If you search for the word “sick” on this blog, here are a few of the results:
Enough already. I’m not going to talk about sickness or having fevers, even though that’s probably the thing I’ll remember most about this past month. Instead, I’m going to talk about my growing girl who does Tae Bo when I try to change her diaper, who loves when her daddy spins her around, and whose sleep habits are ruined because she keeps getting sick. I’m sorry, did I mention sickness? I won’t do that again. Not until the end anyway, because I think I’ve actually learned something from all this sickness.
Mary Virginia hasn’t been a newborn for a while, but I call her a newborn all the time. Maybe because I’m still tired and never shower. But this month even I can’t deny that she’s growing up. She’s better at cruising on furniture, she’s getting more hair, and her legs are starting to hang over her convertible car seat.
So, perhaps, I should start to get used to the fact that soon and very soon, my newborn baby girl will be a toddler.
(But not yet.)
That’s also, probably, why I’m so amazed at her opinion. Newborns don’t have opinions, Mary Virginia, so cut it out. Today I was tidying David’s room with Mary Virginia, and I put his shoes in his closet. She crawled over, and before she could get inside the closet, I shut the doors. Wow, that was not a popular move. She screamed and pulled at the doors until I picked her up and reminded her she was not yet legally allowed to have an opinion; the voting age is 18.
Mary Virginia spends all day crawling, standing, sneaking her brother’s toys, and saying “dadadada”. She says it so much that we’ve started calling her”dadada”. Come here, little dadada. Whatcha doin’, dadada?
Then we wonder why that’s all she says.
She’s also been cutting teeth. She has two bottom teeth, and the top two are almost all the way through. Good work, dadada.
Perhaps thanks to her teeth, Mary Virginia is eating much better. She eats big chunks of pear, chicken, slices of cheese, mango, and her favorite is black beans. I have to give them to her last because after she sees black beans, she swipes everything else off her tray and will eat NOTHING else.
She’s still working on form. For every fistful of food in her mouth, four fistfuls end up on the floor, in her lap, in her hair. Tom says watching her eat is like watching someone eat crab legs — so much work for such little food.
Now that she’s eating more table food, she only nurses three-four times a day. She nurses way more at night, though. A good night of sleep is the one thing we’re still waiting for. She takes two great naps every day, but she still wakes up roughly every three hours at night — as much as a newborn.
But she’s NOT a newborn, she’s 10 months old! We’re working on it. And, wow, does this girl have endurance. All the sleep books I’ve read say to start sleep training at night, because eventually they will sleep. Eventually they will become exhausted.
That thinking used to make sense to me, but Mary Virginia has no problem waking up and staying up for hours at a time.Maybe those sleep training books need a new chapter titled, “Mary Virginia”.
For 10 months I’ve marveled at Mary Virginia’s good temper. She’s such a happy girl. But I’m beginning to wonder if it’s because she’s spent her life neck-deep in toys. When David was her age, we had maybe three toys, and each toy spent most of its time in a decorative basket. That’s all changed. Now we have all the toys. If you went to the toy store this weekend and noticed it was empty, it’s because all the toys are at my house. We have trains and cars and blocks; stuffed animals and plastic animals; books and musical instruments.
Maybe that’s why she’s content all the time.
As content as she is, Mary Virginia is happiest when Mama is holding her. She want to be near me, pulling up on me, or monopolizing one or both of my arms.
I have a friend who has six kids, and I was telling her that Mary Virginia always wants to be held. The frustrating thing is that anytime she starts playing happily, David snatches her toy or bonks her in the head, and then she’s crying again.
My friend helped point out the obvious, “Um. No wonder she always wants to be with you.”
Dear Mary Virginia,
Do you want to hear a terrible secret? There have been times, in the middle of the night, when I’ve been so tired and it seems like the morning will never come, that I’ve thought, “Maybe this is bad enough that I’ll need to go to the hospital.” There are moments when the hospital seems like a good option, because there are medical professionals at the hospital who will take care of you. If someone else is taking care of you, then I can stop worrying and second-guessing. It seems like relief. I had the same thought when your brother was born. I called the lactation consultant for help, and when she told me everything sounded normal, part of me was disappointed. You see, nursing a baby is hard, and I wanted her to give me permission to stop. “You’ve done all you can, there’s nothing left to do but throw in the towel.”
Earlier this month when you had a fever, we called the 24-hour nurse line and she said, “Hold on. I need to call the on-call doctor to see if you need to go to the ER.” And do you know what I felt? Panic — the opposite of relief. I walked away from the phone and held you to my chest while your daddy talked to the doctor, because I wanted nothing to do with that.
I held you close for three days while your fever burned.
We watched cartoons and wore pajamas, and all the while friends and family checked in. They dropped off dinner, called and emailed. They offered to make a grocery store run or pick up prescriptions. They prayed for you. One friend took David for the entire morning. Another texted me all day and through the night to see how you were doing.
There’s this saying, it takes a village to raise a child. And it is so, so true. We are so blessed with fellowship and community, and we’re so thankful for our village.