The time from your birth to now has flown by. You are 11 weeks old today. As I start this letter, you are sleeping next to me on the couch. I marvel at how small you are and yet how big you’ve become in such a short amount of time. You were six pounds, nine ounces at birth and you are now close to 12 pounds. Your fingers are still so small that I sometimes worry I will break a bone. It would seem these first 11 weeks have been a lesson in love, of falling in love, and nothing more.
I never tire of looking at you and studying you. I study the lines and contours of your face. I love every feature, every small sigh, every smirk, every smile. Among babies, I love your cry alone.
These past 11 weeks haven’t been only about learning to love you. I’ve been learning about you and how to take care of you. I knew very little about caring for infants and raising a child before you were born. Caring for you hasn’t been too difficult and it’s been fun to discover all sorts of things about you. You’ve taught me that babies aren’t boring! It was a surprising lesson. I had thought you might not become interesting until later in the first year of life, however you are learning all the time and have changed tremendously since birth.
We are using your ability to mimic to teach you. You first learned to extend your tongue over your lower gums – this was necessary to establish a better latch for breastfeeding. We’ve been pointing to our noses and mouths to teach you to point to your nose and mouth. We’ve started waving to you and you’ve waved in return. Though you haven’t yet learned your name, you know the word “eat.” You also seem to recognize the phrase “diaper change.” You greet both with a smile.
You started holding up your head at four weeks. You started smiling in response to external stimuli at six weeks and now smile all the time. It’s amazing how emotionally rewarding your smile is - it’s positive reinforcement for parenting. You sleep with us every night and while it’s sometimes disruptive to share a bed with you, the frustration of any sleepless or poorly slept night dissipates when I wake up to see you smile in the morning. You smile because you recognize our faces and you smile because we talk to you. My love for you is reaffirmed every time you smile. You are a happy baby with a sense of humor. No one has ever found me so funny and you will soon be laughing. Right now you have a chuckle that has only surfaced a couple times and hasn’t fully developed into a laugh.
Your field of vision is increasing. You can now recognize Garry and I at short distances of a few feet. You know the sound of my voice. You have had hiccups almost twice daily since you were born. You’re healthy and robust – we like to say it’s because you’re breastfed. You’re rarely fussy. You are just starting to reach for objects. You are beginning to chatter; you talk to the toys on your bouncer and hold conversations with us. You love music and we can sometimes use music to calm you, though you become upset when the music stops. You also love for us to sing to you and read to you. I have learned the lyrics to “Puff the Magic Dragon” and am learning the lyrics to “The Rainbow Connection.”
You have many people in your life who care about you – your grandparents, your aunts and uncles (both biological and those adopted through a lifetime of friendship), our friends who care about you because they care about us. They have helped us bring you into this world and helped us support you. I find it comforting to know that so many people care about you. I have often felt alone in my life, and it comforts me to know that you are not alone and helps me to feel less lonely.
I’m so glad that we had you. I have measured my life in terms of my relationship with your father, Garry, and I now measure my life based on my relationship with the two of you. I feel so lucky to have you. My life is happier and richer for having you in it. Though there’s no mystery in your arrival onto this planet and into our lives, I still think there’s magic in your birth. I love you so much. You are loved by many, you are loved by your father, you are loved by me.