Dear Nora: Peace, Love & Baby Giggles (Months 2-4)
You haven't figured it out yet, but your Mama is sort of a hot mess. I wrote you a one-month letter and then I blinked and now it's today and you're four months old and all I have to show for it are 14 arm rolls (we count them almost daily) and four knee dimples and 47,823 photographs of you. Actually, as far as Mom-ing goes, I don't think I'm doing too bad.
I mean that. I haven't had time to write to you / about you because I've been spending a lot of time getting to know you. You know what I've learned? You're a miraculous little human. You wake up laughing each morning, and you quite literally are the shining light in all our lives.
Your hobbies this month include: trying to get Bogart into your mouth (the whole dog, or at the very least his whole face), chewing on people (hands and shoulders are your favorites, but you're really not picky), squealing with delight, being shocked and delighted that you've squealed with delight, bouncing in your bouncy chairs, and being told just how much we love you.
Also, don't tell your pediatrician but I've started to let you lick things. Food things, to be more specific. You lick everything else, too, but the food is what I'm encouraging you about. This is because your doctor insists that he needs to see you again before we can start you on purees, even though you're giving me every indication you're ready to start chowing down on some real food. He can't see you for another two weeks, but I had the most delicious pear the other day, so I gave you a lick. You looked at me like you were seeing color for the first time, like you just tasted magic, and I know, Baby. I know that for you that is, in fact, exactly what happened. From there, I let you taste (I want to emphasize TASTE and not EAT, I let you lick and suck the foods, not get any pieces into your mouth in a way that would be unsafe) honeycrisp apples, bananas, carrots, and your Grammy let you have a lick of her asparagus when I wasn't looking. She claims you liked it, but we all know asparagus is gross, so we'll see how that plays out.
I went a little crazy at the farmers market and bought (way too many) sweet potatoes and (even more) apples to make your first pureed foods. There truly aren't words to describe how excited I am to open the world of delicious flavors and scents to you. Eating and cooking can be done with such love and such joy and, yeah, I do believe, a bit of real world magic. I hope with my whole heart you love sharing the kitchen with me as much as I love sharing it with you already.
Speaking of things we share... it turns out that we're a family that co-sleeps! You are, on the whole, a very easy baby to live with. Not a day goes by when I'm not grateful for how well you've taken to nursing, and how clearly you communicate with me when you're hungry, wet, tired, or just straight up over whatever it is we happen to be doing. But you don't like to be upset; you're not a baby that fusses for the sake of fussing. Once we've identified and rectified the problem, you settle right back into a happy, giggly, lovely little person. It's actually not unlike watching The Hulk morph back into Bruce Banner, except your cheeks are 10,000x more adorable than Mark Ruffalo's. (Sorry, Mark. You know my love for you runs deep, but for real, have you seen this girl's cheeks? No contest.) All this is a preamble to say: Nora, one day you're going to have to sleep by yourself in your crib, but for now I think we can all agree that today is not that day. Tomorrow probably won't be either.
Four months and one day ago, before I had you, I was a much smarter parent. I knew everything. I knew we were going to put you into your crib in the nursery the very first night you were home, and I knew you were going to sleep just fine. Oh, little one, the things you've taught me already. When it came time to put you to sleep for the night, you just wanted to lay across my chest (I assume to listen to my heart beat, which must have been the only thing that sounded familiar to you in this cold, bright, strange new place). And I didn't want to put you down. You were too little, the house was too big, being anywhere but with one hand on you felt like being far too far away from you. So I slept half-propped up with you on my chest (and sometimes in a bassinet next to the bed) and you slept laying across me and everything I thought I knew about everything fluttered quietly out the window. That's the over-arching theme of being your mother, by the way. I'm learning to gracefully evolve as situations call for it.
Over the months this has turned into a fluid, seamless routine. You sleep between your father and I, every so often tooting loudly or landing a foot in one of our faces (mine, it's always MY face that you manage to ninja kick). You and I know one another a lot better now. We work together to keep this ship floating. When it comes to naps, you'll sleep on the bed on your own as long as I rock you to sleep. I think that's a fair deal. Honestly, I love you so much that I'd be willing to compromise and let you nap across my lap all day every day (and sometimes I still do, if you're not feeling quite right), but I can't be selfish about it. Eventually, you'll need to sleep on your own. You'll want to, even. You'll be telling your stuffed animals bedtime stories, and you'll going to sleepovers, and you'll be trying to sneak out your bedroom window (good luck with that, by the way... crush my roses as you shimmy down the trellis and you're super grounded, young lady). You'll grow into it, though, your independence. I won't hold you back, I promise. But I'm not going to rush you into it, either. For now, what we're doing works for us, all of us, and it feels natural, and everyone is happy and healthy and growing.
In the next letter we'll be talking about food, and probably about rolling over, and I think you might be starting to cut teeth and learn your name. You have a big month ahead of you. I'm so excited to take this journey with you, to be your guide and your protector and your cheerleader as you endeavor to navigate this big old world we've plunked you down into. Sometimes, when I look at you, I catch this little gleam in your eye, this mischievous little glint. And I think to myself, "Oh, goodness... I am in so much trouble." But you know, I don't begrudge you any of the mischief you find on the road ahead of us. Or anyway, I'll try not to. You seem to be called toward curiosity and adventure and joy. As your Mama, there is nothing I want more than to see you fly heart-first into that life.
Mama loves you.