Dear Kirsten Grace,
It has been one month since we met face to face, and what a life changing introduction it has been. In many ways, our lives are completely different and can never look the same again. But in a mysterious work of the Divine, you fit so flawlessly into our family it’s hard to notice those differences. We feel like we’ve known you forever and can’t imagine life without you.
On Friday (January 22), you seemed to have a dramatic growth spurt. Gramma Fish was visiting and she commented on the way you were both soothing yourself and focusing your eyes for the first time. Later that day you came with us on an epic Salvation Army excursion. (Seriously, we were there forever and had great success). I had to take you to the car to nurse you and after you had been fed, burped and changed you wouldn’t stop crying. I tried swaddling you and I tried wearing you in the K’tan but you hated everything all of a sudden. Plus, you seemed super long in the K’tan. Did you seriously grow inches a day?! As I was beginning to see my wits end, I laid you on my lap and you stopped crying. You just wanted to look around and see the world. This was a major first for you. You were noticing things and wanted to participate. I told your gramma that she might be right – we need to bring along an interactive toy for you already! What in the?!
As Gramma carried you around the store while your Mama hunted for new (to her) clothes, you just wanted to look out, locking your eyes on the newness. This is such a quick change in your development and so much fun. When we got home to your daddy, you were crying in your swing which was unusual. He laid you on his lap and you were fixated, instantly content by hearing his voice and looking at his face. He spent the next hour or so interacting with you on our bed, singing Veggie Tales songs and tickling your tummy. You’re not quite to the point of responses, but you were very engaged. Suddenly we realized that we’re quickly entering the world of interaction with our child. So exciting!
We spent the first two weeks figuring out how to take care of you and how to take care of ourselves. Your daddy and I worked together surprisingly well in those early days, subconsciously realizing we absolutely needed to be on a team. Together we learned how to change your diaper and how ironic it is always your mama who ends up being the recipient of the spraying pee or exploding poop or leaking diapers. Super fun, thanks. (Most of the time I just laugh, though.) We have had fun watching your involuntary expressions, learning what your cries sound like, and listening to your little adorable grunts as your pooping. Yes, we think that’s cute. (And for the record, the “uhhh wah, uhhh wahh” cry is when you’re hungry. The shrieking scream and expression of pain means you’ve got some serious gas.)
We gave you many sponge baths and were quickly thankful for the overhead heater in our bathroom. You love to be warm almost as much as you love to be fed. However, let it be known that you are a little furnace just like your mom. I often over do it with the blankets or layers and you end up sweating like you’ve been working out. Speaking of working out, mama had you home alone Thursday morning so daddy wasn’t around to watch you while I exercised. I took you with me to the carpeted basement, turned a heater in the direction of your bouncy seat and had at it. Part way through I realized what an early example I was setting for you. I am so glad to teach you that taking care of your body is important. And maybe someday you’ll want to exercise with me!
Your umbilical cord stump fell off around day 12 and it was strangely bittersweet for me. Throwing away that last little reminder of our intimate, womb connection was a bit sad. But it also meant you were safe and in my arms and here to stay. We gave you your first bath on January 14 and I’m not gonna lie I was kind of afraid. I was afraid you would hate it and scream, and I was afraid of dropping you or hurting your slippery self by accident. I was pleasantly surprised (actually, I was ecstatic) when you absolutely loved your bath! It was like a baby spa for you. You relaxed into that warm water (which daddy drew at the perfect temperature) and let us pour water over your hair and lather soap all over. You were so content and your face told us you were loving every minute. In fact, I hated taking you out. Since then, we’ve given you a few more tub baths and oftentimes have been taking you into the shower with us. Again, you surprised me by loving the shower, not the least bit upset as the water streamed down your head or even splashed in your face. Adorable. We have decided that a Y membership and family swims are in our near future.
Although most people think you look just like your daddy (which I can agree with), I see a lot of my mannerisms in you. Your little tongue hangs out of your mouth most of the time, just like mine did as a baby. (I have already apologized to you if I’ve passed on my tongue thrust and lisp. Also, I drool a lot even now. Sorry about that.) You are very predictable in your daily routine, just like your plan-loving mother. You seem to love physical touch and closeness, quickly becoming content if I curl up next to you. I hope you always love to snuggle me. Your big toe curls up like a little elf toe just like mine. I’m especially in love with that feature for some reason.
Random bonus material:
Right now your eyes are a beautiful dark blue and I’m wondering what color they will settle on.
You’re still wearing newborn clothes, though we can fit you into some 0-3 months clothes as well.
You love movement: in the swing, in the bouncer, in the car, in the stroller. Always keep moving.
I love that you haven’t lost any of your rather thick hair. (The same head of hair that made me shout during a moment of pushing desperation, “Can’t you just grab her by the hair and pull her out?!”
You seem to enjoy moderate amounts of tummy time, whether on my lap or my shoulder or the bed.
Your neck is already gaining a lot of strength, holding up your head with regularity.
Places you have been in your first month:
Monroe Free Methodist Church – as early 4 days old, going with mama to do some office work. You were in church for the first time Sunday, January 3rd and stayed in the nursery without mom or dad on January 17th (Aunt Cathy Brownell and Amanda Loomis were there with you.)
Grandma & Grandpa Eccles house – for your newborn photo session with Sara Luke on January 2nd.
JRs restaurant in Milan – for Grandpa Eccles’ birthday dinner on January 10th.
Josh & Amanda Kraus’s house – just for fun on January 15th (you blew out your diaper on my lap and we had to take you home naked. I am so sorry.)
Somerset Beach Campground – for WMI craft & chat and a visit with Caitlin Koppelman and Baby Shiloh on January 16th.
The Henry Ford Museum – with Grandma and Grandpa Eccles, Uncle Brian, Beth and Sam on Martin Luther King Jr Day January 18th.
plus…Mama’s Chiropractor appointment (where you screamed for an hour), Mom’s 4 week follow up appointment with Cathy, and your 10 day visit with Dr. Aza. Also, Meijer & Aldi and the mall and Salvation Army and Panera Bread, and Agora Chorale.
You’ve had lots of visitors at the house too. There are so many more friends & family who are dying to meet you…if only we didn’t live far away.
Grandma & Grandpa Fish
Grandma & Grandpa Eccles
Aunt Ashley & Uncle Randy Long
Great Grams & Chuck Simmons
Great Grandma & Grandpa Arvidson
Kellyanne & Dave Morgan
Cathy & Michaela Brownell
Kyle & Amanda Loomis
Nancy & Mike Liedel
Brittney & Shane Everett
Ruth & Jenna Tyson
Randi & Anastasia Shepherd
Cousins Scott & Ana Coulter
Taylor St. Andre
At your 30 day check up with Dr. Aza Khaghany we were thrilled with your growth and health. You weighed 9 pounds (up from 7lbs at birth!) and gained an inch and a quarter in length (20-3/4 inches). The abrasion on the back of your head (from being wedged in my pelvis…sorry) is all but completely healed. The doctor and nurse both loved how much you were filling out (don’t worry, we won’t comment on you “filling out” when you’re grown up!) and how you were following us with your eyes and being so happy and alert. You are doing wonderfully! Your next appointment is in one month and I’m already bracing myself for the emotional turmoil of immunizations.
So, sweet girl, let it be known that we are in love with you. There is nothing you could ever do that would make us love you less. (shout out to a Rob Bell Nooma video from a decade ago…) As you grow and learn and experience the world around you, may you continually encounter the grace and goodness of God.
All our love,
Mama & Daddy