Thursday, May 28, 2015

Baby James: Two Months

My little sweet-pea,

I read a quote on Facebook the other day that went something like: "Labour is the only blind date where you know you will meet the love of your life."  It's been two months since we met, my littlest love, and already I'm beginning to forget how tiny you were when we did.  It catches me off-guard, when I look at photos from a few short weeks ago and see how much you've grown.  You are deliciously round now and weigh in a little over 10 lbs.  You are stronger and longer and spend much more time looking around and watching what is going in your world.

Your temperament continued to challenge me this month, little man.  For much of it you refused to be content if I put you down - not when you're awake, not when you're asleep. Since you're still in your fourth trimester and I understand your need to be close to Mummy, I've carried and cuddled you nearly 24-7.  It's felt claustraphobic sometimes, and I've gone to bed many nights with every muscle aching... not from exertion - just purely from tension... the tension of holding you, bouncing you, jostling you in pursuit of keeping your cries at bay in the evening.  I'm mostly successful.  This is a good thing, because when I'm not successful, it's tough on all of us.

But on the other hand, you sleep well in your car seat when we're out and about, and naps together are lovely, as you're happy to sleep for hours as long as you and I are cuddled up. And you sleep so well at night, tucked in next to me, that I can deal with pretty much anything you throw at me during the day.  Please don't give that up, little one.

Things are getting better though.  In the past week you've started your days content to watch the merry chase of getting your sister ready for nursery from the comfort of your swing or your playmat. You've become engaged and engaging when alert.  You love it when Mummy sings to you, beaming a great big grin at me and you're a sociable little thing, with a ready smile for any and all who say hello.  

Those moments when it's just you and me, and I can relax into the space where we are right now - this mandate to cuddle you - it's sublime.  I look at your peaceful sleeping face or your wide-eyed nursing gaze.  I hear the soft whisper of your breath.  I breathe in your lovely baby smell.  I feel the warmth of your compact little curves pressed to my chest, and I'm wistful for these moments before they've even gone.  Because I know, I know, that each one is fleeting and slips through my grasp like mercury, bright and shining and impossible to capture and keep.

I love you with all my heart,

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Katherine at 2 1/2

My darling girl,

You are 2 1/2 years old, my sweet, and the light of my life. Each morning you come bounding into our bedroom, generally not long after 6 am, announcing quite loudly "I'm HERE!" (you certainly are) or "I'm AWAKE!" (and now so are the rest of us).  You greet the day full of sunshine, even on the grayest of days.  This is in direct contrast to how you usually wake from your 2-hour afternoon nap, when you are decidedly grumpy, but sometimes also drowsy and cuddly, melting into me in that delicious way of a child.  On the other hand, you might wake up and melt down over a minute detail of your existence that isn't to your liking... one never knows.

A full 1/5 of your life has passed since I wrote your 2-year letter, and when I think about the math on that, I shouldn't be surprised how much you've changed.  But it feels like you turned two just yesterday and when I look back on the past 6 months, I'm astounded by how grown up you've become.  You weigh a sturdy 29 pounds, and no longer seem small for your age.  Your chameleon eyes skew more towards brown these days, and the untameable curls and waves of your hair sport gorgeous honey-gold highlights.  Although you have at least one of your last four molars through, possibly more (you refuse to open your mouth for me to look), I know that you have at least one more to go.  But teething has never been an issue for you, so I'm sure that will sneak in there with as little drama as the rest.

You are now quite articulate and continually surprise me with the words and concepts you understand, especially since you absorb so much at nursery that your world-view extends far beyond what I expect.  You are developing a sense of humour, and are tickled by absurdity.  The other day, Daddy was explaining to you that the tall bamboo in our garden is actually a type of grass, and you giggled mightily that he could say something so ridiculous.  I'm amused by the courage of your convictions.  "What colour is the sky?" Daddy asks on murky, rainy day.  "Blue!" you exclaim confidently. "That's not blue, that's gray," we assert.  "No," you say seriously, "That's blue," and dare us to disagree.

You are independent and fearless at nursery, standing your ground in the minor disputes that occur among children but rarely, if ever, acting the aggressor.  You simply won't stand for interference.  Speaking of nursery, I'm pleased that you enjoy your time there so much.  Each morning when we arrive you shrug off your jacket and throw yourself into a cuddle with one or another of the staff that are so charmed by you, or run off to play with your friends, all without a backwards glance for me.  "Say good-bye to Mummy," the staff entreat, but you never do because you are already absorbed in your world there, which doesn't include me.  On the other hand, your enthusiastic greeting of "MUMMY!!" when I arrive to pick you up warms my heart, and you're so excited to share with me what you are doing at the time.

Although you have your share of tantrums, transitions such as the school run, home time, leaving the playground or going to bed are surprisingly free of drama.  I'm often grateful, when I stop to appreciate it, for the composed approach you have to moving through the routine of your days.  That composure served you well when your world was blown apart 8 weeks ago by the arrival of your little brother.  You had an emotional few weeks as you adjusted to this change in our family, but you deserve a medal for the way you've adapted.  You largely ignore James, but when you do deign to notice him, you are ever so sweet and gentle.  "He's smiling at me!" you exclaim, even if it's only that he's awake and not crying.  You insist on placing the blanket on his car seat before we go out to keep him "warm and cozy." Once he was crying as we left for nursery and I explained that he was hungry for milk.  "I know, I know!" you said, running off and returning with your toy milk bottle and placing it in James' car seat.  You were so proud to help, and I'm so proud of you.

You are sometimes a bossy little thing.  "Sit down, Mummy." "Cross your legs, Mummy." "Like this, Mummy." "You don't go get it, Mummy.  I'm going to get it!"  You are stern and serious in these commands and sometimes it is deeply important that you are obeyed.  Perhaps I haven't done you any favours by acquiescing when it matters little to me to do so as that does mean that you can be terribly offended at the times I refuse to comply with your orders.  Sometimes I simply get a strict, "I'm. Not. Happy." Sometimes you cry like I've broken your heart, and it breaks mine a little too.

Other times you are deliciously sweet. We play a game where you stand in a corner, lining up a run like a gymnast.  Then I throw my arms wide and you charge across the room toward me, collapsing into my arms and laying your head on my shoulder. Then I stroke your back and you stroke mine too.  Sometimes you murmur into my neck, "I love you mummy" and I'm reminded that I can't and don't tell you often enough how very much I love you.  And I do, baby girl; I love you with the heat of a thousand suns...

...And with all my heart,