Claire is now three months old and feels like I’m just now getting a chance to breathe and start to process these past three months. While they’ve been really hard, I also wanted to make sure not to forget them completely, so—with the benefit of hindsight and some (much needed!) time—I wanted to preserve them in some after-the-fact monthly updates, written to my daughter, Claire.
(In case you’ve forgotten, I also wrote letters to Claire while I was pregnant, so I thought it made sense to continue that theme and have these updates written to her, as well. Also, here's a look back at Claire's first month, if you missed it.)
So, here’s the second one, looking back at Claire’s second month:
Your second month of life turned out to be just as hard as the first. Except maybe it was harder because we no longer had out-of-town guests coming in and helping with you and your dad had finally gone back to work following his three-week paternity leave. Then it was just me and you, and we both struggled through that.
I think what got us was that around the end of your first month, you woke up. Those big blue eyes of yours popped open and they decided to stay open. You became alert and once you were, you didn’t want to do anything else. You wanted to be awake and seemed to have forgotten how to fall asleep. No matter what I tried, you fought that sleep and you fought it with tears of agony and misery and yet you still would be awake. Hours and hours and hours later. Until you were exhausted and finally gave in to slumber. There were days when you were awake and fighting sleep from 8am until 4pm.
What got you to sleep one day wouldn’t work the next. Sympathetic family members bought us all kinds of products that promised to knock you into sleep. Sometimes they worked, but usually only a time or two and then we had to try something new. My favorite memory of this time (only in hindsight, of course) was when you wouldn’t stop crying and go to sleep so your dad started to jog around the kitchen holding you until you fell asleep. Around and around the kitchen you two ran.
So you can see why I only lasted about two weeks after your dad went back to work that I knew I needed to call in reinforcements. Thus, when you were only 5.5 weeks old, we hopped a plane and flew up to Ohio where there was more of that village to pitch in to take care of you. (And of course, you did splendidly on the plane. Always out to prove me wrong, right?!)
Fortunately, we started learning how to get you to sleep. (More of a jiggle than a bounce paired with a Wubbanub pacifier, in case you've forgotten.) And you started taking multiple naps a day. Sometimes you still liked to fight your sleep, but those bouts began to subside.
And then you started smiling and grinning with more and more frequency. One day, after you’d had a nice, big meal, you started talking to me, “Oooohh.” It was only a few times at first but you began giving your vocal chords a break from crying and exercising them more for talking and cooing. We were all happy for that!
So it was that your second month marked a transition from the hardest of days to the clouds starting to part and blue skies looming in the distance. The days were still a struggle and I still felt like I was in survival-mode to make it through the day, but I could feel that parts were starting to get a bit easier (the very refrain I hated to hear when I told people how hard it was!) and some days, we were able to gather more good moments than bad, moments that I so very dearly needed, that gave me hope—in you, in God to get me through this, in us.
With two months down, we were finally starting to find our footing in this mom-and-daughter thing, finally find our rhythm in this beautiful (but still sometimes awkward) dance of love. Good thing it’s a slow dance!
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