December 12 to January 12, 2014Dear Emmeline:
You probably have no idea what your name is right now and think it's "baby sister" or "the baby." We're working on a nickname for you, but right now, 99.9% of the time, you're "baby sister." I'm sorry for not giving you an identity outside of "sister" at the moment, but so goes the life of the second child, I hear. But you do have a name, a beautiful one. Emmeline Marie. Marie is after my mom, Ann Marie. And Emmeline? We just thought it was perfect. Sweet, yet strong and feisty. I call you "Em" and "Emmers" and "Emmy" most often (when not calling you baby sister, that is). And babycakes. You get babycakes a lot.
I was so scared about adding a second child to the mix - not because I didn't think I could handle two, but because of the emotional and mental fears I had. I was scared (and still am) about ruining you by comparing you to your big sister. I was worried I wouldn't enjoy this newborn stage as much since I know how awesome kids get as they get bigger. And to be completely honest, I was worried that maybe I wouldn't love you as much. I'm glad to say that thus far, all fears are unfounded. Though as a newborn you're lacking the giant personality of your big sister, I love you completely to bits. And actually, maybe it's been even easier to fall completely and madly in love with you since I know what's to come and I can't wait to see it (though I want this squishy, cuddly newborn stage to last for.ev.er!).
Of course, the comparisons are inevitable. Once you've done something, it's only natural to compare future similar experiences. You and your sister are so similar, but so different already. You both have the same illusion of a widow's peak in your hairline even though there isn't actually one there. Nursing has been a gazillion times easier with you. You have more baby chub than she did (those extra seven ounces had to go somewhere!). Your sister had a pretty round head with big eyes, but I think yours is rounder and your eyes are bigger. Your cheeks are DEFINITELY bigger. Your nose is a tiny bit smaller, as are your ears. You have identically colored eyes to what she had at birth - the dark blue typical newborn eyes. I'm so curious to see if you'll end up with hazel eyes like her, blue like your dad, or brown like me. She loved her first bath (and all subsequent baths) and you hated your first bath (and all subsequent). You both are relatively calm babies who study the world around you with wide eyes. You have the same furrowed brow where you seem to be disgruntled. I look back at pictures of Carys as a newborn and sometimes you guys look so much alike, and sometimes I think you look nothing alike. I just can't decide.
Carys on the left; you on the right
You're a good, sweet baby (and noooooo, that doesn't mean you sleep through the night, because you don't), with a serious demeanor, who studies the world around you with giant, wide-open eyes. At this point, you seem rather....disapproving of everything. Like I feel like you're thinking, "I grew for nine months and developed my own lungs and organs and learned to breathe and suffered the indignity of birth FOR THIS?" I'm sorry the world thus far doesn't seem to be living up to your expectations, little one, but to be fair, at this point you can really only see lights and shadows and my face, none of which are very exciting. Soon enough, you'll be able to see wonderful things, like for instance Doctor Who, and I think you'll be more into it.
I'm trying to memorize the way you sleep: with one fist tucked under your chin and the other curled at the back of your head. For the first four weeks, you did this on my chest or in my arms almost exclusively. You wanted nothing but body heat and cuddles. However, you've slowly been letting us put you down more and more, and last night, for the first time, you spent more of the night in the sleeper than on me (while still waking up three or four times to eat). You're growing up and needing me less and less already! Stop the clock!
You have the softest, sweetest cry at times - this soft little mew, like a tiny kitten. When you let out that pitiful, plaintive wail, I would seriously give you anything you wanted. Luckily it's mostly just boob and cuddles at this point, but if you keep that cry up, I'll probably be giving you a pony in five years. At other times, you cry so loudly and fiercely that I'm afraid you'll pop a blood vessel. Your baby yawns absolutely slay me and I can't help but kiss your sweet cheeks and neck over and over and over. And dimples! Did I mention your dimples? You have two, but they're elusive and it's rare to see them both at the same time. I might spend most of the day trying to spot them. You have giant, deep eyes and a tiny nose and a tiny cupid-bow mouth, all centered on a perfectly round head with completely delectable chubby cheeks that are just impossible to resist. And that perfect head is so soft. And covered with fine, dark hair (that, should your sister's development be any indication, will be gone within two more months). Oh, and how can I forget that tiny little point on your ears (more noticeable on the left ear than the right)? And apparently you look exactly like me when I was a newborn, so I apologize in advance for the awkward years that are coming from, say, age nine to thirty. You'll be a darn cute toddler, though, and I promise I won't let you get any atrocious haircuts or glasses that belong on an 80-year-old woman. That should help.
Me on the left, you on the right.
You have had a cold basically since birth and it absolutely kills me to listen to you struggle to breathe. We've had the humidifier going non-stop and clearing out your nose constantly, but you're still so stuffed up. You also have a bit of reflux, so you're much...spittier than what I'm used to (the comparisons never stop!). It all came to a head this week, when you went for about eight hours throwing up absolutely everything that you tried to eat. Forcefully, and all over me. I went through like three shirts and four pairs of pants and just straight gave up on clothes for you. I called the pediatrician, who said we should go into the ER. NOOOO. My least favorite response in the entire world. I was hemming and hawing, because my cousin had just posted on Facebook (a site that is completely defunct by the time you read this letter, I'm sure) that she was sick with a fever and throwing up. You didn't have a fever, so I was wavering between blaming a stomach bug and worrying it was something more serious (the pedi had mentioned the possibility of 'mechanical' issues). I said I'd feed you one more time and if you were able to keep that down, I wouldn't go. And you threw up. And then I did that two more times and you threw up two more times. So I finally sucummbed and went. They did an ultrasound on your tummy right away to rule out pyloric stenosis, which came back clear, so they attributed the issues to the stomach flu. Which I knew by that point, since your dad had just texted me that he was home throwing up. Wonderful. And gross.
They sent us home (six hours later) with Pedialyte and instructions to alternate that with nursing in tiny increments every 15 minutes. I tried. But you wanted nothing to do with the Pedialyte, so I just tried nursing you. And it kept coming up and up and up (which the doctor had said may happen, and to just keep doing it, and that even a tiny bit is better than nothing). Finally around 5am you seemed to turn the corner and hadn't spit up in a while, so I was hopeful that you were improving, but the doctor said he still wanted to see us in the morning for a follow-up...at which you threw up all over yourself again. He definitively diagnosed you with the flu and sent us for follow-up blood work (which I had to have done at the hospital, meaning I took two kids to two different doctor appointments at two different locations - MOMMY WIN). Everything looked good with the follow-up blood work - you hadn't gotten any worse - so now we're just keeping an eye on your temperature and watching for wet diapers. Feel better soon, baby girl! I do not like this one single bit!
Your big sister Carys has been SO very worried about you being sick. When we went to the doctor's office, she told anyone who so much as glanced our way that her baby sister was sick. When they drew blood from you and you cried, she cried with you and stroked your hand and told you it would be okay. Your arrival has brought out the most incredible, caring side of your sister, and seeing the two of you together just absolutely slays me on a daily basis - an hourly basis. Minutely. Secondly. (I realize at least two of those aren't words.) One of the things I'm looking forward to most is seeing the two of you grow up together. She just loves you so much - she asks to hold you multiple times a day, tells you she loves you, offers hugs and kisses, gives you your paci, and wants to help change your diaper. I know that the future holds fights and yelling and pushing and times when you absolutely cannot stand each other, but my deepest hope is that you two eventually grow to be the best of friends. No pressure or anything. It will just break my heart into a million pieces if you hate each other. (But hey, it took years for me and my sisters to get to that point, so you have time.)
And let's just talk for a moment about your dad. From the first minute he's been completely enamored with you. He's such a natural with you - it would not surprise me at all if you grow to be a total daddy's girl. It's been amazing to see him with you as an experienced, second-time dad, as opposed to an uncertain first-time father. Granted, he still hasn't changed any diapers, but he cleaned your sister's poop out of the toilet, so I'll call it a fair trade. I'm sorry I just wrote that on The Internet. Don't tell Carys.
As I write this, you're laying on my chest, with one arm draped over my shoulder and the other buried in my chest, with your tiny breaths leaving a hot spot on my chest. Eleven pounds of love resting on me. How am I this lucky?? I keep pausing my writing to rest my cheek on the top of your head and stroking your hair, and losing myself in snuggling your tiny head (tiny being a relative term, since in terms of one-month-old newborns, it's gigantic). I have such a hard time putting you down to actually get any work done, but seriously, who can blame me?? You fit perfectly into my shoulder and the crook of my arm and under my chin and into my heart and into our family.
I don't know how it's possible to simultaneously want this stage to last forever and to want you to be bigger so I can see what you'll be like as a toddler and little girl, but I'm somewhere in that zone. With your weight on my chest, though, I'm leaning more towards STAY TINY ALWAYS.
I love you, you sweet little thing. So much.
(This is your dad's hand, by the way. Mine aren't quite so manly.)