Little girl of mine who is growing up too quickly,
What a change being two months old has been – both for you and for us! You’ve continued to master your existing skills and you’ve added in a few new ones. Lately, you’ve really found your voice and one of your most favorite things to do is to talk to your favorite objects – like your hands, the cross on the wall above your changing table and the owls on your swing. One day, I changed your diaper and you were so not happy with me so I put you in the swing to make your bottle and when I came back into the room, you were still crying your heart out, but your eyes were open and you were talking directly to the owls – I suppose telling them what a cruel momma you had for changing your diaper. The alertness you show this month is amazing to us – you are truly becoming a sponge and beginning to soak up everything around you. You’re learning to use all of your senses, sometimes to hysterical effects. You’ve started to lick – one of my baby books says you use your tongue to explore and it is so true, and so very funny. The other day your daddy saw you licking my hair and he said by the look on your face, you didn’t really like it. If I hold you without a burp cloth between your face and my body – I’m guaranteed to be left with a nice damp spot. Does this mean maybe we’ve left you with the puppies too much? Because we are first time parents and like to have fun at your expense (one day you’ll understand this) last night we let you lick part of an apple. It amused us for a good fifteen minutes while your tongue continual darted out to taste this new thing and then your brain tried to process the new texture and flavors. I guess maybe your sweet taste buds haven’t fully developed yet because the faces you made seemed to show you thought it was sour! (Which I guess this runs in the family because your Papaw and Grandma used to give me lemon slices to suck on when I was little and then would laugh when I’d make a sour face!)
You love to play now and you aren’t really big enough to play on your own, so we get the joy of playing with you. Daddy and I are pretty insistent that our house not end up looking like a day care, but I think that’s a losing battle. We bought you a swing this month and thankfully, it’s pretty adult looking. It’s not the answer to prayers that it is for a lot of families (you seem to have a knack of not really liking what works for 99.9% of the population) but you do have fun in it if we time it right. I think you could take or leave the swinging motion, but man, you love the owls that are on the mobile. There was no avoiding the day care look though when I bought your floor gym for you. Bright blue and fish all over it, goodness does it amuse you! You are never, ever, EVER still if you are awake and you love to lay on your back and bat and kick at all the hanging toys. It’s one of the few things that you can amuse yourself with alone, but you really prefer if one of us is there to help you play.
We also took you on your first vacation this month and you were such a trooper. We tried to be good parents and time our departure with your nap because normally (note the use of the word normally) riding in the car zonks you out. Not this time! I could just hear you laughing to yourself “I’ll show them” as you insisted on staying awake for the drive. Luckily, you passed most of the time talking to your hands (I guess they make great listeners.) You were such a joy to have with us – even though you slept through most of the sight seeing, it gave us a very exciting look ahead into our future and how much fun we’ll have going places with you. I have to admit at getting very emotional though as we stood in front of the Alamo. I remember being there with my Papaw almost seventeen years ago. It is so fitting that your first vacation should be somewhere he took me.
As we were waiting for Daddy to run by, I realized that we’ve become buddies this month. You’re my little sidekick – I’m very, very rarely without you. And it’s fun – we have a lot of fun together. You’re just my little pal and I know that the relationship we have, I’ll never have with another child. So some days, that constant togetherness can be wearing, but I try to treasure it.
Every day has brought new changes and if I could find the time to write you daily letter, every letter would show something different. Not all the changes are forward progress though – we’ve most definitely had some regressions as well. But forward or backward, every step we’ve taken has been a learning process.
I think as many changes as this month has brought to you, it’s brought more to us. I thought at this point, things would be settled, you’d have a routine, and we’d feel more in charge and in control. Riiiiiiiight. The only routine you have is upsetting our idea that you have one and the only thing that is settled is that everything is going to change.
This month we realized that we have no ordinary baby – which I know that every parent says that, but it’s really true in your case. You’re what Dr. Sears defines as a high-needs baby. As a result, we’ve had to throw every concept of parenting we had out the window and open ourselves up to parenting concepts we never thought we would embrace. But embrace them we do, and willingly, because guess what? They work! We’ve had to adjust our thinking, to realize that this isn’t a battle of wills (and even if it was, we wouldn’t win), but that right now, our parenting is simply based on meeting your needs.
It’s hard to parent you, because we have to parent in two stages. One is to parent like a child, that’s the immediate parenting. It’s meeting your immediate needs. The simple fact is that you sleep best in the bed with us – no way around it. If we try to put you somewhere else, we are simply going to be up and down all night and everyone is going to be miserable. But that brings up the second part of parenting, the long term. Are we creating bad habits by co-sleeping with you? What does it mean in the long term for us? But meeting your immediate needs are we “spoiling” you? Sometimes it seems ridiculous to worry about the long term when you are still so little and so new, but part of being a parent is looking ahead to the future. We’re really struggling with finding a balance between the two things.
For now though, you’re in our bed at night and pretty much in the sling or a wrap any other time unless you are on the floor playing. That makes it pretty difficult for me at times because you are attached to me in some form or another for about twenty hours out of the day (minus play times and diaper changes and the occasional nap in the swing or on Daddy’s chest.) Since we’ve started doing these things though, the changes in you have been enormous. You still have your random, inexplicable screaming fits, but your confidence has grown by leaps and bounds. You are gaining the ability to put your self to sleep, and when you wake up, it’s like a whole new baby compared to just a few weeks ago. Most of the time you wake up happy and smiling. We can even start to put you off for a minute or two – your needs still have to be met immediately, but now I can sometimes finish my bowl of oatmeal before giving you your bottle. There is such trust in your eyes as well, when you see us, you know we are going to take care of you, that we are going to meet your needs and that you are safe and loved with us. All of the books say it’s about this time you start showing object recognition, like being excited by your bottle. And you’ve started doing that, you know when we put you down on the changing pad, you start to pull your legs up. You recognize the bottle, but it really doesn’t do anything for you. What makes me laugh the most and shows what is most important to you is that when you see me get out the black moby wrap, you immediately calm down and your eyes get big and you get still – you know what’s coming and you like it! Most kids have a small lovely of some sort, I think you’ll be the only two year old dragging around five meters of black fabric 🙂
Despite the struggles, you are such a joy to parent. Your face lights up when you see us and you love to play with us. The smiles have gotten huge this month and little laughs are starting to come. You think Daddy nibbling on your toes is the greatest thing ever. You love kisses and the sound effects we make when we kiss you. And you like to lick us back in return! I can’t believe you are two months old already! You definitely aren’t our little newborn anymore. I can’t wait to see what next month holds for you and for us, but at the same time, I wish I could just freeze every hour. Sometimes I wish I had known how hard this was going to be, sometimes I wish you were an easy going baby, but honestly, I wouldn’t change a bit of it. Not the crying and screaming and the needing to be held almost all the time – because if I changed that, I’d have to change the laughter, the smiles, the joy that you give us, and I’d be changing you. I don’t want to change you – you are the most amazing thing that has ever happened to us and why would I want to change that?