newsletter: month one

Dear Nico,

You turn one month old today. I’ve always loved reading dooce‘s used-to-be-monthly newsletters to her children, so I’m kidnapping the idea (get it? kid… never mind) for my own.

A month and a day ago, I went on a road trip to Portland. I was restless at 41++ weeks, impatient for labor to start, so why not dinner in Maine with Molly, one of my favorite road trip companions? As you have discovered in this first month, road trips make me happy. So you won’t be surprised to hear that my water broke while driving up to Portland. We went right on to have dinner at Duckfat.

Tomato-fennel-basil, cream of onion, PS Vika's water broke

Then we came back to Boston, and twenty-two hours after my water broke, after some additional drama, you were here. You came out all skinny. 7lbs 10oz and 21.5 inches, or as Mark put it, a tall drink of water. You had long, looong skinny fingers and toes. Now, they’re looong and fat. You’ve filled out, babe, gaining somewhere in the vicinity of three pounds in your first month (we’ll find out exactly how much tomorrow, at the doctor’s). You have the round baby-fat cheeks and the double chin, and the insane number of dirty diapers to support my rapid-growth observation.

hello world: eleven days in

Not only is all that baby fat adorable, it’s also a good idea. You’ll be needing these reserves and then some, as you become more mobile. As it stands, you’re already holding up your head and getting your back to go all rigid for seconds at a time. Your kicking is pretty strong, too, but the head and back mobility means that you can look at more of OMG EVERYTHING—to the extent, anyway, that you can make out the shape of anything further than ten inches away. Some of the things that keep your attention for minutes at a time are lit lamps, the television screen when it’s off (large, dark object against the wall’s light background), the dark curtains at home, and the dried roses hanging upside down off the bookshelf near the chest freezer, where your bouncy seat often gets planted.

You’re pretty copacetic about the bouncy seat, most of the time. You even let me take showers, and sometimes make breakfast and/or wash dishes. There’s a limit to your patience, of course, but given your extreme n00b status, the time you do spend in the bouncy seat is impressive, and I’m thankful for that. Single mamahood has been a big adjustment, and so far you’ve been astonishingly cooperative.

Not that you don’t prefer to be held. You do, sometimes emphatically so. Good thing there’s the Moby wrap. You like that thing, even if sometimes you get mad when I put you in it. You settle down and burrow a bit, and often fall asleep. I’ve done laundry, dishes, cooking, therapy sessions, and walking to the doctor’s, all with you in the wrap.

I do wish I could nurse you in it. You’re voracious, and growing accordingly. You’ve started to recognize the breasts: yesterday morning, you reflexively but repeatedly grinned when you saw me offering you one.

That grin, oh. Your entire face lights up. I can hardly wait until it’s conscious. In the meantime, I’m enjoying the myriad expressions that can appear on your face one after another in the span of a minute. One of them in particular I haven’t been able to capture, because both my hands tend to be busy with your floppy little body. When I help you to get rid of the air you gulp in your eager nursing, you lift your eyebrows and half of your head scrunches up, and you look for all the world like Wallace Shawn. Mark calls this your “what fresh hell is this?” face.

one face among many

Other things about your first month:

  • You’re liking the music I play, and sing along with sometimes, for you. I love it too. Lately I’ve been grooving on Barenaked Ladies’ “Pollywog in a Bog,” which is totally a song about life, the universe and everything, and in my new-mama haze sometimes makes me choke up.
  • You’ve found faces—first mine, then others’. You are starting to track objects… sorta.
  • You make mammal sounds when you nurse, and also as you fall asleep and wake. You snort, you snuffle, you grunt. In particularly cold weather and/or wind, you make these little gasping sounds. Naturally, I think it’s all adorable.
  • My favorite pair of your pants has me calling you Monkeybutt.
  • You’re totally going to be a road warrior. Our trip to see family in New York was a total success, complete with epic poops in the car but only at rest stops. Further, like 98% of all babies, you fall asleep almost instantly in a moving car seat. I can only hope for that to continue as you grow.
  • You survived my first screw-up! The very first time we went out with the wheeled frame that turns your car seat into a stroller, you were only a few days old, and I couldn’t get the car seat to snap in. No idea what I was doing wrong, since after that time it’s always worked. Maybe I was trying to put it in backwards? In any case, I ended up just sort of resting it on top of the frame. SO VERY UNSAFE. And you know what? We both survived.
  • You’re excellent at snoozing.
  • You don’t know this yet, but you have the best, most supportive community of friends that a little human and his mama could hope for.
  • You seem to be a morning person. Hey, neat! Me too!

I love sleeping with you, and nursing you in the night. I love cuddling you for hours and watching (feeling!) you gain strength and coordination in your legs, back, neck. I love watching you watching the cats watching you. I love hurtling headlong into the unknown with you.


P.S. Pics or it didn’t happen.

2 Responses to “newsletter: month one”

  1. Owen Maresh Says:

    My youngest sister just had a kid last week, so my family was all nervous and teeth chattery and then ‘yay’. Nico looks great!

  2. Sharon Says:

    Aww, lovely pictures. Delurking from RSS to offer felicitations to you and to Nico! Parenting is indeed rather challenging–my child is almost a year and a half, now–but being able to identify cool or happy-making things bullet-point style definitely helps.

    (We talked briefly at a conference awhile ago, and now I’m having trouble remembering which one; it has to have been in 2006 or ’07. Anyway, greetings from a fellow medievalist-cum-computing practitioner.)