Sunday, February 20, 2011

Four Months Old!

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Dear Dorothy,

You are four months old, now!

Okay, let's get the practical matters out of the way, first. You need to stop growing so fast. Really. I just dug out the box of Valerie's 6-9 month clothes, and half of it is already too tight on you. I got out the boxes of 12 month clothes, but I just can't bring myself to put my four-month-old BABY in them yet. Besides, they are mostly summer clothes. So please, slow down a little, okay?

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This month was a hard month in many ways, but also an awesome month in many other ways. The biggest event of this month was the day after you turned three months old, when we took you to CHOP to have your cleft lip repaired. You were so good, and so sweet, and it was so hard on me to see you sad, drugged up, and in pain. You wouldn't eat for 28 hours, and that day just seemed to last forever. But you have bounced back so amazingly well, it's hard to believe that it was only a month ago. Just the other day, you were making very distinct "p" noises, and it suddenly occurred to me that you probably couldn't have made those noises before the surgery. It was pretty neat to see positive results so soon.

The day after the surgery:
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Nine days after the surgery:
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One of the hardest things following the surgery was the elbow restraints you had to wear in order to keep you from pulling out your stitches. One of your favorite things in the world is chewing on your hands, and you would look at your hands with a look of confused betrayal as you moved all the right muscles, but the hands wouldn't come to your mouth. I remember the look of triumph on your face after they took them off and you could chew again, and the sideways glance you gave me as if to ask, "Really? You're not going to stop me?" I do feel a little bad though, because I think your lip looked better before we took the restraints off. It's more puffy, now, and I think it's because we're letting you chew on your hands. Or maybe because you fell on your face during tummy time the other day.

Trying very hard to bend that elbow:
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We also had another stomach bug this month. That was no fun. It was our third of the season, and while you managed to catch very minor cases of the other two, this one hit you a bit harder. I almost wish I had taken pictures of your diapers, because I honestly had never seen so many different colors in baby poop before. Who knew babies could poop in neon and teal? You were such a trooper, though. There were only a handful of times when you were inconsolable, and as I rocked you, desperate to calm you down and having no idea what to do for you, I had a flashback to the early days with Valerie, and how I felt like that ALL THE TIME. Don't tell your sister, but even when you're sick and miserable, you're an easier baby than she was most of the time. I don't know how much of that is you just having a different personality, and how much is just me being more relaxed this time around, but either way, I'll take it.

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Valerie loves you so much, and you really love her, too. When she wakes up in the morning, the first thing she asks is where you are, and if you have already gone down for your morning nap, she's so disappointed that she can't see you. She loves to tickle you and make you laugh, she wants to hold you all the time, and she is learning how to be gentle with you. Sometimes she might hit you, or give you toys that are choking hazards, but she means well, and she really does love you. You never have to have tummy time alone, because she's always right there beside you. And frankly, it was pretty hard to get your monthly pictures taken today, because she wanted to be in all of them. I'm really enjoying watching my two girls develop a friendship even from this early age. And I'm sure I'll be reminding you both of this many times when you're 10 and 12 years old and fighting like cats.

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My cousin Allison came to visit this month, and you really enjoyed having her hold you. We ended up canceling our trip to Ottawa for Winterlude, due to illness. I'm sad that you missed this chance to meet your Vermont cousins, and to see Grandma and the Ottawa cousins again, but I think it was for the best. Hopefully, we'll be able to make up the trip in May for Tulipfest.

Developmentally, you seem to be doing pretty well. You're not rolling over yet, but I'm not worried. You seem to be channeling that energy into growing and talking instead (much like your older sister did). You're trying very hard to participate in our conversations, and it's really cute. It's very easy to make you smile and laugh, and Valerie and I make up silly songs all day long for your amusement. You love watching people, and if anyone other than me is holding you, your eyes follow my every move. You really do love your Mama. (That's okay, your Mama really loves you, too.)

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You continue to be a really good sleeper, too. (Although I am a little afraid to type that, because I'm convinced that I will jinx it, and the four-month-sleep-regression monster will attack the minute I click "publish".) You take about three naps a day, and you sleep for one long stretch and two medium stretches most nights. I don't have to get out of bed to nurse you anymore, and I've started taking a clean diaper or two to bed with me so I can change you in bed, too. You sleep about two feet away from me in your side-carred crib (which has one side removed and is attached to my bed so that I can scoot you over to nurse you without picking you up). You actually seem to sleep better most nights with this little bit of space between us (except when you're not feeling well, when you like to be cuddled right up next to me). Some nights, I just lie there watching you sleep for a little while before drifting off, memorizing your creamy skin, your fuzzy hair (with the little tuft at the back that hasn't fallen out), your soft lips, your peaceful expression, the slow rise and fall of your chest.

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The only times you ever really get cranky are when you have to poop, and when you need to sleep. I've mentally tattooed a reminded on your forehead that says, "If you can't figure out what's wrong with me, I probably need to sleep." When you get tired, I change you, take you upstairs to our room, swaddle you, nurse you if you're hungry, then hold you in a cradle hold and pat your back until you're almost asleep. Then I set you down in your crib, and you watch me leave as your eyes glass over. It's really surreal, because when people used to tell me to put Valerie down when she was "drowsy but not asleep" I thought they were crazy. But it totally works with you. You tend to wake up happy, too, most of the time. I recently put a mobile on your crib, and I know you're awake when I hear you giggling and talking to the animals in your mobile. I'm not sure how long we're going to keep swaddling you, but it's working right now, and I'd hate to mess with a good thing.

It's been a roller coaster of a month, with surgery, illness, snow, and a few gorgeous park days right at the end to round things out. Frankly, I'm pretty worn out from it, and I'm hopeful that next month will bring more calm days. But I'm glad I took the time to reflect, because there really was a lot of good, too. Thank you for being a jewel in my life.

Love,
Mama.

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6 comments:

sissychrissy1 said...

I love the photographs. Such a sweet post.

Anonymous said...

Shes stunning!

psychicmedium26 from lj

jd said...

Awesome post! We missed you, too, but I'm looking forward to March!

EarthenForge said...

Great update, great pics!

Anonymous said...

awwww!

Blessings~!
Dawn

Denelle @CaitsConcepts said...

Oh my lord... teal baby poop? O.o

She is so adorable!!