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Dear Zella: Month One (and only)

  • Tagged The letters
  • Commenters Kate Burns

Dear Zella,

When you were born, you immediately began to stretch and twist and move to get a better view of the world. In your first few minutes, it’s possible you moved more than your brother did in his first few days. You were so tiny, and I can’t help trying to assign the kinds of adjectives you use to describe small sports stars: wiry, scrappy.

For days people asked me what it felt like to hold such a small baby, and though I know that in comparison to Ezra you are a miniature doll, you never felt small to me. You just felt like you. What surprised me more was your face. The definition of your features. The fact that when you looked down, your chin didn’t disappear into your neck.

Your face is rounding out now, as you gain pound after pound. In your first minutes, you latched on to feed like you’d been practicing for months, and you have remained an excellent nurser. It feels so much easier this time around, and I will never know how much of that is you being a natural and how much is me being more experienced. Probably some of both.

I spend a lot of time every day staring into your eyes. I am a bit obsessed with their indeterminate color, as everyone else in our immediate family has dark, dark brown eyes. Yours have remained light, which I know because they are so often open. You love to look around, and your neck muscles have had to work fast to keep up with the movement of your head as you try to take it all in. You even sometimes go cross-eyed from the strain of concentrating on something new and exciting. While you nap, you reach your hands out, as if to continue feeling out the world around you even as you are sleeping.

Your first month has involved some definite moments of second child-ness. We were so lackadaisical about your car seat, having been through this before, that we not only didn’t install it before we went to the hospital, we didn’t even look at it. When we tried to take you home, we discovered that it was actually broken, and your dad had to carry you home in his arms while I drove alongside him on the street with my blinkers on. At the time, it seemed like an immense parenting fail to me, but now it strikes me as just another one of the ways that we’ve learned to be adaptable to the delightful chaos you’ve brought into our lives.

In your first month you have met dozens of friends and relatives, and been dragged along to a family birthday party, a baby naming, some parent-tot classes, a mommy group, and a ton of playdates, not to mention our hospital adventure. You and I are figuring out together how to be flexible, as I nurse you on a tiny toddler chair in the middle of a classroom full of kids, or you sleep in my arms as we follow Ezra around the Exploritorium.

We spend a lot of time following Ezra around. Your life is inextricably bound up with his, and your dada and I are so excited to watch you grow up together. I can already see how entwined all our lives will be. I watch Ezra’s new tricks over the top of your head as you snuggle in for a snooze. I point out your amazing features to Ezra as we all cuddle on the couch together. Ezra still sometimes points at your dad when we ask “where’s Mama?” but he is 100% accurate when asked “where’s the baby?”

So, starting at the end of the month, we’re going to be writing a letter to both of you each month instead of one letter for each of you. How could we not? In whose letter would a moment like this go? Ezra is sitting on his futon, reading a book. I need to put his socks on so we can leave, but I’m holding you. On a whim, I rest you next to him on the couch. He looks over at you, and immediately, without prompting, puts his arm around you, drawing you close. “Baby!” he says.

Happy first month, sweet baby. Welcome to the family.

Much love,


Kate Burns

Mar 28 / 16:49
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