Friday, December 17, 2010

A Woman in her Thirties is Changed

Dear Anna,

Today you are four weeks old. That means that when I walk through Target and people stop and ask how old my baby is, I can say ONE MONTH. It is a big deal, moving from weeks to months. God help me when I move from months to years.

It's been a crazy four weeks, little one. Most of the time we have spent just trying to figure each other out. Newborn babies are supposed to sleep, eat, and poop, right? I thought this was going to be a fairly straightforward gig for the first month or so. Not so much. In your first week you got too little, I couldn't figure out breastfeeding, and you wouldn't sleep anywhere but in someone's arms. We've come a long way since then (you are now tipping the scales at almost SEVEN pounds!), but you're still not into your crib for sleeping. Just so you know, your Dad agonized over the selection of that crib, and if you could please figure out how to sleep in it that would be really great.

A woman in her thirties is a realist, and I'm just going to say this so we're clear: you are the spitting image of your father. I figured you'd look mostly like him based on our ultrasound photos, but this is kind of ridiculous. There are two things you have that are mine: detached earlobes, and this big toe:

Sorry, Pumpkin. A lifetime of holes at the tops of your Keds awaits. Sometimes people are funny and say that your eyes look kinda-sorta-maybe like mine... but we both know they're just being nice. You are your Daddy's girl.

That's not to say we haven't got a pretty good thing going here, you and me. There have been times when you've cried in anyone's arms but mine-- sad for everyone else, but so happy for me. When you nap long enough for me to throw in a load of laundry or make lunch, I pick you up and smother your baby cheeks with kisses and say, 'Thank you for letting me eat, oh thank you thank you!' You're too little to laugh yet, but I think you like it.

Our feeding times are the best, maybe because we struggled so hard to get to the place we've come. Sometimes after you feed you get this look on your face:

And I melt completely away. Then you fall asleep on my chest and I hear you breathing and I know what it means to be in love with someone unconditionally. Then you splatter fart and spit up on my boobs.

Daniel is doing okay with your arrival. At first he was skeptical, even a little sad, but now he's become quite protective of you. He often sniffs your hair and then licks your ear, and I like to think that's how he's getting to know you. Here's my favorite picture of the two you together:

As you know from your first outing, I'm a pretty avid reader. I've read lots of books about how to take care of you, all of which contradict each other. To schedule or not to schedule-- that seems to be the question. Despite the advice found in books, doctors, advice nurses, lactation consultants, moms, dads, and fellow women in their thirties, I can only say one thing with confidence: I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing. Each day I wing it. I guess that makes you my wing-baby.

What I do know is that every night since you've been born, when I have a couple of seconds to wash up before going to bed, I touch my face and it feels different to me. How could that be? But I now realize what it is-- I've spent so many hours in the last four weeks stroking your cheeks, telling you that I'm here and everything is going to be okay, that when I touch my own face I expect to feel yours. It takes me a second to realize that it's just me, and then I think about how I can't imagine what my life was like before you came into it. I guess that's one of the many ways you are truly a part of me, as I am of you.



  1. Love. This. Post. So. Much.

    p.s. I'm thrilled she got your Toe.


  2. This post (as so many of yours do) brought tears to my eyes. It is beautiful. Anna is a very lucky little girl.

    LOVE the photo of her and Daniel!

  3. You're killin' me. I love this post, so much! And I LOVE that you are able to put these feelings into words, something I struggle with, but agree with wholeheartedly.

    Love you both!

  4. Loving the picture of Daniel and Anna!

    Side note: Mason slept in his car seat next to my bed for the first 2 months. After that, the crib was still a smooth transition. Anna will figure it out. :)

  5. Happy 1 month sweet girl! Anna is adorable!

  6. Teddy did not sleep in his crib until 4 months! Enjoy the cuddle time...

  7. I absolutely am in love with that picture of her after she eats! We ALL are winging it...if that helps any. You are an amazing mom and an amazing write, L. I love this post.

  8. Love this: I can only say one thing with confidence: I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing. Each day I wing it. I guess that makes you my wing-baby.
    You're doing good, mama.

  9. What beautiful words. It amazes me how insightful you can be despite being a sleep-deprived new parent. That last paragraph gave me chills. Becoming a mom is truly transformative.

  10. I love your letter to Anna! You are a wonderful Mommy!