Your smiling is insane and infectious. Sometimes you have to stick your tongue all the way out and roll your eyes back because the glee is just too big for your regular face. You smile when we ruffle your hair or tickle your chin, or just for the sheer love of it. You are smilier than your brother ever was. He was calm where you are ecstatic, placid where you are excited.
That’s not the only way in which we can already see you forging a different personality from your brother’s. You love facing out into the world, something Ezra never cared much either way about. You love being carried so you can see everything and smile at everyone you meet. I have a sling and you sit in it cross-legged like a little Buddha. When it’s chilly, which it has been until just this week, I keep your arms tucked in and just your lovely face peeks out, floating disembodied and cheerful. When you get tired, you just grab onto my hands and rest your face on them, sleeping as the world whirls by.
And here’s another way you’re forging your own path: you’re definitely a better sleeper than Ezra was. At your age he was still frequently up more than once a night, and he liked to nurse for a long time. You (and I superstitiously hesitate to say this out loud to the internet) wake up once a night for ten minutes and go right back to sleep. (Except for the night before mother’s day, of course). You often nurse yourself to sleep, but even when you are still a bit awake when I lay you down in the crib, you seem to have missed the lesson at baby school where they tell you to cry inconsolably. You just, well, go to sleep. I’m sure there are trials ahead, but I am really enjoying feeling relaxed as I go to bed at night, not worrying that I’ll be up half the night.
Ezra is still a big fan of you. He calls you Blella, and he always knows where you are, even in a crowded room or playground. He asks to hold you, and sometimes he even means it. Some mornings we all cuddle together on our bed, and he lays down next to you and puts his arm around you. He “helps” with you, shoving unwanted pacifiers into your mouth, trying doggedly to feed you his snacks, and rocking your car seat or swing as hard as he can while yelling “Rock! Rock!”
We have a big extended family, and they are in love with you. A few weeks ago we celebrated Passover, which in our family (at least mine), is the absolute craziest of all the holidays. We went to our cousins’ house for a dinner with 30 people, ten of them under ten. The huge sofa was overrun with cousins and friends of cousins, but your cousin Chava, nine years old, took charge of you. She carefully held you on her lap and protected you from the chaos all around, a babysitter-in-training.
Speaking of babysitters, you are still being pretty stubborn about taking a bottle. Your dad seems to have passed the secret test you’ve devised of bottle-giving worthiness. But other intrepid bottlers, all women, have been rejected. Perhaps you have decided that if someone with boobies is going to give you milk, then the milk had better be coming directly from the boobies. This has given rise to one of our new songs, to the tune of “Someone’s in the kitchen with Dinah,” with some liberties taken as to rhyme and meter:
Zella Ruthie Weisz loves boobies,
Zella Ruthie Weisz loves boo-oo-bies.
Zella Ruthie Weisz loves boobies,
Because they’re nice and soft and they give her lots of milk.
Here’s our other favorite song:
Smiler, smiler, give me your answer, do.
I’m half crazy, all for the smiles of you.
You break out of your swaddles,
And you won’t drink from bottles,
But you are cute,
You’re the smiliest smiler around.
I love you, Blella.