This was a very exciting month, it being your first Christmas and all. So, let's start there...
Hi, little bean. I haven’t written in a whole week! We’ve been very busy with Christmas to-dos. Not that we’re really going anywhere besides the Wolff house, doctor’s appointments, curbside grocery pickup, and the very occasional braving of actual stores – namely the pharmacy for Christmas must-haves and the wine store. But we’ve been very busy elves, your Papa and I. You’ve also been a busy elf.
You’re talking so much more - there’s so much you want to say! You often kick your legs when trying to get sounds out, as if you have to exert all energy possible. You get all excited when we smile and talk to you, kicking more, waving your arms, and breathing faster in the cutest little breathy puffs.
Your rolls are growing, layer by layer. Your wrist looks like it has a rubber band around it, and I have to dig even more to access dried spit up in your neck. It’s like a seven-layer cake dig.
You’re liking your play mat more, so wide-eyed looking at all of your hanging animal friends, reaching your arms out spastically and, if you’re lucky, grabbing the wooden ring.
We went to the baby chiropractor again, and she said that you have less body tension and neck stiffness. Huzzah! You still favor looking to your left, but you’re – little by little – more open to shifting when we try to adjust you. Your Papa discovered something helpful last night: if he puts his hand to your left, you turn to the right! I guess his hand is pretty boring to look at. Hey, whatever works!
The chiropractor is fascinating, at least to your Mama. For example, she told me that the way you “stand” when we hold you up and put your feet on a surface is actually a “stepping reflex” that you used during birth! It will disappear soon.
Crazy, right?! Also, fun fact: in some countries (obviously not the U.S., as we’re not evolved enough for approaches like this), if the baby is born via a C-section, they slather the infant in oil and massage the body from head to feet to simulate moving down the birth canal! Wow. (I just looked it up, and it can help reduce colic and breathing issues. The contractions down the birth canal helps remove excess fluid from the lungs and helps them breathe effectively!)
However, my favorite learning moment of the session was the foot reflex. If I stroke the sole of your foot, your toes spread open. Then, if I place my finger under your toes, they curl! It’s the cutest freaking thing, I can barely stand it. Based on reflexology, your toes and foot correspond to your head and neck, so doing that helps release tension there. That’s one exercise I can do all day long.
You were reunited with your Zia Leah a few days ago! She hadn’t seen you since the week you were born. How much you’ve changed since then. The look on her face when she walked in the door of the Wolff house after seeing our car (surprise!) in the driveway because we just couldn’t wait to see her...I will never forget that. “It’s too much! I’m overwhelmed!” she exclaimed, fanning her teary eyes. She only had eyes for you, walked right over and gave you the biggest smile, talking to you like you were the only two in the room, her fingers tip-tap dancing on your swaddle.
It’s a Christmas MIRACLE! You were a bit off this morning – fussier than normal and very tired. So, we tried the swing and...the pacifier. Suffice it to say, you have not been a fan of that thus far. It works for a hot second, but it never stays in your mouth, and you soon lose interest. However, this morning, you took to it immediately, and it stayed in long enough for a 40-minute nap. I was absolutely floored.
These are the small victories that make everything better. Even though they’re already pretty darn incredible.
Also – the way you smile toward the side of your cheek that I kiss? Too much to handle.
Hello, sweet thing. Goodness, so much to report – where to begin?!
Well, you made it through your first Wolff Christmas like a champ. Did you know that this year was the first year I didn’t sleep at the Wolff house on Christmas Eve?! True story. Isn’t that crazy? I’ve been there every single year for all 36 of my years. It felt oddly not that strange. Our apartment is quite festive – our three stockings hanging among lights and garland on the stair railing, twinkly fairy and icicle lights around the three big windows, our tree, the advent calendar made by your Mema, holiday cards hanging by a green ribbon on either side of the closet door, the most festive table I’ve ever had – a new red and white snowflake runner, candles, cotton branches in a vase, and even a red scripted “merry” that I bought at the pharmacy – plus little trinkets here and there...I did all that I could to Christmasify our little home in a classy-simple-country way. No kitsch here, baby! All this to say: it felt normal to come home on Christmas Eve with our presents to place under the tree and in stockings, then pack up again on Christmas morning to head back.
We made it back at 9:30 am and opened presents until around 2 pm. Pretty standard timeframe for us, even though, as we have for the past five or so years, we tried to “keep it simple this year.” Ha. We just can’t help ourselves. We’re not really a one-gift family. No, we relish wrapping small things like books and candles and gourmet food items, along with 1-2 bigger presents for each person. We got your Pops a telescope, and he was like the kid in A Christmas Story: “Oh, wow! Wow!” It was the cutest thing. That and the way he looked at your Mema and said, “No. It’s not.” when she exclaimed that the gift certificate he got her to a local shop, Sundrees, was, “Way too much.” How he cherishes her.
It’s really one of my favorite parts about Christmas – watching your Pops watch your Mema open a gift from him. You can see his heart pouring across the room to her, filling the space around all of us. It’s absolutely incredible. You are so lucky to be born into a family with such love. We’re all friends, we goof around, we’re 100% completely ourselves, and we all appreciate the smallest of the small.
But I digress. Back to you! You just sat there, watching, sleeping, or eating contentedly. I’m sure it was sensory overload, but you seemed to know how special it all was. Pops gave you a metal plate made by your great-grandfather about 100 years ago, and he carved you the tiniest wooden feeding spoon. He said, “I kept thinking about her mouth and making it smaller and smaller…” You do have the tiniest bird mouth. Mema made you leather moccasins, and Zia Leah did her first cross-stitch for you: a blue Mama and baby whale. Those were just some highlights.
Welcome to Christmas, my sweet. Our first Christmas with you! Everyone was beyond-the-moon elated, of course. What a magical season to begin with – and you to boot?! Too much joy to contain.
Someone asked me if we had any traditions with you yet, as a new little family. We might have to watch Elf on Christmas Eve, as we did this year – you, me, and Zia Leah. You actually appeared to be watching and enjoying parts of it. That’s my girl! You also fell asleep in her arms sucking on your pacifier – another first! You sleep so well in her arms. Yesterday you slept there for two hours! Unreal.
Christmas afternoon, Zia Leah couldn’t wait any longer and dressed you in your Christmas finery: a sparkly velvet dress with faux fur trimming, black thigh-highs with bows, and your red patent leather shoes. I bought the dress a month ago and, until last week, was worried that it might be too big for you. HA! We had to stuff you into it like a little sausage. You were a good sport, and it was worth the fuss for those few photos. Don’t worry: you’ll never have to wear that again.
After Christmas dinner, we connected virtually with Mema’s family, and you sat on our laps, happy as a clam for most of the call! Pretty hilarious how into it you were. Such a social being you are! You love to be surrounded by us, our voices, the music, the energy. It’s a comfort to you. How amazing that we were truly your “pod” throughout most of your time in my belly. You knew our voices – mine, Papa’s, Mema’s, Pops’, and Zia Leah’s – more than anyone else’s. And now we’re all together in this crazy outside world.
It was the perfect first Christmas, as strange as it was without our other gatherings. After all, you’re so little. So, you got an introduction to the festivities. Next year, I hope you get the whole shebang. I hope we all do.
So many Christmas miracles, but you top the charts by leaps and bounds.
Let’s see...what else has been going on? Well, we basically spent the past month getting ready for Christmas – hence the lack of letters so far this month. I filled spaces throughout the day planning and prepping and wrapping and decorating and, yes, fitting in as many holiday movies as possible. This is how we do it in Elf Land, my little elf. I can’t wait to celebrate elf culture with you when you’re old enough to appreciate it.
This year is also momentous because it’s a Great Conjunction – Jupiter and Saturn the closest they’ve been since 1623 and the closest observable since 1226! The winter solstice is always a time of new beginnings, my love, but these two planets met in an air sign of the Zodiac – Aquarius! Your Mama’s sign! It marks a move away from Earth sign materialism and toward air sign social change and humanitarianism. In short, for the umpteenth reason, you chose a most beautiful time to be born, Lulu. You’re also an air sign – Libra! See? It’s all perfectly aligned. This is our time!
In other news, you’ve been sleeping through the night for the past few weeks! First 12-4:30, then gradually 11-4:30 or 5:30 or even 6, one night 12-7, and the past few nights 10ish-5ish. Last night you slept from 9:30-5:30! WHAT?! Apparently, it’s not unheard of. It’s even normal-ish. Still, we think you’re a Superbaby. Evenings still feel long when you’re awake the whole time – especially to your Papa – but we’re moving somewhere. Every month feels a little easier as I acclimate to the instability, as you find your groove, and as your Papa learns that, well, it will be unstable for...the rest of our lives, ha ha!
Feeding is also finding its groove overall. We’re alternating boobs and bottles of breastmilk/pumping to give your Mama’s continually sore boobs a break. It is what it is, and the pain might not go away. But it’s manageable this way, and I still get to nurse you, which is a special bond that I’m so thankful to have. I don’t need to do it for years – maybe just about six months. That would be enough time for me, for you, for us.
You’re officially in size 2 diapers! Growing like a weed. Every week, I have to toss aside clothes that you barely fit in. We’re solidly in 3-6 month clothes now, and I don’t foresee you lasting very long in those. Whew!
In the meantime, we’ll keep trying new things, finding our way together on this whirlwind of an adventure.
You love to sleep on your Zia Leah. You’ve taken multiple two-hours naps on her chest, and you slept on her for all three naps yesterday afternoon/evening. It’s the sweetest thing. You must know how close we are and that she’s safe and full of love – without the tantalizing sensory experience of my smell, my voice...in other words, your milk machine! How we will miss her when she leaves tomorrow, counting down the days until her next visit.
You do this new thing on my shoulder when you’re tired – grunting and pushing your feet into my legs relentlessly, fighting sleep like a mortal enemy. I let you tough it out, hoping you’ll wear yourself out. Sometimes you get close enough to put in your crib, where you tend to fight it until I finally put you in the swing, which sometimes puts you to sleep. It’s like baby sleep circuit training.
You love to be naked! You grew fussy last night after sitting with Pops at the dinner table for a while. He sat you right on the table, kind of shlumped over, your head bobbing around. It was hilarious. Mema and Zia Leah brought you to the changing table. As soon as you were on your back with your clothes off, your limbs went wild. You got so excited! Flailing around, wide-eyed, doing your excited quick breathing. Freedom!! So funny.
We put you on our card table yesterday afternoon and rotated you like a Lazy Susan to focus on one person at a time. What a great party trick.
Later that afternoon, I was folding baby clothes and suddenly paused to take it in. It shifted from being just another task to being folding my baby girl’s clothes. I’ve watched so many movies about mamas and mamas-to-be folding baby clothes and sighed with expectation. “Someday…” And now, here I am, folding your clothes. Moments of presence hit me like that throughout the day, and I’m trying to focus more on just being present with you instead of thinking about what I need to do during your next nap. I wish I was able to just hold you all day long, during the entirety of every nap, but I’m just not built that way! I can’t help it. I get that from your Mema, I guess, who is constantly hustling around during every visit.
But I’m always here, my love. Always with you 100% when you’re awake and thinking about you when you sleep. I don’t mind getting up in the wee hours of the morning with you, because I can’t wait to see you. And greeting you after that first morning nap as we move into the new day together is the highlight of my day.
My love for you continues to grow. Today I successfully trimmed all fingernails on your right hand and then must have pinched your right thumb. You burst into tears – and, yes, you have a few tears starting now. I scooped you up and tried to transfer every drop of love in my entire being to comfort you.
I can’t stop kissing you. It’s becoming more urgent now, the need to kiss you constantly, to hold your perfect little round face between my hands. It has never been so hard to say goodnight to you as it was last night. You’re just so freaking adorable.
When I kissed you as you slept on my chest early this morning, post-feed, you smiled in your sleep. I kissed you again, and you smiled again. And again. Another “first.”
So many firsts. You held my hand in the car on the way home two nights ago for the first time. I reached over in the dark and found your soft pudgy hand under your blanket, and you wrapped your tiny fist wrapped around my two fingers. You’re learning how to grasp things, and you’re starting with shirts and hands – it’s adorable.
Last night I dreamed that I said, “Mama” to you and you repeated back “Momo.” Or “Moma”? So cultured already.
You must have inherited your Papa’s ability to raise one eyebrow. It’s the funniest thing I’ve ever seen.
You seem to be entering a new crying phase. I can’t quite explain how it’s different. Every so often, you erupt in a cry that’s a little less squawk, a little more, well, baby (?) Your lower lip quivers, and you even have some tears starting. It pulls at my heart more than it used to, I think.
You also smile more and more, and your smiles get bigger and bigger. Yesterday morning, I peeked in our bedroom to check on you during your morning nap and saw an empty bassinet! I forgot that I put you on the bed, as I sometimes do when you rustle during that first morning nap. It always puts you right back to sleep, like magic. Sometimes we lay next to you, but sometimes I place you next to your sleeping Papa until he gets up and you keep on sleeping. Anyway, yesterday morning I looked at you lying on the bed, wide-eyed. I greeted you with my very happy, “Good morning!” You craned your neck over your left shoulder to find me. I walked around so that I was sitting in front of you, and your face broke into the widest smile I’d ever seen on your face. I swear it took up half your face – and your mouth is pretty tiny!
We made it through 2020, together. You were with us for nearly all of it. Thank you for that.