3 Months

Dear Addison,

First of all, this is a blatant rip-off of Heather at dooce.com, who has been writing her daughters letters every month since the first one, Leta, was born 6 years ago. But it is an excellent idea, and I’m giving her credit, so technically it’s not stealing. It’s just unoriginal.
Obviously I should have started writing these letters two months ago, but it’s kind of hard to have a baby and do anything else you want to do, like go shopping or call friends or even bigger luxuries like brushing your teeth or eating a meal. Take this letter – I’m starting to write it 2 weeks early because there’s no telling how long it will take me to get it finished. Right now you’re happy all by yourself, sitting in your swing and trying to figure out what those weird stringy things are at the end of your arms (they’re called hands, and apparently you find them quite tasty.) But even though you’ve been happy like that for over 10 minutes, there’s no guarantee that it will last.
But don’t take that as a bad thing – all babies get upset and cry, that’s just part of it, but you are actually a very happy and very low-maintenance baby when compared to others. You sleep for about 4 hours a stretch at night and are usually pretty happy during the day, with only a few crying fits here and there, most of which can be solved by putting your face within half an inch of either one of my nipples. That isn’t just a cure for hunger – you LOVE being near the bosom. So much so that it’s where you sleep at night, too. I figured out pretty early on that you did NOT like being put down to sleep and there was no way you would tolerate being swaddled, but if I let you sleep on my chest, you were happy for hours. I’ve done all kinds of things with you sleeping on top of me. Written Thank You cards, watched hours of TV, typed a paper for school….

So you and I have been sleeping together, with the aid of your Boppy and about 5 other strategically arranged pillows, pretty much since we brought you home. And believe me, I’ve gotten all kinds of grief for it. And I’ve given myself grief for it, too, because so many people have so many bad opinions about co-sleeping, plus we’ve got this awesome crib thing that attaches to the bed that your Grandpa Randy and Grandma Fran spent a bunch of money on that would let you sleep right next to me that’s totally going to waste. But it makes you so happy to co-sleep and we both get to sleep for hours on end and you wake up happy. Plus, I get to look down and see your smushy little face snuggled next to me, and I have to tell you, you look like a radiant little angel.

Your dad and I agree that you are the most beautiful baby ever put on the planet, and I swear you get cuter every day. I can’t stop staring at you, and even when I’m right next to you, I’ll sometimes look at pictures of you at the same time just because I can’t get enough of your precious little face. And oh my god when you smile it is the best thing EVER! It is so hilarious because it usually just comes out of nowhere and lights up your whole face and you’ve even started to laugh a little. Ugh! It’s so precious!!

Everyone has opinions on who you look like, but your dad and I haven’t really seen where you look like anyone in particular. Except lately you’ve started to chunk up a little, and the other day I took a picture of you while you were sleeping because you were just so beautiful. But when I went back and looked at it, I realized that you looked an awful lot like me, and that freaked me out. Every parent wants a better life for their kid than they had, and they also envision the best possible combination of genetics for them before they are born. In my hypothetical version of you, you look like your Auntie Melissa in the face, but with my eye color, you get some of your dad’s height and definitely his longer, leaner body type but absolutely NOT his nose or his calves or my thighs or my nose, either. I don’t know where the hell you’re supposed to get a decent nose from, really. And you’re not supposed to have my chubby cheeks! Well, right now you are, but you’re supposed to grow out of them! On the plus side, it looks like you’re going to have my blue eyes, and that makes me very, very happy. And if you do keep the chubby cheeks, people will still think you’re 18 when you’re almost 30, so that’s a plus.

I’m so lucky to be in Grad School right now because it’s let me spend 3 days a week with you, plus weekends. We have a nice morning routine – I’ll sit you in your car seat on the kitchen counter, and you’ll watch me cook breakfast and stare at some little toys I hang from the cabinet knobs. Most mornings you stay happy long enough for me to cook and eat breakfast and then clean up the kitchen. The rest of the day isn’t as structured yet. Some days you’ll be happy in your car seat long enough for me to take a shower. I think the sound of the water and the exhaust fan in the bathroom help you relax, because sometimes you’ll even fall asleep in there. During the day, we spend a lot of time changing diapers, and I try to put you in your swing or on the bed and play with you a lot. Most nights I give you a bath around 6:00 or so, and you’re usually asleep in bed with me by 9:30.

At first it was hard being with you all day because there was no structure, and one of the things I love most of all in the world is predictability and structure. I love making plans. But with a baby, so many things are unpredictable. Especially moods. And every time you would cry, I would feel like I was failing as a mother because I couldn’t make you happy. The way I saw it, you should never cry. It took awhile, but I learned to just let go of my need to control everything and just go with the flow and be happy. So now when you cry, I’m happy that I’m around to try to figure out what’s wrong and comfort you. And when you’ve had your third dirty diaper in an hour, I’m happy that I get to be the one to change it. You’ve taught me patience, and my sweet girl, that is no small feat.

When I’m not with you, you have people virtually fighting to take care of you. Your “Auntie M” comes over on Monday and Wednesday afternoons when I have class. Thursdays and Fridays I work all day, and you go hang out with Grandma Fran. Grandpa Randy works from home, so you get to spend a lot of time with him, too. Grandma Fran had pneumonia for 3 weeks, so your Abuelita Marisol got to keep you. Samantha and Sarah both loved having you around, and all Samantha would talk about was how you had smiled at her, or how she had been able to make you stop crying by patting your head and giving you your pacifier. Those girls really, really love you. And Abuelita and Papi were so sad they only got to keep you for three weeks – they loved getting to spend so much time with you. But of course, Grandpa and Grandma were almost in a clinical depression after being away from you for so long. You’re a valuable commodity, kid!

But the person that loves being with you most of all (besides me, of course) is your Papa. You guys play fun little games. My favorite is “Fighter Pilot” – he lays you down on his legs and uses your legs like they’re the controls of an airplane and makes all these crazy shooting noises like he’s flying you. He actually does that to help you work out gas after eating, and I know that will be embarrassing to you later, but it’s true. On the mornings that I work, he stays in bed with you while I get ready, and the two of you have long conversations about how pretty he thinks you are.

So in a nutshell, your life is pretty easy right now. Eating, pooping, hanging out with people who worship you and tell you you’re beautiful all day long. But no matter how much all those other people tell you they love you, I know that I love you the absolute most of all. See, the truth is, I was really, really scared to have a baby because I thought it would be hard (which it is) and that I wouldn’t enjoy it or be very good at it. I thought that my life would totally change and I wouldn’t be happy anymore because so many people complain about how hard it is to be a parent. And it was really hard to finally decide that I was going to take a chance and become a parent, and honestly I wouldn’t have done it if it weren’t for your dad. But you made me change from a sort of cynical, reluctant mom-to-be into a head-over-heels, totally in love, “how on earth did I live my life before you?” kind of mom. You made me do a complete 180. And yes, it’s hard, and yes, my life is totally different, but it’s the best kind of hard and the best kind of different and I’m so, so thankful that of all the babies coming into the world, I got you.

Love, Mommy

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