Friday, May 6, 2011

letter to my girl: month one.

dear maggie,

it's been a month, nearly, since you came into the world. if we were going to be very specific and factual about it, i'd have to wait until 9:38 pm to say that.  but a month ago today, we were in a room at the big hospital here in town, laboring without drugs and doing a pretty fine job of it. 

but that's another story.

it's been a month since you came into our lives, and it's hard for me to remember a time when you weren't here.  that's strange to say, since it hasn't been that long, but there's something about parenthood that wipes out memories before you came, though daddy and i just last night were talking about how miraculous it was that you weren't even alive before a month ago, that you weren't here. 

everything about you is a miracle.

i'm trying to get to know you, a little bit more every day.  this is what i know about you so far. 

you love to eat.  you get REALLY annoyed when you have to wait, because you don't want to eat until you are REALLY hungry. i don't know if that's a newborn baby thing or if that will continue--i feel like it might continue, at least a little bit.  it has been a bit of a trial to get you to eat well, but we seem to have found our rhythm and so far it's working well.  but you're in a growth spurt right now, which means you're eating more and spitting up more and getting more gas and in general challenging what we thought we knew about your food intake. i'm waiting to see if we need to up your intake of ounces or if this is temporary. 

you are growing every day, a little bit bigger and a little bit stronger.  i would guess that you've grown at least three inches since you were born, though we haven't measured you officially to know for sure.  you just seem longer in my arms, and swaddling you is becoming an increasing challenge.  you, like most newborns, get this fussy cry going that is only solved by swaddling--but you don't like it when you're upset, so you'll kick and squirm out of it, which defeats the whole purpose. i'll admit that's sometimes frustrating, but you're quick to be soothed once we get it going and so it all balances out.  you kick a lot now--you kick when you have gas (you'll hate that i published this, but last night you were kicking your little legs and then out came a toot and you settled down--it made me laugh, silently, right there next to your crib) and you kick when you are happy and alert. you have crazy strong legs--when you are upset and kick against me or daddy, you come close to shoving yourself off of our laps. we have to be careful with you. 

you are SO CLOSE to smiling in response to us. sometimes i think you do, but i am never sure.  regardless, i love it.  it makes the day so much brighter already--i can't imagine what it wil be like when you are actually smiling at us.  you laugh in your sleep, and the laughs keep getting longer and more developed. they make both me and daddy so happy to see. they're probably the most adorable thing ever.  that and your cute little cheeks.  i love to kiss them, and so does daddy.

you've gotten into this habit of nuzzling face first into me when you're sleepy. i always worry that you won't be able to breathe, so i try to move your face so that you're facing the side.  sometimes you solve the problem by putting your head on your arms, like you're putting your head down on a desk.  it's rather adorable. i have a suspicion that, once you are able to roll over on your own comfortably, you'll end up being a tummy sleeper. you just are so comfortable when you're on our chest or tucked into our arms.  we'll see. 

you are so much like your daddy.  i love to watch you two together, but i love it even more when i see him in you. you sleep the same, with your hands flailed out like a touchdown sign or up close to your face like you are deep in thought.  you have the same temperament when you are frustrated--you get very frustrated very quickly, and it overtakes everything, but then it's gone as quickly as it came.  i don't see much of myself in you, but i suppose that's natural--and i would be so pleased if you turn out to be like your daddy, since he's my favorite person in the world.

you like to be bounced.  rocking is okay, especially at night when you are already tired, but you like the jiggly bounce or the supersway while walking. sometimes, when you're upset, i call it our "walk and talk" because i walk you around and bounce you and talk to you a little bit.  daddy, though, has the bounce down. you love him to bounce you around. he's so much a daddy--he'll even bounce you hard enough to let you leave his hands a little. when you were littler, this would scare me and startle you--your arms would go out but you would never cry.  now, it doesn't even seem to phase you. 

you fight sleep during the day SO hard.  you'll be so tired, you'll have little baby bags under your eyes, but it's like you don't want to miss anything. i understand, but sometimes i just wish you would be more willing to take naps.  it would make life so much easier for you and for us. i worry about getting you on a schedule, but i know that that will come in time.  it's hard for me, because i am a planner and because i read books before you were born. i think that if i hadn't, i'd be relatively pleased with how much you actually are on a schedule. 

your first real outing was this past week. you, me, and daddy went to my doctor, then out to breakfast at steak n shake, and then to target. you did SO well and i think the worst part of it for you was the constant in and out of your car seat.  we even changed your diaper in the very back of the car.  we did pretty well, and it made me think that maybe we can take you other places.

you have crazy good timing. if i start to pump, or try to answer the phone, you inevitably cry. if i try to do anything that requires both hands, you have to be dead asleep in order for me to think that i can accomplish it. i have gotten quite good at typing one handed, but other things for which i need two hands have gone by the wayside.  i hope you never remember how messy our house is right now, and i hope i find a way to figure out how to do everything. 

you're on your way to making real, legitimate baby noises. more and more you are articulating in these adorable ways. i read somewhere that it's good for us to imitate you so that you can hear those noises and recognize that you are creating language, so i've been trying to do that.  you always seem surprised when i do, with your eyes really big.  but i love that you're doing it.  it's a fantastic little obvious developmental milestone.

you actually don't really mind getting your diaper changed, and that's a relatively new thing. you used to HATE it and scream, but lately it's like you've learned that things are going to be better and less uncomfortable when we do it. so, while you sometimes cry, you normally just sort of chill.  

that's how i would describe you, overall--you are a chill baby. sometimes, especially when you have gas, you are my demon baby who can't be soothed. those are the hard times for me. on wednesday, we had one of those days, and i just cried.  it's hard as a mom to not know what to do for you, and it's especially hard when i feel like i have a job and other responsibilities pulling me in a thousand directions, but we made it.  and thursday was like the reward. you were an angel, so sweet and alert and almost smiling.  it makes it all worth it.

last night, you slept in your crib for the first time at night. i was surprisingly hesitant to move you, though daddy thought you were ready.  i think i liked having you next to me, and being able to check at any point to see if your little chest was moving or to hear your little sighs in the middle of the night.  i'm not sure you slept as well as you normally do, but you did it.  it felt big to us.  last night, when you were sleeping soundly and we were not yet asleep, we marveled over how you're already growing up and growing away from us. oh, you need us--this we know for sure--but from the beginning, you're already growing into your own person.  it's amazing.  and, for me, i think it's a little bit bittersweet. i'm so glad that you're growing, and i'm so excited to see the person you will turn into, but it's a little sad to see already that you're becoming more independent. 

but then we have moments like this morning, when we fell asleep together, with you on my chest, on the couch.  those are the moments when i know you know me and that i am special to you.

i love you, sweet girl.  daddy said, last night, that we don't even know how much we love you yet. i think that's true. we're all just still getting to know each other, but so much of what i feel for you is total dedication. the early days of being a mom and dad are hard--it's a steep learning curve--and sometimes we are frustrated because we don't know your language yet.  but i would give anything and everything for you--and some days it feels like i have.  but every day i get up and do it again, to varying degrees of success, and i look forward to what surprises you'll have in store for me. 

every day, i choose again to be your mom in the best ways that i can be.  that speaks volumes about how much love there is in this house for you.  i hope you will always feel it. i hope you will always know that you are encircled, roundabout, by love unending. 

i can't wait to discover more about you, baby girl. i'm so grateful you chose us to be your parents.  we'll do everything we can to live up to that trust.


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