Today is March 1st, and according to the weather channel, it feels like -19* outside. The Polar Vortex you brought with you on your birthday seems to never want to end. Welcome to the world…to Minnesota. You are 5 weeks and 2 days into your little life, and here are things we know about you:
You are sweet. Our refrain has been… “She’s just so sweet.” You are content to be held, and you need so little pacifying. A little milk, some giant burps, and you are a happy girl. You lay so still, even when you’re awake, and when you do move, it is slow…almost deliberate. It’s hard to even write this letter without comparing you to Owen…after all, he is our only context for knowing newborns. But by comparison, his movements were so angsty, so rigid. I mean this only in the best of ways: your movements are slothlike. A little lazy, but peaceful.
You are a lover of sleep, and I still often have to wake you up during the day to feed you. In fact, waking you up is probably one of the most difficult things about you – we undress you, we tickle you, and you grunt your annoyed grunts, but still your eyes remain closed as you cling to sleep. You sleep at night like an absolute champion, pretty much waking up only once – around 4 a.m. You grunt and start to squirm in your little bassinet next to our bed, slowly waking me up. We nurse, and you go back to sleep, and it’s generally amazing.
When you are awake, your eyes take in the world, and your eyebrows seem to be ever being surprised by what you see. You have this look of wonder on your face all the time. Your eyes are beautiful, Elsa. Big and bright and blue. Vibrant.
I say this over and over: I cannot believe how well nursing is going. It seemed like you came out knowing what to do, and in contrast to your hungry dragon nursing brother, you gently nurse, often coming off all on your own, gently and without a fight; whereas, he would suck vigorously on the finger I used to remove him. You finish eating in like 15 minutes…it is fast and efficient and just so, so different than the first time around.
In this past week, your fifth, you have started to make thse adorable cooing baby sounds, beyond just your grunts and occasional newborn waaahs! And I think we saw your first legit smile yesterday on February 28th – followed by more today. You make eye contact and give us these subtle little smiles that turn the corners of your beautiful eyes up. In fact, I just spent the last hour about 10 inches from your face, raising and lowering my voice, saying, “aaaaaaahhhhh, bahbahbahbahbahbah,” trying to coax just one more out of you. Can’t stop, won’t stop.
You have a big brother, who is becoming increasingly interested in you. He shows you toys. Tells you what they’re called. Helps me tell you, “Wake up, Elsa!” when it’s time to eat. Asks where you are and is highly concerned when I take him out to the van first, leaving you just inside the back door and asks over and over, “Take Elsa too? Take Elsa too?”
I am trying, everyday, to take your littleness in to the full. I know it will not last. And so we snuggle, at every chance we get. We take naps together, and I pull you into bed at night more often than I should. I wear you in various baby carriers throughout the day as we play cars with Owen or do the dishes. You curl up like a bug on my chest, your warm little exhales tickling my neck. And this is the best part of having a January baby – you and I, we keep each other warm.
There are days I am overwhelmed, unsure of how I’m ever going do all of the things in so much less time, overwhelmed by how much I am needed by you and Owen, and almost daily, overwhelmed by the thought that I have been given a daughter. And that I am the person who will show you, for better or worse, what it means to be a woman. This is terrifying.
But you, Elsa, are a gift. You are my little girl. I am dressing you in all the pinks and purples I can, and I can’t believe I get to be your mom. I love you more than I can express, and I cannot wait to get to know you more.
Things you Love: being held, being upright, nursing, baths most of the time, being talked to, being carried, the Moby wrap and Ergo carriers, pacifiers, sleeping on your belly, being swaddled, looking at lights and your jingly birds, your swing, your bouncy seat
Things you Hate: being put in the carseat, having clothes put on or taken off, when you can’t burp, being taken out of a bath, choking on fast-flowing milk, pacifiers (it’s a love/hate thing), when Owen accidentally bonks your head, when we wake you up to eat