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One Month

Filed under:General — eric @ 8:26 am

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Dear Vivian,

One month ago today, after four stressful days that were only the prelude to four more stressful days, you joined our family. Your mother and I wanted you to arrive at home, but the state we live in doesn’t allow that. So we chose the next-best thing, a home-like birthing center in the next state over. But that didn’t work out either, so you came to us in a very nice hospital in Athens, GA. Even though it was well past your “due date”, it seemed like you didn’t want to come out, and the doctor had to go in and get you. You gave him and the rest of the staff quite a scare, actually, and they wisked you away and hooked you up to machines that helped you breathe, fed you, tested your blood, and kept a watchful eye over you. But you’re quite strong and you bounced back quickly. The most critical machines were unhooked later that day, and then the rest one at a time later, and four days after you were born we all got to go home. We might be paying the hospital until well after you’re grown up, but given how nice they were to you, that’s OK.

What a wonderful month we’ve had since! Your mom and I have had a lot to learn and get used to; you’ve been so patient with us. When we put you in your sling so your little body was curled up so your toes almost touched your forehead, you just rolled your eyes at us instead of yelling. When we put your cloth diapers on you so that you looked like a laundry pile with tiny feet, you acted like you didn’t care. We’ve got both of those figured out now, along with generally knowing what your cries mean, and how you like to be carried. Enjoy it while you’ve got it — as soon as you learn “No” you’ll see you won’t always get what you want.

Maybe since mom’s pregnancy went into overtime, you seem pretty well advanced for your age. We’ve got a whole library of baby books now that tell us what you should be doing when, and so far you have been ignoring them. Holds and shakes rattle for long periods (third month) — did that today. Holds eye contact, studies face (second month) — been doing that for a couple weeks. Likes and responds to music box (second month) — the nurses figured out you liked that back at the NICU. You came out with a whole mess of hair, and we’re guessing that you might begin teething any minute. There’ve been a few things you’ve done right on cue — I hope you’ll forgive me for posting these pictures that show off your baby acne.

You’re such a good (and beautiful) baby. And it’s not just mom and me that thinks so. We’ve begun taking you out to see the world, and everyone says the same thing. Yesterday we took you to a day-long meeting where people talked all day long about rivers and pollution and land use plans and politics and so forth. It was the kind of meeting that would drive most fully-grown adults to fits, but you just stayed in my arm and looked at pretty maps with me. (Maybe we’ll start a cartography club someday, you and me.)

I love watching you sleep, and you sleep a lot, so I get plenty of opportunity. You prefer to sleep on your back, and you stretch your arms out over your head. That’s pretty cute by itself, but when you’re dreaming, you open your hands and turn them around like little parabolic antennae. Your mom and I call them your dream receptors. When you lock in to a strong signal, your hands open wide, your arms stretch as far as they can go, and then you make little sleeping noises. I wonder what it is you’re dreaming of, what you’re seeing. My antennae don’t work the same way — I’ve tried.

I’m looking forward to cooking you tasty food someday. But right now your menu is as limited as that at Gurthie’s (They serve chicken strips and nothing else), and only mom can make that. But whenever you want a leg of lamb or tomato sandwich or something, just let me know. I’m ready.

I’m so happy to have you with us, Vivian. I just can’t say that enough. I’m so happy to have you with us, Vivian.

All my love,

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