Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Happy Birthday to You: Everley Edition: 2 Months Old

Dear Everley, 

Why so serious?
On Nov. 21 you turned two months old. That was two weeks ago today and incredibly, sadly, the time before is already getting fuzzy in my head.

This I know for sure, when you turned six weeks old you started sleeping "through the night." I write that in quotations only because in your case that means you fall asleep somewhere around midnight and sleep solidly for anywhere between six and eight hours. It's a bit of a late bedtime for a baby and the time between 7:00pm and midnight continue to be your most challenging hours, maybe because you are overtired? I don't know. But when you are finally settled just before a new day begins, you sleep and you sleep and who am I to complain about that?

Maybe if you went to bed before midnight you wouldn't be catching so many flies at 10am. Just sayin'.

Usually you start stirring around 7:00am and I pull you into bed with me and nurse you while we both continue to doze, then after 15 or 20 minutes you pass back out and sleep until around 8:30am. You'd sleep longer but I like to get up to see your sister and your dad before they leave for the day. It's important to me, more important even than getting an extra hour or two of sleep. If I didn't wake you at that time you would keep sleeping. Easily until 10:00am or so.

I usually lay awake after your morning feeding and just stare at you while you are snuggled in tight against me. It's an hour or so where I can just be there with you, drinking you in, watching you dream and reveling in your little facial expressions and sleepy coos. It occurs to me every day that I'm the only one in the entire world that will ever know this piece of your history. I'm the holder and protector of these memories, your perfect, content, stupendously, outrageously beautiful baby mornings. That feels like a huge responsibility but man it's also such a profound gift.

Those cheeks!
One of the last things I do at night, before you and I slip up to our room at the top of the house, is to take a minute or so, locked by myself in the too tight washroom, and just look at myself in the mirror. I take in the circles under my eyes and the fine lines that are starting to maybe not look all that fine anymore. I look at the faint red scratches that criss cross my chest from your finger nails that grab at me when you nurse. My boobs are too big for my frame, my face still a little puffy from extra weight. I know I'm at a place in my life where my physical self is suffering a little so that I can focus my attention on yours. My brain wants to obsess on this and to hate myself for it. But I fight it. I fight it so hard in that minute by myself. Because it's not fair to be so hard on myself for doing this thing that only I am privileged enough to get to do for you. Because these are the demons that I hope you girls will never have to face down in the mirror at the end of the night.

Instead I reflect on our day together. I remember what we did and why it was special. You've seen, smelled, heard something for the very first time. And I've witnessed it. Another gift. That I get to be there with you for these fabulous firsts. Yes it's exhausting and occasionally frustrating to have so little time on my own. Sometimes I go an entire day with less than an hour away from you. To be the solo keeper of these memories, to be alone in my utter delight over your latest coo or your newest crooked smile. But I tell myself in my head as I stare into that mirror, that I will never regret spending another night alone with you when in exchange I got to hear your very first giggle - a moment that only you and I will forever share. I'll never think back, years from now, and focus on how frumpy I felt, but I will remember how incredible it made me feel to see you sleeping soundly in the bassinet beside me, so peaceful and perfect.

That fish really looks like he's out to get you but I'm pretty sure your lobster can take him.

Looking through the pictures I took of you this month it occurs to me that I'm so obsessed with documenting these moments of yours not so that I will always remember them but so that maybe others can delight in them along with me. It can be lonely to have these precious moments all to myself. I have captured some fantastic glimpses of you with your dad and you with your sister, but nobody captures the thousands of tiny moments that you and I share. Those are just for us, I suppose. I hope that one day through these letters you'll get an understanding of this amazingly powerful bond we share, you and I.

Your second month was full of firsts. First real smile, first breathy laugh, first time sleeping through the night, first movie (Flight), first snuggle with your Auntie Emily, first shots (yuck). I was there for every one of them. A gift, sweet baby girl, it's such a gift.

I love you,