Thursday, October 22, 2015

Dear Clover

Dear Clover,

It's six in the morning, and you're sleeping like a little angel beside me in bed. Sometimes I put my face right up next to yours, and breathe in as you exhale. Sometimes I'm creepy, and pretend I'm sucking in your youth. Sometimes I just like to smell your sweet milky breath. Sometimes I want to be close to you, and stare at your pouty lips, upturned nose, and long silky eyelashes that frame your eyes as you sleep. 

This morning, after I sucked in your youth, I began thinking of this journey we've taken together over the last (almost) three months. I remembered where we began, with me feeling inadequate and scared as a mother of an infant again. I wasn't able to produce milk right away, and you wanted it immediately. After four days of intense waiting and nursing, our efforts finally paid off. We were in this bed we lay in together now, and after you had nursed for several minutes, you pulled off my breast, and I watched a trail of milk dribble down your chin. I was so happy and relieved in that moment. I could finally provide you with exactly what you needed and wanted so badly.

I think that might be what the rest of our relationship will be like. You needing things from me, and me trying my very best to provide you with whatever it is. Right now, it's pretty easy. You need diaper changes, feeding, on occasion, gripe water, and love. I try my best to comfort and love you.

We went to Boise, Idaho to bless you. It was a fun trip, and your baby blessing had a great turn out. Our first night in a hotel, I was giving you a bath when your startle reflex kicked in. You went from smiling and enjoying being in the water, to instantly flailing your arms and feeling like you were falling. You were afraid and started crying. I swooped you up, and held you close so you could feel safe again. I always want you to feel safe, and I'll always want to swoop you up and protect you, even if I can't. Just know that I want to.

You've woken up now. I had to stop typing for a few minutes so we could do that thing where we lay in bed and smile at each other for several minutes. Your smiles are numerous. You've really started talking as well. Your adorable baby sounds light up this whole house. I've told people you're a high maintenance bi-polar baby, because you were, but I think I need to stop. You've brought nothing but happiness this last little while. Even when you're fussy, there's good reason behind it (usually gas, you're a gassy, farty little thing!), and you're back to smiling after the pain subsides. You even smile at the Winnie-the-Pooh characters on your hand-me-down bouncy chair.

Yesterday you gave me a cute look, and with your large eyes and pouty lips, I thought you looked like Tweety Bird. My sweet little bird, I love to dote on you. I feel so lucky, because most days, that's what I do. Daddy is away working, your big brother and sister are at school, so the two of us stay home and I get to spend my day nursing, napping, and caring for and with you. Somedays I put you in your swing and get some housework done. Sometimes I just hold you in the rocking chair and read, watch tv, or look at my phone between nursing sessions. Sometimes we go for walks, so I can attempt to loose some baby weight. Somedays I even think about the future and how much easier it will be when you're a little older, and I can fit more into the day, when I'm back to a size where my wedding rings fit again, I can work on my Etsy shop and crafts more, and I'll be able to plan and prepare better meals for the family. But right now, I sit and enjoy.

I read an article about a woman who said she's annoyed at people telling her to sit and enjoy her baby, when she also has a house to run and other kids to care for. I get it, I do. I have to get things done too, and the fact is, I can't just sit and enjoy you 24/7, although I would like to. But for me, when people tell me not to worry about the house, I find comfort in it. I'm able to let my anxiety go a bit about the crumbs and dust settling in. I know I'll get to it when you're sleeping in your swing, but it's okay if I don't get to it right this second! I have a pretty good excuse why my house isn't spotless. Cleaning CAN wait, but you won't.

I rested my hand across your stomach the other night and wondered how long my whole hand will fit across your belly. Not long. Soon you'll be bigger and not so needy. I like being needed by you. I feel important and fulfilled being your mom. Even when you spit up down my clean shirt and it gets in my just-washed hair (this happens a lot), when you poop after I just changed you, and when you're crying unconsolably, even when all this happens, I find joy in motherhood.

I really enjoy the fact that you're a pretty decent sleeper. Pretty much right after my milk came in, you slept great. You take little naps throughout the day, sometimes longer ones, but at night! At night I can count on you clocking in some serious shut-eye, and it's lovely! We usually get your older siblings to bed, kiss them goodnight, they each get to snuggle you in their bed for a minute, and then you and I come into my room and have our own little routine. I change you, sing to you, and then we talk for a few minutes, or FaceTime Daddy when he's away. Sometimes I read to you, and sometimes, if you're getting fussy and tired, we lay down together and you nurse one last time before drifting off to sleep. Then you're out! You wake up once or twice at night to nurse again, but promptly go back to dream-land after you've had your fill. I really appreciate you being a good sleeper, and I really enjoy co-sleeping with you. I did it with your big brother and sister, and loved it as well. I read an article about how beneficial co-sleeping is, if done correctly, with breast-feeding moms, and never looked back!  

I started this blog post to document some memories I didn't want to forget, like the time Daddy was holding you in his lap at a week old, and you pooped a bunch as he was filming you. We laughed and laughed. Or the numerous times you've stared into my eyes, and I felt our spirits connect on a deeper level. Or all the times I've taken you to appointments and outings and hopped you were a good baby, and you mostly just slept through the whole experience (thank you!)! Or the great debates we've had around here about what color your eyes will be. They're still blue, but daddy thinks they'll turn brown like your siblings'. I think he might be right, but part of me hopes they'll stay blue like your daddy's. It's ok if they won't, my eyes are brown, and I love sharing my eye color with Tralee and Hunter. I mostly wanted to share these memories so that I don't forget them, and also to share with you how dearly I love you.

I hope you will always know how much I wanted you here in this family, and how much I love you. There have been a few rough moments in the beginning, but we're settling into a pretty great routine. Our personalities know a bit more about each other, and I'm pretty sure we're in love. I honestly don't think I could love you more than I do in this moment, but as proven with your older siblings, I think I'll only love you more.

The alarm on my phone just started bellowing. Your big brother and sister are now awake, and getting ready for school, so it's time for this letter to come to an end. The morning frenzy has begun, and we need to get up and join it. You've been happily nursing the last little part of this letter, but that will have to be put on hold until we drop the kids off at school. I have lunches to pack, shoes to find, and prayers to say with the family. You'll sit in the bouncy chair and smile at Winnie-the-Pooh and your siblings when each of them come up to talk to you at some point. After the big kids are off, we'll resume your breakfast meal. I'll stare and marvel at you, and probably check my e-mail, Instagram, and Facebook accounts on my phone in-between kissing your cheeks and hands as you nurse. At some point I'll have to get some things done, so I'll either strap you in the baby carrier, and you'll ride along as I clean, or I'll put you in your swing to nap. It depends on what mood you're in, either way, you and I will both be happy.

I love you Tweety Bird!