Today Livvy is five days old. These have been five of the happiest days of our lives. Nekos has two weeks of paternity leave so we have spent our days taking walks, cooking, cuddling, watching Christmas movies, and marveling at our newborn daughter and our two year old's reaction to her. Baby Livvy has thus far been exactly what the doctor ordered--quiet and calm, a great eater and sleeper, and the best answer to all of our questions. (Please, please, please stay this way. God?)
For all of our fretting and my anxiety over the past nine months about what it would be like to add another baby to our family, she has done exactly what everyone told me she would: cracked the stone of my heart wide open, big and glittery. For Nekos, too. He doesn't do well to get very excited about our babies when I'm pregnant with them, but once he first lays eyes on them, he loses his mind with love.
These first days with Livvy have been very different than my first days with Tessa, which were damaged by postpartum depression. So far I have been getting the sleep I need to keep that hell at bay, and I'm much more relaxed. When Tessa was little, I could never once unwind enough to fall asleep with her in my arms, or to fall asleep for very long under any circumstances, but for the last two nights Livvy has slept tucked in the crook of my arm, her cheek warm on my shoulder, my cheek nestled against the silk of her hair. This baby isn't tongue-tied like Tessa so nursing is going so much better (although I definitely wouldn't say it's been easy), and I'm mostly enjoying it. Instead of stressing me out, it is part of what helps me to relax.
As for Tessa, she had planned to teach Livvy how to paint and dance, and was disappointed to see that those things will have to wait. We will never forget the bewildered look on her face when she first saw Livvy in the hospital room naked and squalling and getting her first bath. Livvy was not at all what she expected. I can't leave Tessa alone with Livvy and probably won't be able to for awhile because she wants to hold and rock her and push her swing aggressively and generally be a bull in this baby's china shop. My mom, who is keeping Tessa tonight, texted me earlier: How do we keep Tessa from feeling like she's been replaced? We've all noticed that she's wilder than ever--doing the lion RAWRRR she loves to do more often and right in our faces and asking zillions of silly questions for no purpose other than to capture our attention. She has it. She will always have it. It will just take time, I told my mom. She is very loved.
One more thought: Birth is so amazingly transformative not just because it just is but because it shakes up your very identity. Overnight I went from being the mom of one precocious little girl to the mom of two little girls. That makes me a real mom now. I'm not just playing at this. There are two carseats in my back seat, and I have a lifetime of mommy duty ahead of me. Birthday parties and temper tantrums and boo-boos and broken hearts, report cards and time-outs, Christmases and weddings, moments that scare the pants off me and others that make me cry for joy. (Sometimes I think, What have I done?) I'm official. Hi, I'm Ellen. I'm 30 years old, and I have two kids. Woah.