Friday, January 4, 2013

A Letter to Indigo at Ten Weeks

Chill little man

Dear Indigo,

Yesterday you turned ten weeks old. Ten weeks that I’ve meant to write to you, after 35 weeks of composing letters to you in my head that I never managed to write down. Nothing I came up with seemed special enough to put on paper. Because you deserved special. As Baby A, I consider you the baby we knew were having when I saw the word “pregnant” on the test. The baby I was screaming about as I ran up the stairs to wake your father that morning. The baby we contemplated in which order to show the Star Wars movies to that very same morning. The baby we dubbed “Bit.” The baby we nervously went to see on the ultrasound at 6 weeks and 4 days, when we found out there was a second baby coming, too. You and your sister have no idea how wanted and loved you were and are, and how could I ever hope to convey that to you in a few short paragraphs? So I procrastinated, something I am very good at doing and something that I hope you are not.

The day you were born, I left my coffee on the table, figuring I’d make it an iced coffee when I got back from my doctor’s appointment. I told the cats I’d be right back. I dropped a hair tie in the driveway but didn’t stop to pick it up, thinking I’d grab it upon my return. It’s still there, actually, a reminder of that day our world changed. I keep thinking I should grab it and throw it away, but that feels like somehow closing the book on that day. I like remembering the fear and excitement I felt when my doctor told me to head to the hospital, that we might have to deliver you that very day. I like recalling when the hospital doctor told us it was time to go into the operating room. I love remembering that moment when we knew you were out and were waiting for you to cry. It couldn’t have taken you longer than five seconds, but it felt like an eternity. And then you wailed and I teared up, as feelings of relief and love flooded through me. You were okay. You were here, and you were okay. I was finally able to meet you.

I felt like I knew you already, though. You were my little mover, constantly reminding me that you were there with me. The first time I felt you move I was on the train in the morning. I had settled into my usual slumped position, trying to fall asleep, my arms crossed over my stomach. And then I felt a tiny nudge, so tiny I thought I had imagined it. So I poked back at that spot, and you nudged me again. I looked around as if seeing if anyone else had noticed it, but of course they hadn’t. On that silent train, I wanted to shout out that you had moved! I feel I must apologize for all the poking that ensued from that moment on. I loved feeling you push back, telling me to go away or just saying hello. It made you real in a way the ultrasound didn’t. As time went on, your nudges became punches and head-butts, and I welcomed every one. Towards the end, we could sit and stare at my stomach and see you rolling around in there. You never seemed to sit still.

Which is funny, because you are such a mellow baby. Sure, you sounded like a velociraptor at times in the early days, shrieking piercingly when you were upset. You flail sometimes and startle yourself. But generally, you are a chill baby who stares around at the world around you, taking it all in, storing it for later. When you cry, we know you have a good reason. You are cold or wet or hungry. You make noises that sound as though you are trying to talk, emphatic and with conversational inflections. You seem to enjoy finding new sounds to make, sometimes talking to yourself on the playmat, not upset but just exploring what noises you are capable of making.

I still can’t quite put into words how you make me feel. I just want to squeeze you and hug you and somehow convey to you how much I love you. I could just stare at you all day as you make your million different facial expressions and noises. You smiled, truly smiled, for the first time this week, and it melted me. I can’t wait for more smiles, for more focused eye contact from you. Right now you are too busy looking around you to bother with me much, but when you do look at me I eat it up. Sometimes when you cry I laugh because you are just so cute. That makes your father a little mad, I think, but I can’t help it. Luckily you don’t cry often.  

We bonded early, you and I, both because you were the one I felt moving all the time before you were born, and because we had to go home from the hospital with just you. You were our guinea pig as we learned how to be parents. Four days after you were born, Hurricane Sandy hit. We toughed it out at home for two days before heading to your madrina’s house, Grandma in tow. We had no idea we’d be there for ten days, waiting for the power to come back at home, living in their living room. You soaked up all the attention, and I worried you’d get spoiled from it all. We learned how to change diapers on you, and how to get the tiny clothes over your head without hurting you. We learned how to survive on next to no sleep, and how to coax you into the carseat. We learned that driving put you to sleep almost immediately, and we’re still thankful for that!

We missed your sister dearly, but were also slightly grateful to get to ease into parenthood one baby at a time. We brought you to see her one day, the first time you were together since the night you were born. We got our first family photo, albeit through the NICU window. And your sister was better from that day onwards. I think she looks up to you already. She is calmer when you are by her side. Sometimes she’ll reach out to you, her fist by your mouth, and you just start sucking on her hand. It always makes me laugh. During your newborn photo shoot, you were hungry and started sucking on her forehead. The photo makes it look like you are kissing her. Never be embarrassed about loving your sister. You two have a special bond that I can’t wait to see grow. Be her older brother, protect her, make up imaginary worlds with her, be her playmate and friend, her confidant. Get into trouble with her, but try to do that on your father’s watch, not mine.

I called you “Dude” a lot at first. You seemed too small for your name, and were such a laid-back dude. It just rolled off my tongue. Now I call you “Little Man” because you are such a little, miniature man. It’s amazing what a difference a pound makes­­—you feel so much more solid than your sister. Your chicken legs are now fat little baby legs. Sometimes I call you my Little Buddha when I sit you in my lap, a compact little person who looks so wise and worried, with a furrowed little brow. You look just like your dad did as a baby, both of you little old men in baby form, with huge, round eyes that often look so surprised by the world around you. My little old man. You do have my mouth though, we think, and you’ve already mastered the pouty lower lip. You’re swiftly learning how adorable you are when you pout, and maybe that pout will work better for you than it does for me. Your father doesn’t buy it from me anymore.

I can’t help but get excited at how much fun we’re going to have as you get older, but don’t rush it. Right now I’m content to hold you close, to have you fall asleep in my arms, your face either completely at peace or scrunched up as you stretch and then nestle in to me further. I’m happy to watch you get pissed off during tummy time or coo to yourself in the bouncy seat.

But someday we’ll run around together, playing hide-and-seek, throwing a ball around, reading Harry Potter, going camping. I can’t wait to watch you explore the world and find your place in it. Just know that you always have a place with me. I love you, little man.


In the hospital
Little Dude
Family reunion
Wide-eyed worrier
Adorable even when crying

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