Eve at (almost) 4 months

Dear sisters, It’s the dead of winter. There’s so much snow, temps are frigid and the drain hose on our washing machine keeps freezing, making it impossible to do laundry until the space heater thaws it back out again. The laundry piles up. The house is dirty. My car is filthy, but am I going to clean it when it’s 5 degrees out? I am stuck inside with kids, or stuck inside at work most days. The skin on my hands peels and cracks, no matter how much lotion or coconut oil I rub into it. I feel stale and grumpy and tired. I hear Dar Williams singing, can we live through February? So I remind myself of all the good in my life. Cross-country skiing in snowy woods helps me like winter. You get your body moving and the cold is brisk and invigorating. We are reading Laura Ingalls Wilder’s The Long Winter to Miriam at night, and I am so grateful that I do not spend my days grinding wheat so I can have bread to eat and twisting hay so I can have heat. We have heat automatically, I just plug in a space heater or turn up the furnace if I want. I have pork roast and brownies and wine. But those are fleeting joys. I also have the joy of my children, which is infectious and renewable. Having a baby in the house is constant entertainment. Eve is such a delight, she brings us all so much happiness every day. So, here’s your bleak midwinter pick-me-up.

chins!
chins!

Last week I got out the nice camera and did a photoshoot on our bed with the girls. It was Miriam’s last day of winter break. I put up the shades in our bedroom and the daylight reflected off all the snow to give me some good natural light which is usually hard to find in this dark house. I don’t have the amazing photography skills of my husband or Bradley, but I can do a few simple things. I put on the portrait lens, get close to a window and start shooting. Eve’s first few months are not as well documented as her sister’s (neglected second child!). I used to make a new album for every month of Miriam’s life, isn’t that amazing? I guess working three days a week and only having one kid did give me a lot of free time. This little photoshoot is one step towards better documentation of Eve’s babyhood.

inherbouncyseat
where she spends a lot of time, in her bouncy seat

fists So let me tell you about Eve at (almost) 4 months. She coos so beautifully. She loves to communicate! She is so interested in watching our mouths move and trying to imitate the movement and sound. She is starting to reach for toys and can grab on to a ring and wave it around for a bit. She is playing with her hands a lot, putting them together, sucking on her fists, and still trying to suck her thumb. She grabs her blankets and twists them in her hands, and sometimes covers herself up. She seems close to rolling over when she is on the floor–she lifts her legs and rolls her hips to the side, but can’t get her upper body to follow yet. She loves to be held in a standing position, or to sit propped up. When she’s laying down she tries to get her head up so she can look around more. She really does not like tummy time because her visual field is so much more limited when she’s on her belly. We should do a better job of giving her more tummy time so she can practice holding her head up for longer periods of time.

onherbelly
a rare peaceful moment on her belly
baby power!
baby power!

Oh, oh, and she sleeps through the night! No one is more surprised about this than me. It seems that some babies just do this. She picked up on my natural rhythm quickly. I take her to bed, nurse her laying down with the lights off, put her on her mattress next to our bed, and she gets it. Night is for sleeping. A few nights ago she slept from 9:30 pm to 6 am, when I woke her to nurse. I am stunned, and grateful. We sleep trained Miriam at 17 months (after she had ear tubes put in) and only then did I get a good night’s sleep. I feel mostly good these days, able to function at work, able to give of myself at home, because I am rested. Wow. I know this may not last, but for now, it’s wonderful.

eve1
her cooing face

The photoshoot yielded a few great shots of Miriam too. This one, she is also growing fast, and I get little glimpses of her grown-up beauty in these pictures. I am reading Raising Your Spirited Child and learning a lot about better ways to interact with my headstrong girl. She and I, we are cut from the same cloth, and we can get into some epic battles of will. It seems that I am a spirited parent! So, we are not the greatest match for each other. I am learning as I go. You guys, this is hard work. Sometimes it’s so relaxing to just be with my baby, instead of all the complicated emotions involved with my 5 year old. Miriam also wants to cuddle with me more, since she sees me nursing Eve all the time, and it’s hard to have a gangly 5 year old on my lap. She inevitably elbows me or knees me and it ends badly. But, as she grows, I am enjoying her developing mind, her energy, and the big questions she asks. happymiriam I got a few good shots of the girls together. This is, of course, hard to do, as neither of them listen well when I ask them to look at me and smile. But the candids turned out pretty well anyway.

lovesherbaby
she loves that baby
the two of them
the two of them

These midwinter days, we get a lot of quality time together. We are looking forward to spring, which will feel so good after this long, cold winter. Miriam is excited for a garden. Eve will be learning about green things for the first time! All she has known so far of the outside world is cold and snow. The world has so many wonders you have yet to see, Eve. I’m so glad I get to be there to show them to you. Much love, Rachel

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4 thoughts on “Eve at (almost) 4 months

  1. My favorite one is the one with her mouth to the side and the little fists! Oh, and have you ever tried Kiss My Face olive and aloe lotion? It’s much stronger than other lotions– my feet haven’t even cracked this winter yet! (Not that it’s over. Tom just shaved his beard because he is under some sort of delusion that spring is coming soon.)

  2. Karen, I always like to hear about good lotion! I think the problem is that I wash my hands constantly, I am always changing diapers, wiping up spills, cooking, etc, so the lotion doesn’t stay on my hands long enough. I have been thinking about trying that glove/hand lotion thing at night. My poor hands need to be immersed in lotion !

  3. I loved it, Rachel!! I remember how relieved I was when my oldest went off to kindergarten and I could have time alone with the baby. That was at about this time in your life….when my baby was 4 months old, but I was not working full time like you.

    I know you don’t need any bad news right now, but there will probably come a time (pre-teen or teen) when you will say, “I wish Miriam would be five and be wanting to sit on my lap and snuggle and have me read her a book again.” Ha ha!!

    I understand what you mean about it being hard work. We never dreamed it would be this hard, and some kids are just harder than others. You will find your way….and you will do a splendid job of it. Thank God for fathers, too, and for books!! Remember that, although you can snuggle with your baby and hold her for hours if you want to, your bright one is full of energy, and you can fill up her “love tank” with a just a few minutes of snuggling or a hug–just be sure to do it more often in the day. I had one that didn’t want to be touched. She never wanted a hug or a kiss or anything. At some point, perhaps 8 or 9, we figured out that she liked it when I rubbed her back, and she would start asking for a back rub. I was so grateful to be able to touch her without her fussing about it. She still asks for backrubs and now she likes to give me a kiss and always says “I love you, Mom” before she goes to school in the morning. With every child you have learn what works, and it isn’t always what you want. That’s part of the sacrifice of motherhood. It’s not about being the kind of mother that you always wanted to be, but rather, being the kind of mother that your child needs for you to be….whether stricter, or gentler, more patient, or more commanding, more hands-on or more hands-off etc. The answer is always love…that your child knows that she is loved and that your child sees your love for God, your love for your husband, your love for the baby, and your love for her. This will be a great learning experience for her–having to share your time and your love and one day she will be very grateful that you gave her a sister to go through life with.  

  4. I enjoy your writing and love hearing your thoughts about family and parenthood. I find Eve’s cooing face oh so very adorable. I am so glad that you are getting enough sleep and enjoying your family so much.

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