Thursday, November 25, 2010

One Month Old!

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Dear Dorothy,

You are one month old, now. It's hard to believe it's been a whole month. And yet, at the same time, it seems like ages ago that I was pregnant and waiting expectantly for your arrival. Time is funny like that.

When your sister was a baby, I wrote monthly letters to her. I wasn't sure whether I would find the time or energy to do the same for you, but I'll at least write this one and see where it goes. This is just the first of the many, many injustices that come with being the second-born. Believe me, I know, I'm the second-born, too. When you're seven, and going through the baby albums, and you're upset that your big sister has a whole album to herself, but there are pictures of HER in YOUR album, I'll remind you how awesome it will be to have a big sister to make you feel welcome when you start high school by putting up Wanted! posters for you for Initiation Week. (No, really, it was awesome. You'll get it when you're 14.)

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I do feel like you get the short end of the stick in many ways, though. Valerie loves you and wants to hold you and kiss you and hug you all the time, but you also get poked and hit and squished and scratched a fair bit in the process. Up until right before you were born, I always sat in the back seat of the car with your sister, but you don't get that privilege, because the two of you take up too much space for me to squeeze in there with you. I held your sister practically 24/7 at your age, but I have to put you down fairly often in order to deal with her. I hardly ever give you tummy time, and I bathe you and change your diapers about half as often as I did with Valerie. Yup, second-borns really get the shaft.

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Although there seem to be many upsides to being the second-born, too. Not only do you get the benefit of having an awesome older sister to be your friend and companion as you grow up, but you get the benefit of having that big sister break your parents in for you. I know a lot more about breastfeeding this time around, and as a result, I'm managing my supply better, so you are well-fed, less gassy, and get more sleep than your sister ever did. When Valerie was a newborn, pretty much all I did for months was sit around the house, but I don't have that luxury this time around because two-year-olds don't deal well with sitting around the house doing nothing. This means you get a lot more fresh air, and get to see a lot more interesting places and do more interesting things at a much younger age than she did.

I've also discovered that having to put you down can be a benefit to you, too. I remember one day, when you had been fed, burped, and changed, but were still fussing and I couldn't get you to calm down. Then I heard your sister getting into something in the kitchen, so I set you down so I could go check on her. Within seconds of being set down, you had calmed down completely, and within a minute, you were asleep. No one ever told me that a baby's cries could mean, "I'm overtired and you are overstimulating me, please put me down so I can go to sleep." Or if they did, I dismissed it as crazy-talk.

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You hardly ever cry. You mostly just squeak and squirm, which eventually turns to squawking, and only turns to crying if I couldn't figure out what was wrong during stage one or two. The only two things that you seem to really cry over are being overtired and working on a poopy. Overtired, I can usually help with by swaddling you and either holding you or putting you down (it's a guessing game which). Pooping is a little more difficult. You seem to be moving towards being one of those babies that only poops once every few days. You pee plenty, and your poops look normal when they come, so I know there's nothing "wrong", but the impending poop seems to be such a struggle when it's so long coming. I never thought I would miss those first days when you effortlessly filled ten poopy diapers a day. Yeah, motherhood makes you reminisce about very strange things.

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You are a very bright and happy girl. From your very first day on the outside, you were spending long stretches of time alert and looking around. You have big, bright eyes, and you love to look at people's faces. Your favorite position is being held straight out in front, slightly upright, with your back being patted whether you need to burp or not. I think the patting calms you, and this position gives you the benefit of being held while still being able to stare at the face of the one holding you. (Interestingly, this was Valerie's favorite position, too.)

You're also a big smiler. You were smiling at me the very first night in the hospital. I know they say it's just gas at that age, but I think you were really smiling. And it wasn't just a one-time thing, you've kept up the habit ever since. Your smile has gotten bigger, and as your cheeks fill out, I've started to notice that you have adorable little smile creases at the corners of your mouth. Your favorite thing to smile at is Mama. If someone else is holding you, and you start to get hungry, you will completely forget your hunger and smile widely at Mama as soon as you are in her arms. Sometimes, I'm not sure you were even hungry in the first place, but were just pretending to be hungry because you knew it would get you your Mama. Either way, that bright, beautiful smile captivates me, and melts away all the tiredness and frustration.

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Not that there is too much tiredness and frustration. Not caused by you, anyhow. (Note to new moms: two-year-olds are more exhausting than newborns. Really.) You're an extremely easy baby most of the time. You let me sleep for at least one 4-5 hour stretch plus another 2-3 hour stretch most nights. It's amazing how much less insane I feel when I'm getting enough sleep.

Physically, you seem to be doing really well. I haven't brushed off my baby books, so I don't exactly recall which milestones you should be meeting right now, but I'm think you're pretty much on target, or maybe even a little ahead of the curve. You hold your head up really well, sometimes lifting it up off of my chest for minutes at a time to get a better look at my face. You've started stretching your legs out when you're being worn in a carrier, and I've already had to transition you from a newborn carry to an upright carry in the ring sling. You have discovered your hands, and you love trying to get them into your mouth. You also love exploring with your hands, and finding things to grab onto, like a finger or a fistful of Mama's hair. You're growing so fast, too. You already look so different than your newborn pictures.

Day 0:
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Day 31:
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I'm not sure exactly how much you weigh, but you were 8lbs4oz at birth, 7lbs11oz when we left the hospital (thanks to all that pooping you were doing), 8lbs8oz at 6 days, and 9lbs6oz at 15 days. I think it's fair to assume that you are well over 10 pounds by now (the Wii Fit just confirmed this). You're tall, too, but once again, I'm not sure how tall you are. You had outgrown all your newborn sleepers by the time you were 2 weeks old. According to the nurses' measurements, you were 20" long at birth, and 22.5" long at 15 days. (I'm pretty sure one of those measurements is not correct, though, probably the first one.)

Two weeks old, the last time you wore a newborn sleeper:
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You were born with a small cleft in your lip. It's a minor cleft, and fortunately doesn't seem to have prevented you from getting a proper latch to breastfeed, as long as I keep you in the right position. I hardly notice it anymore, possibly because your lips are plumper now, or possibly because I'm just used to it now. I remember that it used to make me sad whenever I noticed it. It was hard to look at my perfect, new baby and think that there was anything imperfect about you. Now, I think it's cute, and I almost wish we didn't have to "fix" it. We took a trip to CHOP (Children's Hospital of Philadelphia) last week to meet with the surgeon who will be repairing your cleft. Honestly, I think I'm still in denial about the whole thing, because I keep pretending that it's not a big deal. But you're going to have to go under general anesthesia and spend a night in the hospital when you're only three months old. That's a pretty big deal. I'm sure, when the time comes, I will be much more freaked out, but right now I have peace about it. It helps knowing that you will be in the care of one of the best children's hospitals in the country.

Thanks for a great first month, Dorothy. I love you very much, and I'm glad you're part of our family. I'm excited to see how you grow and change in the months to come!

Love,
Mama.

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6 comments:

jd said...

Great post! And don't forget another advantage of being second born....you have hand me down clothes!!

Jule Ann said...

Is that an advantage? Valerie had all the bright, shiny, new outfits. Everything Dorothy gets is already well-worn. (Especially since it went to two other girls after Valerie before coming back to her.) I was going to list it as a disadvantage, but I didn't want people to feel bad and buy her stuff, because we really, truly don't need much. I bought Dorothy her own fancy Christmas dress, at least. Now we just need a day when all four members of the family are not sick so we can take a picture!

jd said...

I guess it depends on the perspective! From a Mom's point of view, it saves money! The child's point of view may be totally different, especially if sisters have very different tastes as they get older! For now, the hand me downs may not be "new and shiny" but at least you didn't have to buy them! I AM glad you found a new Christmas dress, though!! I'm so sorry you were sick...is everyone better now?

sarah said...

This baby is amazingly beautiful! Dorothy is really lovely, and Valerie is too, but they look so different! I love these posts...you're such a thoughtful momma.

And hand-me-downs are nice and soft...the other babies did the breaking in, and now they must be at the perfect t-shirt stage.

christianlady said...

Sweetness!

Anonymous said...

As for hand-me-downs, when I was REALLY young, I didn't care either way. When I was a little older, I loved them... If I got new clothes dirty or ruined, my mom would scold me or wouldn't let me play in them. But with hand-me-downs I could play and get dirty and it was okay! So to my mind, hand-me-downs were the GREATEST! Sometimes my mom would help me "decorate" hand me downs with fabric markers or sewing buttons or something onto them. That made those hand-me-downs feel pretty special, too :)
-Amy