Baby D Makes Three

born December 27, 2012

on your birthday

dear Cora,

my sweet baby girl. on the day you were born I had hopes and dreams for your first year. I had plans and aspirations. one year ago you were born and changed my world forever. you bring so much joy, excitement, and love to our lives. you are the best thing I’ve ever done and you have the best parts of me in you. becoming a mommy was something I always wanted. becoming your mommy was more than I ever dreamed it could be. I spend whole hours marveling at my love for you. and not a day goes by I don’t thank God for letting me be your mommy. for sending you to me. for trusting me to raise you and love you.

you are my spirited, determined, strong-willed, curious girl. you can be fearless which terrifies me. you can be sweet and loving, offering hugs and snuggles freely. you can also be a terror, screaming at the top of your lungs when you don’t get your way or we have to take something away from you. I love every minute of it. honestly. even at 2 am when we are awake because of teething. I love it. I love you. I didn’t realize how much love I was capable of until you came and destroyed its boundaries.

this year we have both grown so much. when I brought you home from the hospital we were both brand new – you a newborn baby and myself a new mom. we were both exhausted and just getting by on snuggles, love, and cat naps. now you are walking, you have one tooth, and you are so independent. we sleep most of every night. we still survive on snuggles and love but we also have fun. we play and laugh and tickle and eat. I feel more confident in my ability as your mom. I don’t second guess every decision I make like I once did.

we still have so much growing to do. I still get frustrated and short-tempered. and you will learn to run in days I’m sure, among other things. the best part is we will continue to grow and learn together.

on the day you were born I had hopes and dreams for your fist year. your first year was so much better than I hoped or dreamed. on your birthday I have hopes and dreams for this next year. but more than anything I hope we continue to survive on snuggles and love, I hope we grow together and play together.

this past year has been my favorite year. I love being your mommy. I love you. I love our family and I love our life.

Love,
Mommy

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changing

dear Cora,

yesterday morning, I got you out of your crib, and you had changed overnight. your facial features were just a little bit different. the expressions you make a little more pronounced. it is amazing and terrifying, the rate at which you change. I spend whole minutes every day trying to memorize everything about you, because tomorrow you will be a different little girl. you are funny and sweet and kind. you are also stubborn, hardheaded, and determined. you are becoming so much more communicative. you wave now to say “hi,” “bye,” or “night-night.” you sign when you are hungry most of the time. and you sparingly sign “all done.”  this weekend you learned to shake your head to say “no.” and used it. a lot. your daddy and I giggled every time you shook your little head at us and whispered under our breaths “uh oh, what has she learned?”  you tried to share your bottle with me a few times on Friday evening, and almost popped it right into my mouth because I was not expecting it. and on Friday night when I asked you if you were ready for bed, you waved to say “night-night” and then looked frantically around because your daddy was not in the room and you always say “night-night” to him before you go to bed. I love these sweet moments with you, and am so thankful I get to be your mommy.

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the end of breastfeeding

Dear Cora,

last week we stopped breastfeeding. Thursday, November 14th was the last day you nursed. I saw this day coming early on. I knew we weren’t going to make it a whole year when I went back to work and pumping was so hard. I knew, but I still hoped. and so, when you decided you were done, I grieved. I grieved the loss of that special bonding – breastfeeding was the one thing only I could provide you. I grieved your growth – no longer wanting to nurse means you are becoming more independent and growing into a child, no longer my dependent infant. I grieved the loss of that extra cuddle time – as tired as it made me, those late night and early morning snuggles were still cherished.

but then I celebrated. I celebrated that we made it 10 and a half months! Just one and a half months shy of my goal. that’s not bad. I celebrated that you are such a healthy, happy, and growing baby. I celebrated that when I get sick, I can take medicine now. I celebrated that I didn’t give up, that I let you decide when you were done. I celebrated that for the first time in 20 and a half months, your nutrition and well-being isn’t completely reliant on my body. I celebrated that your daddy can take over the late night feeding, so hopefully I will be less tired.

and you know what? the snuggle time with you while I feed you your bottle is still just as special, and since you aren’t frustrated with me for trying to coax you to nurse before getting your bottle, you are even more cuddly. after you finish your bottle, you sort of sit up a little, and put your arms around my core, and then snuggle your head onto my chest. it is one of my new favorite things.

I am so thankful breastfeeding was successful for us. It was one of the things I worried about most while being pregnant. I am also thankful you are such an easy going baby, and that formula was just fine for you too, when I couldn’t produce enough milk to support your growth.

I love you, darling one. continue to grow. continue to reach milestones that make me grieve the loss of your babyhood. because then we can continue to celebrate as well.

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rolling rolling rolling

baby girl,

in the past two weeks you have just exploded into movement. you roll from your back to your tummy; from your tummy to your back; and you spin in circles. it is so fun to watch you learn to do these things (at least during the day :P). the past two weeks when we lay you in your crib, you will turn onto one side or the other and a lot of times will fall asleep like that, or you will just lie there for a little while before rolling back onto your back to go to sleep. I will look at you, lying on your side and think to myself that you are such a sweet little girl and where did my baby go? it was just yesterday that you were a tiny little newborn who couldn’t move around like this. I am so thankful that you are, for the most part, such a good sleeper. 

last night, you kept rolling on to your tummy but you don’t want to sleep on your tummy so you try to roll onto your back, but instead of rolling back the way you came, you want to keep rolling in the same direction, which ends up with you squished against your crib rails, or unable to roll back completely. then you get really upset and cry so loudly for me to come help you. we had a rough night last night because of it. it was sort of cute at 8. by 11, it was no longer cute, and by 4 am it was just awful :P. I sure hope you learn to roll back the other way or to sleep on your tummy soon.

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confliction

dear Cora,

there are so many things on my heart right now. I wasn’t prepared for this confliction I seem to feel about everything now that I am back at work. being a working mother is wonder-awful. I am so in love with you and wouldn’t trade being your momma for anything. but it seems there is a flip side to almost every wonderful aspect of working motherhood; a negative side, lurking just beneath the surface.

here are a few examples of wonder-awful working motherhood:

I am overjoyed that you are happy at daycare. I am saddened to be away from you.

I am thrilled you are such a good eater and get so much to eat during the day. I am heartbroken that I do not seem to be able to pump enough to keep up with your appetite.

I cherish the moments late in the evening and early in the morning when I nurse you; it is our special time together. I am exhausted from going to bed later and getting up so early to be able to nurse you.

I love seeing your happy face every morning before I go to work. I hate to leave you.

being back at work is easier than I thought, and a lot more rewarding. I miss you all day long, and feel guilty you are being cared for by someone else..

evenings are sacred; you are only awake for a few hours after work and daycare, and I try to squeeze a whole days worth of love, snuggles, and kisses into those precious hours. there is not enough time to go around, and I find myself stressing over the chores that aren’t getting done.

my body was your home for 9 months, it protected, nurtured, and grew you; that is amazing to think about, and a huge blessing. my body looks like it grew and birthed a human; I am uncomfortable and self conscious of my new physique.

you are a happy, healthy, intelligent baby! I constantly worry about your growth and development.

my love for you expands every single day. you bring joy and wonderment to my life. you make me a better, more loving, more patient version of myself. And there is no awful flip side to that. so I’ll hold on to that as I start another day, and hope that today holds more wonderful than awful.

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sometimes

Dear Cora,

Sometimes, you cry inconsolably in the middle of the night and I can’t fix it. You won’t nurse, you won’t let me rock you, you won’t lay in your crib with your pacifier. It seems that everything I try makes you even more mad.

Sometimes, once I manage to get you back to sleep, I sit in your room and wait for you to spit out your pacifier and cry. Because I know you will, and if I get back in bed it will just be worse for me.

Sometimes, I honestly believe I will never sleep again. That I will live exhausted and cranky and I might miss out on enjoying your childhood because I’m too tired.

Sometimes, I’m cranky with your dad when he makes a suggestion about why you are upset when he will only be awake for a minute and I don’t know how long I will be awake.

Sometimes, I feel like everything I do is wrong.

So sometimes, I have to remember that everything is a phase. That you will sleep better again, that your daddy is just trying to help, and that I’m doing the best I know how.

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letters to my baby

dear baby,

there are stories I want to tell you. not just the make-believe kind, although, I can’t wait to tell you those also. but the real life kind. these are our stories. the stories that make up who we are, why we are a family.

four years ago today, on September 20, 2008, your daddy took me on our first date. and we haven’t been apart more than a couple of days at a time since. as I got ready for him to pick me up, I remember thinking to myself, that this could be the last first date I ever go on. and by the end of the night, I knew it would be. I knew on that first date that I would marry him.

we didn’t have to play games. we didn’t play it safe. we jumped in with both feet. and baby girl? it was the scariest, most thrilling thing I had ever experienced up to that point. I was so used to playing by the invisible dating rules, I was unsure how to navigate those uncharted waters. but it was worth it. letting myself fall head over heels in love with your father, within a matter of days really. it was risky. some said it was stupid. but it was the best decision I ever made. because while love is a delicious feeling I hope you experience fully, it is also a decision. a decision to be kind, and loving, and generous, and passionate, and thoughtful. even when you don’t feel like it, or you don’t like the other person very much in the moment.

your daddy was the first man to treat me the way all women deserve to be treated. I wasn’t sure I deserved it. I wasn’t sure I was worthy of your daddy. but he patiently proved that we were worthy of each other. he showed me that someone could truly love me for who I really am. and that I could love someone for who they really are.  and I am so thankful he did. because if he hadn’t, I wouldn’t have him. I wouldn’t have you.

baby girl, I pray that as you grow up, your daddy and I teach you well, so that when your turn comes, you will know what love and marriage should look like. so when it’s time to tell your story to your babies, you will have what I have. so much joy in your heart it makes you cry. and so much love to share, it can be painful. most of all baby girl, I pray that you will know how much your mommy and daddy love each other, and how much we love you.

~first we had each other. then we had you. now we have everything~

Love,

your mama

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