Clara turned 5 months old two days ago. We went out and took these photos at a local parking lot pumpkin patch that day, since there aren't any "real" pumpkin patches nearby. She wasn't interested in much other than the hay spread out over a black tarp.
Our little "punkin" continues to be such a sweet-natured, happy-go-lucky girl. Our friends with kids tell us that our next children will seem like holy terrors compared to Clara because she is so easy-going. So far, our biggest challenge has been the whole sleeping-through-the-night issue. Around the 4 month mark, Clara started waking up more and more frequently at nights until it became so bad that she was up 4-7 times each night. I had planned on waiting to do sleep training until after Hawaii and Yosemite, but decided it could wait no longer when she was waking up almost every hour all night long.
The first night of sleep training was the worst. I let her fuss until she started to actually cry. As it turns out, I think a lot of her wake-up times were really just fussing and she might have just gone back to sleep if I hadn't interfered, but hindsight is 20/20. Once she was really crying, I gave her 5 minutes, then comforted her by rubbing her back and hair and talking to her, but not taking her out of her crib. Then I let her cry another 10 minutes and repeated the comforting process. Then 15 minutes, then finally 20 minutes. By that time she had been crying for about 45-50 minutes and I could tell she was almost worn out so I went ahead and gave her the pacifier and she went right to sleep. (I wouldn't normally deprive her of the pacifier but one of the reasons she was waking up 7 times a night was that she would lose the pacifier, wake up, then freak out that it was gone. I wanted her to be able to self-soothe without freaking out about a missing pacifier.) I laid on the floor next to her crib but out of sight the entire time, unless it was time to comfort her. I didn't want to be getting in and out of bed and I knew I wouldn't be sleeping anyway and I figured if I was going to make her go through it, I might as well be right there with her.
The second night went better - I think she only cried for 30 minutes - and by the third and fourth nights she was only crying for maybe 15 minutes before she would just go back to sleep. Then we went to Hawaii and things got a little messed up, but basically she has only been waking up once a night ever since, usually between 2:30 and 3:00. I'm hoping to start sleep training her again and break her of that once a night habit soon because even when she does wake up she is not that hungry and barely drinks half a bottle.
Claradactyl has also become really vocal in this last month and talks, giggles, and laughs a lot more. I swear she is trying to say "mama" which sort of kills me at night when she is crying and I think that she is saying it. She has kind of a manic cackle when I find a good tickle spot on her (her upper thighs was working really well yesterday) or if she is in just the right mood and I either "roar" for her or shout "boo! getchyou, getchyou!".
And she is getting long! Or tall. Whichever. I haven't measured her again, but she looks and feels so much bigger and has been straining her pajamas again so we are upping her to the 6-9 month size. Her hair is getting longer too and I can even do one ponytail at the back now although I haven't bothered because she takes so many naps that it would fall out so easily that pigtails are still the best (and my favorite anyway) option. I found some tiny baby hair clips that I use to clip her bangs back each day, otherwise they hang down in her eyes and bother her.
Her favorite toys are currently the plastic bag that I keep her hair bows and comb in, her giraffe, and her pacifier. In her 4 month post I mentioned how she was working on figuring out the whole pacifier thing and how to put it in the right way. Well now she knows and yet she will purposely stick it in upside down and chomp on it while smiling and saying "rawr-rawr-rawr". When she is bored with that game she will stick it in the right way and move on to the next thing.
Clara Jane is going to crawl any day now. She has been doing the army crawl for a couple of weeks now and does laps around her crib and the living room rug, although she has never ventured off the rug and onto the wood floor. But in the past few days she has spent less time doing her army crawl and more time on her hands and knees in true crawling form, as if she is testing it out before really taking off. It is so darling.
She almost always sleeps on her stomach with her bum in the air and her head to the left even though I put her down on her back. And up until this week she has been a consistently good napper taking at least two 2-3 hours naps per day, and usually taking an additional third nap of about 45 minutes somewhere in between. This past week though she has only done the morning nap and has slept for just 20 minutes in the afternoon twice. I can't figure out what is up because she acts tired and fussy (for her) and rubs her eyes, but when I put her down she fights and fights it and when I finally go in to soothe her she gives me the thousand-watt toothless smile and coo that she does so well and reaches out for me so I pull her out and then she plays happily for another hour before she starts acting tired again and we repeat the routine. My best guess is that on those days she has had a little tummy trouble because inevitably she has a huge movement later in the day than normal and that is why she can't sleep. Maybe it is the prunes she has been eating.
Speaking of eating, here are some photos I took of her eating squash while we were in Hawaii. Her stroller did double duty as a high chair and this was early in the morning, which explains her crazier than usual hair.
Sometimes she makes this goofy face while eating.
She is really a good little eater and has tried all sorts of different foods. No, she has not had carrots yet, but we plan on introducing them this week. So far her favorites seem to be green beans, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, squash and pears. She is less enthusiastic about peaches, mangos and oatmeal, but she eats everything we give her without too much of a problem. I also have just introduced those freeze-dried yogurt puff things to her so that she can start to figure out how to use her fingers to put food in her mouth on her own, but she acts like they are the worst thing in the world whenever I stick one on her tongue.
My favorite books to read to her are currently Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich by Adam Rex and Halloween by Jerry Seinfeld. Clara likes to play peek-a-boo and will initiate it on her own by holding a burp cloth over her eyes then pullling it down and waiting for us to say "peek-a-boo" or something similarly shocking and hilarious.
She is so much fun and we love our baby girl who seems less and less like a baby with each passing day.