Sunday, January 6, 2013

Dear Henry - Month 1

Dear Henry,
Happy 1 month birthday!  It seems impossible that it was already a month ago that you were unceremoniously plopped on to my chest – this squirmy little squish ball who gave a couple little yelps before looking me right in the eye and settling in for a cozy snooze.  I think you knew you were where you belonged the moment you entered into the world.  I hope that never changes.
Brand spankin' new.
The last month has been the craziest ride we’ve ever been on.  You’ve been such a good baby.  I’d heard such terrible horror stories about the newborn stage that I was very scared of what was in store for us, and I feel like we won the lottery with you.   You cry when you’re hungry, when you’re angry at your dirty diaper, and occasionally when you’re working out some serious gas issues.  I’m sorry about those gas issues little buddy, it’s an issue that apparently runs in your family.  The good news is, it gets easier. 
You got quiet.  So it was time for silly hats and pictures.
When we first got you home, neither your daddy nor I could put you down for two days straight.  We took shifts and one of us had you in our arms at pretty much all times.  Eventually we figured out that we couldn’t live like that, so we started getting you used to sleeping in places that weren’t our arms, but I’ll admit that it’s still a struggle for me.  Your daddy puts you to bed at night.  This is in part because he has the “night shift” and I wake up with you at 3 a.m. – but it’s also because I’m not sure I’m capable of putting you back in your crib.  When I get up with you at 3 a.m. – I change you, feed you, and inevitably fall asleep with you on the couch until you wake up again – usually around 6 a.m.  I tell myself that I am doing that because when I go back into work, there will be no time to crawl back into bed at that hour, but the truth of the matter is that those are some of my favorite moments of the entire day when it’s just you and me and the world is quiet and you are warm and snuggly on my chest.  I know it’s not going to last forever so I’m giving this to us for now.

Rockin' the self portrait at 4 weeks old.  'Atta boy.
You sailed through the holidays.  You made it for the majority of the holiday celebrations and took it like a champ when you were passed around room after room to person after person.  You met pretty much all of your family and seemed to take it well.  They’re a great bunch of people, you’ll learn that soon enough.  I hope that you’ll be as happy to have them in your life as I have been.   They are nuts about you, every last one of them.  You were too little to be impressed by Christmas much, but I know that will change too.  By next year, I suspect you’ll be blown away by the magic of it all.  I can’t wait to see Christmas through your eyes as you get older.  It's my favorite time of year so I can only imagine how incredible it's going to be to experience it through the eyes of a child again. 

Our very favorite Christmas present.
Occasionally you completely confound us.  I can’t tell you how many google searches I have done to try to figure you out.  Interestingly, even when I am typing in the most ridiculous searches (baby sleeps too much?  Baby sleeps too little?  Baby eats too much?  Baby eats too little?  You change the game on me almost every single day) – google often auto-fills them for me, so I know I’m not the first one who ever had that question.  And, I think we’re figuring you out.  You are mostly happy.  And when you are unhappy, we mostly know how to fix that – even if we don’t always do it on your extremely rigid schedule.  You have high expectations.  You are kind of a tiny little dictator.  When you make that first squawk, you expect your needs to be met instantly.  Sometimes it takes us a little longer and whoo boy, you let us know how you feel about that.  Those are tougher moments for me. I hate hearing you cry and I know that I’m working on taking care of whatever it is that’s making you cry but I gotta tell you little man, nobody likes someone screaming in their ear while they’re working.  We’ll work on that over time.

Tiny baby feet for eating.
You’re a little prankster.  This comes as no surprise to us as it was one of your little wacky hijinks urs that got you out into this world 2.5 weeks early.  Sometimes – when we’re not getting you what you need exactly when you think you need it – you scream and cry and throw your tiny legs around and then, when you are finally presented with a breast or bottle to meet that need, you will just tilt your head back, close your eyes and smirk at us.  I know the smiles aren’t real yet, but they sure do seem well timed sometimes.  You’ve got a “haha, I’ve got you wrapped around my little finger” smirk and boy, do you ever.   

Goobery little smile.
I had thought that, with three small nephews I was prepared for how to deal with changing a boy.  I was wrong.  During your first week home I had you on the changing table and you began screaming inconsolably.  I had no idea what the problem was – nothing appeared to be pinching or poking you.  Then I noticed that you had your hand wrapped around a handful of your hair and you were yanking on it.  This is something you seem to do a lot.  You also like to poke yourself in the eye and then scream at us like we’ve done something horrible to you.  We’re working on making you smarter.  Don’t worry. 

Playing with daddy - and looking like a little monkey.
We’re also working on making US smarter.  Another time when I was changing you, you shot poop out all over everything.  All.  Over.  Everything.  So I pulled the clean diaper out from under you and was working on cleaning the poop off of you and everything surrounding you when – out of nowhere – you began peeing all over everything.  Everything.  The wall.  Your own face.  The outfit I had set out to change you into.  In retrospect it’s one of the funniest things that you’ve done so far.  At the time, I had to take some deep breaths before starting all over again.  I’ve taken some precautionary measures when changing you now.  Hopefully nothing like that will ever happen again.  Thank you for that valuable lesson.

P.S.  Sorry for sharing that story with the whole world. 

First bath!  Accident free.
You've adapted well to your fur brothers and sisters.  The cats mostly ignore you, and so does Oliver.  Daisy, however, has kind of adopted you.  When you cry, she follows you around the whole house or plants herself in "guard" position in front of you until you stop.  When we're nursing on the couch she curls up next to us usually with her head touching us somehow.  She likes to get close to smell you - and she's very gentle with you.  I think that you'll be best friends someday. 

The start of a beautiful friendship.
Daisy goes in for the kiss!
I’ve taken to calling you “Gus”.  I call you that so much that you will probably be confused about what your real name is someday.  That is, unless I change your nickname before then.  If our years as animal parents have taught us anything – it’s that we are great lovers of nicknames.  Gus is short for “fuss-a-gus” which is what I call you whenever I hear you fuss for me.  It was natural to make the shortcut to Gus from there. 

It's a baby burrito!

I love every inch of you.  Every expression and weird little noise you make.  Your dad calls you “little Beavis” because some of your sleep noises sound a little…Beavis and Butthead-ish.  I’m hoping that’s a reference you won’t get.  Maybe ever.   But it’s still funny because he’s right.  I love all the little smiles, even if they’re not real yet, and the little frowns and how sometimes when you’re nursing and all I can see is the top half of your head and your little jaw working like crazy and you look like the most helpless, innocent little squish of a thing I’ve ever seen.  You are our miracle, our most precious gift and you are changing every single day already.  I can hardly keep up.  I want to slow time down and speed it up all at once so that I can keep you close and still watch you turn into the amazing person I know you’re going to be.  We talk about that every day, by the way.  You’re going to be big and strong.  And smart.  And kind.  You’re going to fight for the underdog and treat people with respect.  You’re going to be a light.  The world needs so many more lights so we'll work on growing yours strong and bright and learning how to let it shine all over.  You’re going to be amazing.  I’m so thankful and unbelievably blessed that I get to be a part of that.

Let your light shine.
Love and kisses all over,