The 4 month Regression Is A Real Pickle

tummy time

As it turns out, some stages are more frustrating than others.  And some are more delightful.  For Baby O, it seemed that being 3 months old was a revelation.  His digestive system was no longer brand new, he could mostly hold his head up on his own, he had the hang of being out of the womb and – wonder upon wonders – he had just discovered he had hands!  The possibilities of the world had just increased exponentially.

4 months old, however, has been another story.  He knows he has hands, but can’t quite use them.  He is aware of the possibilities his legs, his stomach, his head and feet all have to offer but can’t benefit yet from any of it.  He can’t stand but he desperately wants to.  And until this week, when he tried to sit up he would falls back, forward or to the side instantly.  He can hold things in his hands – sort of – but can’t move to grab the things he wants.

And, most frustrating of all, he’s learned to roll, but only onto his tummy. He can’t yet get off!

It’s a real pickle.

They call this phase the 4 month regression.  Whoever “they” are, I don’t think they got it right.  Better put, it’s a progression.  A massive, explosive progression.  True, this phase brings wake ups more frequently than any time since he was first born (or in O’s case – more frequent wake ups than ever before).  And it’s enough to cause despair and hopelessness – like someone just recovering from an illness only to relapse again.  Or enough to make a smug parent eat a heaping slice of humble pie.  But it’s full of huge leaps and changes every day enough kindle a little hope for what’s to come.

What’s very clear is that necessity is the mother of innovation because it’s only by getting frustrated enough that he is figuring out how to get to the next step.  No amount of parental coaching can make him realize that he can and how to get off his stomach.

And as epic as this phase has felt – oh those nights when he can’t get off his stomach and at times seems unable to sleep without burying his face in a suffocating position on his crib mattress such that even if he is able to sleep, we cannot – it moves just as quickly by.

In fact, as of this writing, Baby O has turned 5 months old and suddenly started to figure out the whole sitting thing.  For a few second or a couple minutes, but he’s decidedly starting to get it.  And with that, we are reminded about the best parenting advice we’ve received – that whatever phase you are in is all consuming and impossible to imagine a way out of, until you get to the next phase (almost magically).

And this week, I’m feeling especially grateful for some of the pains of the 4 month progression because without that struggle, the loss of these remaining semblances of our itty bitty newborn would be just too painful to bear.

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Photos: O getting stuck on his stomach during tummy time

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