First Month

Dear Everett,

In your first four weeks here, you have already been to four birthday parties, two cyclocross-races, countless parks, one yoga class, and one hike. Next weekend we’re going camping. I am not sure whether all this activity is a good thing or not. Some people believe in keeping young babies indoors, away from crowds & germs & weather. Other people believe that new moms shouldn’t attempt any exercise until 6 weeks after birth. But I feel strong, and life goes on, and we have been enjoying going out. My friends tell me that a full social life is the fate of a 2nd child.

That’s you, cheering at a cross race.

Maybe we’re just projecting our own feelings on to you, but I think you really like looking at dappled sunlight streaming through the trees. Ben believes you get bored indoors. You like to feel the wind on your skin. You like movement in general. You don’t mind at all when crowds coo over you, as they often do. I believe you actually love tagging along to Soph’s preschool, where toddlers surround you with admiring questions during every morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up. You seem to like bike-races, too, where you get to lay on a beach-towel, surrounded by friends & trees & the sound of cowbells.

I don’t know whether it’s because you’re so good at communicating or because we’re also better at recognizing a baby’s needs, but you’re a pretty easy baby because we usually know what you want. Tongue sticking out = hungry. Arm waving in the air = need to burp. Wiggling your butt while grunting = need diaper changed. You don’t cry much because you already have this effective baby-sign-language that you invented, simply raising your hand when you need to be burped. You have some giant burps. You like to be held upright as much as possible. Other than that penchant for being held vertically, you’re an amazingly calm baby. You don’t mind waiting your turn. You tend to wake up slowly, anyway, grunting & waving & taking your time thinking about whether you really want to wake up.

You have more skills than you are supposed to have at this age. You have been turning over from your back to your side since you were a few days old — but fortunately haven’t managed to turn over to your stomach yet, so I’m not too afraid of smothering. Somehow, you manage to move towards me in your sleep, lunging forwards with your shoulders, nearly pushing me off the bed some nights. You hold your head up on your own for many minutes at a time. You always look at whoever’s speaking, and you also adjust your body in anticipation of different holds, curling in to hug us when we hold you upright, stiffening your back to lounge when we place you on our laps. All those skills are supposed to come at age 2 months or 3 months, but you don’t seem to be following that timeline. I like to think you’re brilliant.

You look like you’re prematurely balding, too.  Oddly, I’m not the only one who finds this adorable.

You have grown a lot, already. You were 8 pounds at birth and are more than 11 pounds already. The “0-3 month” sized clothing lasted you about 2 weeks. You’re wearing the 6-month clothing, now — partly because you’re so long. You are going to be tall. You like to nurse a lot, and I feel a little guilty admitting this, but I only spend a few hours every day gazing lovingly into your eyes while you nurse. I spend other nursing-times checking email, listening to podcasts (the moth is my latest favorite), reading, and aimlessly thinking. I really hope you don’t end up imprinting on the image of the back of my ipad or the back-cover of the New Yorker, but that may be another risk of being a second baby.

Soph is a great big-sister, although sometimes she gets impatient if you’re not looking right at her all the time. Fortunately, for now, you like looking at her most of the time.

You’ve already changed so much, in a month, but it’s hard to write it down, hard to explain that the grunts & arm-waving & world-gazing are different now, really, more controlled & purposeful. More mature, I almost wrote, as if a 1-month-old can be mature.

You’re a fabulous baby. We’re lucky you joined our family.

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One response to “First Month

  1. amy

    elaine,

    lovely post. brought back memories of when duncan was born and his favorite thing to watch, bar none, was his sister doing anything. She would fly around the house, chatter away, play with friends–watching her and trying to get her attention was his activity of choice. He also listened to a lot of NPR and turned out fine 🙂

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