8 days to 11 months

I am on the floor of the nursery somehow simultaneously cuddling the outside of a Doc-a-Tot while nursing Eva. I am feeling guilty for the one time I tried to let her Cry-it-out and found her, 2 minutes in, screaming and standing at the edge of the crib closest to the door. I don’t care what they say, that’s not going to work for me and this girl. She throws her hand up on my chest and settles on the flat space between my breasts and I feel her fading back to sleep.
I keep thinking about how shame shouldn’t be involved in this ritual. It’s so cozy — like a mama bird perched between her children, all fluffed out so they feel secure — it seems like it’s the graceful way to be, live. I want that for her. I want that for me. There will be enough asked of this little girl, come morning. Enough asked of her before she can walk. She has already given up enough security — being a soldier’s daughter — she doesn’t have to give this up.
This is such a short while. I am losing nothing here, on this floor, helping her sleep. DSC_0657.JPG


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six months and change

There is a willow tree two yards away and I can see it through my back door from my corner of the couch. It just turned green three days ago. Until then it was just the skeleton. Maybe that’s another way that God tries to tell us what we cannot know — life continues. Not abstractly or through simple offspring, but at the source, in the same ground, with the same exact branches and with more to come — it continues.

Eva still nurses to sleep most of the time, her observant eyes start to droop and like a tiny kitten she roots for comfort and a full tummy. She is magnificent, this little girl full of curiosity and delight at the world. Her soft little gums are swollen with more teeth coming through and her little mind is bright and capable and persistent. She is growing so so quickly. It is wild and exciting. But sometimes she still gets sleepy and she is newborn again. Her instincts still lead her to cuddles and rocking and skin to skin contact. I relish it. I know how fast this goes.

Mary Oliver would give Eva words but I wont. The child is a series of squeals of excitement, loud voice practice to be included in the conversation, staccato shouts like an angry mockingbird when she is upset, a constant and long cry of rebellion when sleep tries to take her unexpectedly. She is totally herself already. She laughs at herself in the mirror — more if she sees me or dada. When I carry her close to my chest, she looks up in surprise to see my face — she loves to smile back.

These days are not hard. I tell people they are because they are supposed to be, but I’m changing that. They are heavy, yes. They are challenging sometimes. They are sanctifying. This is a learning curve. But do not be mistaken when you look into my sleepy eyes. Do not think that I am complaining when I tell you we are sleep training/ that my schedule is slower/ that I don’t get out much. I would give all of my other days to live in these with Eva and Lane. I am so happy to be where I am.

Don’t think for a second that I am taking these delicious, sticky, laundry filled days for granted.

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Tuesday. 4 Months Old.

It is Tuesday and I am walking around the house vaguely looking for something with Eva August on my hip. She is taking in the world, eyes wide, not complaining as we wander through the kitchen for a fourth time. Finally, I find the coffee I forgot I was looking for and lean in to look at Eva. Her face has changed, its rounder and somehow looks so much like her dad. She catches my smile and smiles back. I put down my coffee and take her to our bed.
She is all in white, cheeks pink, eyes sharp blue and gleaming. I swing her up in the air and pretend to drop her on the bed. My hands never leaving her back and neck. She is delighted by the almost-fall and starts to laugh. I make a serious face at her and she makes one back. I smile and her face lights up in return. I use the mattress to help her feel like she’s jumping and she melts into a mess of giggles. She is flying — white romper against white bed-cloth and rose skin.

She is perfect and I want to always live in this moment.

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IMG_7160IMG_7188IMG_7192IMG_7216IMG_7225IMG_7234IMG_7236IMG_7264IMG_7275IMG_5029IMG_5111IMG_5019IMG_5108C6F6BA3F-9E52-4EE0-A3D4-151661D31717IMG_7330My daughter laughs now. Silly giggles that come out more like a delighted growl, like she’s pranking me, like she’s in on the joke. Every time she does it, she claims the room and then it bubbles over in response to her brand new reaction. Like the world has never heard anything like it.

The days have been full and busy and change-filled. So much so that my daughter has not spent a whole month in one state in all of her life. She is an explorer and one who takes it gracefully.

in my whole life I have never felt as small as I do now. Holding her — the enormous gift and weight all bound up into 12 pounds of trust, that I will show up if she needs anything. That I will find what is wrong and fix it. That I could do anything without a word of language.

And somehow I do, I will, I can. But like — in discovering impossible remedies like speaking with my voice several octaves too high, or bringing her little mouth to it’s only source of food, or by lifting her up and then down again — saying so with every motion. Giving her the words to every action so she learns them. Minuscule tasks, my whole life.

Then she laughs out of nowhere like the sun breaking through a gloriously overcast day. The kind of overcast that makes you feel safe. The kind of sun that makes you trust joy.

I am small and my life is increasingly placid and simple and yes, I love it.

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I drank all the caffeine

I should be sleeping but I can’t because I drank coffee after 3

IMG_6953IMG_6959IMG_6972IMG_6983IMG_7004IMG_7016IMG_7047IMG_7049IMG_7065IMG_7087IMG_7107IMG_7109IMG_7148I am currently laying in my bed between the two people who make up my family. They are breathing simultaneously. I can feel each of their chests rise and fall.

When Eva was born I was anti bed-sharing. It is by accident that we are that granola family for this short chapter of our lives. But y’all, it is the most wonderful thing in the meantime, to be so well surrounded by my people. To not have to look far to know they are both safe and well.

This wont be for much longer, and I will miss it when it ends. What a priceless gem every new day is. Thank goodness for the small mercies God gives me every hour.

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Nursing to Sleep

IMG_6652IMG_6666IMG_6680IMG_6720IMG_6740IMG_6742IMG_6983IMG_6760IMG_6763IMG_6771IMG_6863Eva’s has a head full of short, dark, hair and two really long strands right on top. The long ones have been pronounced since she was about 4 weeks old and I can’t bring myself to cut or pluck them. They are hers and they’ll surely fall out eventually.

She’ll be twelve weeks old tomorrow. It has been a remarkable time, she and I, learning together.

In the mornings she typically crys until her dad comes to greet her. Then her shy smile appears as he speaks to her until she is all sunshine with no thought of the old wish to still be asleep. On this front I totally get her, my morning isn’t as good,either, until Lane says hello. Both of his girls will totally melt under his delighted attention.

Right now Eva is nursing to sleep while Lane stays up to pack for our big move on Friday. We are lucky girls to have such a man.

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Daddy’s girl

the other day Eva cried inconsolably for what felt like several hours but was probably 30 minutes. Lane and I did everything we could to no avail. We ended up playing hot potato, taking turns trying tricks that have worked in the past. On Lane’s turn I ran to the restroom and came out to a still house. Carefully, I walked to the den to find a little girl smiling at her daddy and totally enamored with the silly faces he was ¬†making. He’d worked some serious magic and she had totally turned around in minutes.

It’s really good to have Lane home and to see her delighted smile when she sees him unexpectedly. These two get along famously and it is so sweet to witness.


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