One Month Old

Monday, October 11, 2010

Dear Nora,

You are one month old today. I can hardly believe it, as it still seems like just yesterday that you were born. Instead of expressing your age in days and weeks, we can now say you are one month old. Amazing.

One month and one day ago, I didn't have you in my life. It's actually hard to remember those days now. You've only been here for 30 days, but you fit into our lives so perfectly that it almost seems like you have been here all along.


Before you were born, some of our friends with kids told us not to worry if, after you arrived, we had feelings of “Oh my gosh, what did we do?” because it’s natural for new parents to feel overwhelmed with such a big change in their lives. Daddy and I talk frequently about how neither of us felt those feelings—not for one minute. Don’t get us wrong, there are challenging times, but still, there is joy to be found in it all. I guess we were just REALLY ready for you. And having all of those friends and family members who became parents before us—well, maybe their experiences helped us to have very realistic expectations.

You are growing and changing every day. As your mommy, I am faced with the dichotomy of wanting to see you grow, and wanting you to stay this small forever. I worry that as you grow bigger, I won't be able to remember you ever being this little--it makes me sad. But Daddy and I make a conscious effort to enjoy every minute of your life at this moment, drinking in every detail of you. The smell of your hair, your tiny little ears, the way you suckle in your sleep, the turn of the corners of your mouth as you smile your gassy newborn smiles. The way you stare at us with your wide open, blue-gray eyes. Your long fingers, and your teeny-tiny replicas of Daddy's toes.

At night, when we get ready for bed, I put a fresh diaper on you, change you into your pajamas, and nurse you in the glider chair in your room. Instead of falling asleep for the night at the breast, you are usually very alert and awake after your bedtime feeding. I burp you, then swaddle you in your swaddle blanket and give you your pacifier (which you LOVE). I carry you into our bedroom and pass you to Daddy to snuggle in bed while I get myself ready for sleep.

Once we're all in bed together, Daddy and I spend a few minutes just staring at you. You look like a little glow worm or a burrito when you're all wrapped up in your swaddle, with just your head showing. It's adorable. But the thing we enjoy the most is the way you suck on your pacifier. As the rest of your body lies still in the dark, all cuddled inside your blanket, the only movement we can see is the back and forth movement of your binky. We joke about how you look like Maggie from The Simpsons.

Sometimes we'll read you bedtime stories or poems. Daddy kisses you goodnight and rolls over to get some sleep, as he has to get up for work in the morning. I'll usually stay awake a little longer, snuggling you until you start to drift off, or sometimes, until you're out like a light. I say a little prayer, kiss you, and put you into your Rock 'N' Play bassinet, then sleep as I await your awakening for your middle of the night feeding.

It is moments like these--the simple, everyday, seemingly mundane things--that are now so much more special because we have you with us.

You are a great sleeper. On a normal night, you’ll generally sleep between four and seven hours before waking me to eat. Some nights, you decide to get up more often than that, but that’s rare for you. When you were about three weeks old, though, you went through a growth spurt and you were eating like a champ every few hours—you had me up several times throughout the night those days—but it only lasted maybe 3-4 nights before you were back to your usual. We know how lucky we are, because other parents tell us so! I’m seriously thankful every day, and I try to prepare myself for your good sleep habits to end. So far, they continue, and you’ve been a dream. Remind me to thank you for this when you’re older, OK? All I can say is, I hope you’re not going to make us pay for this during your teen years. :)
If I’m being 100% honest, there are nights when you spend a few hours sleeping with me—oops! I know it’s not a good habit, but sometimes I’ll drift off while I’m waiting for you to drift off. And sometimes, you’ll be a little fussy and you just want to be held. Some mornings, you’ll fuss early and I’ll tuck you into the crook of my arm in bed so we can both get another hour or two of sleep. I try not to feel guilty about this, as parents have been doing this for centuries. Plus, I know that these times will not last forever, so instead of looking at it like it’s wrong, I choose to just enjoy it while it lasts. As you get older, there will be plenty of nights for you to sleep alone in your crib.

The mornings are some of my favorite times with you. I love busting you out of your swaddle in the morning, and it almost always results in the most amazing baby stretches. You stretch out your whole body, from your head to your toes. Your arms fly up over your head and your legs and feet flex—it’s hilariously cute.

You still nap a lot during the day. Some days, it seems like all you do is sleep, while other days, you have much more awake time. You sleep in your Rock ‘N’ Play, which we pull out into the living room during the days, or in your vibrating bouncy seat. You also like to sleep while being held (surprise, surprise). In the evenings, we sometimes lie on the couch and let you sleep on our chests, which just may be our favorite way to snuggle you.
We are both doing really well with breastfeeding. I love it, and I’m pretty sure you do, too. (But then again, you’re a baby, and I think it’s in your nature to love it.) I was totally determined to breastfeed and am so happy that it is working out for the two of us. We have mastered nursing in the car when we’re out and about, and thankfully, we’ve also become really good at the whole side-lying thing for your middle-of-the-night meals (it.is.AWESOME).

I don’t know much about baby neck muscles, but I think you have amazing head control for your age. Other people say so, too, so surely it must be true? Your head is not very “floppy” at all, as you hold it up very well on your own. When I put you up on my shoulder to burp you, you are always pulling your head away from my shoulder and turning your head from side to side, looking all around. You follow things with your eyes, and seem to really like the Fisher Price jungle music/lights thingy in your crib.

Although you’re not “doing” much these days, I could still stare at you all day long. You are such a miracle, and we feel so blessed to have you. I promise to continue to cherish you. Thank you for choosing me to be your mommy. It’s been an amazing first month, and we can’t wait for the next.

We already love you more than we ever knew possible.

Hugs and kisses,
Mommy

2 comments:

Moya October 12, 2010 at 11:51 AM  

Heather, this post brings back so many wonderful memories of my daughter when she was that age!

Anonymous,  October 12, 2010 at 3:28 PM  

her toesies are so long! hehehe

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