The first month

Dear P.,

Today, you are one month old. It’s hard to believe you’ve only been here for that long, because in many ways it feels like you’ve always been here. E. asked me once, earlier in the month, how old you were. When I said you were twelve days old, he told me that he was “already quite used” to you. That about sums it up for all of us, I think. We’re all already quite used to you.

You’re thus far a rather adaptable baby. The lactation consultant who came to the house (during a what turned out to be an unfounded panic about my supply) could not get over how calm you are. I don’t think I’d describe you as calm during the hours of 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. (which you seem to have scheduled for cluster feeding and fussing on a nightly basis), but generally you seem pretty happy and easy going. The obvious exception is tummy time, which clearly you regard as baby torture time. You will occasionally throw your head up (you have a very strong neck when we’re holding you) but you spend most of the time frantically pushing with your legs with your head flat on the ground, screaming in frustration. Once you managed to turn  yourself 90 degrees. We suspect you aren’t going to wait until you’re eight and a half months to crawl like your brother did.

Your hair is already longer than it was a month ago. Your eyes are darker- we’ve never had any doubt that they will be anything other than brown. Your skin is spottier (baby acne has started to appear in the last couple of days). Your legs are longer (especially since you’ve started stretching them out). Most of your newborn clothing no longer fits well, even when you’re not in a cloth diaper. You’re probably close to two pounds over your birth weight, so we know you’re thriving.

You are, without a doubt, the noisiest baby we’ve ever met. We actually videoed the ridiculous cacophony that you produce in the bassinet and asked our midwife to look at it because we were worried there might be something wrong. There wasn’t- you are in perfect health. You’re just very, very noisy. Sometimes you sound like a creaking door, sometimes a rooster, sometimes a pod of whales. Often you sound like what I imagine a dinosaur sounded like. The funny thing is I sleep perfectly well with you right beside me in the bassinet, and with E. (who was much quieter) I had to wear earplugs because I couldn’t sleep.

You surprised us by smiling early- you were twenty days old the first day I could say with confidence that you were producing real smiles (although I do still wonder about some of the other ones). You love to smile at me on the change table- unless I have my camera there to capture it. Then you stick to your puzzled, furrowed, Winston Churchill impression. You started cooing at around the same time and you’re becoming adept at giving a quiet coo if I’m holding you but my focus is elsewhere. You also coo at your big brother during dinner during the (increasingly rare) occasions when you’re in the bouncy seat and not in my lap nursing.

Your best party trick to date is your sleep. You’ve been sleeping a five or six hour stretch in the first part of the night since your second week. I thought I was going to have to start artificially waking you up earlier when we weren’t sure about your weight gain, but luckily that’s no longer a concern. We’ve completely ignored any semblance of bedtime to this point (you spend almost every evening cluster feeding on my lap and then passing out on the nursing pillow while I mark or moderate my discussion forum), so when we go to bed around 10 p.m. I try to make sure I wake you up so you nurse, and you’ll then sleep through until 3:00 or (if I’m really lucky) 4:00 a.m. Your second feed is almost always three hours after the first, so on the off night when you wake up at 1:00 or 2:00, I know I’ll be seeing you again before 6:00 (which is when I mentally feel the morning starts). You seem to like being tightly swaddled (arms in) and you’re happy enough in the bassinet at night and (usually) for the first nap of the morning, so it’s hard to complain when you want to spend the rest of the day snuggling. You’re still so little, and I’m inclined to soak up your infancy a bit more than I did with your brother. (Getting a decent amount of sleep every night makes everything you do so much more enjoyable.)

I’m sorry that you’re the second child. I’m sorry that you’re already learning that quiet, polite noises of displeasure don’t lead to the situation being rectified, like they almost always did for your brother, and that you’re ever more quickly advancing straight to panic stations screaming when something is not to your liking. I’m sorry you get put down so often, even though you absolutely loathe being put down. I’m sorry you’re going to spend so much more time in the car than your brother ever did, although maybe you won’t always hate it as much as you do right now. I’m sorry you will be continually dragged around according to his needs and his schedule. At some point you and I will have to sort out good sleep habits but I’ve already shelved that until he’s back at school in September.

And I’m not sorry that you’re the second child. You have a spot on your head that is almost always smeared with cherry juice, or maple syrup, or yoghurt, from your big brother’s constant requests at the table to “please be excused so I can give P. a kiss”. When he’s talking, you turn your head to find him. Most of your biggest and best smiles have been directed at him. He cuddles you, reads to you, sings to you, and provides P. reports when we’re driving somewhere and I can’t see what you’re doing. At some point he’s going to step on you or fall on you when he’s clambering around on the couches while I’m nursing, but his heart is in the right place. He adores you, and it makes my heart glow to see it.

You have a more distracted, less available Mummy, but a much more relaxed one. Just like your brother, you’re showing clear signs of only wanting to nap in carriers, preferably in motion. I agonized over this with E. for weeks. With you, I’m not bothered. We’ll sort it out eventually and in the meantime it’s a lot easier to keep up with E. if you’re happy to be tucked up on my chest.

The days pass more quickly with you, it seems. I’m sure part of it is because I’m chasing around after E. and teaching. I don’t have any spare time in which to sit and watch the hours. But part of it is because you’ve settled into our family so nicely. You have filled the gap that we thought would always be there.

We’re so glad you’re here.

love always,
Mummy

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3 Comments

Filed under Letters to P., P.- the first year

3 responses to “The first month

  1. Oh boy, again I can relate to all you have written… brought tears to my eyes. I am going through the same moments with my son and 2 month old daughter. You captured these moments so beautifully.

  2. Love 😊😊😊😊😊. So glad the newborn period is going so smoothly. Thinking of you xxx

  3. Beautiful ❤️❤️❤️

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