SteelyKid is three months old today.
The accomplishment of this month is grabbing things. In the last month, she's gone from waving her arms in the air while in her play-gym, to gently bopping the lowest-hanging of the toys on her right side [*] in a slow purposeful manner, to grabbing toys in both hands at the same time and yanking hard. Similarly, she's grasping the little red dog sewn to her pacifier much more; this is sometimes a bad thing, because she hasn't figured out that if she grabs it and then waves her hand around, the pacifier will come out of her mouth. (And she really wants to put things in her mouth.) However, she can also now get her thumb in her mouth most of the time, which is great—on numerous occasions since, I've bolted out of bed hearing her cry in the middle of the night, only to find that she's gotten her thumb in her mouth and gone back to sleep for a while. Yay, self-soothing baby.
Of course, it's not just toys that she grabs. She's taken to grasping my sleeve or arm while on the changing table, which would be very sweet except she does it all the time, including when it's two in the morning, she's loudly unhappy about her wet diaper, and I'm trying to get her changed quickly before she wakes up Chad. And I'm glad that I don't wear necklaces or have long hair; my glasses are going to be a big enough target pretty soon, I suspect.
[*] Someone told me that you can't tell handedness in babies until a year old, but she really does prefer her right hand: whenever they're both free, that's the one she'll reach with. The only thing we've noticed her prefering her left for is sucking her thumb.
Regarding sleeping and eating, her daytime schedule still meanders around, but she tends to be up from roughly 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., with naps of up to a couple of hours during the day (this is particularly variable). Lately she's only waking up once in the night, and except for one horrible colic episode this month, she goes back to sleep literally immediately and sleeps to about 6 a.m.-ish. She is generally happiest in the mornings and unhappiest in the early evenings, as is apparently rather common for infants.
During the day after she eats, we've been holding her in a sitting-up position for a little bit. I doubt she actually has acid reflux because she never spits up at night or after sleeping, which is when my acid reflux bugs me, but there was one weekend where she was suddenly spitting up a lot, and we decided to adopt this as a "hey, can't hurt" measure (and, though correlation is not causation, her spitting up has basically stopped). Perhaps as a result, her torso muscles are noticably stronger this month, which is good—strong baby!—and bad, because now when she is unhappy, like when she needs to burp, she can stiffen her whole body really impressively, which makes it extremely difficult to burp her sitting up (I also burp her stomach-down over my lap, but it's not as effective).
To make it easier for her to practice sitting, I bought one of those Boppy pillows recently. You can see her sitting up on the couch here; I don't think this is actually the way you're supposed to do it, and I wouldn't leave her alone like that, but it seemed to be the way she liked. Another attempt to use the pillow to help her strengthen her torso had an interesting failure mode: Chad put her on the floor with her chest propped up against it, but instead of doing baby push-ups against it, she apparently stuck her arms stiffly out behind her, and then made crawling motions with her legs . . . propelling her right over and off the pillow, face-first. Whoops.
She continues to be a very wiggly baby, and has started thrashing around so much in her sleep that she turns herself 180 degrees in her crib, from feet pointing to the door to head pointing to the door. And she continues to like being moved: the baby dance (when we take her legs and arms and wave them around) can snap her out of mild unhappiness or buy us a couple more minutes ahead of a meltdown. She also recognizes our rituals leading up to it and gets all smiley and arm-wave-y in anticipation, which is too cute for words. Her swing, which I believe we started using this month, works well for occasional baby-soothing. Jiggling or rocking her while in the sling has a very high success rate at putting her to sleep. And once, when we were traveling and at our wits' end, she went to sleep when we put her in her car seat and rocked it gently. (Driving is not an infallible method of baby-soothing, however, as I made the mistake of suggesting we run an errand and then eat fast food out—around dinnertime. We only managed to get the errand done and she screamed all the way home.)
She laughed twice in two days during the middle of this month, but not since (except in her sleep), which is too bad because it was the cutest thing, a little "a-ha-ha-ha-ha" (non-sinister) chuckle. Well, soon enough. She may be starting to get ticklish: when I lightly tap my fingers up and down her unclothed torso, she smiles, but she could just be reacting to my face and voice.
Mirrors and music continue to fascinate her. I'm startled to realize how few traditional songs I either remember or are willing to sing, and instead sing her pop songs or improvise words to other tunes, like that Discovery Channel commercial. Speaking of which, she's also fascinated by the TV; I have to reassure myself that looking at the TV for ten minutes or so while being carried around in the airplane position isn't going to rot her brain.
As far as her appearance, her cradle cap is going away on its own. Her fingernails are no longer soft enough to peel, so I trim them when she happens to fall really asleep across my lap during the day. She is starting to lose hair on the sides of her head where she sleeps, but doesn't have actual bald spots yet.
The other big change this month is my going back to work part-time a week ago, and Chad taking over her care during those days. (He had been going into his work pretty much every day, though sometimes only for a couple of hours; so an entire day by himself with SteelyKid is a big change.) As I write this, I've spent four days at work. She had a bad day the first day, a very bad day the second, but a wonderful day the third and a middling-average day today. So that's a great relief to us all (though, obviously, to her and Chad the most). She'll be starting daycare in January and we plan to introduce her to the caregivers there pretty soon, since we haven't been there since before she was born. I have hopes that this will go well, as she continues to be a happy social baby, willing to smile at anyone she meets. This month, for instance, she behaved very well at a very hot, loud, crowded restaurant dinner party for her grandmother's birthday: she got a little unhappy, but no more so than usual for that time of night, and our normal soothing techinques worked fine; I'd feared a complete meltdown. Amusingly, at one point Chad was carrying her around in the airplane position and stepped into the next room of the restaurant, just because our room was crowded. People at one table immediately exclaimed over how cute she is, and he spoke to them for a minute and then turned back to the dining room: and people at a table to one side said, "Wait, we haven't seen the cute baby yet!" The power of the cute, it is strong.
As always, no unsolicited advice.