leah's five month letter

Dear Leah,
Tomorrow you will be five months old. Tonight I swaddled you in a size two diaper for the first time. You're little body is a mere 12.5 pounds. You are full of sweet personality. You squeal and growl with gusto. Your big sister makes you smile and stare. She enjoys talking to you. When you get upset she mimicks mommy's sing-songy voice by saying "Toe-Tay Leah." ("It's okay Leah.") Melody also enjoys sharing her toys with you. Sometimes I glance your way and discover a ball or teddy bear nestled next to your head as you sit contentedly in your swing. You should know that these toys are your sister's favorites and she delights in giving them to you.

You still sleep with mommy and daddy at night. We didn't expect to have you in the bed with us for so long, but night time is when you do most of your nursing. During the day we give you two or three bottles of formula to help you grow. I fear you will stop nursing sooner if we stop co-sleeping at night, so in our bed you stay. Last night I had trouble falling asleep. I rested on my side and stared at your beautiful sleeping face. Your flawless skin is softer than possible. When I touch your face, my senses can barely comprehend that anything is there.

I often wear you in a sling during the day. Sometimes you fall asleep on me as I move around the house to cook and clean. Today the four of us went for a walk on the land. It was a damp, cool day and you nestled close to my chest as we walked. Melody walked between mommy and daddy and said "Good girl, Chad" to daddy when he cut down a branch on the trail. By the time we got back to the house, you were sleeping soundly next to my heart. I took a deep breath and felt so lucky to have you in my arms.




Last week I stumbled upon a local toy store that is going out of business. I felt sad for the owners, who wore defeated expressions. At the same time, I was thrilled to find shelves full of merchandise marked 50% off. I spent $60 and walked out with three bags full of goodies for the girls. The loot included, Melissa & Doug art supplies*, large white easel paper rolls, a genuine purple playground ball, wooden beads, wooden puzzles, wooden sewing templates, 100 colorful blocks, and a few other things.

I'm the most excited about the art supplies. They include finger paint, crayons, stamps, ink pads, and paper. Within a couple days of the purchases I lured Melody to the kitchen table with the promise of something new to play with. Her eyes danced with excitement as she climbed into the booster seat and saw the plastic container of bright crayons for the first time. I taped a 3 foot section of the thick white easel paper to the area of table within her reach and let her loose. She scribbled back and forth with yelps of glee, saying the colors as fast as she could, "Purple! Yellow! Red...!"

I felt a surge of pride as I watched her play. Memories of my own childhood rushed through my senses. As a child I spent hours knealing at the coffee table coloring. I'd beg my parents to color with me. My dad gave in often. I remember squirming with delight as he joined me on the floor beside the coffee table. He would color one page and say, "Okay. That's enough for me." The minutes of joined coloring would be over in a flash. In later years I'd lament about how he didn't color wtih me for long enough. My mom informed me that he actually colored with me for long amounts of time. I believe her because to this day, when I sit down to do anything creative (especially involving color), the clock stops and I can work for hours without realizing it. In fact, a few weeks ago I saw down at my laptop to do some work. In my hand was a piece of Dove dark chocolate. I absent-mindedly set it down next to the computer. TWO HOURS LATER I looked down and it was still sitting there, untouched. But back to Melody...

For the past few days we've been coloring together. I say, "Do you want me to make a polka dot?"

She responds, "Okay. Red."

"Here you go. Here's a red polka dot for Melody!"

"Nice. I like it! Again. Blue!"

After a section of multi-colored polka dots forms, I say, "How about a triangle?" and we proceed. Soon the table top is covered with shapes, fruit, trees, rainbows, hearts, numbers, letters, and other elementary items. I look at the clock and realize that 45 minutes has passed in a flash. Some things never change. I hope in the years to come she and Leah enjoy art as much as I do.

* By the way, I love crayons by the Melissa & Doug brand. They are great for kids for a few reasons. They are triangular which means they do not roll all over the place. Also, they are not covered in paper so no peeling is necessary. And finally, they are much stronger than typical crayons which means they don't break all the time. I love them!


fun days & hard days

Melody is sick again. She has rubbed her nose/face raw due to a runny/itchy nose. She whines, "Nose hurts." about a million times a day. Sometimes she asks me to kiss it. She is in the stage where kissing things makes them 'better.' It's tricky to kiss a crusty nose without gagging. I try.

Last week we had two wonderful days in a row. Melody played with her toys, sang to Leah, helped me with chores and was in a delightful mood all day long. Leah is in the fun four month old mode. She coos and squirms but does not roll over yet. She loves her swing and bouncy seat. She laughs and squeals nonstop. In the midst of those happy days I felt like I could have many more children. Things were glowy.

Then Melody developed her 4th cold of the season. In a matter of 12 hours she was whiny, crying, touchy, needy, upset, inconsolable and difficult. She does not eat or sleep or play. She just wants to be held. It's hard to hold a two year old all day long when you have a four month old. All of the sudden, the idea of MORE kids is crazy!

The upside to everything is the weather. It's been like California weather here. We spent a few hours at the park today. Leah and I have pink cheeks from the sunshine. I will have to be very careful with her milky white skin. It will not handle the sun the same way Melody's golden skin does. Leah has my fair complextion.