Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Three Months Old!


Dear Valerie,

Today Yesterday Almost a week ago, you turned three months old. There are many reasons that this month's birthday letter is late, most of which have to do with too much to say and not enough time to sit down and do justice to saying it. Then I had to remind myself that I am doing this for you and for me and not for a Pulitzer Prize. So, here is a fumbling attempt at sorting out an extremely momentous month.

First, we took a trip to Canada, and you got to meet your cousins, April and Nicholas, for the first time. You barely notice your cousins at this age - you are much more interested in the funny faces that adults make at you. But in your interactions are glimpses of the future. Even though we live so far apart geographically, I am glad that your aunts and uncles and your daddy and I all conspired to have kids so close together in age. I'm looking forward to watching how the three of you develop the unique, cousiny, long-distance friendship that I can already see forming in your baby-love. Founded, at least in part, in a shared embarrassment of what huge geeks your parents are.


You get to see your cousin, Trevor, slightly more often, and I hope you will have a great relationship with him, too, as the two of you grow closer in size and mobility. Trevor is an active kid, and I would love to see you kicking a ball around with him, but I will understand if you inherit your mother's sports-ineptness. He loves you to pieces, even if you won't play with him yet, and he can just about say your name (although it comes out "Allery"). You're a lucky girl to have three awesome cousins, so close to your age.

Trevor is proud of his cousin

Oh, and I would be delinquent if I didn't post at least one picture of you with your dog-cousin, Reggie (Nana and PopPop's dachshund). Your dad loves forcing the two of you into many a photograph, and maybe if I post one, he will stop torturing the poor dog into posing with you.


Your biggest developmental milestone this month has been holding your head up. It happened all of a sudden, after our trip to Canada. You had been lifting your head before that, but now you just keep it up most of the time. I hardly have to support your neck at all anymore, unless you're feeling sleepy. But then you usually get snuggly, too, and I don't mind a little bit of regression when it gives me such a cuddly baby in return.

Valerie Jeanne 029

I'm slowly realizing that you're starting to grow up. Sometimes it takes a milestone like that to make me notice. Sometimes, it takes a doctor telling me that you have suddenly jumped to the 75th percentile, when you used to be in the 15-25th. And sometimes, it takes opening up my wallet to show someone a picture of you, and nearly dropping my wallet because I am stunned by how little you look like the picture in my wallet anymore.

This month, as I mentioned, has been ridiculously eventful, in our house, our city, and our country. It started with your father losing his job, which threw all of my plans for us, and my naive ideas about how our family was going to function, into a tailspin. The bottom line was that I ended up having to go back to work.

I work for Starbucks. It's a good, honest job, and I enjoy it immensely. And we needed health insurance, and me going back to work was the easiest, most logical way for us to get it. But I am a worrier. It's one of my biggest flaws. And I worry that I am sending you the wrong message. I don't want you to think that I value money over spending time with my family. I don't want you to think that being a mommy isn't a fulfilling or valuable job on its own. And I worry, on the other hand, about sending the message that mothers can't work or shouldn't work. And I worry about sending the message that mothers can't be lawyers, because I stepped down from that career. I worry about a lot of things, and I don't suppose you think about any of those things. You probably wonder where mommy's boobs are, and why you have to drink from that weird bottle thing instead. But one day, you'll have questions about all of those other things. I hope I have answers.

For now, you are enjoying the quality time you are getting to spend with your daddy. And, when mommy and her boobs get home from work, smelling like coffee, you giggle and grin and smile at me for several minutes, then you latch on and nurse for two straight hours. Seriously. You eat like a maniac lately. It's a good thing that you're a breastfed baby so you're allowed to pig out all you want. And it's a good thing you're too young to stop me from posting photographs of your adorable pudginess. Just look at those rolls!


This month was also your first Hallowe'en, which during a less eventful month would have merited its own post. But alas, I still have a lot of things to get around to in this letter, so here are two pictures from Hallowe'en to tip the cuteness scale of this post.

Valerie Jeanne 175

Valerie Jeanne 144

This month was the World Series, too. And, although I don't normally care much for baseball, your father does, and it's easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of rooting for the home team. This was the first championship a Philadelphia team won in 25 years, or something like that. It was thrilling to watch them win, and to hear our quiet little suburb go wild with horn-honking and fireworks. I think they won because you were wearing your Phillies booties.

But the most exciting thing of all came on the very last day of your third month of life, when America voted for their new president. Even though I'm 30 years old, this was the first time I was living in the United States during an election, and it was the first time I was able to vote in a presidential election. Near the end of the campaigning, I was almost ready to lose hope. I had never seen such an outpouring of hatred as I did coming from supporters of both candidates leading up to election day. I deliberately avoided political discussions because, although I knew I had given my choice a lot of thought, just mentioning my political affiliation brought all kinds of false accusations down on my head. This was doubly hard because, for the first time in my memory, there was a candidate that I genuinely wanted to support. A candidate that I genuinely believed could carry America through this financial crisis and into better days. And I'm a little ashamed that I kept my mouth shut during the campaign, but I saw so much anger and hatred being thrown around, I didn't think it would have been productive.

I voted for Obama. Twice, because I voted for him in the primaries, too. And I am proud of my choice. I am proud of my country for choosing him as their president, not because democrats are better than republicans, but because he is the right man for the job. McCain's dignified concession speech made me cry. Obama's inspiring acceptance speech made me cry. And, as excited as the city of Philadelphia was in the days following the Phillies' World Series victory, the mood was even more celebratory the morning after the election. I am optimistic about this country for the first time in years, and am finally starting to think of it as my home, rather than just "that place I live that's not Canada." And I'm excited for you, that you were born in the same year that America elected Barack Obama president. And I'm hopeful that maybe some of those difficult questions that I worry about having to answer someday will be a little easier to answer, because when you ask me about what you want to be when you grow up, I will be able to answer, truthfully, "Yes, you can even be president."


Your Mommy.

1 comment:

jd said...

Great blog, once again.