Thursday, January 3, 2013

A Letter to Periwinkle at Ten Weeks

Dear Periwinkle,

Today you are ten weeks old. I’m sorry it’s taken me this long to write to you. I bought a journal the week I found out I was pregnant, and bought a second one within days of finding out there were two of you coming, and I never wrote a word. What do you write to a creature you haven’t met yet that changes your life simply by existing? What do you say to the blip on the screen that turns into a gummy bear and then into something with a decidedly human profile and then seems to wave at you? What do you say to the baby inside you that makes your left ribs burn with a pain that you welcome because it lets you know they are there? I didn’t know what to say, and so I said nothing. Each week I grew bigger, and each ultrasound let me know you were okay and were really coming, and I still didn’t know how to start.

Around halfway through the pregnancy you grew shy and wouldn’t show your face for profile pictures. I missed seeing you, but we already knew you were beautiful. We’d seen your perfect little nose, slightly upturned like mine, and your little chin. We’d seen your tiny feet curled up close to your body, and your hands as they explored your limited world. The ultrasound technician one week called you a “dainty lady” because you were smaller than your brother, with such cute little features. I still call you Lady. A lot of the time it’s in frustration because you are crying and I don’t know why, and I hope it gets your attention enough that you will stop.

Sometimes you do, and you look at me with your wide, deep blue eyes that sometimes make me feel like I’m staring into my own eyes. You look so much like me I sometimes forget you are your own vibrant, strong-willed person. Grandma says I cried a lot too at your age, and I loved to be held and walked around. We’re a lot alike, you and I, but you already seem stronger and sassier than I am. You had to be, what with spending two weeks in the NICU. It was so sad seeing you hooked up to machines, with a tube in your nose, struggling to eat a mere 25ml of formula. Now you drink 5 ounces sometimes, in less time than the 25ml took you. We're so proud of you and how far you've come.

You may have struggled to eat at first, but you were always strong. They put you on my chest after you were born and weighed and measured. They put your brother on my lap, and then they wheeled all three of us to the recovery room, your father walking by our side. You were tiny and soft and pink. I think you opened one of your eyes to peer around you. It’s hard to remember because it all happened so fast and unexpectedly. Your father would remember. But one thing I do remember is you reaching up and pulling my hair. Not a half-hearted tug, but a solid, full-fisted grab. You still pull my hair, and while I may laugh and tell you to stop (because it does hurt sometimes), I am brought back to that moment the day you were born when I got my first glimpse of your personality. Our first real mother-daughter interaction, and one of the last before they whisked you off to the NICU later that night.

They took great care of you there, and we got to hold you and feed you, but it wasn’t the same. It felt like we had to ask permission to parent you. We couldn’t be with you all day long, and you couldn’t be with your brother at all, which was perhaps the saddest part. We were so excited the day we got to show you to each other through the NICU window. That day was the last bradycardia incident you had. I like to think he helped you get better. You still seem calmest when you are near him, even if you don’t seem to be aware of each other yet. I can’t wait to see that bond evolve as you two grow up.

From the beginning you were alert and curious. We can see that you are working hard to process everything you see and hear. Sometimes you look around and your mouth gapes open as if you are just awed by the world around you. I am awed by you. I am so excited to see you learn about everything. I read to you and you really listen. You look at the pictures carefully, your eyes moving back and forth across the page as if matching the pictures to the words I just read. Then you look at me as if saying, “Okay, you can turn the page now, Mom.”

I love when you smile. Sometimes your smile is small and shy. Other times it is sly and devious. That one comes from your father. Other times your mouth is just open and happy, and I can almost hear you laugh. I cannot wait until you laugh and giggle. I feel like that is so close to happening, and I can see in your eyes that you want to but don’t quite know how.

But don’t rush it. You are already growing up too fast for my taste. You weigh nearly ten pounds, almost double what you were at birth. I put away your newborn clothes this week. I remember the elation I felt when the NICU nurses told us we could bring you real clothes. You swam in them. There was a teal outfit that said “Princess” on it. I used to be so against “Princess” and pink, but seeing you so vulnerable in the incubator, naked and so thin, I just wanted to dress you in cute things that screamed “Girl!” I couldn’t squeeze you into that outfit now if I tried.

I also think you are teething. You’ve gotten rather drooly and angsty, crying during the day unless you are being held, and sometimes even when you are being held. Which is how I saw the white dot on your gums. Apparently you can teethe at two months, even if it’s rare. We’ll watch it, and give you cold teething rings that seem way too big for you, and hope you feel better soon. 

It melts my heart when you relax when I hold you close, and breaks it when you won’t calm down for anything. Today you kept making sighing, shuddering noises even after you’d calmed down, noises I know well from when I am recovering from a good crying jag. It made me sad that you sounded so sad, and all I could do was hold you a little closer. We walk around the house together, you in the Ergo and me doing laundry or putting dishes away. You’re still a little small for it but we make it work. I think your brother is a bit jealous, so I try to hold him a lot too. Until you cry again. I look forward to there being more smiley moments than crying moments. I know we’ll get there.

Luckily you sleep at night, even if you resist napping during the day. You are a champion burper. And a champion farter. You make your mama proud! You have dark brown hair that curls ever so slightly, and I both fear and hope that you will end up with an unruly mane like mine. At least I’ll know how to help you tame it. Your hands are like miniature versions of mine. Your legs are getting fat rolls now, as you become a chubby little baby at last. You have eyelashes to die for, long and curled up at the ends. People pay money to achieve lashes like that. I’m jealous.

You’re starting to grab on to me when I pick you up or put you down or carry you against my shoulder. I love the feel of your arms tightening around whatever part of me you can grasp, even if it’s just my wrist. I live for the day you can truly hug me. I love when you fall asleep after eating, your head resting against my chest, your face calm, your breath tickling my collarbone, your legs tucked up under you, a newborn still. I get warm fuzzies when I see you passed out on your father’s chest, limbs sprawled in all directions, a tiny baby on a grown man, happy and at home there. It amuses me when he plays video games with you lying there. I can’t help but think of what good friends you two will be as you grow up. Just so you know, he’s putty in your hands. Don’t abuse it too much.

I’m so happy you are growing and strong and healthy, but a little part of me is sad, too. These ten weeks have felt like the blink of an eye, and an eternity, all at the same time. I can barely remember life before you, and it seems that just as I get to know you and your quirks you are already changing. I guess this is parenthood.

Happy Ten Weeks, Periwinkle. I’ll try to be better about writing these on your month-iversaries. Just know that you are loved beyond belief.


Note: Indigo's will come tomorrow.

6 weeks

9 weeks

16 weeks
Tiny princess

Sprawling baby at about 6 weeks old

Smiling 10-week-old girl


  1. This is really sweet :-) I wrote a couple of letters to Kinley while I was pregnant, but nothing since she was born. Now that I'm back at work, I think I'll want to write more. It was so sweet last night when I came home and she clearly recognized me and was so happy to see me. She giggled and cooed for a good hour.

    Thanks for sharing :-)

    1. I kept meaning to write during pregnancy but it never seemed the right time, so this one kind of covers that and the time since she was born. I'm sure they will be shorter from now on. That's so great K is recognizing you and giggling. Can't wait for that! Right now Periwinkle is crying and refusing to nap. Off I go to check on her...again :-)

  2. This is the sweetest little letter! She is growing so fast.

  3. I wrote Kinley a LONG letter today. Thanks for inspiring me to get back on that!!