Happy half-birthday, my girl! This month has been a big one for you. You've started eating solids (butternut squash is your favorite, and you prefer spinach to apples. w h a t ?). You're also rolling and moving around like crazy. This past week you've managed to push yourself up on your knees, and I imagine that you will be crawling like a champ before too long. They say that time passes quickly--that these babyhood days will be gone before I know it--and I am feeling the truth of that statement especially this month. Its been six months since we brought you home; life is busier and better with you in it, my dear.
Five months old and the urge to squeeze-you-and-never-let-go is at an all time high.
What else is new this month? You roll all over the place. All the time. It is as if you are loaded with a spring. I lay you down, turn away, and when I glance back you have rolled over. You think that rolling is a wonderfully fun game, and you giggle when I flip you back over because you know that all my attempts to keep you on your back are pointless.
And have I mentioned how happy you are all the time? Eleanor, you are the happiest person I have ever met. You laugh at everything. And we are pretty certain that you make jokes and think yourself terribly funny.
Life is lighter since you've been in it, my love. Happy five months.
My Week in Images:
Five little things that made my week:
1. This light...
|because, even though it is still winter, the earth thinks it is spring.|
2. This book...
|but mostly the ability to request books from the library and pick them up at the front desk, instead of rummaging throughout the stacks.|
3. This Quangzhou Milk Oolong tea...
|and for the ritual evening pot shared with the husband.|
4. This jar of granola...
|because, granola for days. (Many thanks to last week's self for accidentally quadrupling the recipe).|
5. This little friend...
|because she is the sweetest daily companion.|
This is when I start asking myself How? How are you this big? How has it been this long?
You rolled over for the first time (three times in a row) this time last month, but since then, you seem to have forgotten your newfound skill. You were certainly unsure of it at the time which is why, maybe, you've been reluctant to try it again. Lately, bath time soaks all of us. You laugh as you suck at your wet hands and kick nearly all the water out of the tub. You found your voice in the last month and chirp and shriek the day away. Your eyes are still blueberry blue, though your hair is lightening, and we wonder if, perhaps, you'll be blond one day. I can't wait to see all the things we have left to discover, bebe girl. Happy Four months of life to you.
twenty-sixteen in images:
Twelve grainy iPhone photos to sum up our year:
1. A dear friend's wedding and learning that we were to be a family of three in January:
2. Applying to graduate programs and traveling to New England in February:
3. An unplanned visit to Colorado and the Rocky Mountains in March:
4. Suffering from hyperemesis and barely leaving the house in April:
5. Admiring pink peonies and learning that our wee babe was a girl in May:
6. Visiting New England (again) and beginning an MFA program in June:
7. Nesting and readying the nursery in July:
8. Walking in the woods while very pregnant (and dying of the heat) in August:
9. Meeting Eleanor in September:
10. Apple picking and getting lots of newborn baby snuggles in October:
11. A chilly trip to Lake George and baby's first wedding in November:
12. Celebrating Eleanor's first Christmas in December:
Happy New Year, friends!
You hit three months and all of sudden you have become your own little person. You laugh when you think the face I am making is funny (which is pretty much always), you bravely grin when your dad tosses you up in the air (which you love), and you've finally given up your hatred of baths (which makes life easier for all of us). You have startled us with how early you've begun teething, but it makes you all the more snuggly (which I can't say I mind one bit). You have celebrated your very first Christmas, though you slept through most of the festivities, and you are quickly learning how to let us know when you want something (which isn't always a quiet thing). I lay in bed this morning, slightly missing my still, sleepy newborn, as you wiggled beside me chatting and kicking at the covers. But, these days, I love you all the more for your wildness. In fact, I love you even more now than I did then. Happy three months, darling.
Eleanor, this is Christmas. See how the air smells like pine and the air is cold on your face? See how we wind these twinkling lights around the tree we've brought inside, how needles fall the the wood floor as we struggle to set the sappy trunk in water? These are candy canes. This is gingerbread. Christmas is all about faith and Jesus, but the spices and scents have become tradition and now they are somehow Christmas too. Do you see the snow outside, Eleanor? It is soft, like sand, but very different. You love the cold already--the deep pine-scented cold of winter in the woods. You are definitely your father's daughter. xo
This year, our card is fairly simple. Since it is our first Christmas as a family of three, the traditional photo-on-front-scripture-on-back seemed called for. However, lesson learned: it is much trickier to get a good photo of three people than it is to get a smiling picture of just two. So sorry for spreading your grimace around the world, baby girl. It was really the best shot we could get.
Merry Christmas, friends! To you who regularly wander into this virtual space (particularly in spite of the infrequent postings of this past year), t h a n k y o u. Wishing you a season of joy as you celebrate the birth of our Savior.
PS. For a peek at Christmas Cards past, follow this link.
What I know at 27:
When you're feeling blue, hook into kindness. Its really the only thing to do.
Offer up small and imperfect words, despite the fact that they are small and imperfect. (Perfection in real conversation rarely exists).
The transformation of person to parent is taken over by the transformation of human to animal; it is a relationship physical from the very start--her hunger affects my body, her sleep affects my sleep.
Another thing about parenthood: like many other things in life, love-at-first-sight doesn't always show up when you think it will; you may slip into love slowly, and then, suddenly, all at once.
Just because someone doesn't do things your way doesn't mean that they are wrong. (Simple, and yet sometimes tremendously hard to remember).
Never underestimate the power of a kind smile--especially a baby smile (be still my heart!).
And keep in mind what Mary Oliver said, You must never stop being whimsical.
Another thing from her: You must not, ever, give anyone else the responsibility of your life.
PS. Each past birthday list remains true.
As you sit, cooing and chatting on my lap, I smile and say to you, Hello, little person. You are my little person, aren't you? And you grin and giggle, as if you know what I am saying. As if you understand the bond that has tethered us together. At two months, you're still quite the dream baby, and your unique personality is beginning to peak through those baby blue eyes of yours. You love cuddles, and hate being left alone in a room. You still hate bath time, but you've become rather fond of showers, so long as you have someone to cling to. You hate being hot, and I've learned to dress you in fewer layers than I dress myself, though all the baby books tell me to do the opposite. You smile and laugh when we make clicking noises with our mouths, though, like me, you startle yourself easily and a smile can turn to a frown in a flash. And yet your frown is so cute, that sometimes we'll make you frown on purpose, just to see your pink lips form the deep horse-shoe shape, before we smother you with kisses and you perk right back up. Each day we figure each other out a little bit more, and each day I'm more in awe that during the time you spent growing inside me, I didn't know all the unique beauty you would bring to our little world. Happy two month, bebe love.
while she sleeps
I try to write as she sleeps beside me on the bed. Her arms are crossed one over the other, while her small mouth suckles the air. Still sleeping, she thrusts her fingers into her mouth, gnawing on them like the small animal she is, before drifting back into a quiet peaceful slumber.
It is difficult for me to write, or even accomplish much, when we lie together like this.
All I want to do is stare at her. To breathe her in. To gently lift the edge of the muslin blanket away from her face when she shifts in her sleep. Her pink tongue flicks in and out of her mouth. A wide grin stretches across her dreaming face, and, occasionally, a throaty laugh will escape her small lungs, startling me with its suddenness.
Writing, reading, laundry, work; it all feels so impossible these days.
And yet, there is so much writing, reading, laundry and work to do.
Time is laughing at me. I am trying to control it--with notebooks and iPhone photos--to hold it in my hand, as I hold her when she sleeps.
There is so much to be done, and yet, as I sit here, staring, all I can think about is this:
What marvels can a nearly-seven-week-old possibly be dreaming of?