You are almost two months old. I’ll be honest, I could cry about the newborn days being behind us if I tried really hard to focus on using the last of those doll-sized newborn diapers and the fervent cry you made the day we first met you, but in reality I am thrilled you are getting farther and farther passed the phase of unreasonable crying.
Your personality is appearing slowly, like a polaroid. Nonny and I have had a good laugh about the look of fright that develops on your face when Sprout enters the room. We imagine you like an incapacitated person who can only say things with their expressions and become hysterical imitating the way your eyes widen and your eyebrows raise like a draw bridge when she approaches you lying helplessly. She wants to hug you, wants to kiss you, wants to squeeze your head and soft spot like a wrestler in the 25 pound weight class. She loves you too much for her own good. Maybe someday you’ll return the favor.
My anxiety comes and goes like the tide, although it’s not as intense as it was after your sister was born and Auntie Maddie got cancer. It comes and goes nonchalantly like the postman instead of powerfully and hauntingly like a February blizzard. Someone will mention a social engagement or that their baby was a good sleeper until they (dun, dun, DUUUN) went to Hawaii or that you can actually have to have surgery if you can’t unclog milk ducts. I pick at my nails like the old addict that I am and rearrange the furniture.
My aunt told me something at the beginning of your life that I know I’ll tell you and your sister over and over again: you have to feel your feelings. Otherwise, they’ll come out in other ways. Worry will cause you to drive more distractedly or sleep less soundly or, in my case, will deteriorate your nail beds. Your feelings find their way out one way or another, so it’s best to just acknowledge them for what they are. This time I was certain if I stayed busy and told myself and other people how this time wasn’t as shocking and lonely as last time that I would be fine. Some of that worked and some of it just delayed inevitable meltdowns.
Here’s what’s true: Being a mom of two is hard in a different way than being a mom of one, but because I’ve swam through these currents once before, I know I will survive them again. That’s my fortune cookie way of describing it, at least.
Last week I felt especially confident that you would be just fine and that I would too. Your tummy seems to be acclimating to human life. I’m able to eat more than peanut butter and jelly and chicken and rice now too, which has really improved morale (so has my nightly glass of wine). You started smiling all the time. I scoop up each one and store it away like summer blackberries for the darker days. You coo and try to say “Ahh” when I talk to you. My favorite sound you make comes out as “phew!” You still detest tummy time. You will sit now and entertain yourself long enough for me to do the dishes or put on Sprout’s shoes. You sleep in your bassinet next to our bed for eight hours a night. You gave up screaming and decided it’s better to sleep in the car. You still cry like a possessed gargoyle when you’ve had enough of something. You are enthusiastic about your milks. Sometimes I see this desperate gleam in your eyes that makes me wonder if you are becoming a pacifier addict, other times I feel like you’d tell us you prefer sucking your fingers, which we swaddle tightly away at night, if you could. We’ll see what sticks.
I went to the lactation consultant with you yesterday morning. I never thought I’d be driving routinely to that same compact car parking lot and sterile air-conditioned room after visiting it with your sister until she was almost half a year, but yesterday felt like our graduation. Your tongue tie situation is mostly resolved and you’re nearly eleven pounds now! You look like a holy statue or a Precious Moments figurine when you take in the world from your various perches.
My favorite thing from your life so far is sleeping with you in the crook of my arm after you nurse at four in the morning. Everyone keeps telling me to knock it off, but I don’t listen. Maureen, Nonny’s bestest friend who died tragically of breast cancer before you were born, always said you can never hold a baby too much.
I’m writing all of this down so I will remember it and so you will too, but incase the internet blows up, I read maybe my favorite quote ever the other day:
“We were together. I forget the rest.” ~Walt Whitman