Poor winter-born baby sister. You never had a chance, healthwise. You’ve been sniffly since about your third day of life. First it was the RSV, then another cold, then another. I’ve grown accustomed to waking up to your clogged grumblings and coughs. Your dada still gets totally freaked out, and has taken to wearing ear plugs at night to drown out the snorts and snuffles. I hear every one, so I know the wonderful truth: you are finally getting better.
Despite all the snuffling, you’re actually a pretty good sleeper. At first I worried because, unlike your brother, you rarely nurse all the way to sleep. I envisioned long nights of rocking and walking you back to sleep after midnight feedings. I have been pleasantly surprised by your recent willingness to lay down drowsy and swaddled and slowly drop off to sleep, without much intervention from me. You’ve already settled into a nice long initial sleep, usually from around 9 pm to 3 am, and after that you will usually give me a few more hours of rest. You often spend that last stretch sleeping in the crook of my arm, and I love waking up with your little swaddled cocoon body right there next to me.
I think you know that your older brother has a hold on our attention, with his crazy antics and funny words, so you are doing your best to make sure we don’t forget about you. You reject the bouncy seat, and barely tolerate the swing, a crafty strategy to get us to hold you all the time. You love being held face-down over my arm, looking out at the world while I swing you back and forth. You have also turned on the smiles faucet in the last few weeks, flashing big grins as a reward to us for hair ruffling and face tickling. And the cooing is starting for real now, loud and insistent.
The smiles and coos were precisely what we noted about Ezra in his two month letter. Another thing: he was already losing his hair. You, on the other hand, seem to be keeping yours. I hope this means that I’ll soon get to indulge in barrettes and bows. You rocked your first dress at your baby naming, and I’m looking forward to all the gorgeous girly stuff I couldn’t dress your brother in. (Of course, I also frequently dress you in a suit covered in trucks, and I swaddled you up for bed tonight in a really cute orange robot outfit.)
Despite your intense adorability, you have been frustrating us a tiny bit with your disinterest in taking a bottle. The other day your nana reported that you seemed like you were drinking from the bottle really well, but when she looked again at the milk, you had somehow just been pretending to drink. We are going to redouble our efforts this month, because there are so many people who would like to spend time with you, and it will be so much more fun for everyone when you are willing to be fed by them. (Ok, ok, also, your dad and I would like to go to the movies, and I have a dream of one day leaving both of you with a babysitter for four or five hours at a stretch and finally getting back to my studies.)
When I try to put my finger on what has been most different about these first few months with you versus my first few months with Ezra, I always end up with the weather. As much as other winter moms had insisted that having a winter baby was nice (“you’ll have a few months to snuggle up inside and then, when you’re ready to go out, the weather will be warming up!”), I have to confess I preferred having a warm-weather newborn. It’s not just the epic battles with winter viruses. It’s that our family is not a hole-up-til-the-weather-turns kind of family. So, while we got to take your brother to outdoor concerts and block parties and camping, you’ve gotten park district open gym days. On Sunday, a warm front rolled through town, so we went to the zoo, and I finally got to hold your little face up to the sun. While your brother marveled at the monkeys and gorillas, I marveled at you.
I love you, Sniffly Sue.