My dear Ellie,
Today you are two months old already. It feels like this last month passed us by in an instant.
You have changed so much in the past month. It is really incredible to watch. As always, I'm torn between being so excited to see what great change will come next for you and wanting to freeze time so you will stay just as you are forever and ever. Each day I am all too aware that it is a day that we will never get back, that you will never be this small again, that each day you wake up a little bit older and wiser and you will never again be the little girl you were just the day before. It seems there is nothing like motherhood to teach you just how precious time really is. These moments are fleeting and I am doing my very best to cherish each one.
Each morning you wake up around 6:00 a.m. and I get you out of your crib and bring you back to bed with me, where I feed you and then you usually fall asleep for a couple more hours. I try to use that time to go back to sleep myself, but there have been many mornings when I have had to will myself to stop staring at you and close my eyes. I just lay there and watch you, trying to memorize every detail of your pretty face, your tiny hands, your round little belly, your precious little toes. I just can't help myself. I am an overtired new mother not because you keep me up at night, but because of my own inability to stop admiring the perfect curves of your chubby little cheeks long enough to get some sleep.
Oh, but Ellie, you are such a good sleeper! You go to bed between 10:00 and 11:00 every night and sleep until 6:00 or 6:30 a.m., then will usually go back to sleep until 9:00. Bless you, child, because I know you're making it easy on us here. You often fight off your naps during the day (unless you are bouncing on the exercise ball or cuddled up against me), but I can handle anything during the day as long as I get my rest at night. Thank you for that, baby.
At the end of last month, you were just learning to hold your head up. One day it seemed to click for you, and ever since then, you've been holding your head up like it's your job. I always marvel at how strong you are - such a big girl! I'm trying to help you keep working those muscles, but you hate tummy time and as soon as I lay you on your belly, you scream as if I am the meanest mommy there ever was and it breaks my heart into a million pieces. What is so bad about tummy time, baby? Laying on your belly is delightful. It was one of the things I missed most while I was pregnant with you! But, I don't understand why you would want to refuse a nap, either. Agree to disagree, I suppose.
You also smile all the time now, and it is the greatest, happiest, gummiest smile ever. I dare anyone who sees you smile not to smile back - it cannot be done. We haven't heard an audible laugh out of you yet, but heaven help us when it happens. I might melt into a puddle right then and there.
In just the past week, you have become so talkative. It was as if last Sunday you realized, oh hey, I can make sounds with my mouth that do not involve screaming, and then you never looked back. You "talk" to us all the time, especially in the mornings as you lay on your changing table. Your voice is the most beautiful sound I have ever heard. I could do nothing but listen to you talk all day every day and be completely happy. I just listen to you chatter on and imagine all the talks we'll have throughout your lifetime. This is the voice that will call me Mommy, that will say "I love you," that will ask me to play, that will say "goodnight" at bedtime after we sing our prayers together. This is the voice that will call to me when you have a bad dream and boast to me when you did something you are proud of. Of course, this is also the voice that will tell me you will NOT eat your peas because you hate peas, the voice that will defiantly tell me "no" when you don't want to listen. This is also the voice that will tell me you hate me someday when I won't let you wear that skirt that's too short or stay out past curfew. But it is also the voice that will hopefully tell me all your hopes and dreams, and then one day, call to tell me how you achieved them. How cool that all this is starting right now, with those little coos on your changing table!
Another new development for you this month is that your hair appears to be turning reddish. I thought it looked that way in pictures at first, but when a woman stopped me on the street to comment on your red hair, I knew I wasn't just imagining it. There is red hair on both sides of your family, so this is not completely shocking. I love this new development and I can't wait to see what you will really end up looking like. I will also say that the other day, after being outside in the humidity, the front strands of your hair seemed to have a little curl to them. Oh baby, you might have inherited your mama's hair, and if that is true, I apologize for the lifetime of flat irons and frizz control serum you have ahead of you. My advice: embrace the curl, don't fight it. It took me far too long to learn that lesson. Learn from my mistakes and save yourself from photos of a middle- and high-school-aged you with really big, frizzy hair. Heed this advice and trust me, you will thank me later.
This month has been significant for me because it is the first month that has almost entirely been just you and me during the weekdays. Your Grammy was here at the start of the month, but since then, you and I have been finding our rhythm as we are home alone together during the day. You are much more alert now, awake much more of the time (see above re: fighting naps), and I spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to entertain you. We walk, we talk, we read books, we sing, we dance, we bounce, we swing, we play on your play mat (which you just discovered you love - you just lay there and laugh and coo at those toys above you!). I basically spend my days acting like a total fool, all in an effort to make you smile. There are days that I am completely exhausted by the time your daddy gets home from work, and I feel triumphant for having successfully made it through another day. However, with each day that passes I feel like we're getting to know each other better as we create our own little routine. I wouldn't trade this time with you for anything. As I said, I cherish every moment because I know this time is fleeting. I'm so happy to be here with you - there's nowhere else in the world I would rather be.
I'm so proud to be your mommy, baby girl. Happy Two Months.
All my love,
* * * * *
Has it really been two months? It is crazy to think that you have literally doubled in age since the last letter. It's also crazy to think about how much more of a real person you seem than you did back then. These days, you are working hard on making sounds (which are some of the cutest I have ever heard and probably my favorite things in the whole world) and starting to take a real interest in your surroundings. You like to lock your eyes on different people or objects and you always have an opinion, whether it is an eyebrow raise or furrow, a smile, a laugh or some face I can't wait to ask you about. As for how much you have grown physically, Mommy put it well when she said she no longer finds herself deciding which of us you look more like (me), because she can't see you as anything other than your own person.
As a close second to all your noises, the most exciting thing this month has been your beautiful smile. You are doing it a lot, and it is just the sweetest thing. I want to meet the person that can watch it happen and still worry about the stresses of everyday life. Putting aside the sheer heartbreaking cuteness, one of the best things about your smiles is their confirmation that you recognize Mommy and me. I can't say for sure that it means you appreciate all the things we are doing for you, but, at this point, it is more than good enough to know that you know we are the ones doing them (even if you don't yet know what these things are or that you are the one to whom they are being done).
If I am being perfectly honest, I have to admit that this month hasn't been entirely puppies and rainbows. You have actually been a fair bit of work and you seem to be more eager to let us know when you are anything less than fully satisfied. I realize that you are still a little baby and don't have a lot of options when it comes to communicating your feelings, but I am only trying to record a fact. I also realize I may be a little unfair because your dissatisfaction seems to be especially common in the evenings, just before I usually get home from work. Maybe you can sense how much I miss you during the day and are just trying to let me know that it is okay to make up for lost time. Either way, you have made it very clear that after 7:00 p.m., you will not settle for anything less than the moving arms of your Mommy or me.
Even though it can be challenging to forgo evening downtime and to stay patient while you so unequivocally demand our attention, please believe me when I tell you that the extra effort is more than worth it. The good times with you are so indescribable that they do not simply outnumber the challenging ones, but they completely overwhelm them. I am amazed at how easily I am able to forget how sore my back is from trying to put you to sleep all day the moment you smile at me before bed. You are a very special lady and I love you so much.
Happy two-month birthday, sweetheart! Keep up the good work.
I think you and your mommy are the best.
All my love,