It has now been two months since you were born… Well, actually, it’s more like two and a half. Things have been a bit hectic around here lately, and I wasn’t able to get the second newsletter written on time. With one month under our belts, your mom and I felt pretty confident about this whole parenting thing, but month two had a few surprises in store for us, between your first illness and us struggling with the balance between working and playing now that we’re parents.
Before I get into that, however, let’s talk about how much you’ve grown! Long gone is the skinny little girl who was struggling with jaundice. In her place we have a happy, healthy, and pleasantly chubby little girl. Not only has your face filled out, but your neck and arms and legs as well. You have all the usual little bits of baby fat, from the rolls on your legs to your round little cheeks. You’re still not fat by any stretch of the imagination, but I no longer worry that I’m going to break you every time I touch you. You just look more like a normal baby.
Everyone else still says you look tiny, but your mom and I know that you’ve doubled in weight. You’re noticeably heavier when we pick you up, and we frequently marvel at how heavy you seem compared to when you were born.
Several weeks ago, just before your mom’s 6 week check up, we were staying over at your Aunt Rose and Uncle Dave’s house. Your mom was talking about getting you weighed at your appointment, and said that she wouldn’t be surprised if you weighed over six pounds. I said I thought you easily weighed more than that, probably closer to eight. That’s when Aunt Rose said that she had a scale, so we decided to bet on it. At the last minute, I chickened out and instead of betting on eight, I said you would weigh more than seven pounds, and your mom said you would weigh less. You actually measured around eight and a half, and at the midwife’s office we got an official measurement of eight pounds, ten ounces. It might not sound like much now, but it was a cause for celebration for us, because it confirmed that you were gaining weight at a healthy rate.
Of course, just a couple weeks later at your two month checkup you clocked in at nine pounds and fourteen ounces, which happens to be the exact same amount that your cousin Milo weighed when he was born, and nearly double your birth weight. Your Uncle Sean has started joking that you now measure one MU, or Milo Unit.
Your personality has been growing just as fast as the rest of you. During your first month, you really didn’t interact with anyone. You would sometimes make eye contact with your mom while breastfeeding, but mostly you were just in your own little world. In the last month, however, you’ve started showing much more interest in the world around. Your favorite thing is to stare at any light source. You will crane your neck around into bizarre contortionist positions to peer at a window or a lamp, and will actually look around people trying to get your attention in order to stay focused on a light source.
The one exception is your mom and I. We had both had a couple moments where we caught you looking at us, but I remember the first time I really saw you do it was one morning when you were lying propped up on the bed. As I walked across the room to grab my shoes, your mom said you were tracking me. I turned around and walked back, and sure enough, you craned your head around to follow me. So I climbed up on the bed and got in front of your face, and you gave me the biggest smile.
Since then, you have become more interactive with each passing day. When you’re tired or upset you go back to being more reserved, but when you’ve just woken up or finished feeding, you’re usually in a great mood, and you’ll make eye contact with us and smile and laugh as we talk to you. In the last couple of weeks you’ve also started trying to talk. You’ll watch me talking to you with great intensity, and then you start waving your arms and kicking your legs as hard as you can, you start hyperventilating, and then you let out a little squawk or bark. It’s not a word, or even baby talk yet, but you’re intentionally making sound, and it’s really a kick to watch you figure out how to make things work. I don’t think it will be long now before you’re getting out your basic vowel sounds – in fact, you seem most interested and smile most when I just get in your face and make lots of “Oooooooo” and “Aaaaaaaah” sounds. Or maybe you just like it when I make a big deal out of you.
So, let’s talk about the illness. It started when I got sick. A nasty cold had been going around the office, and the weekend before the annual company retreat, I got hit really hard. I was completely out of commission for two days, desperately trying to get healthy in time to go on the retreat. I actually slept in the basement to avoid getting you and your mom sick.
Because it came on so fast and so hard, my memories of that weekend are pretty hazy, but I do have one strong memory of sending your mom to the store to get Nyquil and other supplies. You were asleep, and it was about time to feed you, so she didn’t want to go right away, but I needed these supplies as soon as possible, so I told her to go, and that I would take care of you until she got back. She left, and of course, you immediately woke up hungry. For what felt like the next four hours (but was probably only 20 minutes), I did the one thing that made you stop crying – I danced with you in the living room while singing along to Sublime songs. I don’t know if you like the reggae-style music, or if you just liked watching me, but while I was singing and bouncing, you were calm, and whenever I stopped to blow my nose, you started screaming again.
When your mom got back from the store, I was still at it, so she got to see this while she unloaded the groceries, and after a few seconds she realized what I was doing and informed me that singing Sublime lyrics to our baby daughter was not acceptable. But hey, I grew up listening to Jimi Hendrix and the Doors, and you’re going to grow up listening to Sublime and Rage Against The Machine.
On Sunday evening, you two drove up North to stay at your grandparents’ house, and on Monday morning I felt just good enough to go to my company retreat. It was a long two days, both because I was still sick, and because it was my first time apart from you. Unfortunately, it was a long two days for you also, because you got sick, too. You had a runny nose, a decreased appetite, and were just generally miserable. By the time we all got home, everyone was exhausted. You seemed to have gotten past the worst of it, but you struggled with congestion for the next several days, and your mom was constantly using the nasal aspirator bulb to get huge boogers out so you could breathe. You hate that thing, and you usually screamed your way through, but once we finally got it out, you always seemed much happier, so we kept at it.
The lingering sickness wasn’t too bad, it just meant that you had some difficulty eating and sleeping, and your breathing was labored, which made you sound pathetic – but you gradually improved, and after a week, we thought everyone was healthy again, when your mom got sick. Thankfully, everyone is healthy again now, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed that no one gets sick again for quite awhile.
Your typical day hasn’t changed much from last month. You still spend all day with your mom, nursing and watching TV and going for walks. You sleep mostly in three-hour chunks, with the occasional four or five hour stretch for good measure. That sounds bad, but we’ve discovered that three-hour stretches is perfectly managable. You usually wake up around midnight, 3am, 6am, and 9am. Your mom is trying to be good about getting up with you at that 8 or 9am feeding, since you seem pretty alert around that time, but so far you two still sleep in until around noon about half the time.
Your mom has gotten into the habit of putting you in the Moby wrap and wearing you around for a long stretch of the day, during which time she can check her email or do other computer tasks without bothering you. Most days the two of you walk over to her neighborhood coffee shop, where she reads the paper and just hangs out for an hour or two.
When I get home in the evening, I usually take you for awhile so your mom can get some time for herself, and get dinner started (If you had known us in the eight years before we had you, when your mother never cooked, you would find this as funny as I do). Then I give you back, get some chores done before dinner, and the three of us usually head downstairs to watch TV.
It used to be that you would come downstairs and fall asleep on one of us, and that would be the end of your day, but lately you’ve been staying awake, or only taking little catnaps. More and more frequently, you like to sit in your swing and stare at the lamp or bounce in my lap, rather than sleep. We try to keep you pointed away from the television, which thankfully seems much less interesting to you than the lamp. Either way, we’re getting a little worried about letting you stay up with us like that, so we’re in the process of getting a baby monitor and reworking our evening to put you to bed before we head downstairs, so hopefully in the next newsletter I’ll be able to tell you about what an easygoing little girl you are, and how simple it’s been to put you to sleep every evening. Fingers crossed!
I love you, baby girl.