloths. You can't quite yet grab for exactly what you want when you want it, but I think you're getting close. When you're on your tummy, you can push yourself up so high! And I think some day soon now, you'll figure out how to roll over. And oh my, how you talk! I love it so much.
Anyway... I think now I really understand a little bit of what it means that God delights in us. I used to feel skeptical about it; I mean, what's so great about humanity? But I look at you, and I know that objectively you're poopy and drooly and well, not very useful. Yet you are so very cute and happy and lovable, and to your dad and me, you are altogether wonderful. We take delight in you, we really do.