I could stare at this face ad infinitum:
Gabriel is just...pretty. There. I said it. You might should not say that about a boy...but it is true. He is just so pretty. He has absurdly long, beautiful eyelashes. The cutest dimples. Gorgeous, mocha-colored skin.
I may just be a tad bit biased...but I don't think so.
After having gone through a stage of thinning out, his hair has really started to grow. When I pull his hair out straight, it's now about two inches long.
It is not two inches long all over, though. He has a nice bald spot. A bald **swath**...I should say. Our sweet friend Marissa, after holding him recently, said: "Did you know that Gabriel has a smiley face on the back of his head?"
His hair should be growing...in fact, everything on him should be growing with the way he's been eating. We're still going strong with nursing, and he's back to nursing every 3 hours, even through the night. But we've figured out how to accomplish those night sessions while laying in bed on our sides, so getting woken up 2 (or 3) times a night doesn't feel as disruptive as that sounds. And it still is tee-totally worth it to me for him to be able to get breastmilk.
Some of Gabriel's newest accomplishments:
He's gotten real good and pretty consistent about waving "Hey" and "Bye" at the appropriate times, when we even just say the words (without us physically prompting him). I'm just sitting here smiling after typing that sentence. It is such not a big thing...but Oh, this mama's heart is just so proud and takes joy in every new little thing he does.
He will lean toward us for kisses when we prompt him to...but always with an open mouth. Elisabeth thinks it is so neat that this is exactly the same way she first started giving kisses when she was 14 months old. But Gabriel is not always in the mood for kisses...he's kind of fickle that way. But, OH...it is so precious when he reciprocates.
We've started working on some sign language with Gabriel. Jas and I used some with our other children when they were first home, especially Elisabeth, since she was the youngest-at-adoption. Right now we're just working on teaching him a few helpful signs like milk, more, done, drink, diaper (meaning: please change mine), and help. We haven't had too much success yet, but we've just really begun working on it, and mama does not always remember to show him!
Gabriel has already started gymnastics. No, not in a gym....while he's nursing. He is 99% of the time also doing side leg raises with his top leg. AND, 99% of the time he manages to take the sock off that foot during his shenanigans. All the time, still nursing. Such talent.
Gabriel is getting around much more now. Anywhere he wants to go, actually. It's not always real pretty...but he manages.
...and rocks back and forth...
...and crawls backwards.
Which is funny. Funny to us...not always to him.
So he does do a technically-correct crawl, but only backwards. When he wants to go forward, he plops himself down on his belly and scoots forward like a little inchworm. He throws both arms in front of him on the floor, and then pulls himself forward with his arms while simultaneously pushing with his feet. It's quite surprising how fast he can move forward in this manner. I don't know if he'll ever get to technically-correct crawling forward, since this is working so well for him.
And while Gabriel is not cruising, he has started really enjoying standing up while holding on to someone:
And most of the time, after he gets his balance real good, he'll let go with one arm, and try things out that way:
You can practically see the wheels spinning in his head: "K, got my balance, I'm going for it. YAY!"
And clapping is another new trick he learned this month.
And he's so proud of himself.
And we all start clapping with/for him.
Gabriel makes many funny faces in the course of a day...
...but his current favorite face is an "Oh!"-shaped mouth face:
I have said it numerous times already...but our four older children continue to amaze me with how they relate to Gabriel.
They are each so good with him.
Yesterday, they actually - no lie - flipped a coin to settle their dispute over who got to have one-on-one time with him first during rest-time.
And if it's not obvious...
...he eats. it. up!
The photo below was the children's idea. All five of them were on the Rocking-Horse-made-for-one-that-you-can't-even-see-because-it-has-five-children-on-it.
We had a great Family-of-Six thing going a year ago. But it became simply wonderful/crazy/fun Family-of-Seven when this little guy joined us. Daily you can hear one of the children (usually E or N) say: "I can't imagine our life without Gabriel!"
I. can't. either.