Learning to Mother
8:11 a.m. - 2005-11-01

Yesterday at the pediatrician's appointment, she had gained one pound, one ounce (!!) in a week, and her jaundice level was 7.4, which is "really good" according to the nurse who called to tell me the news.

She's changing so much, everyday, and I'm trying to soak up every minute that I can with her, to note each feature before it evolves into something just a little bit different. I want to absorb every giggle and gurgle and burp, burn it into my mind so that years from now, I can remember these days with the fondness that they deserve.

And now, I'm crying.

She's improved so much in such a short time, and I'm so astonished to watch her grow. She's drinking 4 ounces at a time now, which seems monumental compared to just those few weeks ago when we were feeding her with a syringe, like such a tiny baby bird.

Her burps are loud, and come within seconds of feeding. I laugh every time, and hug her just a little closer, because it's so adorable and innocent and my heart nearly bursts with love. Because of a burp. Who'd have known?

She chirps and coos and laughs when she's sleeping, and has the sweetest little one-sided smile I've ever seen. Her eyes are deep, deep blue, like mine used to be, and I could spend hours looking into them. There are secrets and knowledge behind those eyes that I long to learn about, though for the moment I'm content to speak our own special language with just our eyes.

Sometimes she startles, and throws those tiny arms out so quick and hard that I wonder what she thinks she might be falling into. Whatever it is, I tell her, I'll do whatever it takes to catch her. Then I laugh and snuggle her closer, and breathe in that sweet baby smell that emanates from the top of her peach fuzz head.

Her hands find funny little positions by the side of her face, and most frequently we see her with one arm crooked behind her head and the other hand on her face, one finger near her temple or lips, as though she is deep in thought.

She makes the most adorable kissy faces, little rosebud lips pursed in a perfect 'O', and everyone around her laughs and exclaims how sweet her mouth is. I nod and smile, and feel lucky--oh, so lucky--that I get to see that little mouth in all it's varying shapes and forms every single day.

Yes I'm tired and worn out, my hair is pulled into a haphazard ponytail, I hardly every have makeup on, and my clothes seldom match. My house is a little messy, laundry is piling up, and sometimes I wonder if I'll ever get it all done. But then I look at my precious, darling little girl, and know that none of that matters anymore. At least not right this minute. All that matters is that I'm there for her when she cries, that I make her feel safe and secure and loved, and that I'm the very best mama I can possibly be.

And god, it feels so good to be okay with that.

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I am: so very many things. A mother, a wife, a dreamer, a lover of animals and babies, a friend. I've been called a bitch, but if that's what you call someone who stands up for what they believe in and refuses to settle, then I guess the title fits.

loves: my family, horses, a full night's sleep, puppy breath, my daughter's laughter, thunderstorms, bubble baths, makeup, soft sheets, David Sedaris and Augusten Burroughs, wine, massages, the written word, and sour straws.

dislikes: closed minds, depression, pimples, extreme heat, math, panic attacks, black licorice, doing laundry, white chocolate, gin, Bush.