What a difference a couple of weeks makes! Little B at 11 days old (left) and one month old.
It’s hard to believe that Little B has been a part of our family for a month. Between the diaper changes, feedings, rocking her to sleep, and just staring at her because I can’t get over how beautiful she is, the days just fly by.
As I’ve already said, the first two weeks were kind of rough. In the hospital, help came at the push of a button and Little B spent the night in the nursery while Chester and I slept. We came home, and we were suddenly on our own, with a little person who was depending on us 24/7.
Both Chester and I felt like we were in a fog during those early days. I remarked to him that I felt like we were a couple of hikers who got stranded on Mount Everest and had to keep talking to each other so that we didn’t fall asleep and die of hypothermia. In other words, I felt like we were just trying to survive.
By the third week, though, things seemed to get a little easier. We had figured out some of Little B’s patterns and preferences. She started sleeping for longer stretches at a time, so we did, too. When she was awake, she started to notice the world and the people around her, which was amazing to see. One of my favorite moments so far came towards the end of that week, when she buried her head in the side of my neck and gave me a snuggle for the first time. In that instant,I stopped feeling like she was little stranger that I was just taking care of until her real mother came to claim her. I truly felt like she was mine.
Chester and I make a pretty good team when it comes to taking care of Little B. We’ve tackled the late night/early morning diaper changes and feedings, first bath and periods of general fussiness together and have learned quite a bit about caring for a baby. For example, our first trip out of the house with Little B–to the pediatrician when she was a couple of days old–was a true comedy of errors. But, now we know that getting a baby, plus two adults, ready to leave the house takes quite a bit of time and effort. And, we’ll never forget to throw an extra outfit in the diaper bag because a diaper might decide to explode all over the one that the baby is wearing the minute we arrive at our destination.
As for Little B, she changes every single day. When I wake up each morning, it always seems that she has gotten bigger overnight. As the weeks have gone by, I think she’s starting to look a little bit like me (her facial expressions when crying are definitely mine) and bits of her personality are starting to shine through.
- Currently weighs in at 8 pounds, 10 ounces and is 20.25 inches long. She has noticeably filled out in her cheeks and tummy, and generally just feels more solid, although she is still wearing her newborn clothes and diapers. Now that she has gained some weight, I’m not as afraid that I will break her just by picking her up.
- Is a bit of a drama queen. I have no idea where she gets this from (hint: it’s probably from her mother). Usually, she only cries when she has a good reason, but she can work herself into quite a frenzy when she’s hungry or has a dirty diaper. Sometimes, I laugh at her when she gets in this state. I feel like a horrible mother, but I can’t help it. Her facial expressions, animated hand gestures and sweet little cry when she is in the middle of a meltdown are priceless. She has totally mastered the art of the pout already.
Post-bath meltdown. I’m sure I was laughing at her here.
- Enjoys her food. During her first month, she quickly worked her way up to 4.5 ounces at each feeding. Currently, she is eating every four hours during the day and can now go about five hours at night between feedings (much to my and Chester’s delight).
- Could give teenage boys a run for their money with her ability to burp, although she definitely doesn’t like being interrupted in the middle of a feeding so that she can let one rip.
- Gets the hiccups–a lot. That explains the feeling of tiny bubbles popping that I had in my belly once a day or more when I was pregnant.
- Hates to have a dirty diaper. Some of her most intense crying fits have happened when she needs to be changed. Like most babies, she hates the actual diaper change process (and she often lets us know, by peeing on the changing pad as soon as we get her dirty diaper off and/or as soon as we get a new diaper on), but you can practically hear her sigh with relief when she’s all clean.
- Likes to know where her hands are at all times. She moves them around constantly, and definitely does not like to have her hands confined in a swaddle while sleeping. In fact, she sleeps with them right by her face most of the time. We noticed this even in her ultrasound photos and its totally adorable.
- Takes after her mother in her love of a routine. When her eating, sleeping, or diaper change schedule is interrupted by something (such as a doctor’s appointment), she is fussy for the rest of the day and sometimes into the night. I’m hoping that this will change as we get out and about a bit more with her and she gets used to having things shaken up a bit.
- Has incredible upper body strength. We started doing tummy time with her as soon as her belly button healed (around the end of her first week) and she quickly became a pro at lifting and holding up her head. In addition, Chester and I have both been at the receiving end of the mean right hook that she dishes out when she has to wait four minutes for her bottle to warm up.
- Discovered a few favorite toys. She loves anything that makes noise (particularly rattling or rustling noises), plays music and/or has a mirror that she can look in. Her favorite things as the moment are her Emily doll and musical inchworm. This past week, she started to take an interest in colorful objects (like the pumpkins in my fall decor) and she also enjoys looking up at the ceiling fan in our living room (even if its not spinning).
- Humored her father and pretended to like football. And, to be a Bears fan, at that. Maybe they have a chance at making it to the Super Bowl this year because every time Chester has put her in one of her Bears onesies, they’ve actually won the game.
- Could spend hours in her mamaRoo. In case you aren’t familiar with this contraption, it’s the most awesome swing ever. It has five different settings that mimic the bouncing and swaying motions that parents make when rocking babies to sleep. I’m glad that she likes it so much because she loves to be held and rocked. And, as much as I love spending time with her in that way, sometimes my arms and legs just need a break.
- Has quite few nicknames. Obviously, we call her Little B, to distinguish her from her namesake, my best friend Bridget. When she’s dishing out punches, she’s Mike Tyson. Sometimes, she’s just Little One. My mom calls her Puddin.’ But, my favorite nickname at the moment is Bumblebee. I came upon this one on the day we came home from the hospital. She was fussy, so I made up a song that involved words that started with B, like her name. When I said the word Bumblebee, she calmed down, so I just started calling her that.
- Enjoys show tunes. In the early days of Little B’s life, when I was at my most sleep deprived, these were the only songs that I could remember the words to. But, they seemed to lull her to sleep. The songs that she enjoys the most seem to come from the shows that are depressing and/or inappropriate for her age, such as Les Miserables, Evita, Rent and Cabaret. Obviously, I need to brush up on my children’s songs.
- Has made many new friends. Sharing our joy with family and friends has been one of the best parts of the last month. We don’t mind the company and Little B certainly doesn’t seem to mind the extra cuddles! Chester is going to have to start fending the boys off early, as she already met two potential husbands: Jack, the son of our friends Shannon and Dave, who was born two weeks prior to Little B and Owen, the son of our friends Richard and Louisa, who just turned a year.
Just a few of our recent visitors. Clockwise from top left: Aunt Theresa tells Little B all bumblebees; Little B loved her Auntie Rhonda; Jack and Little B fall in love at first sight; Ciotka Bridget explains how to get good deals at Labor Day sales; Granny reads Curious George to B, Uncle Mike shows Little B his tattoos and promises to take her for her first one someday.
Life now looks a lot different than it did just a few short weeks ago. But, I’m loving it. It feels so much…fuller. In all of the best possible ways.
Yes, there have been challenges, but I feel so incredibly lucky that I have everything that I’ve ever wanted in my life. I get to be a mother to the best little girl in the world and share the experience of being a parent with the best guy in the world.
I can’t wait to see what the coming months–and years–have in store for us.