You are one month old today. I have tried, numerous times, to starts this first (and hopefully not last) letter to you. My hope is to share the humour and foibles of baby and first time parents while at the same time conveying the enormity with which you came into our world. I wonder if it is even possible to express the all encompassing, unconditional love that parenthood brings. It is total. It is absolute. It is amazing and it, rather you, have changed our lives forever.
Dad and I have had many adventures in our life. We hike, bike, spelunk, raft and camp out. We have traveled the world seeing sites and learning new cultures. But it is you, by far, that will be our greatest adventure to date. You, who have come into our lives and immediately ruled it. You, a combination of your dad and myself, but your own self entirely who we can not wait to get to know. You, who we must teach and guide and parent to be the best ‘you’ that you can be. I think of all we have learned together in only thirty days and realize that these are the building blocks. Building blocks of the values, life lessons, and morals that mark are lives. We both have a ton to learn from each other in the coming years but there is one thing that I know for sure. I know I love you. Fully and completely, I love you.
Of course, loving you does not mean protecting you from the embarrassing things that you and this family does. You are on my chest as I write this and you just had a dream giggle. It is just about the cutest damn thing I ever saw and a very hopeful sign that you are going to have a sense of humour! Hopefully you have because here, my dear daughter, is a glimpse at your first month of life…
Your cute little 7lbs 8oz body came into this world wailing. When they gave you to me, you immediately quieted down and we stared at each other in awe and wonderment. You looked exactly (EXACTLY) like your dad. Given that, it’s a wonder that I felt you were the most gorgeous baby on the face of the planet! Dad, of course, knows exactly why you are so gorgeous! This reminds me of a story my Mom, your Gramma, always told me growing up. She always said that she truly, 100%, with all her heart, believed that I was the most beautiful baby ever. She could not understand how the other mothers and visitors could look at the other babies when I was there. Then her Mom, your Great-Gramma, (who I so wish you could have met) arrived and blurted out “Well, she’s a real lady wrestler isn’t she?” Gramma was mortified. It did not help when Grampa jokingly asked her if Joe Buck at the reservation might not be the dad! You can not blame him. Out I came from two skinny, fair skinned, blonde haired, blue eyed parents and was fat, dark skinned with black hair and dark eyes. Laughing outright at my ugly baby pictures, I wonder how Gramma could have truly believed not only that I was beautiful, but the most beautiful baby ever. It is irrelevant anyhow. Because it is you who is the most beautiful baby ever!
In this month, we are still getting used to using your name. We have been so used to saying Gidget or Baby that we have to pause for a second before spitting out Kaya. More often than not, we have other nicknames for you anyways. Squirmy Wormy. Starvin Marvin. Cute ‘n’ Poopin. Monster. Monster Mash (you even did the dance with your dad. Ask him to do the Monster Mash for you!) Munchkins. Tweeties (started off as Sweeties until you wore yellow one day, it came out kind of like Tweety and thus, Tweeties.) And finally, most commonly, Squeakers. Squeakers because you always squeak! You also grunt, snort, snore, quack, breathe heavy, coo, and whinny. You are a venerable barnyard!
This month has brought a whole new reality for me. This reality first hit while we were still in the hospital. Gramma, Uncle Craig, Auntie Robyn and a couple of friends were there visiting us. Somebody was holding you and you started to cry. “Oh,” said the somebody (those hours are all a blur and I don’t remember who) “Better give her to Mom!” Everybody looked over at me while I had looked over at my own mom. Oh yah, it suddenly occurred to me, I am the one people hand her over to when she starts to fuss. I am the mom!
About a week later, I had got used to being your mom. I was used to people asking me how I am finding motherhood, how I like being a mom. Then Grampa called one day and asked simply “So, how is your daughter?” It took me a second while my brain processed that. Not, “How’s Kaya?” or “How’s the baby?” Rather, “How is your daughter?” Daughter? I have a freakin daughter!
There is a lot to worry about in raising a daughter but I will delve into that another time. For now, in this month, there is no differential between the sexes. You do what all babies do. You sleep, you pee, you poop, and you eat. Remarkably, you have even been known to do all of these things at once. Already multi-tasking! You love to lie across my stomach, burp, start madly sucking away at the boob while simultaneously falling asleep, lifting your top leg in the air and letting out a loud, gurgling fart. I can not help but think that if only there were a hockey game on, this would be every man’s fantasy!
Burping and farting at will, it would seem, is contagious. Suddenly, because baby can do it, there is free reign in this household by mom, dad and dog to release the same bodily functions. Fortunately, we have retained some sense of modesty, and have not yet resorted to projectile vomiting like you have recently taken up as a fun activity. On one more notable day, Dad was swaying you in his arms trying to calm your upset tummy, when he swayed towards the bed with me and Riley on it. In an arc worthy of a slowpitch loft to the plate, you expunged that vomit directly onto the bed and, disgustingly, onto the dog. Riley, not at all disgusted, thanks you for her surprise dessert!
She, in turn, has shared some surprises with you as well. Within your first couple days of existence, you had already experienced your first doggy face wash, not to mention your first goosing. Surprisingly, while you continuously make faces when your dad or I give you a kiss, you seem to openly welcome Riley’s large, slobbery tongue.
Thinking of you reading this in the future, I imagine you have already figured out that we are not perfect parents. It has, I’m afraid, been this way since the start. We have, as I just noted, let Riley sniff, lick and goose you.
We have forgotten to replace your poopy diaper with a new diaper in an attempt to dress you as fast as possible since you despise being naked (something your father hopes stays with you until you are at least twenty!) We have also many times gone to change you and you have ended up peeing all over us, yourself, your clothes, receiving blankets, my journal, phone, toque, etc. You name it, somehow we have let you pee on it!
One of my worst mistakes thus far was losing you. Well, not losing you exactly. You were in your stroller ready for a walk. I stopped at the mailbox first, opened the box, grabbed the mail, turned around, and you were gone! I had not used the stroller brake so you rolled 2 parking stalls away. I starting laughing, in fear and embarrassment, then looked madly around hoping no one had noticed the incompetency of this two week old mother.
Probably our worst offense, however, is cursing and swearing in front of you. While never directed at you, it is impossible not to throw a few expletives around as the clock strikes 2am, 3am, 4am and you will not stop fussing. “Misery!” I have cried, “This is pure, unadulterated misery!” Followed by a grumbling curse, “Fuckin hell…” The thing that constantly surprises me though, is that once I pull my sorry self up to pick you up, then look in your face, all that frustration and anger immediately dissipates. Even when you have on your ugly face! Lips pouting and quivering, face reddened, right eye tearing (left eye tear duct is not yet functioning) and most importantly a large, red bulge bursting forth between your two eyebrows. Heroes is our favourite TV show right now; a very superhero, comic book type show. Because of this, we are certain the red bulge carries super powers. A boobie magnet perhaps? If so, it is working magnificently because you definitely know how to find the boobs! Dad remarked once in his girly Kaya voice, “Hi. My name is Kaya and I am a Boobaholic.” Like I said, not exactly perfect parents!
Well, one month old brings a lot of firsts. In fact, everything is a first. Here are a few of note:
1st night at home– You screamed and yelled and fussed and cried (no tears yet). Mom and Dad felt entirely helpless, lost and frustrated. We too ended up yelling and fussing and crying (with just a few tears!)
1st yeast infection– Here, a true milestone! Dad and I thought it was a diaper rash. Oopsies!
1st bath- You cried and screamed and hated every minute of it. By the second bath, you were a little better. By the third and forever thereafter, you loved it! So much so in fact that upon entry into the water, your face immediately falls into a serene gaze, your body relaxes from head to toes, and you happily poop. Yes, poop! Everytime! It drives me crazy!
1st date- Noah came over to meet you and at four months old draped his arm around your cute (and still very hairy) shoulders then chilled on the couch. You were less than impressed and promptly fell asleep ignoring his advances!
1st Mommy Gross Out– I am changing your diaper. It is not a blow out like you may think that has me grossed out. It starts as a normal poop and a normal clean up. Until you sneeze. Unfortunately, when you sneeze it does not just come out of your mouth. No, when you sneeze, a spray bursts forth out of your mouth and, horrifically, out of your butt. Looking down, I see my hands have been sprayed with a fine mist of yellowy brown poo.
1st smile- You are on your mommy’s lap with your poop face on. This simply looks like you are concentrating very hard at whistling. When you first started doing this Dad would sing, “Whistle while you work…” then whistles, “Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo!” So I sang and whistled it on this day. Everytime I finished with the whistle, you would look up at me and smile. A smile! I sang and whistled again. Another smile. This is real! I laugh and try again. You smile again. I know you are my little baby genius smiling in only your first month of life!
Later that night, Dad comes home from work and I excitedly share your genius with him. You are on his lap and he reluctantly sings and whistles the tune. He is skeptical. I am certain. He whistles and you smile. Your lips stretch out to the sides and there is a smile. I am so excited, yet Dad has not caught on to your brilliance yet. I make him do it again and you smile once more. “See!” I exclaim. “What?” Dad retorts. “Kari, it’s not a smile. It’s only a twitch because we’re blowing in her face while whistling!” I am thrust into reality. Not so genius after all. Dad and I laugh hysterically.
We have laughed hysterically many times this month and will, I predict, do so countless more times in the future. We may not be perfect parents but with a sense of humour, endless love, and a willingness to learn as we go, we can only hope you forgive us our mistakes (or don’t notice them!) and ultimately, we hope you always know how completely we love and cherish you.
Mommy & Daddy