Tuesday, May 24, 2011

4 weeks

Dear Daughter,
It has been four weeks with you. And we have loved it. Yes, it's been overwhelming. Your little presence is becoming less little as each day passes. When you wake up hungry or gassy or with a dirty diaper.. we know about it. But my goodness, are you sweet. In my opinion, once the adrenaline-fueled haze of bringing home a baby wears off, and real life sets in, you sort of realize babies are tiny tempestuous dictators. But it's really not been the case with you! You really are a good baby. I sort of make up my own definition of what constitutes a 'good baby' (they are all good, of course).. but you just go with the flow so much. You are so content, 90 percent of the day. (the other 10% is always around dinnertime and bathtime, when our household is at it's most chaotic and frazzled) You look around, awed at the same walls in our house that you see every day. You sleep (this superstitious mama ain't giving ANY specifics!). You eat. You smile - just today I've gotten more smiles out of you than any other day... mostly by tickling your little round chin. Is there anything sweeter than a toothless grin?!? You stare into our eyes for minutes at a time. You roll with the punches. If I am feeding you, and your brother yells out something that requires my urgent attention (read: butt-wiping), you don't melt down when I temporarily unlatch you to tend to his needs. This happens pretty frequently throughout the day, so I am grateful that you are so flexible! You go in and out of your car-seat sometimes several times a day, without a fuss. In and out of baby-slings/etc, too. You're just so transportable!
I really am enjoying you, little one (or, Nugget, as your father has gotten in the habit of calling you). I remember this phase with Andrew, and while I also enjoyed him and his adorable-ness, I was just one big ball of stress. I was unsure of every move I made, googling like mad and asking everyone I knew about every little thing. I compared every milestone (never wise). I sometimes just wanted to fast-forward time so that I could leave him in a sitting position, so I could wash dishes (how very lame!) or fast-forward time so he could be sleeping longer stretches at night (sleep is for the weak!). I now want to press pause. I want to rewind time.. because this precious baby phase? It's seriously almost over. I know you're still only a wee 4 weeks old, but how fast has this month flown me by?! You won't be a little Nugget for long, and it does make me sad. I'm thrilled for what our future holds with you, but sad all at the same time. So, because of that, I'll just dine on your double-chin and not think of anything more. Each little moment with you, I'll appreciate.
Happy 4 weeks Nugget!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Dear Son,
It's becoming more and more evident that you are more of a mini Cooper than I ever knew. You see, almost 27 years ago, I was given the GIFT of a sister. At the time, I did not know she was a gift. Even though my memories of being newly three years old are pretty fuzzy, I vaguely recall feeling slighted and pretty pissed off in general. And if I ever need a reminder of these feelings, there is always the lovely home-movies shot during that time, forever recording my ear-piercing screams for attention - directly into my newborn sister's ears. In those movies, I now focus on my mother. She was solid. Patient. Absolutely ignoring my bad behavior and not rewarding it with positive attention. I don't know how she did this, because CHILD. You are that kid now. You are pulling out some stops for attention. And you are actively choosing to not listen - to the most mundane of requests. Mealtimes have a rough start and a rocky finish. You are still eating (knock on wood!) but most times you take an act of congress to get you TO the table, and by mealtime's end, you have either intentionally dropped things on the floor or wiped your sticky paws over the table or done some other thing to up the misbehavior ante.
I know, this is not THAT bad. Firstborns usually regress in some way. They typically cry out for attention in new fun ways. It's just that, well, I had some pretty rose-colored-glasses unrealistic expectations of you. You have (aside from those not-fun months of 18 to 22...) always been just so SWEET. So goooood. So weirdly untypically behaved. You never really questioned our authority or thought that doing the exact opposite of what we said was ever even an option. You made us very comfortable, son. TOO COMFORTABLE.
It's rough some days, with a newborn and you, and a husband who has been working very abnormally late hours. You don't seem to want to cut me any slack. Your love for me is quite conditional. If I manage to put your sister down for a nap, and instead of, you know, peeing or some other selfish activity, I sit down with you and read books.. well, you love me. If I choose to let you watch 2 episodes of Curious George instead of 14, you very much dislike me.


The above was written several days ago. My how things can change!!! And still do. Things aren't back to normal. But will they ever be, anyways? Our 'normal' has been forever altered, I think, so my expectations of .. everything are going to be different now. You are such a sweet kid. And I could have inserted that anywhere above, too. I know that even though you've been testing our patience, you are still the cream of the crop. While you've been showing me more love (and respect!) lately, you still are very much on an emotional teeter-totter. This could be an adjustment thing, and this could be an 'age' thing, as well. No way to really know, but TIME.
Last night, something happened that I really was not prepared for (and you know I pride myself on being prepared for as much as possible). While your father and I were in the midst of a newborn screamfest, filing your sister's jagged nails, I came into the bathroom to get her bath ready. Lately, you have been LOVING the responsibility of washing your hands, all by yourself. I was ok with this, because you've never even TOUCHED the hot-water handle (and if you ever happened to, you'd surely call me to come deal with it once you realized it was even slightly warm) and because come on, it frees up SO much of my time! For a kid who loves to have clean hands, there's a lot of hand-washing goin' on, and if you can just do it yourself- by all means! ANYWAYS, so last night, I come into the bathroom and there's..  puddling. Everywhere. You have a very pleased happy face, as the faucet is running and you are using your cupped hands to transfer water from the sink to the toilet.. the tub.. the floor. Initially, I thought 'how freaking cute is this??!' because of how I never got to really experience walking in on a mess with you. You know how most moms turn their back and their baby/toddler is armpit-deep in the flour jar, or cereal box? Never experienced that. You simply never got into things. So, seeing this was sort of.. weirdly heartwarming? That feeling lasted a short span of a few seconds, and then I was just annoyed and irritated. I disciplined you (your sister's bath got scrapped, by the way) and you went off to your room, crying. Your father talked to you, you stopped crying, and you were no worse for the wear. Neither was the bathroom, as your father reminded my frustrated self that 'it's just water!' All that long story to say that I need to be better. Better at not expecting things to remain the same - that you'll stay out of the proverbial flour-jar forever. Or that you'll listen to us 100% of the time and obey us without question. Or that I'll get your love and cuddles whenever I ask for them. I know this new life of ours is going to be about getting through each day, for a while. Adjusting as necessary and the ebb and flow and all that.
But seriously, if you ever get in the flour-jar, your Curious George dvds are going to go mysteriously missing, so help me God!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Dear Daughter,
You're here! You came to us on April 26, 2011. You weighed 8 lbs 8 ounces, and were 20 and one-fourth inches tall. You did not close your eyes for the first two hours after your birth. Or so it seemed. Your eyes were blinking at a steady pace, just taking in the new world. Your round face and plentiful chins were the very first thing I noticed about you. I simply could not get over how ROUND your face was. Like a little moon. I loved seeing my mother in your precious round face. To say that seeing my mother in you hit me hard is quite the understatement. I noticed your very thick neck - the little newborn flesh/flab that stays in a roll around it is just the most delectable thing on the planet. I then noticed your head full of hair, just like your big brother had (and has). I noticed how you didn't have my slightly inwards-bent pinky nails (your brother does). And how you forgot to grow some eyelashes while in the womb! We won't show you how your brother's look like lush falsies.. you'll figure that out someday! You had the faintest hint of light brown eyebrows, too. The cutest, most reddest little chin. I noticed your LONG fingers and toes. I have little stubby toes, and your Aunt Kelly has what I call 'finger toes'.. you definitely have the same. You were so very red the first few hours of your life. All that crying just wears a gal out. It was so amazing to hear your little squawks.
I actually did not get to hold you for the first 15 or so minutes of your life. Your father did, though. I was being stitched up (yes, down there) and was too nauseated from all the meds and just everything, and I did not trust myself to have a steady grip on you. I don't regret this, simply because I got to hold you for almost 10 months! And, your father is a pretty great guy, so seeing him soak you up was not so bad. 
We eventually made our way up to post-partum, and settled in. Your father went straight out to Whataburger for some food - I was starving. It's all kind of a blur (as I write this, two weeks later), but I do remember that first night, and your many many poopy diapers. I remember being just shocked that such a little thing could go so much! I hope you hold that little gem of a memory close to your heart, daughter of mine, how I remember just how much you pooped the first night we had you. :)
Fast forward to life at home: It's been pretty darn nice. Just being a little family together. The time off from work that your father had was really much enjoyed and soaked up. We tried to remember so many little moments during that time, while we were all sort of still hibernating before returning to reality and the everyday grind. It's still a little hard to say with any real confidence how your personality is. You're only two weeks old, you know. You cry if you're overstimulated (mostly when we have visitors who you're ready to get out of the house), you cry if you have poop, and you cry if you're hungry. All pretty standard! You are a great little eater, as today's doctors visit proved - you now weigh 8 lb 11 oz (up 1 whole pound from last Saturday's jaundice check when you weighed 7 lb 11 oz!) and you've grown a quarter inch. You sleep a lot. You are having more alert times during the day, which is nice. You smile sometimes when you're awake - and I know this sounds silly, but I think it's more than just gas! I think you love to show me your right-cheek dimple. :) 
Your brother adores you. This is so very clear all day long. He always wants to just hold your hand. And he alerts me the second he thinks he smells "something stinky", or if he sees that your pacifier fell out. Or if your head flopped forward in the car-seat (as it did once this weekend). He was a bit of a handful the first few days we came home with you, but I know this is quite normal, and we still got off easy (the adjustment period is far from over though!). He wants to see you first thing in the morning, every morning. He wants to make sure you're asleep when I say you're napping (whispering VERY loudly to 'be quiet!!'). I think he's going to be a huge help in the long run, and a fabulous big brother to you. It chokes me up, getting to sit on the couch sometimes, holding you in my left arm and my right arm around him on the other side. Sure, this is a little bit of residual hormones, but mostly it's not. It's really realizing how BLESSED we are. To have two beautiful, healthy, wonderful children to raise and grow into little adults. To actually know that God thinks so highly of us to entrust us with you two, and to make sure you grow up to be kind, decent people. I have no clue what we did (or have yet to do) to deserve you two, but I'll take it and just be grateful. It's really mind-blowing. 
I think you're going to fit in just fine here, kiddo. I love you and your precious round face.