December 28, 2012

1 Month Old.

On Wednesday Livvy became a month old. I love her soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much. Everything is new and exciting still: her first bath (she was a fan), the first time she wore shoes (hot pink Converse), the first time she smiled (this week) or had a bottle (yesterday) or a babysitter (tonight). Oh, and then there was The First Christmas (really fun).

I can't help but comparing; my introduction to Livvy has been so different from my introduction to Tessa. It's been more joyful and peaceful. I've been better rested, more self-assured. I haven't been trampled by guilt and self-loathing. Nursing her has been dreamy and a source of pride, and I've loved having her sleep in our bed with us, her silky body nestled next to mine. Everything about my first weeks with Tessa was just the opposite of this, but I so appreciate having had two completely different experiences (bottle feeding and breastfeeding, crib sleeping and co-sleeping) because I know that no matter how pitted the road a mother pushes a stroller down, the destination is the same: maddening, endless love that reboots itself after even the worst days and moments. And I can say, too, that the whole platitude about how breastfeeding braids mother and child more closely together is a bunch of boloney. I loved Tessa just as intensely and immediately. It's just that because she was tongue-tied and I happened to be going a little crazy after I had her, I tucked a bottle between her beautiful, parted lips instead of a breast. And I bullied myself about bottle feeding, which was useless and really damaging.

Livvy is nearly 10 lbs. now, up from her 7 lbs., 11 oz. at birth, and most of her newborn clothes no longer fit. During the day she wants to eat at least every two hours, but at night she can hold out for four hours at a time. I haven't minded much and have been amazed at all the things I can do while nursing a baby. Mostly, I've been amazed that I can sit and be still and do nothing while nursing her. I didn't do these things before she came along. I was too busy doing all the other things that needed to be done. Her other feats: She can support her weight with her legs for several seconds at a time and hold her head up for a supernaturally long time. She has begun to smile just a little bit. A crooked, gummy smile that snags my heart. She still does very little crying, and she is easy to calm when she does get ticked off. Her only desire in this world is to be held, so we oblige her as often as we can.

Things have been mostly happy around here. There have only been a couple of times when I felt so vastly overwhelmed that I had to sit down on my bedroom floor and have a good cry. (The bedroom floor is always the place where I have my best cries.) And that's been mostly because I've missed myself. I've missed doing some of the things I love to do--taking long baths, sewing and taking on house projects, spending uninterrupted hours getting work done and being productive--because the only thing I really do right now is motherhood. But I know that the time will come again when I have time to devote to these things. Until then, I am going to hold my baby.

It hasn't made things any easier that we've been having an especially hard time with Tessa's tantrums, which have been a part of our lives for a long time now but have gotten more intense since Livvy was born. We have strings of good days where she throws almost no fits, and then strings of days that are punctuated with ugly fit after terrible, horrible, humiliating fit. The good news is that Tessa adores her sister and having her around, if not the slightly diminished attention she's getting. The first thing she says every single morning when she comes up to our bedroom to wake us is: "Where's Livvy?" I point to Livvy in the crook of my arms and her face melts into a smile and she climbs in bed with us all to kiss and snuggle with Livvy and to talk us into getting out of bed. We are all still getting used to, and making room for, this new little soul in our lives. She is spectacular, and we are spectacularly blessed to have her.

And some Instagrams of Liv (and Tess, too) from the past month: