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That’s How the Cookie (mmmm…cookie…) Crumbles!

February 27, 2012

Well, it’s been quite some time hasn’t it?

Our little Yena Bena is no longer 8 months old. Reading the last post gave me quite a shock. Was it only a little over 4 months ago that I wrote those words down for our little peach? I remember all those little described moments. And, at the same time, I don’t. Time is rushing on by and, as it does, it leaves behind a little magical dust – making each sweet memory all the sweeter and, yet, taking with it sharp clarity.

It’s funny, but I’m learning that motherhood (or parenthood) is such a dichotomy. I miss so much of those months gone by (I can’t believe I’m saying this but, yes, that includes some moments from the first 4 months of Yena’s life…colic aside needless to say) and yet every day I am entranced by how much Yena has grown, has learned, has mastered. Every day I am more in love with her and it takes quite a great deal of self discipline not to permanently attach her to my lips so I can kiss those chompy cheeks all day!

I am so thankful to feel this joy. They say you don’t really know until it passes, but I am pretty confident I can say now that I struggled with some post-partum following Yena’s birth. Looking back, I can still feel the weights that seemed to drag me down, sand bags tied to the end of my finger tips, my shoulders sagging under some unseen burden…it wasn’t even the exhaustion. The pure, physical, emotional, mental exhaustion. It was the inability to feel anything that led me to cry all those nights. To look around and to see this new chapter in your life spread beautifully before you…to know that each second was precious and would pass in the blink of an eye. And yet, to experience it all through a filmy glass of confusion. Where am I? Who am I? What is this? Why should I care? Why don’t I care more? Why do I care so much? All these questions endlessly roaring in my head, as I struggled to make it work. I am sure it would be surprising to many to hear me describe that time as an inability to feel. The tears that streamed so effortlessly from my face, my long-winded chatters, the incessant questions…I’m sure they all created a vision of an anxious new mother, something not uncommon to those who’ve experienced those long, early months.

And yes, I did care. I wanted the best for my daughter. But I wanted them for her because I knew that was what would be best for her, not necessarily because I wanted what was best for her. Does that make sense? At all? Probably not. But it’s true! I wanted to succeed at this parenting thing, because maybe if I became a world-class breastfeed-er, my baby would stop crying for hours upon hours. And maybe if I could get her to sleep, she would be happier. And maybe if I obsessed over her health, her weight, her jaundice, her whatever, I would understand what the heck was going on! Maybe I would stop feeling like I was lost forever. Like a character in a movie put on pause. Frozen.

I am writing this down for myself, but also for my daughter. My daughter who I love with every breath in my body, the light of my life and the apple of my eye. Yena Bena, you are my sweetness and I pray that the Lord may bless your life with goodness, peace, friendship, love, and all the joys known to mankind. But I also know that the Lord loves you more than your own mother’s heart can fathom (and that’s saying a lot!), and so He will allow certain hardships to enter into your life. To give you wisdom, to grow your empathy, to reveal to you your purpose. And when He does this, and when you walk through those valleys, I want you to remember that you are not alone. Life necessitates some deep valleys so that you can stand on the highest of peaks and truly value what that means. I still feel a dash of cold pass through my body when I remember those early months, but I am so thankful for them. Every minute of those struggles have now allowed me to soak in even more the preciousness of not only loving you so fully, but also having the ability to love you so fully. Post partum is not a choice. You were born to be loved and it was because you are you and the you you are is so absolutely amazing that God allowed me to wrestle with some very dark times. He knew that the love I have for you would be able to overcome anything. I would fight for you with every cell in my body. I always will.

And the greatest gift you have given me is to witness with my own eyes, the closest a human can ever come to experiencing God’s unconditional love. No matter what I do (take a toy away from you because it is dangerous, stop you from eating a hair tie, prevent you from opening a cabinet door behind which towers of glass plates lie), no matter how hard you throw your head back and yowl and shriek (you are still my screechy peachy after all), you. love. me. You. want. me. I. am. your. mother.

My precious, darling, sweet, kind, beautiful, wonderful, charming, talented daughter. Thank you for leading me here. Thank you for making me a mother. It has been the greatest adventure of my life, and I’m only a year in! How much change a year can bring. Today, you are still the vivacious little firecracker you were a year ago. But, you are also the happiest, funniest, smartest little girl, and you bless us every day with your laughter and smiles.

I started this whole post to jot down a few memories from the last 4 months, but, me being me, I ended up following an entirely different train of thought instead. But I do want to capture the ideas that initially led me back to this space before I stop for tonight. My darling girl, at 12 months and 3.5 weeks old (or…13 months old-ish) you:

* wear size 3 diapers (Pampers Swaddlers or Seventh Generation)

* sleep through the night usually from around 8:00pm-7:00am (with two naps during the daytime)

* your typical weekday looks like this:

– 7:00am – wake up, 8 oz bottle (we try not to give you a bottle until 7am on days you wake up a little earlier)

– 8:30am – drive to Cheryl’s

– 9:15am – breakfast (solids – usually yogurt, some type of bread, fruit)

– 10:30am – first nap (you usually nap for 2 hours, or else Cheryl will wake you up after 2 hours)

– 12:45pm – lunch (solids – pasta, broccoli, fruits, vegetables, cheese)

– 2:30pm – I pick you up from Cheryl’s

– 2:45pm – 8oz bottle in the car

– 3:15pm – second nap (you nap for a maximum of 1.5 hours, but usually wake up after 1.25 hours or so)

– 5:00pm – small snack

– 6:15pm – dinner (we try our best to eat as a family and I offer you whatever is lest from lunch, as well as a few other options)

– 7:30pm – 8oz bottle (usually you have a few ounces and then finish the rest before we brush your teeth)

– 8:00pm – Finish your bottle, brush your teeth, read your bedtime book, bedtime prayer with umma/abba, Amazing Grace bedtime song, go to sleep

*  You can say “hi”, “umma”, and “abba”

* You started crawling around 9 months old and you aren’t walking yet, but you are just starting to stand for a couple of seconds on your own

*  At your 1 year appointment, you were in the 15th percentile for weight, and you are still a very picky-eater (I don’t know where you get that from! You will learn that your dad and I LOVE to eat!). Your favorites are yogurt, cheese, and bread. You are also pretty good with broccoli. Everything else (literally) is a hit or miss and about 80% of anything we give for you to eat ends up on the floor or smushed all over your tray.

* You still love to suck your thumb and play with your hair (or my hair) when you are tired. You are still doing this to put yourself to sleep.

* When you play with the phone, you will put it to your ear and say “hi”. You will also hug your Jellycat in the cutest way, nuzzling it and tipping your head to one side.

* Last night, you woke up at 11pm crying and it took abba and I a little over an hour to get you back to sleep (abba held you first, then you cried after he put you down again, so mom gave it a try) – shockingly you didn’t wake up again. You are either teething (most likely), having stomach pains because you are very constipated (it’s true!), or have an ear infection. I am very strongly thinking it’s the teething though since you are eating even less than usual and are a non-stop drooler right now.

* You gave Mirabelle the sweetest hugs twice this weekend – maybe for M’s birthday!

There are so many more things I wanted to write, but of course they are escaping me now. I guess that’s an excuse for my to pop over here more often. I really wanted to post more regularly, but I’m finding that maybe I’m not a regular poster after all. But I tell myself that’s okay. I’m enjoying my time with you and hopefully you will always know that, whether you have a post to read about it or not. I pray every day that our relationship will always be one where you will know how very loved you are, and how you are my bright ray of sunshine.

Good night, my sweet daughter. Umma and Abba love you always and forever.

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