I've been longing for the time and brain power to write an essay about having a newborn in the house again—about the things I had already forgotten and how different the experience is the second time around. But collecting my thoughts into anything coherent, let alone stringing words together to express those thoughts, has seemed impossible lately. So I'm going the list route. In honor of Nora's 2-month birthday this week, here are a few notes I've jotted down since she arrived, along with her 2-month portraits.
Things I had forgotten about having a newborn:
- Holding Nora for the first time and falling instantly in the love with her reminded me how pure and unconditional a mother's love is for her children. Now that Cricket is exploding with personality—and I'm enamored with every inch of that personality—I sometimes forget that her wonderful character is really just a bonus; I loved her long before she had the ability to convey it to us.
- The grunts, the wiggles, the smell—oh, that newborn smell!
- The reflexes: arms and legs thrust out straight when startled; arms splayed out, rocking the body from side to side; five toes curled around your finger when you press the sole of the foot.
- How incredible it feels to witness that first intentional smile.
- The realization that everything she does, hears, sees, experiences is a first for her.
- The tiny diapers and clothing that I couldn't believe an entire person could fit into before she was born, that turned out to be enormous during the first few weeks, that she outgrew so quickly it made me cry.
- The desire to study every inch of her while she eats.
- The absolute relentlessness of her need for me...every moment of the day and night.
Differences the second time around:
- The first time around, our days were calm and quiet. But with a toddler on the loose, our life and home are cloaked in constant chaos. I wonder if Nora will be less reserved than her sister because of it.
- I rarely set Cricket down during the day when she was a newborn; I have to put Nora down all the time to change Cricket's diaper, lift her into the crib or comfort her after a bad fall.
- I'm much calmer this time. About everything.
- I'm so, so used to hearing a baby cry.
- The newborn routine is old hat (well, the nights are still tough...); the major challenge is the balancing act of caring for both a newborn and a toddler. The logistics required to survive a day alone with two young kids are astounding!