…I’d do anything! There is a sweet Tim McGraw song with those lyrics: “Just to see you smile, I’d do anything that you wanted me to. When all is said and done, I’d never count the cost; it’s worth all that’s lost, just to see you smile.” Every morning I play this game with my baby girl, doing whatever I can to see her smile after her 9am bottle. That’s her happiest, sweetest time every day. She lays back on my legs after cuddle-burping, and almost instantly a smile spreads across her face, like the most content feeling she could possibly have. For the next half hour, her smile comes and goes, and every now and then, I’m lucky enough to lock eye contact with her and see the biggest toothless smile that instantly springs tears from my eyes. For seven weeks, I have been her primary caretaker, and I have truly loved every minute of it. Even those middle-of-the-night feedings are a sweet time when it feels like she and I are the only people awake in the world. Those smiles let me see inklings of her budding personality, which I wonder about all the time. Will she be courageous? Will she be insecure? Will she be personable? Charming? Shy? Funny? Those smiles aren’t telling anything yet, but I love watching her grow and dreaming about what she will become.
There is so much more to new motherhood than anyone ever told me. Or perhaps they did tell me things, but I didn’t have the schema to connect what they were saying to what I would be experiencing. My baby girl is five weeks old now, but her due date is still four days away. I think about that all the time, how she isn’t even supposed to be here yet. She is still supposed to be growing inside me, making me uncomfortable, sending me to the bathroom to pee every five minutes, helping me waddle down the hall. Instead, she’s here. And she is beautiful and sweet and is already developing funny little quirks that will hopefully be part of her personality. Because she is a premature baby, I have to remember every day that she will not develop the same way that full-term babies will. Add that to the pressures and fears that all new moms carry around, and I’m a mess about her. I can’t decide if I am in love with Google or if it is indeed the manifestation of all of my fears. (Recent Google searches include but are not limited to: “baby constipation,” “how to relieve baby gas pain,” “is it normal for a newborn to sound like a goose when she sleeps,” etc.) I do know this: new mom message boards are for the birds. If I read one more poorly written, all caps, lol-laden post about what I need to be worried or concerned about, I might scream. Instead, I’m working on my relationships with other new moms, connecting with them about their experiences and hopefully building friendships in the process.
Jon was home with me for the first three-and-a-half weeks. Now she and I spend all day every day by ourselves, and I love watching her and learning about her. She shakes her head side-to-side with her little mouth open when she’s hungry, thus earning the nickname Little Bird. She hates changing clothes, mostly because I am so bad at it right now. I keep promising her I’ll get better. She was born breech so her favorite position to sleep is curled up on my chest. She loves her passifier. She doesn’t mind a bath but hates getting out of it. When she’s waking up, she squawks like a goose. Her whole body relaxes when she hears her daddy’s voice when he gets home in the evening. She purses her lips when she’s had enough to eat and when she is waking up. Our days are spent mostly on the couch, with a few breaks for tummy time on the play mat and reading books in the rocker in her nursery. I love reading to her and I hope that she loves reading as she grows. Yesterday I was reading poems from Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends and I came across this one that brought me to tears:
We have so many hopes and dreams for her already, and that sweet little poem captures them perfectly. She literally has her whole life ahead of her, so much potential, so many dreams, such opportunity. I just feel so lucky to be her mommy and guide her and teach her and love her through every step.