Thursday, August 10, 2006

Three months old

Ess on Aug. 10, 2006, with Zeke.
And introducing Larry, whose size will provide
a better basis for comparison with the little girl as she grows.

Dear Ess,

What a month it has been! You were not short on adventure this month, proving to be an intrepid traveler as you journeyed with Aunt E and your mom all the way to New Jersey to meet a slew of relatives and friends. You slept like a dream in your carseat for the entire journey -- an impressive performance for such a wee girl. You also went on your first hike this month, something we hope you'll like a bit more when you get a little older. And you met, among other important people, your Uncle A and Aunt K.

Perhaps our biggest collective achievement this month was handling the transition in work schedules that began last week, when your mom went back to work and your dad went on part-time paternity leave. So now you spend Mondays and Tuesdays with Mom, and Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays with Dad. You even attend staff meeting with Dad on Wednesday mornings, and you have behaved like a champion at both meetings you've attended (although you did give Dad a big poopy diaper to change both times -- great timing, little girl!). Your dad loves spending these days with you, and your mom is happy to be back at work while still being able to spend a lot of time with you, too. It seems that the combination of working and parenting is working well for all of us at the moment. You, of course, have weathered the change without a problem.

You've reached several physical milestones, too. The biggest of these, for your poor tired parents, is of course your beautiful gummy smile. You smile most frequently in the morning, when you are generally happy and curious. You love to lie on your back on the couch or on one of your quilts on the floor, kicking your legs, waving your arms and smiling. We spend what seems like hours tickling your belly and poking your cute little nose to provoke that smile, and then we melt when it appears. You've also started to laugh more; for the first time just a few days ago, you squealed in response to a sound, rather than a physical sensation or a smile from one of us. You've also recently begun to enjoy playing peekaboo with Daddy; he brushes one of the ubiquitous burp cloths across your face, and you squeak with delight when he pulls it away.

In another breathtaking development, you have begun to hold your head up when we hold you upright against a shoulder. You get tired after a little while and rest your sweet-smelling head on our shoulders -- still a tiny baby, but already growing up so much. You've become much more interested in Rocky, and she has become devoted to you. In fact, as I type this, you are both asleep upstairs in your respective beds (Rocky has even overcome her neurosis about climbing the back stairs in order to be with you!).

You love taking a bath; it seems that the warm water soothes you, and you really enjoy kicking and splashing. You also really like the massages I've been giving you with apricot baby oil. We learned about this in the Blossoming Newborns class we took this month. We spent 90 minutes for four Tuesdays hanging out with some other moms and babies, admiring your growth, talking about our concerns and learning songs and ways to calm you. Inspired by the class, we bought an exercise ball we bounce on to calm you, and we began dancing with you when you're really cranky; bopping around the room to Paul Simon's Graceland album does wonders to soothe you.

You've more than doubled in weight since you were born; now if only you would increase your sleeping time at night, too! That is one of the big challenges we face: figuring out how to get you to go longer without waking in the night. But even though you are a wise old three-month-old, developmentally you're still only seven weeks old. So we're trying to just hang in there as you grow and, theoretically at least, develop better sleep habits. For the last few days, in an effort to get you to sleep a little longer in the pre-dawn hours, I've let you sleep in the crook of my arm, with your head on my shoulder. Belly to belly, we snuggle together and, astonishingly, you'll sleep for almost two hours. This is obviously not a long-term solution, and it leaves me quite stiff, but it is awfully sweet.

And with that we will close this overly long update. It's astonishing that so much has happened in just one month -- what will happen when you sit and eat and crawl and talk? We can only dream. We love you very much, sweet girl.

Mom and Dad