Friday, May 21, 2010

Dear Hazel: Month 1

Baba holds Cadence as she reaches out to touch Hazel minutes after her birth

Dear Hazel;

Mama & Hazel, less than an hour post-partum

Welcome to the world, my little dear! Words can never express how incredibly happy, and blessed I feel to have you in my life. I know that your Baba and your sister feel the same way...we are the luckiest family ever.

Mama & Hazel, approximately 15 hrs after birth.

You arrived just a month ago, and yet you've grown so much during that short time, it feels so hard to keep up! You're a beautiful, precocious little baby with no faults to complain about, except perhaps the sad propensity to pull your own hair and scream because you don't know your hand is your own just yet. But don't worry love, you'll figure that one out pretty quick. And we love you.

So what are some of these signs of growth? Well, let's see...aside from the fact that you not only regained, but then surpassed your birth weight by your eighth day (Born 7lbs, 2oz, you made it to 7lbs 4oz...and I'm sure you've grown well past that by now!), you've gained a modicum of skills in the brief time you've been in a position to learn them!

Your very first day you began rolling from side to side, and within a couple of days, you began to coo as well! You have the sweetest little voice, little one, it's full and light and clear, simply beautiful. I love hearing you 'talk', its just the most endearing sound ever.

By day 5, you were already tracking things...your little eyes would fix on something and follow it, whether we moved you, or if it moved - you'd follow it! You even figured out how to turn your head to follow things even further, very quickly.

The first thing that got you to turn your head in the direction of a sound was Cadence...She would lay beside you and talk to you, and you would turn to try to find her. You pretty much knew from the start that you could figure out which way to look based on where the sound was coming from, and now whenever Cadence talks to you, you look directly at her - it's totally sweet.

You seem completely enamored of your sister, though you do seem to understand that she's not like the grown ups. Cadence likes to help with your diaper changes, she climbs up on her bed beside the changing table and holds your hand, talks to you, and sometimes sings "lullaby, lullaby!" to calm you down.

Though you seem to LOVE your diaper changes. Perhaps it's more that you despise having wet or messy diapers...the slightest dampness sends you into a fit, and as soon as you feel yourself being placed on the changing table, you generally calm right down. Not if we put you down anywhere else...you KNOW when you're getting what you want or need, and are not afraid to share than knowledge.

If Cadence isn't there during a change for some reason, you look around for her...and if you two have been playing on your baby activity gym/play mat and she leaves, you inevitably begin to cry.

Thankfully, we've learned that sitting on the big orange pilates ball and bouncing seems to be a magical cure-all for you...we've even started referring to it as The Magic Bouncing Ball.

Which brings me to another point: you established some very clear communication very quickly. Within the first few days we already knew what sound meant food, which looks meant you needed to be held and walked, and what anger meant you needed a diaper change. You have been very clear that you do NOT like getting dressed, in the least, but you seem to love getting the opportunity to use your muscles.
Your favorite thing to do is to stand up! You will cry this pitiful little cry if you're awake and in the mood to stand, but we won't let you...but as soon as we help you up, there is this look of concentrated glee on your little face! Standing is just the best thing ever in the world, as far as we can tell, especially if you can stand on my belly and look up at the tiger wall hang we have over the couch.
That is one interest you and your sister have shared from day one, respectively...you both would just stare and stare at that tiger. You're my little tiger baby, Hazelnut, born in the year of the tiger, with sooo much spirit in you.

On day 7 I was laying down with you on my chest, and you crawled right up my front and off of me, over my shoulder, without any assistance from anyone. And oh how well you hold up your head! You started trying to do that on your first day, and literally each day after that you could hold it up a little higher, a little more steadily, and keep it there a little bit longer...it was a seriously tangible progression, I was amazed to watch it happen.

You must be doing all this growing in your sleep. You are a very animated sleeper! I'll often find you sleeping with what I've been calling 'thriller hands': Your elbows and hands bent, fingers spread open like the choreography from the classic Michael Jackson video. And you also have a tendency to dream with your eyes wide open. Sometimes it's hard to tell if you're awake or asleep...but then you'll hit REM and your eyes will dart all over, opening and shutting, as your face flashes from one emotion to the other.

From the get-go, you have broken out in HUUUUUUGE smiles and even giggled heartily in your sleep, and it has left me wondering if your dreams, at this stage of life, feel more real to you than reality does. It wouldn't surprise me, it's probably more familiar to you to exist within that dream state than it is to exist in this world of intensified sensation and gravity.

And then you'll wake up, and look up at us with those big, bright eyes of yours, the ones whose color refuses to be pinned down...there's the slate-grey bluish color behind what seems to be brown, but in certain lights they look downright dark green...but whatever they are, they are beautiful and totally engrossing.

And you make this little face when you're studying something hard, you purse your lips into this little "ooooooooohhhhhh" shape and get very still, letting whatever momentum you had wash over you and let you melt into relaxation. It's infectious.

One of my favorite occurrences of this has been after you've just received a kitty nudge...you've received many, each cat has checked you out and claimed you. Seems you're very well loved in this house, little lady.

You've been a busy kid, for one so young! Your first outing was just a trip to meet your pediatrician, who of course said you looked perfect and healthy and wonderful.

The next trip was a bit longer, since you came with me to buy some new nursing bras, and then Nana and Cadence came to join us and we went to a bookstore, and Nana read books to you two.

Then it was off to whole foods to get some food that is safe for my diet, one which is extremely restrictive and often difficult to follow, but is also totally and completely worth it...Only time will tell if what I am doing with my own eating habits while you're breastfeeding will prevent food allergies in you, my dear, but whatever the case may be, you can rest assured that I am being militant about doing everything I can to keep you from ever dealing with them.

Anyway, that certainly hasn't been the extent of your travels. Your Baba's cousin Charles got married on the 15th, and it was there that you got to meet most of your extended family on that side. It was a big day, that also included your very first car ride (which you did not enjoy, not in the least!) and ended up, somewhat unintentionally, being your first Very Late Night Out. Not that it mattered much to you, since you could just sleep whenever and whereever, but we were all extremely impressed with how good you were during the ceremony. Even once you woke up, you didn't make a peep and just took everything in quietly...such a respectful little girl!

And of course, there was your very first trip to a park. We had the great fortune of having a photo session with a very talented photographer in Riverbank Park, and the benefits of this to us went far beyond the gorgeous shots we got...We'd never been to that park before, didn't even know it existed, but it was so peaceful and beautiful, it was a perfect place for you to first experience trees and grass, and it's right on the water...it was a brilliant day.

Oh little nut, I cannot wait to see what this life has in store for you. I am already totally and completely in love with you to the point that I can't picture what life was like before you existed. You've always been with me, you just hadn't arrived in the flesh until just now. You are so incredibly wonderful, little girl, and I love you more than words can say.

Thank you for joining us, Hazelnut. You fill out our lives in just exactly the right way.

Love Always,

Mama