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Archive for January, 2013

Two months.

Dear Hank,

Technically, you’re two and a half months old, 11 weeks tomorrow. You might as well get used to it now: Your mom is rarely on time to anything, including blog posts. (In contrast, your dad is very punctual. We’ll have to wait to see which one of us you take after!)

I wish I had written to you at two months, because it’s impossible now to remember what you were like way back then. I can’t get used to how quickly time with you passes and how much you change. Just in the past week, you have become a whole new person: one who drools, one who coos, one who collects a bouquet of bubbles at his lips, one who projectile spits up and spits up out of his nose (once each, over the past two days, after having spit up a total of perhaps four times in the 10 weeks prior). You love nothing more than standing up tall, and when you do, your mouth forms a satisfied little “O,” and your head wiggles from side to side. You are this close to grabbing at your toys, but for now you remain in awe every time your hands accidentally make contact with another object. When we do coax you into grasping something, you hold on for a very long time. The other day you got hold of your letter links, and half an hour later, your grip was still strong! You smile, over and over again, all day long, and you smile biggest when your mom or dad smiles at you first.

As you change and grow, motherhood gets easier. For one thing, it no longer hurts. I was unprepared for how painful it would be in the beginning. My whole body hurt after your journey through it, and for weeks my nipples hurt as you and I learned how to feed you, hurt with a toe-curling pain that was somehow worse than the pain of childbirth. When I was in labor, even when the contractions were piling on top of each other and bending me till I threatened to snap in half, I always knew that eventually they would end, and they would end with something so wonderful as you, my sweet, yearned-for baby. But the pain of nursing you those first few weeks felt interminable. The only alternative was the impossible one of your going hungry, so I experienced that pain over and over again, every couple of hours, for days and then weeks. I began to dread the next feeding before the current feeding was even over. Before you were born, when I thought about nursing you, I assumed I would love it, that we would take to it instantly, that we would rock together and gaze lovingly into each other’s eyes. It wasn’t like that. It’s still not like that, though it’s much, much better now that the pain is gone. Hallelujah, the pain is gone! I am so proud of both of us for working so hard, and I am confident that over time our nursing relationship will get even better. We make quite a team!

It has been hard, too, to move on from my life before you. I have grieved that life — my freedom, my self-indulgence, the ease of traveling from point A to point B without all of the extra steps traveling with a baby demands — but I am also glad to give it up for something so much better. When I feel myself wishing I could just do my own thing, I remind myself that none of it — the TV shows now unwatched, the Facebook statuses unchecked, the blankets half-knit and books barely read, the blog posts unwritten — is as important as, say, sitting on your play mat with you and helping you wrap your fingers around a toy. Nothing makes me as happy as making you smile. I have never felt love like the love I feel when I watch you and your dad together.

You continue to be a “good” baby, an “easy” baby. You have slept for long stretches at night since you were just a few weeks old. You eat heartily (nursing woes never did get in the way of that, thank goodness!) and gain weight like a champ. (By two months, you’d gained almost five pounds, from 8 pounds 3 ounces at birth to a hefty 13 pounds 2 ounces!) You rarely fuss or cry, though lately you have started to experiment with new and horrible-sounding cries that start out of nowhere and end almost as abruptly. To calm back down, you usually require only a closer cuddle from one of us, as if you’re just testing us to make sure we love you more than we did the last time you cried. (We do! We do!)

That is my favorite thing about being your mother so far: I am still falling in love with you. I will never love you less than I do now, but I will undoubtedly love you more, and that is exciting. We will continue to develop our relationship, and hopefully it is one that pleases us both. That relationship will change over the years, of course, but I hope that it will always have at its core our ability to make each other happy. When I smile at you now, you smile back, your big, open-mouthed, crinkly-eyed smile, and that — both your smile and the knowledge that I provoked it — fills me with tremendous joy.

I love you so, so much.

Mama

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Four weeks later.

(I started this letter on Dec. 15, 2012. My intention had been to write about the challenges of early motherhood, which at the time were overwhelming, but I got hung up trying to describe the joys. It’s an exercise in the superlative, but I’m not sure editing would have helped much. This motherhood stuff really is intense! Yes, the challenges of the past two months have been some of the biggest and hardest of my life, and I do want to write about them at some point, but I’m still very much distracted by my sweetest, cutest, best baby ever.)

Dear Hank,

You were four weeks old yesterday, and you’ll be one month old tomorrow. I can’t believe how fast this all is going. Right now you’re sleeping on your daddy’s chest. He’s sleeping too. Sometimes when he wakes up with us at night, he has trouble falling back asleep (luckily, you and I do not!), but there is nothing he loves more than sleeping with you on his chest, so he’s pretty happy right now.

Being your mom has been the most amazing, most difficult, most unexpected experience. I can feel my love for you growing every day, every minute. You are the sweetest, the cutest, probably the best baby ever. You rarely fuss, you sleep like a champ, and you are gaining a hearty amount of weight. Recently, you’ve started making extended eye contact with us, which melts us into tiny little puddles. You’re smiling, too, and sometimes your mouth opens into a wide grin and we think you must be laughing, even though no sound comes out. We cover you with kisses, and you give us a big open-mouthed smile back.

I’ll tell your birth story at some point, which was its own complex mix of pain and joy. It was not the birth I envisioned for us, but it was nonetheless perfect. You were perfect! Right after you were born, after I held you for a minute, you had to get examined by the special care team. Your daddy kept you company, and that was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen: You held his finger, and he stared down at you and beamed.

I love you so, so much.

Mama

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