Month five — Henry

Dear Henry,

Yesterday you turned five months old. This letter may incoherent be a bit. We need to talk about sleep. During the day, you are nearly angelic, napping at regular intervals and falling asleep with little fuss. You usually sleep well during the first half of the night, and then something happens about 3 or 4 a.m. Your eyes pop open, owl-like, and you break out your good-morning smile. You are the earliest bird. If you should ever doubt your dad’s devotion to you, just know that he is the one who shepherded you through these early hours.

Dad to the rescue

Part of this sleep problem stems from your new mobility. You have been slow to use your arms, but your legs have become downright dangerous. You thrust and kick into my body, and after nap time, I often find you rolled onto your tummy and rotated 180 degrees from where I set you. You perform even more of these gymnastics at night and then scream in frustration when your feet become tangled in your swaddling blanket. And then I groan at you — a lot. It’s my polite form of reprimand.

Rolling away

When I complained to some other parents about your sleeplessness, they told me that I deserved it. Imagine! You are usually that most magical of creatures, the “easy baby.” This makes other parents jealous. You charm strangers with your smile and lay patiently while I play with your sister. You are easy to love.

Daytime Henry

But, Henry, someone needs to tell you about your leaky faucet. You have a river of drool running from your mouth onto your hands, which are always in your mouth, and then down your arms and over your clothes. Have you noticed? People ask whether you are teething, and I don’t know what to say. Nope, not teething, I just like to spray him down with the hose before taking him in public.


I will remember this as the month that you opened up to the world. You have become intensely curious. You gaze at toys that are out of reach and keep close watch over the food on my plate at dinner. This is one of my favorite parts of motherhood, watching you discover the world. Philosophers and scholars have long debated whether humans are essentially good or evil. Having seen how friendly, gentle, and curious you and your sister are, I know that you both are good. I hope I can teach you how to thrive in this world with that goodness intact.

Bluebonnets 2014