Thursday, October 08, 2009
All About Eve: Months One, Two & Three
As I begin this entry, Eve is beside me. She was nursing on the Boppy, as she does and has since she was born. She eats and then falls asleep against me, often with my breast in her mouth. It's incredibly sweet and I will miss it when she stops breastfeeding, but also it's very hard to be productive -- say, to do the dishes -- with someone's mouth wrapped around your nipple.
In the last week, though, I've discovered that she will stay asleep if I carefully reposition the Boppy to be against my side, and sometimes if I just slide it off to the side altogether, provided she is comfortably smooshed into it.
For those of you who don't know, the Boppy is a donut-shaped pillow, specifically designed for not having your child sleep in it. But whatever. If I'm lucky, Eve will fall asleep with her head supported on one end and her body and feet wedged into the center. (And then I just have to keep a close eye on her to make sure she doesn't fold in on herself.) It doesn't matter anyway. Her daytime naps still don't last particularly long. Still, the freedom I've gained having both of my arms free for just minutes of the day is intoxicating. WAHOO!
But that's not what this post is about.
Just now, Eve, tucked into her Boppy with the open half nestled against me, woke up. I looked down at her. She opened her eyes and looked at me. I smiled at her. She kept her eyes focused intently on me, heavy-lidded though they were. Then, with her eyes still affixed on mine, her face serene and contented, she burped.
Then she half-smiled, yawned, and fell back asleep.
This post is about what these first three months have been like, and, well, that's as good a summation of what they've been like as any. Sweet, funny, unpredictable -- a little gross -- and all about Eve.
There are two things people say over and over and over again when they meet our little dumpling. The first is: OH MY GOD I LOVE HER HAIR! And seriously, I cannot blame anyone. I love it, too. Her hair continues to grow straight out in every direction, and it's the best thing ever. I adore that it's her calling card. I refuse to put her in hats because it feels like I might as well put a mask over her face. Her crazy hair is part of who she is. And I know I'm going to sound ridiculous, especially if you haven't spent any time with this baby, but somehow, Eve owns it.
The second thing people have noted is that Eve is "really alert." Certainly Eve has done her fair share of newborn sleeping, but when she is awake, she is AWAKE. She has this way of looking at things and (especially) people that makes me and her Aunt Samantha laugh out loud. She gets an expression of awe and delight, of being unsure but totally okay with whatever it is. She's perpetually wide-eyed, but it's not like she's saying, "WOW!" it's more like she's saying, "WE'LL SEE ABOUT THIS."
I'm not doing a good job of explaining it. I take videos to try to capture it.
Like this one. Here, Eve has discovered she can roll herself off of me. Or maybe she doesn't even realize she's doing it, though every time I put her back on my chest, she rolls herself off again.
(Note: To get the Flip camera steady, I balanced it in my teeth.)
I know it looks like she's just falling off me, but I swear, she's doing it with purpose.
In these first three, pivotal, life-changing months, Eve has grown and gotten bigger and more interactive...but not THAT much. It seems like she just came out this way. THAT is what I'm trying to say.
Eve entered this world with her crazy hair, her eyebrow-enhanced expressions, her preference to be awake during the day when "stuff" is happening, and to sleep during the night when things are peaceful and dull. She looks at me like she's really looking at me.
Since she learned to smile, Eve smiles in response to human interaction. (Well, and the occasional bout of gas -- but then, so does her dad). She's paying attention.
Maybe that's it: she's paying attention. Those things you think maybe newborns don't notice because they're just tiny babies and kind of sleepy little (adorable) blobs? Eve does not come across that way. She never came across that way. There wasn't this grand shift from "newborn" to "baby." From the moment she started spending most of her days awake, she also started (seeming?) to notice everything.
That's the cool, interesting, and scary thing.
The cool, interesting and awesome thing is that so far, she seems to like it all. She notices we're somewhere new, and she thinks it's cool. (She just doesn't understand how she's supposed to lay quietly in her car seat while there are new sights to see!)
She awes me, in return. I cannot believe how complete a little person she is already.
So I suppose, if I am to do a proper recap of Eve's life in these last three months, I need to provide some basic day-to-day detail. (And if not for you, at least for me.)
Like, I should say that her little body is still rather small -- just 10.5 lbs now -- but she's incredibly strong. She's been holding her head up for weeks, which just further contributes to her seeming so very alert.
She's discovered her hands and had staring contests with her feet, but she hasn't yet seemed to intentionally reach for something she wants. Her arm and hand movements are still pretty haphazard, and when I don't stay on top of trimming her nails (which I do by biting them -- a very helpful suggestion!), she is prone to scratching herself.
She's begun drooling like a fountain. We were afraid she'd begun teething at 11 weeks, but that turned out just to be a particularly drooly couple days. Uh, we hope.
And...well...I don't know. I'm not good at this "recap your child's life" thing yet. There's so much to be poetic about, but mostly the poetry is in the everyday stuff.
I love that she smiles at me when I poke my head above her bassinet (still next to our bed) in the morning. I love that she smiles when Daddy comes home from work at night. I love how she looks at the cats when they approach her while she's nursing -- like, "You're an interesting looking burp cloth. But I'm busy just now."
I love that she's in a great mood all morning, and has her worst bouts of fussiness in the late afternoon, just like her mommy. I love that her whole face lights up when I sing to her, and that if the song is particularly to her liking, she will kick and kick and kick and coo and drool and blow bubbles. And she will stop whatever she's doing to focus on someone singing on the television (she especially enjoys "Glee.")
I love that there is never anything that upsets her so much she can't be calmed by having a bottle stuck in her mouth. I particularly love that she doesn't care if the bottle is breastmilk or formula, if it's warm or cold. She's just like, "Hey, yeah, awesome. Carry on."
She was a hiccup-er in utero, and for the first couple weeks she'd get the worst bouts of "crib shakers" (as my mom and grandma used to call baby hiccups) almost every time she ate. She hardly ever gets them now.
I point that out because so few things have changed in these three months.
Every time she nurses from my right breast, she takes her right arm and puts it over her head, and grabs a tuft of her hair in her tight little fist. I wonder if she'll keep doing this, or a variation of this, as she grows. I kind of hope so.
Napa enjoyed some truly glorious autumn evenings last week, and Ish and I were inspired to sit outside at dusk for a few moments, just to take it in. To take a breath. Eve came with us, of course, all wrapped up in cozy blankets.
It was very windy. I forget how "wind" is such a foreign concept to babies. The very first time Eve went out in the backyard, my friend Emily was here. She was holding Eve and quickly turned her back to block a sudden breeze. "Babies don't really 'get' wind," she said to me. Of course they don't, what a weird thing it must be to them, right? But I'm not sure it would have occurred to me without Em's saying so.
So last week as we sat outside and I held Eve upright against my shoulder, a huge wind came up and blew all over us both. Her hair split every which way. Eve immediately winced and drew up her shoulders. But before I managed to figure out a way to shield her from the gusts, she started to open her eyes. The expression on her face changed from reflexively startled to something else. She started fighting her closed eyes, blinking, trying to get her eyes to stay open. Trying to see the wind. And then she smiled.
And then she laughed.