two months of Elli
I blinked and two months has passed. Yet, it feels like Elli has been a part of our family for forever. She fits in around here so seamlessly that I can barely remember what life was like without her.
Elli sometimes sleeps for 4-5 consecutive hours at night, and on those nights, I feel like I’ve won the sleep lottery. Other nights its every 2-3 hours, and I wake to a VERY EXCITED TODDLER still groggy. Every morning, Lilly June comes into the room where Elli and I are sleeping, climbs up on the bed, and kisses her baby sister. She wants to hold baby Elli first thing every morning, and she coos to her in a high pitched voice, “It’s your big sister baby EllI! You drink milk baby Elli! You have tiny hands baby Elli!” It’s just too much.
She’s a pretty calm baby, I think. Doesn’t cry/fuss much, seems content to watch the world around her. Enjoys taking naps in the Moby wrap (a baby-carrier is my only must have for this second baby). Wakes up minutes after being put down on the rare occasion that she does get put down. She gave us her first smiles around 6 weeks, and will fairly regularly smile and coo at me.
Elli’s feeding is going MUCH better, and I am so very glad that we stuck out the difficult breastfeeding days. We affectionately call her “Elli Belly” because we’re quite pleased that she’s getting a chubby little infant belly. Just nursing her every 2-3 hours seems SO EASY compared to our previous, nurse, pump, bottlefeed schedule. We had weekly meetings with a lactation consultant for E’s first 6 weeks of life, and at one of the meetings, I was mentioning to the nurse that, at least in the middle of the night, the bottle didn’t seem enough for Elli — I’d bottle feed her a few ounces, pump, then bottle feed her a few more, and she’d STILL be awake and looking to feed, so I’d try to nurse her. I was confused about why E would suddenly need so much milk in the middle of the night — especially when she would spit a bunch of it up. The nurse pointed out that she probably wasn’t actually looking for nutrition — she was looking for the warmth and comfort of her mama. And then I had to hold back my tears (because I am NOT a crier). My baby wanted ME. Wow. What a humbling and powerful idea. And maybe that is the most amazing thing about kids: despite my imperfections, the occasional short-temper, the pudge around my middle or the fact that I haven’t showered in two days, they just want me. Just as I am, with no expectation that I’ll be anything other than myself.
I *finally* have this feeling like everything she does is THE CUTEST THING EVER. I feel terrible admitting that it took 2 months for us to get here — especially when I felt like that about Lilly immediately after her birth. Don’t get me wrong: if you would have tried to hurt my baby, I’d have gone all mama bear on you. But truly, I had felt extreme guilt, wondering if we’d ever get past just a need to protect her to this place of adoration. I am trying to cut myself a little slack, acknowledging that 3 weeks in the hospital pre-birth was not a trivial thing, that my body didn’t go through the same gradual hormonal changes during Elli’s birth via c-section that it did during Lilly’s birth, and also that our first few weeks of getting to know each other were quite stressful — my body was physically stressed recovering from surgery, our early feeding issues were overwhelmingly terrifying and stressful, and our entire house was a disaster from the kitchen remodel. I think that if I had to do it all over again, I’d put a two-week halt on the kitchen progress and just recover and hold my baby, instead of trying to stay out of the way of drywall repair men. Or maybe we wouldn’t have started remodeling the kitchen anyways… it was just an added stress at an already stressful time. But now that it’s nearly done, I am so pleased with it — it’s much more functional for our family now.
So! We are here. In this place where I actually can’t put her down without missing her tremendously. Where I’m 99.9% confident that she is the most miraculous miracle ever, the most adorable thing any living human has ever seen, and probably the smartest, most well-behaved, coolest baby ever. I have the exact same feelings about her sister. I’m sure many of you have the same feelings about your kiddos, too. And I think this is what people mean when they say their heart just grew with the second baby – it is entirely possible to love them both with everything I have. My heart is just so full these days! Elli Belly, we are so very lucky to have you, and I can’t wait to see what you have in store for us!