It’s kind of cool that my day begins and ends everyday, with you. You’re gaining on the world inch by inch, but you’re still such a tiny thing, Scarlett. You don’t take up much space yet, and even though you are still that same high maintenance baby you were from the day you left the hospital, you haven’t begun to wreak the kind of havoc on this house that you will when you become mobile; The kind that your brother, who administered his very first bloody nose to a friend the other day, does (but that’s a whole different blog post). To the rest of the family, you’re a little like pretty background music. The house is altogether more enjoyable with you in it, but they can kind of tune you in and tune you out as they please. You’re there to cuddle and kiss when you come into view or when a brewing storm of tears catches their ear and draws them in, but otherwise, you’re just this pretty little prop in the background. To me, though? You are always center stage. Everyone relies on me… and everything that I do, pretty much revolves around you. You and your schedule. You and your mood. My day literally begins and ends with making you happy. And even though that has become a more involved task in this past month, and there have been times you’ve really exhausted me, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
The other day a friend of mine came over to tell me she was pregnant. Her three year old son won’t stop calling the baby his “sister,” even though they won’t know the sex for another two weeks. “Don’t tell me I’m having a girl. Please! Don’t tell me I’m having a girl,” she kept saying. I looked to the other end of the table where her husband was shaking his head in total agreement. When I asked her why she was hoping so much for another boy she dropped an eyebrow at me and said, “Do you remember what we were like?” The universal consensus seems to be that compared to sons, daughters are… well, a pain. Daddy, having had a daughter before, was a firm believer in this theory. In fact, even though the whole point in trying for you was to aim for a daughter, he started crumbling under the pressure. “I want to have a little girl with you,” he’d say once I became pregnant, “but boys are just so much easier. It’s hard to not hope for another one. Just a little.” I laughed, and I told them about daddy. And then I told them that he was completely right.
“This child is only three months old,” I said, “and she runs me ragged. One minute we’ll be playing happily, trading smiles and silly noises, and out of nowhere, she’ll just pout her lip and fall apart. And I’ll be like: What? What the hell just happened to you? You’re clean, you’re dry, you’re fed, you’re burped, the boogies are sucked from your nose and if you wanted attention, I was in the middle of giving it you already!” It’s like you just forgot that you were perfectly happy. Maybe you got bored of it or something. But you cry on. And on and on and on while you sway back and forth in my arms, eventually lulling yourself to sleep with the sound of your own grief. It wasn’t a hard thing for them to believe because our entire conversation was shouted overtop of you, while you - wouldn’t you know it - threw a terrible fit in my arms. “I have to say, though,” I started, as I looked down at you, red in the face and flailing your legs in a way that made me think you were aiming for someone, “I am so in love with having a daughter.”
“You needed to have a daughter,” she said. I wasn’t sure if she was asking or telling me, but it didn’t matter because she was right.
“yeah. I think I did.”
If there’s one way that I could sum up my feelings on having a daughter, it would be that I love you so much, it almost doesn’t make sense. I don’t know how to explain it or describe how it’s different, but I have this well of sympathy for you, that just doesn’t seem to dry up no matter how much you cry. I’m patient with you in a way that I don’t think I was with Matthew, and that I have to strive to be with Mary. Maybe it’s that they never required as much patience, or maybe it’s because my nervousness about having a daughter prepared me. Either way, the truth is that making you happy can sometimes be a tireless effort, but I just can’t stop wanting to.
I think there’s a word for that. Oh yeah. Spoiled.
Physically, you’ve changed so much this past month that the baby in last month’s post could pass for an entirely different baby. You’ve put on some chub, and are probably over ten pounds now. The funny thing about your size is that the two most recent babies born into the family were your cousins Angelina and Ralphie, both of whom were about your weight when they were born! Even though you were born at a very hearty 7 lbs. 10 oz. and have put on all the steady weight your pediatrician says you should, everyone comments on how utterly tiny you are. Since everything about your budding personality so far points to the likelihood that you will be a very dainty kind of female, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if your petite size continued to follow you into the rest of your life. As Daddy puts it, babies girls were meant to be tiny. And you are ‘perfectly tiny.’ So tiny, that I’ve taken to calling you Polka Dot. My teeny, tiny polka dot.
You might also notice that in last month’s post, you looked a little like a hormone ridden teenager. Baby Acne had you bad for about two weeks. Even though you looked like the before shot in a Proactive commercial, I’m so glad that I caught it on camera. I have never seen baby acne look so incredibly adorable. Mind you, there is a certain love-is-blind factor to motherhood that might be at play here, but I’m convinced that even pimples look good on you. In any case, it’s almost hard to believe, but your skin has cleared to the complexion of glass. I swear sometimes it almost glows. I will say though, that if there is any link between baby acne and what’s to come in your teenage years, we’ve got the makings of a pimple cream spokesperson on our hands.
Another thing: you were born with ridiculously dry skin. Every time I took your clothes off as a newborn, I was scared to death that you would eventually climb right out of yourself, like a snake shedding it’s skin. Mom-mom told me that eczema runs in daddy’s side of the family and that you would need a dermatologist and pretty regular treatment for it throughout the rest of your life. I talked to your pediatrician about it and even though he didn’t complete confirm it, he agreed that it was a fair probability and that we’d treat it as became necessary. But then, as if someone flipped a switch on you somewhere, your skin just cleared. There hasn’t been a patch of dry skin on you anywhere for more than a month. I haven’t even needed to put lotion on you. Not even after your bath. For a baby with such difficult newborn skin, it has blossomed into the most radiant skin I think I’ve ever seen on a baby.
So, to sum up so far… basically, you are a maniac. But a very, very, beautiful one. Oh, boy.
Now that you’re a little older, you have some pretty clear likes and dislikes. You like bath time. It’ll actually even calm you if your fussy. A normal part of bath time for us has become taking you out of your little tub and holding you so that your body is submerged and your head is reclined in my hand just above the water. Then I’ll carry you through the water from one side of the tub to the other and say, “Look at you, just a swimming’ little girl!” And you’ll just smile and smile……. But when I take you out, you go instantly berserk. Berserk has got to be the stupidest word in the English language, but it is the only one I can think to describe how wacko you become when I take you out of the tub.
Speaking of wacko, that’s become a nickname of yours too. Wacko and Little B-word. We call you that lovingly, because we do love you… we do. But you are kind of crazy with how many things you don’t like. And how intensely you dislike them. I’m tempted to describe to you how vehemently you refuse tummy time, but instead I’ll just show this picture:
You aren’t always a wacko though. There are a couple of things that you like. Sitting up and being bounced on my knee. Being patted firmly on your little butt until you fall asleep. Your full-color projector crib accessory (that I think I love as much as you do). Being read to. And then there are a few things that you love. I have two wonderful pictures of you smiling that say it all.
One is of you looking at your Mary.
Who can make you smile the widest. And who is an Godsend at keeping you happy until I can get to you when I’m busy. She is the only one who can make you smile even when you’re really, really upset. (You know, all the time).
The wonderful thing about your relationship with Matthew, is that he lives to make you smile. He can’t keep himself away from you. He follows you from room to room. He plays at your feet. He begs to hold you. He kisses your head when you cry. He tries to put your socks back on when they fall underneath of your swing. He sings to you. There is NOTHING he won’t do to make you smile. But he doesn’t even have to. You smile, just watching him. When he has no idea that he’s got your attention, you study him like a hawk. And when he’s most distracted with his own thoughts or his own toys and you couldn’t be further from his mind -- you’ll grin at him, and that grin will just hang there, like someone stuck it on a fence. It’s like you love them the way I do. And that makes me love you even more than I already did.
With So Much Love,