In all of our excitement to welcome MooHoo and have a real live baby to hold and snuggle and admire, I think that sometimes Mike and I would forget that we would also get to enjoy getting to know a new person through this parenting adventure. Even at (almost) 6 weeks old, Natalie has her own personality, habits, likes, and dislikes. We are far from a true “routine,” but there are lots of things about her that we have come to expect from and recognize in her. Here are a few of the things we have learned about our baby girl:
– She loves all kinds of physical touch, from baby massage to tickling my hair against her cheeks to the feel of the water in her bath
– She’s kinda demanding… if she is unhappy, or wants something, she is going to let you know as loudly and emphatically as she knows how. Something simple like just wanting to change positions from being cradled to being propped up on a shoulder will send her into an open-mouthed, bright red fit of crying until she is satisfied
– White noise is pretty much her favorite thing; the vaccuum is her best friend at this point, followed closely by the dryer, static on the radio, and the heartbeat murmurs in her snuggle nest. Mike and I now have a hard time falling asleep ourselves without one of those sounds lulling us off to dreamland.
– Her one self-soothing skill at this point is to clench her fists and push her thumb through her other fingers. During her ultrasounds we always saw her fists clenched, and she came out into the world with red, raw, blistery patches on her thumbs from rubbing them against her other fingers while in utero. In the outside world, she still feels comforted when she squeezes her thumbs like that. The picture below (while a little dated now), shows her doing this during one of her naps.
– Like most babies, Natalie is the fussiest in the late afternoon and evening. Almost every day there is a point at which she cannot be consoled by the usual tricks (diaper change! feeding! swing! vaccuum! sucking on our pinkies!), and we just have to hold her and let her feel a little sad and screechy until she is over it. Here’s a picture of Mike that I think captures how we feel during these moments:
– She HATES falling asleep now. Hates it. Will fight it at all costs. We’ve read that as babies become more alert and responsive they will fight sleep because they would so much rather be looking around and learning and interacting, which seemed funny to us at the time. Now, it is less funny and more a nightmarish reality of our lives. Natalie will literally have sequential yawns as big as her face, be rubbing at her eyes, crying with exhaustion, but will desperately squint her eyes to keep them open and look around, trying to punch at objects and force herself to stay awake. (As a side note, Mike and I think she gets this habit from her Uncle Harper. Anyone who spent a late night with him before he finally bought a new pair of glasses has the perfect visual of what our little Natalie looks like as she fights to see everything around her while her eyes burn with exhaustion. Sorry, Harper, but it’s true.)
– Mornings are the absolute best time of my day now that Natalie is here. I have never really considered myself a morning person, but spending time with baby girl has changed that quite a bit. She is so fun and playful in the morning after a good night’s sleep (“good night’s sleep” is a relative term, here), and that is the only time of day we have managed to elicit some smiles from her. See below:
– She finally seems to be showing some love of music. I think she’d rather just listen to the vaccuum all day, but at last she has started responding and wiggling to different songs that we play around the house. Her particular favorite, thanks to me leaving music videos on in the morning, has become Justin Beiber’s “Baby.” The kid seriously has Beiber Fever. I think she imagines that the song is about her. Need proof? Check out her wiggly happiness in video. This clip doesn’t actually do full justice to how much she loves to dance to this tune, but it will give you an idea.
We’re looking forward to continuing to get to know our girl, who surprises us every day and becomes more of her own little expressive person nearly every minute.