Dear Nora (Month 1: Long Nights & Baby Cheeks)
Yesterday, you turned a month old. I've been trying to write you a letter since I found out I was being induced 32 days ago, but words failed me. It seems so silly to say that-- words failed me-- cliche, and a little unworthy of just how immense the addition of you to our family has been. It seems too small, that everyday excuse.
Maybe it's the exhaustion, of which there's plenty. Maybe it's the fact that I, as a woman and a person and a force of nature, am in completely new territory being your mother. Not disagreeable territory-- I really like having you around. Just, unfamiliar.
Let me tell you a bit about yourself. You're new here. You feel new here, I think. Your English needs a bit of improving, but we're working on it. You communicate with little
Daddy called you The Meatball the first day you were born and the nickname stuck. Sorry, kiddo. That's what happens when you have as many dimples and rolls as you do. You'll just have to tell your therapist all about it when you're 12 and we're the most embarrassing people you've ever met. I'm sure therapists call a nickname like that "low hanging fruit" and it'll be a nice break from the deeper issues you'll have rooted in you after the fairy tales Grammy tells you (like the one I hope you ignored the other day about being a princess and going to the ball to find a prince to marry for his money, feminism be damned).
What I love most are
I love the way the top of your head smells after a bath. I love the way you'll lay and babble to your mobiles and stuffed
I love that you seem a little hesitant about your father and I. You're still getting to know us, and there are times when I'm changing your diaper (which you don't like) or cleaning up spit-up (which you also don't like) or filing down your raptor-claw baby nails (which you really do not like at all) when you'll look at me like, "Lady... I'm not sure who you think you
That said, I've seen you with Grammy and Grampy so I know that once you've decided to let people in, you're going to be generous of spirit with them. You spend your mornings (a leisurely nap from 8:
And your Grampy. I thought I had cornered the market on being
Your father and I are still figuring it out. We don't have thirty years of parenting experience like Grammy, so we fumbled a little at first. Now we can each change a diaper, wrap a swaddle and get you to burp blindfolded with one hand tied behind our back. What we can't seem to figure out is how to get you to stop screaming at
I don't think you'll ever be able to understand just how special you are to us, being our first. Even if we do ruin everything by adding another sibling on here or there, you'll always be the first baby, the one who turned us into parents. The one who just absolutely smashed our naive little hearts into a billion little pieces, then put them back together in a bigger, more spectacular, unexpected fashion. I won't be able to make you understand what that feels like until you have a baby of your own (75 years from now, because according to your father, you're not dating until you're 30, the same year you'll be permitted to dress as something other than a Lillian Vernon Bumble Bee for Halloween).
What else, what else? You have to forgive me. You still wake up three to four times a night, which makes for a very sleepy, scatterbrained mother. I don't mind it, really, though. I don't even mind nursing you the way I thought I would. I expected it to hurt (it didn't) and be challenging (it wasn't) and frustrating (only when you try to talk with your mouth full). As an added bonus, I love the small moments that only I get to spend with you, even the ones in the middle of the
Most of all, I love knowing that my body built you from scratch, and now it's my body helping you grow. You and me, kiddo. It's you and me.
Oh. Right. You look a hell of a lot like your father. Many people have commented that you are proof that yes, in fact, he would make a very pretty girl. From your long eyelashes to your adorable cheeks to your big feet, you're your father's daughter through and through. Except your eyes. Like Harry Potter, you really do see to have your mother's eyes. I'm annoyed, I'm not going to lie, that you look like a baby he could have had with any woman (I put a lot of sweat equity into you, kiddo) but your blue eyes are my sanity's saving grace. I heard that all babies look like their fathers in the first year so that the men don't abandon them. Apparently it's a survival thing. Apparently you'll start to look more like me the older you get. It's OK. You have my eyes, and you have my take-no-prisoners attitude when it comes to being fed promptly. I feel like even if we only had those two things in common, it would be enough.
Bogart has adopted you as his
Anyway. Enough rambling. Here are your stats. At one month old you...
- Flailing your arms around like a wild child.
- Having your feet rubbed.
- Head massages.
- Your mobiles.
- Having a tinkle as soon as we have your old diaper off you.
- Looking at everything.
- Shushing noises.
- Warm baths.
- Toots and burps.
- Falling asleep on someone's chest.
- Grabbing fistfulls of Daddy's chest hair.
- Grammy and Grampy.
- Waking up slowly.
- Grabbing Bogart's face hair.
- Accidentally punching yourself in the face.
- Being cold.
- Waiting for food.
- Having your diaper changed.
- When the dogs bark and startle you.
- Getting big, sloppy Bogart kisses. (I suspect you'll learn to love those.)
I couldn't possibly have guessed at who you would be. I couldn't possibly have guessed at how much I'd love you. I can't possibly imagine what the next month holds for us. I do know this: it's already such a marvelous adventure. I'm glad to be having it with you, my little Meatball.
Mama loves you.