Clark is five months old. 22 weeks old actually. I'm in total disbelief that time really does fly right by without skipping a beat. The past two months have been so much fun, possibly some of the best days in my whole life, and its a good thing I've taken another 10,000 pictures to document every single day of Clark's fourth and fifth month of life. I hope I can do justice to how cool he is, but I just don't think that's going to happen. The only way to really understand what I'm talking about is to spend about 15 seconds with him. That's all it takes to completely fall in love with Clark Randall Rice.
Clark has recently acquired more nicknames than I ever thought imaginable. It's not unusual for Aaron to call and ask what The Tank is doing. The Tank, you ask? Yes. This is short for Clark the Dark Shark Tank. So hereinafter, you'll know I am referring to Clark when I mention the Dark Shark, the Tank, or the Shark Tank. Sometimes his name turns into Clarkimus Maximus as well, so try to keep up.
So what is The Tank up to these days? Actually a lot. If you are a member of the facebook community, you might have seen the video of Clark cracking up at the word "boo"and if not, just click right here to have a good laugh for the day. That video sums up Clark in 27 seconds. He's such a happy guy and loves to talk and smile and he's pretty awesome. He has such a huge personality now and he loves to show it off to everybody, including the little old ladies at the store who feel the need to pinch his toes or squeeze his cheeks (yes, that actually happens). It's easy as pie to get a good laugh out of him, and I'm not just talking about a giggle. I'm talking about a full out donkey laugh that brings tears to his eyes.
I don't even know where to begin to list all of the huge milestones that Clark has hit over the past two months. At his four month check up, he weighed 15.6 pounds, 26.5 inches long, and was perfectly healthy. To this day, he has yet to have a fever, ear infection, or any other common baby sickness. I'm still extremely nervous about having to take his temperature one day, so I do not take his good health for granted one bit. The Dark Shark Tank also cut two teeth the day after he turned four months old. They both came in within 48 hours of each other and man, those babies are sharp. I suspected they were coming because he was unusually fussy in the weeks leading up to them, and he could have filled a swimming pool with the amount of drool that left his mouth. He chews on everything he can get his hands on these days. If you are holding him, don't be surprised when you look over and see Clark chewing on your shoulder. It's one of his favorite toys, and you might want to forego holding him if you don't want to wear Clark's slobber on your shoulder for the rest of the day.
He has already grown accustomed to the nomadic lifestyle. I would guess that 90% of Clark's fourth and fifth month were spent on the road and he handled it like the ultimate road trip baby champion. This doesn't surprise me one bit because after all, he is the son of Aaron and Kelly Rice, who rarely spend seven consecutive days in the same zip code. It would make you dizzy if I even attempted to map out our travels during the months of April and May. Before travel season started, I had the Shark Tank on the most rigid, not-to-be-tampered-with schedule during the day, which I attribute 100% to why he was sleeping 12 hours at night. Well, that came to a screeching halt once we packed the suitcases.
During the day he was a perfect angel. He is a pro at sleeping in his car seat and being lugged around in it or his stroller all day. He attended baby showers, wedding showers, weddings, brunches, dinner parties, receptions, and even made a few appearances at a few pubs and did great. At night, NOT SO MUCH. I felt like I traveled back in time to the zombie newborn days of waking up every two hours to a screaming baby and trying to figure out what the heck was wrong. The Tank woke up at least five times every night for two months. I'm not exaggerating, people. It was rough. The worst part about it all was that I couldn't let him cry it out, which is definitely what I would do at home. He was either in his pack n' play in the room I was sleeping in or right smack in the bed with me in somebody else's home, and I'm not going to put everybody else through the torture of waiting for a baby to cry himself to sleep. Also I am sure his new shark teeth and his newfound ability to roll over couldn't be good for the little bugger. Furthermore, apparently four months is just a common age for sleep disruptions. I think its a big growth spurt time in a babies life. I read on a couple of blogs of moms who had to completely retrain their four month olds to sleep, so that made me feel a little better. But now that we're on the coast for a short amount of time, I've been working on his schedule again and I'm finally seeing tiny signs of improvement, like waking once at night as opposed to 17 times. I'm going to dedicate a mile long blog post in the near future to the importance of schedules. Seriously. Babies need schedules.
Another new thing that was a huge deal to me and nobody else could care less is the mere fact that Clark has started on solids. That's just one more sign that he is growing up I guess. When he was about four and half months old, I gave him sweet potatoes and it is now his baby crack. I can't feed him fast enough and he just doesn't know when to stop. Its like the most decadent steak dinner to him. He's also had squash, peaches and apples, but they pale in comparison to the sacred sweet potato. I've also been giving him slices of avocado and pears to play with. I just give it to him and walk away and when I come back in a few minutes it is gone. None of it actually enters his mouth and all of it lands on his face, arms, legs, hair, and whatever surface he happens to be perched on, but at least he's having fun with it.
Solids really are a lot of fun, but you know what's not fun? The poop that follows it. It's so bad that Arnie felt compelled to purchase a face mask to soften the blow a little bit. How ironic that Clark only poops when Arnie is at work.
He has taken interest in a few things that make me so proud to be his mommy. The most notable being that he loves to lounge in the pool and sit under an umbrella on the beach. He is definitely a man after my own heart and we can be friends now that he enjoys vitamin D as much as I do. Being in the sun instantly makes him a happy baby. Almost every single day he gets lathered up in baby sunscreen and floats in the pool for at least thirty minutes. And to make things even more awesome, he takes the worlds best naps after his pool time. So when we get back to Oxford, we're going to have to build a pool in our backyard. A baby pool simply will not do.
For only five months, there is a lot to be said about the strength and mobility of this Shark Tank. He is built like an ox, the little guy. He stands up perfectly straight and tall with only the assistant with one of our fingers. Gone are the days when we could leave him somewhere and expect him to stay in one place. He rolls over and over and can make his way across an entire room if we give him enough time. He is SO close to crawling and I'm just waiting for the day when I leave a room and come back to find Clark under a bed or in a cabinet. I think for the entire month of April, he would be on the verge of drifting off to dreamland when he would accidentally roll over and not know how to get back, which would cause him to enter freakout mode, and then he would catch a second wind which would nix sleep all together. He manouvers his way around all four corners of his crib, but always ends up in the same location and position for each nap. Such a cute little kiddo.
C. Randall Rice is so smart and observant and learns new things everyday. He reaches for everything and puts whatever he can grab straight into his mouth. If you are holding him and try to put a cup up to your mouth, good luck. He's a big fan of intercepting the glass and attempting to put it in his mouth, and that includes beer bottles and wine glasses. Anything is fair game.
And he's incredibly handsome if you ask me. It's so strange how we can look at him and see Clark as a two day old baby, and three seconds later I can perfectly imagine him as a two year old.
I am convinced he is going to be a ladies man one day and that is going to cause me many years of stress. But that's at least five years down the road. I still love every second of being with him all day. I think Aaron is pumped that Clark has reached the age that he can be semi-rough with him. He's all about being thrown up in the air and flipped around like a ragdoll. Arnie and Clark are great pals and there is a very distinct difference in Clark's demeanor when he's been around me all day and when daddy walks through the door. His mood changes and he lights up. I'm still pretty positive that Aaron is the best daddy in the world.
Perhaps the best thing that happened these past two months was the birth of Clark's two best friends, Noah and Barrett Bonham. We have been praying for these little souls since October and it was so awesome to finally meet them. They are undeniably perfect. Breathtaking. Tiny and amazing. I could just eat them up. But I won't.
Barrett has the most precious little hiney imaginable. Of course I had to take a peek. They were still hanging out in the neonatal intensive care unit when we got there, so Clark didn't exactly get to meet them, but I foresee a road trip in the near future to the Bonham household once they get discharged. Please continue to pray for the Bonham family. I'm sure they are completely exhausted and drained but don't even know it because they are overcome with love for these little baby boys. Their health issues are improving every single day. PRAISE THE LORD, for He is so good!
From what everybody tells me and everything I've been reading, a lot of developmental changes are supposed to occur this month, and especially the sixth month. I'm predicting that by this month, Clark the Dark Shark Tank will be sitting up by himself and starting to crawl, but we'll see. I'm certainly in no rush for him to grow up so its fine by me if he takes his time. I look forward to seeing what material I have to write his six month update. Or if history repeats itself, I will be writing his six and seven month update together because I'm a complete slacker in the blog department. We are going to be on the coast for another four weeks, so if you want to see this in real life....
Drive south and come hang out anytime!