Five Months!

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Our little guy just turned five months on Monday! Just when we thought he couldn’t eat any more or get any chunkier, he surprises us. Our latest name for the Mister has been Chunk-a-monk. He loves to sleep and eat, and when he’s not, he’s busy looking around at anything and everything — touching, banging and grabbing whatever he can get his hands on. He’ll stare at something intently and won’t rest until he’s figured it out. He’s starting to mimic everybody he comes across, their expressions and sounds. He’s the most curious and determined little guy, and its only a matter of time until he starts giving us a run for our money.

Per the usual, here’s a recap of Noe, four to five months old.

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What’s new this month? Well, the Mister wasn’t satisfied sitting still and quiet, playing with his toys. He’s rolling and grabbing his toes and inching and putting everything in his mouth now. Very rarely can we leave him in one place and expect to find him in the same place a few moments later. His movements are still limited to a radius of a few feet, but I imagine that’s going to start changing very soon.

It’s not uncommon to turn away for a few moments and find that he has rolled off his play mat. Ta Da!

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Noe now spends much of his time on his belly, and has started to roll over in the night and sleep on his belly, though he hasn’t yet reliably mastered all directions and manners of rolling, so sometimes he gets upset in the middle of the night because he’s stuck and needs mommy or daddy to give him a little nudge.

About a week or two ago we started to unswaddle his arms due his new mobility, which has become something of a distraction to him in the night. As a result, he has been taking longer naps during the day than before. Essentially, we’ve been leaving his arms out at night for him to figure out, then I swaddle him completely during the day and lay him next to me on the bed while I get some work done, which seems to be a good way of weaning him off of his arms being swaddled while preventing him from getting over-tired.

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Between his third and fourth month, his carseat and stroller disappeared completely. I’m sure he wondered about them, as he spent a fair amount of time in them in the States and in Belgium. But once we got to Laos, boom, they were gone.

Related Article:  Imojev and Breastfeeding: Another (Minor?) Crisis

Two things happened this month that resurrected the car seat/ stroller — Lori got her Laos driver license and the green light to take work cars home –and– we moved into our house, which fronts a slightly more stroller-friendly paved road. Even now, the car seat/ stroller has been relegated to weekends, when we are off running errands or have time to go on a little stroll around the neighborhood. The Ergo carrier and our feet still remain Noe’s primary mode of transport when we’re out and about.

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We still take Noe out nearly every evening, and I occasionally take him on walks to run errands during the week. On the weekends, he’s generally out the entire day with us and generally tolerates it well, but is getting less tolerant of being cooped up in the Ergo for long periods of time. I don’t blame him. We’ve been trying to make more of an effort to pull him out at cafes and parks so he can play. We’re also going to start using a parasol during the day (which is very common here) so that we don’t have to use the Ergo’s hood so much, which means more ventilation for the Mister, which is important here with a daily heat index of 101-107F. He is particularly fond of a good breeze and a big fan. Again, I don’t blame him.

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Noe boarded his 13th flight the day before he turned five months. We’ve asked a lot of this little dude over the past couple of months, but he seems to be taking most of it in stride. The change in air pressure doesn’t seem to affect him too much — well, doesn’t seem to affect him in the head too much. Generally Lori will try to time his feedings during take off and landing, but sometimes he sleeps through it. What we have noticed, however, is that the change in pressure (or something) seems to do a number on his digestive system. Without fail, he grunts and grunts before loading up his diaper just as we’re landing, which always makes going through immigration a bit more interesting. Thanks, Noe. Thankfully, the last couple of trips have been short 20-minute domestic flights on prop planes with a max altitude of 13,000 feet.

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Noe and I accompanied Lori on two work trips this month, to Luang Prabang and Phonsavan. Luang Prabang was Noe’s third UNESCO heritage site, while Plain of Jars in Xieng Khouang will be his fourth in the near future, pending UNESCO status approval.

Related Article:  Déjà Vu

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We’re almost certain that Noe’s teething. While we haven’t yet found a tooth coming in ourselves, he’s been exhibiting all the classic signs. He’s been drooling much more than usual, and his main concern regarding toys is that they have an arm or nose that he can shove back in the side of his mouth and gnaw on. If it doesn’t fit this criteria, then no thank-you. He’s also been doing this weird thing where he looks like he’s feeling around his mouth with his tongue and chewing on it. We’re hoping he’ll hold off on full-blown teething for a couple more weeks until our freight arrives with his teething supplies, so we don’t have to go out and purchase duplicates for 3x the price we paid. Lori’s work permit finally came through, so it should only be a matter of time! And it actually is turning out to be convenient timing — just in time for Christmas…not that we ever buy much for each other for Christmas, anyway.

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Noe’s tour de cool cafes continued this month as well, though his tolerance for letting daddy relax seems to be decreasing by the week.

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Luang Prabang is up in the mountains, so it does get a little chilly at night, particularly the nights it rained. The prospect of chilly nights in both Luang Prabang and Phonsavan excited Lori to no end — not because we were sick of Vientiane’s warm evenings (though a change of pace was nice), but because she got to dress Noe, one last time, in the couple of cool-weather outfits that we brought to Laos that he is on the verge of outgrowing. It’s the little things…

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This outfit (below) was a bit overboard, and we ended up shedding layers shortly afterwards. The crazy thing is that it’s not uncommon to see local babies dressed in even warmer clothes than this.

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Mister Bubbles still enjoys blowing them bubbles. Bubble-bubble-bubble.

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And occasionally, will surprise us with passing out in the unlikeliest of places. He actually let us have a good 30 minutes together enjoying wine, cheese and calamari at a street side cafe. Awesome.

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And occasionally will still pass out on daddy’s shoulder, but only when the planets align just so.

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The Mister is also still enjoying making new friends everywhere he goes.

Related Article:  Arrival & Move-In

Having a baby in Laos is awesome because it allows a level of interaction and engagement with people that we wouldn’t otherwise have. People, young and old, rural and urban, male and female (though generally female) come right up to us to meet Noe and ask questions about him.

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It happens with just the right frequency that we don’t yet feel self-conscious that people are going to bother us. We’ll have such an interaction maybe 1-2 times per day if we’re out and about.

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Laos is quite the baby-crazed culture, and babies and children are adored here. A falang baby is still a novelty, and Noe loves the attention.

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He’s quite the smoozer, in fact. It doesn’t matter if he’s in a funk or being a total pill with us, like a light switch he turns on that charm, gives the kind stranger a big smile and giggle, and does the requisite cute baby things that the people all love — and they eat it up. Then, the second the person leaves, his mood switches and he goes right back to how he was acting before, as if to say, “Lovely woman. Just lovely. And that child. Just delightful. Now where were we? Oh yeah…UGHHHHH. UGHHHHH.”

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Noe, sound asleep. Never mind that we’re having this really cool experience on a rickety ferry putting across the Mekong. How about I wake you up when there’s a beer glass and ceiling fan to stare at?

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Tuk Tuk!? Ok, that’s more like it. (Noe loves a good tuk tuk ride).

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Recently one morning, I unzipped Noe’s crib to find this staring at me.

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Noe probably won’t remember this, of course, but he got to participate in one of Laos’ biggest holidays of the year, the That Luang festival, made extra special by an extra big super moon. More pics to come.

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Off to Xieng Khouang, and some chilly nights! Time to take the bear jacket out for one last spin.

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Watching Noe in a hotel room while mommy’s at work. Just makes himself at home…

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Mommy and Noe at sunset just outside of Phonsavan.

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Turning the charm on for Lori’s coworker. What am I? Chopped liver?

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“Daddy, don’t listen to mommy. It wasn’t me. I promise!”

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Finally, there comes a time in every five-month-old’s life, when a kindly old Buddhist monk says a few words and places an orange and yellow bracelet on your wrist.

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Well, maybe not every five-month-old…

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Daily Life, 23-30 November
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