_____

“You can make anything by writing.” ― C.S. Lewis

Posts for babies

A Four Month Letter to My Daughter

[Previously in this series…]

Dear Ariadne,

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.

dscn4320-2

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.

dscn4468

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.

Continue Reading

Continue Reading

A Three Month Letter to My Daughter

[Previously in this series…]

Dear Ariadne,

I’m trying to write your third month letter today, since you’ll hit that milestone tomorrow – but I’m having a hard time. It’s been one of those days where I’ve miss you so much, I almost have to not think about you for a bit, just to make it through the day.

Three months, and we’ve hit the end of that “fourth trimester” – that first three months after you were brought earthside to meet us and be part of our family. The completion of the year it took to make you and grow you and birth you.  It almost feels like the end of a magic spell, this miraculous period of time in which you were a new, new baby soul, and we were your brand new, fresh parents.

dscn4274

Which isn’t to say the newness and the magic have worn off– on the contrary, I think we’ve seen so much growth and change from you in the last month, since the last time I wrote, and I know our love for you has quadrupled every single day.

But now, in as you’ve hit three months, it’s quite evident you’re not a new newborn anymore. You’re still an infant, still a tiny little girl fresh and new in the world – but from appearance to personality, you’ve clearly moved out of the newborn phase.

dscn4268

Continue Reading

Continue Reading

A Two-Month Letter to My Daughter

[Previously in this series…]

Dear Ariadne,

Just the other night, your papa said, man, she’s been here eight weeks. Just eight weeks.

Eight weeks felt like an eternity. Or I guess what I mean is, the actual time you’ve been here with us feels like an eternity. To say out loud, eight weeks, two months — those phrases sound like a short amount of time. An impossibly short time — surely, you’ve been with us forever? I remember my mom, your grandma Marmee Suh, saying to me while I was pregnant, once she’s born, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without her. You won’t be able to remember what it felt like to live life without her. It’s so true. It’s only been eight weeks — the blink of an eye in the grand scheme of years and decades. But now that you are here and we have spent a good chunk of time with you, I really can’t remember what life was like before you.

I suppose you could say some of the newness of having a baby is worn off.  I still have moments of that holy wonder and shock — this is my child, I made her, she belongs to me and I am  her mother. But they’re spread out through the day now. Every single moment isn’t a moment of wow, woah, how anymore. We’ve settled into our roles as mom and dad and daughter, and while your papa and I aren’t experts yet, we seem to have managed to learn how to take care of you well enough to the point where some (some!) of the time, it feels easy and familiar.

I am cherishing every minute I get with you these days. I will admit, there were a few days here and there, around weeks five and six, where I got a little — not burnt out, exactly. But I felt more comfortable in my mothering skills, and I’d had weeks of being home and taking care of you, and I took it for granted, a little. I set you down whenever I had the chance. I tried to buy a little extra time in bed snoozing before I got up with you. I still loved being with you and being a new mom — but I was happy to have my arms free, or get more accomplished during the day. And then it hit me that this maternity leave home with you won’t last forever, and I was coming to the final weeks home alone with you every day. I really thought about what it would mean to leave you with others for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. Do my 40+ hours. I couldn’t imagine it. I’d known it was coming, all along, but I’ve been dreading going back to work after having you literally since I was pregnant.

I won’t focus on that now, because we still have some time left, and I want to enjoy every minute, instead of weeping off and on all day long like I did that day. After that day, I stopped taking this new mothering time for granted. I knew my time with you would be limited once I went back to work, and so the more menials tasks of taking care of you stopped seeming like chores. It is a privilege and a delight to rock you to sleep, even at four in the morning. I am lucky to have you fall asleep on my chest, and I spend even more time looking at you, drinking you in, stocking up all these memories for when I go back to work. I’ll be wearing those moments of bonding like armor as we all transition into this next stage together.

dscn4035

Continue Reading

Continue Reading

A One-Month Letter to My Daughter

[Previously in this series…]

Dear Ariadne,

I’ll try to keep this short; first because you’re currently snoozing on your Boppy and these days, those snoozes can last for hours…or only five minutes, and it’s difficult to know which each time. And secondly, because I know by the time you’re old enough to read and understand these letters, I suspect you’ll be bored or at least embarrassed by how much your mom has written about you throughout your life time, how wordy and emotional she tends to be.

DSCN3911 (2)

And when you’re old enough to read and understand these letters, I think you’ll be really familiar with a particular feeling that’s been coming to mind over and over again in this first month. It’s a feeling I think most teenagers and young adults feel for a good chunk of time. I remember feeling it in a variety of circumstances and intensities from college age up until maybe just the last couple of years, when it started to fade as I really truly started to feel like more of an adult and less of a kid.

It’s this feeling that we have as young adults that we want to be treated by adults. We want the older, adultier adults to recognize us as such. We are own people now, we can make our own decisions. We can choose our own paths and make our own mistakes. We don’t want to be forever tied to our parents and other family members — we love them, but we want to feel like our own person. We’re ready to cut the ties and go out into the world as individuals.

Since you’ve been born, people keep reminding me of how quickly you’re going to grow, how fast this precious infant stage is going to fade and be just a warm, pleasant memory. People keep telling me this like they’ve forgotten who they’re talking to — me, who is constantly nostalgic, constantly mourning the loss of the current zeitgeist. I am sentimental about the most mundane daily experiences, and as excited as I am for the future, I’m constantly thinking about the way things used to be, moments in the past, those little bubbles of perfection and imperfection that make up our lives.

DSCN3936

I know you’re going to grow, and fast. I can already tell from the way your precious little head, your big old noggin as I call right now, is getting bigger and filling out the length of my hand. I can tell from the way your cheeks have gotten a little chubbier and your beautiful belly a bit bigger. You’re still long and lean for a baby of your size, prompting your papa and I to ask where the hell you got that from, because the last thing either of us are is long or lean. But it’s a testament to how fast you’re growing — you can’t pack on the weight fast enough to get properly chubby yet, you’re just stretching out.

Continue Reading

Continue Reading

BIRTH IS IMMINENT: The Final Shadea and Emily Pregnancy Chat

[Previously in this series…]

Emily: So, let’s start off by me explaining that we totally just DID a short-winded version of this chat through texting, but I decided we had to do it again because I’m long-winded and need access to a full keyboard.

So, bless you, our entire pregnancies, for putting up with my OCD and perfectionist needs.

Shadea: I am not inconvenienced in the least!

Good – I swear, this will be a theme both through our pregnancies and especially this chat — I think in a lot of ways, you have a more go with the flow vibe going on, and I have more of a fixated focused vibe. They’re both good in their own ways, and I like exploring how we meet in the middle.

So, remind the lovely people how far along you are…

I am exactly 38 weeks and 5 days today, 10 days from my due date.  Which I’m trying – again, go with the flow – not to fixate on. 

Because it really it a bit arbitrary and because I have a few things to wrap up at work next week!

And I’ll be 37 weeks tomorrow.

So we are both at that point of — it COULD be any time now…or it could be several more weeks.

We’re both straddling the possibilities of NOW! and WAITING.

Yeah, it’s a strange place to be in. One of the things you and I were texting about is trying to find that middle ground between being TOO aware we’re ticking time bombs, and also not emotionally prepared for the very real reality that we could go into labor at any time.

Continue Reading

Continue Reading