In the grand tradition of Heather Armstrong of www.dooce.com, I’ve embarked on writing a monthly letter to River. :)
March 11, 2010
I meant to start these letters to you from the time you were born. However, the circumstances of your birth were so, ummm, exciting, that it hasn’t been emotionally or mentally possible for me to sit down to calmly write to you. Until now. : )
You’re eating almost constantly now—gone are the days from the NICU where you could barely drink down ½ an ounce of milk before falling asleep, exhausted. You would happily glug down 5 oz of milk at one sitting if I didn’t know better than to let you do that. (Your tummy will only hold about 3 oz…anything else that is glugged down too quickly simply makes its way back up). Just yesterday you drank 5 oz in 45 minutes. Thank you for teaching me to be grateful for accomplishments like these—I always took for granted that babies drink from bottles. Period. End of story…until it took a month for you to be strong enough to subsist on bottle feedings alone.
You’ve been so ravenous lately that we’ve started to put a few teaspoons of rice cereal into your milk for your evening feedings. This increase the calories w/o adding too much bulk for your tummy to handle. You sleep so much better now.
Oh! And while we’re on the subject of sleeping: You have completely blown away all of my assumptions, presuppositions, and pre-formed opinions on co-sleeping. You’re far too tiny to sleep in our bed, of course, so at night, you sometimes sleep nestled in your boppy pillow and I curl up on the other end of the couch or w/ my arm around your pillow. (I have a terrible fear of rolling over on you, so I always make sure there’s something between us). I love to see your beautiful, glowing skin, tiny pursed baby lips, fuzzy hair, and adorable, upturned nose while you sleep. As your Grandma says, “You sleep with such abandon,” frequently with your arms thrown above your head, taking up as much room as possible. I’ve noticed that you sleep longer if I’m close to you while you’re sleeping…but not too close! Today, we were napping and I had my head on the boppy pillow next to you, and you wacked me in the eye with your baby fist. :)
Just this week, you’ve started “talking” more than ever. When I imitate your sounds, you seem delighted and often repeat the sounds, as if we’re having a conversation. Your favorite sounds are “ooo” and “ahh”, respectively. And I could almost swear that you’ve tried on multiple occasions to say “hi” and “love you”. The intonation was definitely there.
Your cheeks are distractingly cute…almost distressingly so. Your father and I comment daily on how absurdly kissable you are.
And speaking of your father…you are SUCH a “daddy’s girl”! You’ve always loved sleeping on him and having him hold you. Now, if we’re at your Grandma’s house and your father is in the same room, Grandma suddenly becomes chopped liver, and all you want is for your father to hold you. It’s adorable. If he’s speaking in another part of the room and someone else is holding you, you’ll bend, twist, or even hang backwards over that person’s arm to be able to see him.
You’ve already had 2 road trips—one to San Diego and one to AZ to see family. You’re a fabulous traveler and adjust easily to new surroundings and people. It helps that the NICU made you virtually impervious to noise and that you can sleep anywhere and through just about anything.
My childless acquaintances keep asking what it feels like to “be a mom”. All I can say at this point (and I’m sure this will change in time), is that I definitely don’t feel like my preconception of a mom. However, I know that I love you more than anything and anyone in this world, and I would unhesitatingly do anything other than harm another baby or child to protect you. I don’t know how you inspire such ferocity in me, but you do.
You’re also the only person who can wake me up early in the morning and survive, nay, even make me feel happy to be awake, All it takes is to see you stretch those adorable, short little baby arms (barely) above your head and blink up at me with your bright, attentive morning eyes, and I forget that I have never once in my life been a morning person and that I’m currently awake and performing tasks at 5 AM.
You are so very welcome in this family, dearest River. So many people, some of whom you have yet to meet, and many who barely know us or you continue to shower you in prayers for your health and well being. Every time we’re at church, I meet another wonderful person who has been praying for you and wishing you well…It’s beyond encouraging. Know that you are loved by many and by your father and me, dear one.