When I was pregnant with you, there were a lot of things I prayed for you. There were a lot of things I prayed specifically for you as a baby.
When you’re pregnant, people love to give you advice. They love to tell you all their horror stories. It felt like I had a lot of people telling me how hard parenting was, especially with a newborn, an infant. (It’s so worth it, they’d always add, but it’s soooo haaard.) Your papa and I had a lot of friends and acquaintances telling us all their stories about how their baby didn’t sleep at all, or only slept for two hour stretches. We heard stories about babies with colic and with gas, babies with acid reflux. We heard stories about babies with allergies and mamas cutting out specific foods for months and months at a time. We heard about cranky babies who just had trouble adjusting.
When I was pregnant with you and hearing this stories, I started to pray — please let her be a good sleeper. Maybe we’ll have one of those magical babies who sleeps through the night fairly early on. I started to pray, maybe we’ll have a baby who eats great and has no issues with gas or allergies. Maybe we’ll have a baby who’s happy and content, with no health problems.
Then I thought to myself — we can’t possibly get that lucky. We can’t possibly get ALL of those things in one baby. We’ll be lucky if we have just one or two.
Baby girl, you are all those things. Your papa and I know what incredibly blessed and lucky parents we are, what a beautiful and perfect baby you are.
It’s true. We’ve seen signs of it all along, since birth when you were so alert and strong despite being so small and skinny. We’ve seen your personality developing over the last four months, we’ve seen you hit milestones right on target, we’ve dealt with you daily in a variety of situations and we’ve seen you be as easy-going and charming as it is possible for a baby to be.
I guess I thought that was normal, up until this fourth month. I just thought you were a typical baby — you’ve still had your crying fits, your public meltdowns, sure. If you get too tired or overstimulated, you’ll cry. We’ve battled over the carseat, off and on — sometimes you love it, sometimes you scream the whole way home. So I thought you were a fairly typical baby, granted one who is generally happy-natured — but one who is fairly typical as babies go.
Sometime this fourth month, I started to listen to stories other parents were telling. I knew we were lucky with your nightly sleep pattern, but I didn’t realize how lucky. I heard how parents with babies and children older than you were still getting up several times a night. I didn’t realize that most babies weren’t as cheerful as you were in so many situations. I didn’t realize so many parents had so many issues with when and how much to feed.
You’ve been such an easy baby. Some days are hard, yes. Most days are long and exhausting, but we could have it so much harder. Your papa and I get enough sleep — we’re not well-rested, true, but we get enough. Our mornings are early, and we are constantly doing something — laundry, putting away milk, washing bottles, nursing you, soothing you, changing you — but we have it so easy in the grand scheme of things.
You are so cheerful, so much of the time. You’re full of smiles and giggles, and coos and sing-song noises. You love to talk back to us and make noise. When you’re having a bad spell, we know exactly what to do to make you better. You rarely have bad days, just sleepy spells or long days when you’ve been out and about so much.
You’re so lovable. You’re so easy to love. You charm everyone you meet, with your dewy complexion and your big dark eyes and your smiles that come so easily. You love to be snuggled and cuddled and kissed and held — and by no one more than your papa and me. You are so easy to love.
I feel like this month was the first month that it really felt true and permanent that you were ours, forever and ever. Even last month, I still had some of that shock that no one would be coming and taking you away from me.
This month, you have felt more permanent — and in a good way. We know you now. You know us. We are a family, a unit, and our family means Ariadne now, and that’s the best feeling in the world. Maybe it was the holidays that did it — your first Halloween, you first Thanksgiving. Making plans for the holiday meant making plans around you and what we wanted for you and what was best for you. It’s not for the holidays to not have special significance this year, with you here and experiencing them for the first time — us wondering how much you realize what’s going on.
Your papa and I have felt more like parents, this month. We aren’t perfect, but we’ve had four months of practice, four months of as much of a routine as you can have with a baby. We are more experienced, the tiniest and teeniest bit. We know how to multitask like we have never multitasked before. We have this team work rhythm going, who has you and who is facilitating the meal, the laundry, the visit, the rehearsal.
And you know us, which is just — wonderful. You hear us, you look for us. We have “tricks” we do together, little baby things we do at home with you and show off to other people — look what she can do now! Look what she likes now! Look what we do with her now! Your papa and I were talking the other day — we agreed not everyone wants or needs to have children, and we totally support that — but if someone does decide to have children, watching a child learn about the world and experiencing the world is probably the best part.
You’ve developed so much this month, building on the foundations you were just starting last month. You have such good head control, you look around, turning your head all the time. Your motor skills are showing a lot of improvement — you reach and grasp for things now, toys on your mat, your papa’s beard, my hair or shirt as we’re nursing. Your favourite thing to grab is your feet, more importantly, your socks. You’ve been working really hard on rolling over, especially this last week. You got really good at rolling on your side, then grabbing both your feet and rolling to your side. The last few days, you’ve been sooo close to rolling completely onto your belly — you’ve done it once, but hadn’t since — and today, you were pretty much on your belly with one arm trapped underneath. You worked at it too, I watched you work at it for nearly 20 minutes before you got tired and needed a break. You kept rolling, getting irritated you couldn’t get that arm moved, then rolling back and trying it over again. Such determination, so smart to keep working through it.
I admit, we were worried about you holding your head up. The worst part is we knew you could do it. You have, as I’ve said, awesome head control, and if we held you up in the air, flat, you’d hold your head up. But the instant we rolled you over on a blanket or your mat, you got mad and just scream-cried into the fabric as your kept your head down — then you discovered your hand and you just sucked on your head until we rolled you over. I was just starting to get worried about how to make you practice this skill, when — snap! You figured it out. I don’t know what clicked in your brain or if our determination to keep you practicing made you strong enough — but one night, you just got it. You grunted the entire time, but you figured it out. And celebrated that by rolling from your belly to your back for the first time.
You’ve been talking more and more, really conversational. You intentionally make noises to us, and if we chirrup in return, you talk back. You try out sounds as you play on your mat, seeing what your mouth can do. Sometimes we sing to you, and you mouth noises back. It’s not quite singing, but you understand that we’re doing something different when we make music. I feel like other people don’t get to see how talkative you are, and I wish they could because it’s so dang cute. In public, you like to watch and observe, and aren’t always that outgoing. But at home, when you’re comfortable and you know Mama and Papa are near by, you hum and giggle and talk. I can’t even catch it on camera, you clam up as soon as I start filming.
We know lots of tricks to make you smile these days. Holding you over our heads like an airplane usually cracks a smile, although we also have to dodge your drool. Papa’s taken to holding you sitting on top of the fridge as his dad your PopPop used to do to him. You love that too — something about the change in perspective makes you grin. You still love noises, oinks and raspberries and farts and wolf howls and zerbers.
You are, as I’ve said, a joy to be around. We are more aware than every how lucky we are to have you. We are seeing glimpses of the little girl and young woman you will become, and I can’t wait until learn more about how you are. We see other little girls, Norah and Teegan and Viv and Cathy, and we think about what you will be like when you’re their age. We think about doing pigtails and waiting for Santa and dance class and drawing and hiking and making jokes and having sleepovers, and we just can’t wait. I love you how you are now. I’d keep you this age forever and ever. I’d freeze you at any point in time to keep you from growing up, to just stay my baby forever — but I can’t do that, and the next best thing is seeing you grow and thrive and become your own person. My mama, your marmee, has said to me on more than one occasion that she always thought she loved what age her children were currently at the best — but then we’d move on to the next stage and she’d find she loved that stage better than the last. It’s only been four months and already I can see that this is true. Every day is a new adventure with you, and we are so privileged to be on it with you.