Friday, April 27, 2012

Letter to Greta: 6 Months

Dear Littlest One,

Have you really been with us for six months? It seems like we just brought you home from the hospital, a squalling (or, in your case, snorting) newborn. Because you are the second child, I see you as a baby—a much younger baby than you actually are. You surprise me constantly with the things you do. There is no time for me to guide you through each milestone; you just get there on your own, casually. You’re going to crawl across the room one of these days, before I know it.

This month has, unfortunately, brought about a disastrous turn in your sleeping. From the very beginning, you were a good night sleeper—but in the past six weeks or so, you’ve started waking up more (two or three times a night), and, worse, staying awake. You’re in a mini-crib right next to our bed, so if you’re awake, I’m awake. You kick your legs into the air and slam them down; you toss from side to side so that the zipper on your sleep sack bangs against the crib; you shriek and screech; you chew loudly on your hands. We are exhausted. This week, your naps have also devolved. You’ve been taking two real naps (1-2 hours around 9:00am; 2+ hours at 1:00pm) and sometimes a quick third nap around 5:00pm. But this week that afternoon nap has suffered. I blame teething. You are restless, cranky, drooly.

It’s very hard on me when you don’t take that afternoon nap. That’s my only time alone during the day—Lucia either naps or plays in her crib, you’re supposed to sleep, and I get to do whatever it is I need to do. It’s been a very long week. My days without that nap are endless. Not that I don’t love holding you, because I do. But when you get up at six and your daddy doesn’t get home till six or later, that’s a twelve-hour day of baby-tending and baby-holding, executed simultaneously with a twelve-hour day of toddler-entertaining and toddler-managing. My back and neck are so sore as to be nearly immobile.

Aside from these sleep troubles, you truly are a delightful little cutie. You are usually nothing but smiles—big, whole-face smiles. You smile and laugh at Lucia. Yesterday, at a friend’s house, when Lucia and another little girl were screaming and laughing hysterically as they jumped on a bed, you, too, began to laugh and scream—an activity you could join! You like to hang out on your tummy, watching what’s going on. You like chewing on your toes. You like chewing on Sophie the Giraffe and various other teethers. You like screeching at the top of your lungs, ear-splittingly. You like to grab hair and faces. You can roll from tummy to back and back to tummy. You are starting to sit (propped on your hands) for a minute or two. You scoot backwards when you’re on your belly, and you’re trying to get your knees up under you. You like to stand up with us supporting you. You like your activity saucer (especially the things you can reach and chew).

Six months begins our feeding adventure. You are still nursing a lot—I don’t keep track of how many times per day, but it seems like a lot; you like to fall asleep nursing at naptime and bedtime, sometimes. But you are fully ready for solid food. Rice cereal is first. It will get better from there. The pictures accompanying this post are you as a breastmilk-only baby—all that chubbiness, those fat thighs; that was all me, little one. Not one bit of anything else has ever crossed your lips. Let the feeding begin!

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