Dear Baby E,
Oh the joys you bring into our lives – the lives of your daddy, anna (अण्णा, big brother), and mommy! Since the day you were born, you have brightened our lives just a little more each day than the previous one. We thought there was something missing from our lives, that somehow despite all the craziness of life that we got hugged into, there was still a certain incompleteness to our existence. Then you came along and our lives feel complete. We thank you, your mommy and daddy, or amma and aanu (although, I don’t think your daddy ever wants you to call him that :)) for choosing us to be your parents.
We found out about you when we were visiting Grandma and Grandpa’s cottage in Canada. As your daddy and I slowly watched the two obvious lines turn pink, we quietly hugged each other. It was too soon to celebrate lest we jinx your existence and at least for a couple hours you were just our little divine secret. I felt your flutter and your soul. Too soon perhaps but I knew you. I knew the essence of you was already in there.
It was your anna who told everyone about you. Sort of. I borrowed your cousins’ markers and wrote the message on his onesie and then let him loose inside the house to see who would notice first. It was Uncle J who first figured out what was going on. He came over to mommy and gave me a biig warm hug congratulating me. Everybody was really, really excited for you, my dear, and for us. Your daddy and I were happy, excited, and nervous beyond words.
We had barely got the hang of this parenting thing, if even, and soon we would have you into our lives and laps. What were we getting into!?
We needn’t have worried.
Almost 10 months later, you literally popped out of mommy in less than 2 minutes of the doctor saying, “Push”. I had taken an epidural and someday I will tell you that, that was the best thing I did for both my deliveries. Even so, I felt you slide from within me. I felt you leave your warm and cozy home and emerge into the cold, bright, and harsh daylight of the outside world. Within two seconds, you were on me, right next to my heartbeat, looking up at me having already recognized my familiar voice and scent.
In the seconds leading up to your entry into our world, daddy and I looked at each other as if on cue. I saw tears in your daddy’s eyes for the very first time (he is probably going to deny this) and seeing him like that, brought tears into my own. You, my dear, dear child, are so loved.
Everyday since that day, you have made my life more memorable and adventurous while also making it infinitely more meaningful and exhilarating. Perhaps you are benefiting from an experienced second-time mom or maybe it is your innate nature, but I am certainly much calmer with you than I ever was or am with anna.
You were born knowing what to do and you prove/d this everyday as you transitioned effortlessly from swaddling to sleepsacks, from bassinet to Pack n Play, and from rolling over on each side to sitting up – your most recent accomplishment. You make it easy because you just take everything in your stride. With all the newness around you every single day, any lesser person would have given up and wanted back into the womb. Not you.
You are one determined young lady. You were not even a week old but you knew what you did and did not like. You definitely liked being held. You absolutely did not like the pacifier or formula. We bowed to your wishes, Miss President. We let you learn to self soothe at a very young age and I worked extra hard to make sure I had enough milk for you.
On that note, you have been breastfed in public more times and in more places than I can count. You have eaten while I sat in the median of a road in downtown San Jose where we all waited for the Independence Day Parade to begin (this is as public as it gets!), at the zoo and museum visits with anna, at playgrounds and parks, at beaches and farms, and at libraries and restaurants. It was you who gave me the confidence to feed you like that. When you need food, you need food. And mommy has had to comply, hesitatingly at first but more confidently and resolutely now.
You are also quite the traveler. In your young life so far, you have visited the Sai Baba Temple in town, visited our local zoo and museum countless number of times, gone on picnics to farms and park-lands, gone on multiple train rides when most kids don’t get even one until they are much older, sat on a carousel (on mommy’s lap), accompanied me on 99% of my shopping trips and to trips to drop and pick up anna from daycare and now early-preschool. You have also gone on hikes and Music Together classes. And these are just the things I remember.
Today at your routine doctor’s visit, the kind Dr. Y said that you were in the 95th percentile in social interaction. I am not sure they actually have percentiles for social skills or if Dr. Y was just being funny which he tends to be sometimes. Regardless, he didn’t tell me something we didn’t already know. We call you “happy baby” around our home. Did I already say how much you brighten up my/our day? Literally.
You are perceptive (I learned this today because within minutes of entering the examining room you knew what was coming and started making your adorable sad face with inverted lips, a reverse smiley face. When I sat you on my lap for the shots, you KNEW exactly what was going to happen.). You are receptive – you are a gregarious, friendly, and inquisitive child. I see it in the way you move your eyes and the way you move your head and in the way you reach for and grab things.
This was meant to be a short letter, but the conversation between a mother and a daughter is a never ending one and this letter is just a little snippet of what’s to come in our future. I envision us having many conversations over coffee or chai while dunking biscuits. Parle G or Marie, maybe. I’ll also enjoy Good Day, Hide n Seek, Tiger, and KrackJack and if I absolutely must, Monaco. Perhaps unhealthy, but I hope you get my love for biscuits. (Shh..daddy doesn’t approve). Also, no matter what daddy says, biscuits are NOT cookies. Cookies are cookies.
I have so much to teach you and even more to learn from you, my child. I have many a fears in how I will screw up your childhood, how I won’t be a good enough role model, and how I just won’t be a good enough mother for you. (No, I am not kidding. Just ask your anna. He can attest to the latter).
For now, however, I will continue to cherish the times when you greet me with the biggest of smiles and the most excited of faces every time you see me. I will hug you tighter, kiss you deeper, let you rest in my arms longer. I will caress your soft cheeks more gently just to remember and capture the feeling of that touch. I will breathe your sweet baby smell until my heart swells just to bank that sensation in my mind forever.
My dear, dear, child, you have filled our lives with joy. You make our family complete.
On this day, your half birthday, I wish you all the happiness and health you deserve.
This is the first of many letters I will write to you. I can’t wait…