3 week old
20 days ago a tiny stranger walked into my arms. She was tired from a long train ride, she was a little feverish and she had on five layers of clothing. This morning she lays in her own crib. Not metal and cold, but a soft Jenny Lind style spindle with a sweet bumper and soft balnkets. She’s home. Oh, and she only has on a onesie and some soft jammies. ð
We’ve been on a sleepy roller-coaster all week trying to figure out the time change and manage a 21 month old who is essentially really only a three week old to us. During our third night home when I was on the 11:30-1am shift with Liddy, feeling dangerously sleepy, it occurred to me, she’s really just a three week old. She’s only known us for a little shy of three weeks. Would I let a three week old cry themselves to sleep in their crib, now way. I remembered how my Dad, a Family Dr., always says that for the first 3 months of a baby’s life, you are on their schedule. They signal hunger and you feed, on demand. They want another nap shortly after the one they just had, let them sleep. You follow their cues. And you build trust. They learn to trust that when they signal for help or comfort or sleep or food, you will respond, every time. Thus building strong attachements. It makes sense.
So here we are with what amounts to a very large three week old. ð She’s learning that we will respond to her needs, every time. Or maybe moreso, she is un-learning some things. When she was one of twenty other babies in one room, it’s certain that the nannies couldn’t respond every time she signaled for help. Even if they were doing their absolute best, it’s certain she was at times hungry, or too hot or too cold, or perhaps, lonely, just wanting to be held. So she is un-learning the idea that crying doesn’t always help. Fussing doesn’t signal, I have a need. She now has not one but, four people ready to hear and respond. And honestly I have somehow relished this idea. When she cries waking up from a nap, I run up the stairs, picking her up. Oh, and get this. She has started reaching. This is huge. Rather than just lie there, staring at the ceiling, with tears streaming down her cheeks, she stands up and reaches. Not every time, but it’s becoming more regular.
And then comes the best part. I get to pick her up, and say softly in her ear, “Mommy’s here, mommy’s here.” And she just rests. Her little body relaxes and molds and we rock together in the blue chair. I can’t remember how many times something must be repeated for it to become established as routine, or trustworthy in our minds. But I know that each time we respond to Lydia’s signals we are getting closer to erasing the idea that crying doesn’t signal help, and establishing the idea that it not only signals help but comfort and love.
We’re getting there. Three weeks in and we already know her fussy cry vs her mad or sad cry. We are learning this little girl and we are responding.
In other news she has experienced a lot of firsts. First trip to the Dr., did great. First trip to Target, first time in a shopping cart, did great. She is starting to understand stairs and that she can not walk up them like an adult. Hilarious/dangerous to watch. She is loving American food, pizza, pasta, stuffed peppers, mac n’ cheeese, gerber graduates baby food, chocolate chip cookies. Today she will watch her brothers basketball game. She is loving life with busy, loud brothers. She has yet to attempt to eat a lego piece and she is awesome at building with duplo legos. She has also had a tea party with her brothers and even joined in a wrestling match with the boys and Daddy. And it’s all feeling so normal. Except for all the pink-ness and ruffles, and hair-bows. That isn’t feeling normal for me yet, but rather, just plain wonderful. ð
So here we are with our rather large three-week old Lydia, and we are all loving life as a family of five. And the three-week old sleeping schedule is coming along. Last night was huge. We, actually, wait for it….slept through the night. Like, long enough for me to dream and remember it. (I dreamt I had dinner with the Royals. We shared favorite Christmas traditions, it was awesome.)
Lydia is still sleeping right now, in fact. And I’m just waiting to hear her whimper, her signal. So I can rush up there and respond. Responding is why I love motherhood. Each time I respond I get to build trust with the dear and precious little ones God has entrusted me with. And in turn these precious little ones learn that Mommy and Daddy hear them, we are safe and trustworthy and loving. The very things we want them to learn about their Heavenly Father. He hears them. He is safe and trustworthy and loving. And He will respond to their needs, every time.
Here are some pictures from our first few days together.