Dear Natalie – Week 9

Dear Natalie,

This week you turned two months old. Two whole months!

The difference between the you of today and the you of one month ago is astounding. You can smile, coo and squawk at things that make you happy, and have completely busted out of all your 0-3 month size clothing. (At your 2-month checkup, you weighed in at a whopping 14 lbs, 13 ounces – 99th percentile!). You clearly recognize your dad and me — or , to be perfectly blunt, you recognize that your dad is not me.

Let me preface this by saying that I love you to the moon and back. Everyone says that being a parent changes everything, but I was not prepared to feel like I got hit by the mack truck of love, smushed and scattered all over the highway by the sheer force of my love for you.

That being said, it would be super to be able to leave the house by myself once in a while.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve started running again. I’m only out of the house for thirty minutes at a time, and each time I make sure that you are well fed, dry, and either sleepy or out cold before I leave you in your dad’s thoroughly capable hands. And almost every time, I get a panicked phone call saying YOU NEED TO COME HOME NOW because you, my dear, have gone completely insane.

Without fail, you’ve calmed down by the time I get home. Sometimes, you’re already asleep. But I’m going to level with you, baby girl – you’re starting to make your dad afraid to be alone with you. He also loves you to pieces and it hurts his feelings when I leave him with a smiling, babbling, happy baby that suddenly and inexplicably morphs into a raging gremlin the minute I walk out the door.

This, too, shall pass. Everyone says it’s a phase, and soon enough will come a time when I pick you up and you writhe and scream for your dad, and he’ll be the only one who can comfort you.

But in the meantime, there’s a whole wide world out there that I would like to experience, in small doses, sans baby. I promise you – there’s no reason to freak out. I will always, always, always, come back to you.

Love always and forever, even when you’re being a little gremlin,
Mama

natalie-week9

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Dear Natalie: Week 8

Dear Natalie,

You are such a happy girl. Lately you’ve started flashing your big, beautiful, gummy smile quite often, and we love it. A lot of things make you smile, including:

  • staring at Dad’s face, and especially his glasses
  • the plastic starfish that hangs from your playmat
  • putting saline solution in your nose (Really – you squirm while we’re doing it, but as soon as it works its way through and you can breathe normally again? All smiles!)
  • changing your diaper
  • reading picture books together (your favorite seems to be Hockey Colors: My First NHL Book, which pleases your dad immensely)
  • passing gas (so ladylike)
  • splashing in your tub
  • looking at trees on our walks

You’ve mostly outgrown the floppy, wobbly newborn stage and the control you have over your head is quite good, so interacting with you is much more fun than it was a few weeks ago – mostly because it actually is interacting, rather than just showing you things that you can’t quite see and pretending that your wild arm flailing means something. I think the cats are a bit displeased that we spend more time laughing at your antics than at theirs, but they’ll just have to deal with that.

Your personality is starting to emerge, and it’s awesome to see. I mean that literally – watching you develop into an actual person, rather than the little meatloaf lump of baby you were a few weeks ago, fills me with awe. You’re hitting all the milestones with ease and ahead of schedule, proving that you inherited your mom’s overachieving gene. You are the valedictorian of babies!

But even if you weren’t, that would be ok. You’re my happy, smiley girl, and we love you to pieces, whether you’re at the top of your class or you’re last kid picked (but hopefully you’ve inherited your athletic ability from your father rather than me. Jury’s still out on that one.).

Love always,
Mama

natalie-week8

Mad scientist baby. MUHAHAHAH.

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Dear Natalie, Week 7

I’ve been writing weekly letters to Natalie since she was born. I haven’t blogged any of them yet, but thought I’d share this one. I’m sure other parents can relate. 

Dear Natalie,

I’ve always been a fan of sleeping, but it wasn’t until you came along that I found myself obsessed with it. Measuring it, counting it, tracking it, and rejoicing when we get a few minutes more than we did the previous night. You have good nights (this week you gave us two six-hour stretches of sleep!) and you have not-so-great nights (waking every 2-3 hours and refusing to go back to sleep without an elaborate routine of nursing, rocking, bouncing, shushing, and praying). The trend, however, is definitely moving toward consolidating your sleep into ever-increasing, gloriously significant chunks of time. Your dad and I are very grateful for that.

The flip side to this nighttime improvement is that you’ve decided we’re torturing you by trying to get you to nap. You fight so very, very hard. Your eyelids droop and your limbs fall to your side, limp and heavy. And then, POP! Your eyes snap wide open and you fling your arms away from you as if embracing your decision to stay awake FOREVER.

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I WILL NEVER CLOSE MY EYES AGAIN

We help you as best we can –swaddling is our greatest asset in convincing you to sleep– but there’s only so much we can do. The magic combination usually involves swaddling, a white noise machine, and your bouncer, either on the floor with the vibration setting on or in the swing, set to one level below “launch baby into orbit.” It’s not perfect, but it usually works — sometimes after an hour or more, depending on how hard you’re fighting to stay awake.

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NAPPING IS FOR THE WEAK

Here’s my advice to you, baby girl: learn to love the nap. It’s a sad truth that adults long for the ability to curl up somewhere and shut their eyes for a while in the middle of the afternoon, while babies and children view it as a punishment. It’s not, my dear, I promise you.

It’s the only time Mommy gets to shower, so please close those tired little eyes and give me just a few minutes for basic personal hygiene.

Love always,
Mama

2013-09-12 13.20.34More of this, please.

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Project Life Weeks 30-32? Maybe? It’s All A Blur.

Here we are, 5 1/2 weeks later. I am sort of, kind of, mostly caught up on Project Life. Huzzah!

Finding the time to work on my album with a newborn is, understandably, quite difficult. But every so often the stars align and I have both the energy and the time to print some pictures. I’m so very glad that I’ve made the effort, since the last five weeks have been an absolute blur. The details of Natalie’s birth are already slipping away, paving the way for a sibling sometime in the future. I think with a clear recollection of labor and birth, we’d all be only children.

But that’s neither here nor there. On to the pictures!

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This is only half a spread, and the pictures are from the birth center and the first few days she was home. The lighting conditions were all over the place, so I converted everything to black and white for a nice, cohesive look. The card on the left has Natalie’s stats at birth. I’m sure I had a plan for what to do with the card in the middle, but it escapes me at the moment. And so it remains empty. As an artistic decision, of course.

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I love this spread. I scored some foam letter stickers for half off at Michael’s and now I feel the need to label All The Things with stickers. The shark week card is an image I found online and printed out at 3×4. Our sleep schedule the first week she was home was totally non-existent (go figure!) and so we stayed up quite late watching Shark Week. Perhaps associating the birth of my child with giant great white sharks is not the most heartwarming memory, but there you go. Just keepin’ it real, folks.

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I had a LOT of pictures this week, so I used a few templates to make 4×6 collages. My favorites are from Paislee Press, and they’re free! I absolutely adore the photo of my grandmother holding Natalie. The joy on her face, the wonder…wow. We took a two hour road trip so Natalie could meet some of her relatives, and with her only being eight days old, it was tough. But so worth it, especially for moments like that.

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I had far fewer photos for week 33, so I enlarged Natalie’s two week photo to fill most of the page. A GIANT photo for a GIANT baby (she’s gained almost four pounds since birth!).

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That Tigger towel kills me.

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And now for some gratuitous cuteness…all of Natalie’s weekly photos thus far (click on the image to see it at a larger size). I stole the idea from the brilliant John and Sherry at Young House Love. It might be tough to keep up with a weekly photo for a year (or more, I haven’t decided yet), but I think it’ll be such a cool thing to have. I’ve been posting the photos every week on my personal facebook page and I plan on sharing them here as well. Yay accountability!
natalie1-5GAH SO CUTE. This kid, man.

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Hi there, Natalie

Will and I are thrilled to announce that Natalie Elizabeth was born this past Tuesday morning, July 30, weighing in at a healthy 8 lbs, 10 oz.

She is perfect.

Natalie

I will write more when I can let go of this tiny little bundle long enough to type with both hands.

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