65

Dear Simone,

I find it hard to believe, but Sunday you were four months old. Your due date, the day on which your developmental clock officially began ticking, was only three weeks ago. When strangers see you, they invariably comment upon your size: “Oh!” they exclaim, “A brand new baby!”
I am never sure how to respond. What, this old thing? We’ve had her for ages.

You like to dance. It’s a lazy sort of dancing that doesn’t involve any movement on your part; instead you curl on my chest while I bob around and sing. I recently made us a playlist (what the kids used to call a “mix tape”) with a little bit of everything on it—some Petula Clark, some Stevie Wonder. Mr. Wonder was premature himself, you know. Preemies can get down just as well as anyone else. Maybe better.

You like having the bottoms of your feet rubbed. You like it when your father or I play the very sophisticated game “Crazy Arms,” in which we waggle your arms about in an educational fashion. Other things you like include milk, Madame Penguin, and nudity (your own).

Before we brought you home from the hospital, I looked at swings. I had heard that babies are fond of them, but when I saw how big they were, and mentally placed one in our small apartment, I decided it was an unnecessary extravagance. Besides, I was pretty sure I would never want to put you down. Probably I would just hold you all day and evening, in my arms or in your sling. I would be like a calm, naturally maternal native woman, only with nicer shoes.
I do love to hold you, and you do love your sling, falling asleep as if it has been soaked in chloroform. But sometimes I need to use the stove, a no-no with a baby on oxygen. Sometimes I need to pick up around the house, and all that bustling and bending is hard while wheeling a tank and wearing an infant with poor head control. And sometimes I need to do something extravagant, just for Milk Lady. Like pee.

My solution was to plop you in your vibrating chair. However you were not amenable to this plan, and in the mornings while I raced around the kitchen getting your medicines and both of our breakfasts ready, you would cry accusingly at me from your purring throne. Always, always you want to be held, an understandable preference to be sure, but there are limits, baby. And so I sent your father out yesterday with stern instructions not to return without a swing, and yesterday afternoon we put you in it and turned it on.
A single ray of sun slanted though the hole that had suddenly appeared in the ceiling above us, and somewhere, I could hear the gentle strains of a harp. You adore this swing, and right now while I type you are asleep in it, swaying gently next to me. Sometimes I just stare at you, unable to believe you are really here, and really mine. When I pluck you from your crib in the morning, I feel overwhelmed by my luck, and your sweetness.

Everyone says the time goes fast with children, and while I always assumed the years would skid by, I was surprised at how damnably short the hours are as well. There is never enough space in a day for all the things I want to do with you, and mostly I just manage the basics, and tell myself that tomorrow we will do more. But I never catch up, and you are already outgrowing your first clothes.

In a way it was easier before your due date. It was bonus time! You weren’t supposed to be here, yet. But now it’s official, the sand is pouring through the hourglass, and even your swing reminds me as it sways back and forth: tick, tock, tick, tock.

Every minute I spend with you is a good one, and there will never be enough of them.
Love,
Your Mama

Four Months

65 comments

  1. Fiddle1 says:

    Sweet, sweet post! She is such a treasure. That ceiling light and harp thing happens to me every time I read one of your posts. I’m so happy for you.

  2. Kate says:

    She is an absolute sweetheart! Congratulations again and again.

    And where do you get all the delightful outfits for her? I never see such cute outfits in any store I can find.

  3. Heather says:

    You should have titled this one “Must Have Tissues.” Just beautiful. Thank you for sharing this, and every time I read another post about your family’s continued well-being, my heart is happy. I am so glad you are all doing so well. Simone is SO beautiful.

  4. wanttobeamom says:

    Thank you for sharing. This was a beautiful post and you have an adorable daughter! I am looking forward to the day I can lament that time slides through the hourglass because my baby is growing up too quickly.

    Congratulations again! I love hearing about your family!

  5. Becky says:

    It’s not nice to make hormonal women cry! Eh, nah, everything makes me cry, it’s cool.

    And you know what? She’s the sweetest thing I’ve seen in ages.

  6. Ani says:

    such a sweet post.

    ah, the swing… our most priceless possession for a time. then he outgrew it and all hell broke loose ;)

    enjoy every minute with your darling girl, you are so right, time just flies when you’re having fun.

  7. Bridget says:

    Dear Simone:

    You totally look like a 4-month-old. No scrunched up face, no permanent fetal position.

    Your wardrobe is fabulous.

    Wilma Rudolph was a preemie too.

    Keep on rockin’

    Your pal,
    Bridget

  8. Jessie says:

    I can completely relate to many of the things you’re saying in this beautiful letter to your daughter. Especially the swing thing – we don’t have one yet but swinging her in our arms is currently a sure-fire baby-calmer. I may have to send her dad out for a swing someday soon.

    Glad to hear Simone is doing so well, and I can’t believe she’s been around for four months already.

  9. Sarah R says:

    Beautiful post.

    I remember a friend of mine saying, one morning at work, when our children were young, “It’s like they’re born and you put them in a little boat and they start sailing away from you…from the very first minute. And you never get that time back.”

    She just about had me bursting in tears in the cafeteria.

  10. Kathleen says:

    I love how often in her pictures, it’s like she’s having a little chuckle to herself about something or other. Such a cutie.

  11. Betsy says:

    You made me cry. That was beautiful. Simone lucked out in a big way to have a mom like you.

    (And I suspect you feel pretty lucky yourself!)

  12. Sarah says:

    Haha! We went the opposite way – had a swing, made the desperate trip to Target for the bouncy seat, breathed a communal sigh of relief. Best twenty bucks we ever spent, hands down.

    And come on, our kids are tough. You can TOTALLY cook with her and her O2 canister near an open flame. Live a little!

    (I jest, people. I jest.)

  13. Betsy Bird says:

    Last night I burst into tears when I realized that my firstborn’s 18 years had passed in the blink of an eye. Treasure the moments because one day you will look up and realize there’s a big hole in your life where a baby used to be.

  14. Sarah says:

    Love this letter to Simone. What a gift it is to have your daughter home and safe, and in your arms A LOT of the time. Glad the swing is helping out when Milk Lady needs to pee. I know the feeling. My little guy used to howl every time I put him down. After his first big growth spurt, he calmed. (He still hates going down for an afternoon nap though.) Course, Simone has already grown A LOT from her first days. I imagine once she passes 10 pounds, she’ll feel confident that her food supply is SECURE and that it will be OK for milk lady to use the rest room every once in awhile ;-) All the best to you!

  15. Naomi says:

    Today I dropped my Grandmother at the airport, she is 83 and I am about to give birth to her 3rd Great Grandchild.

    It was not Nanna who cried when we reached the departure lounge, it was me. Because suddenly I realised that I was all grown up, and it seems like only yesterday that I was her little baby. The moments really do fly past Alexa and I think that it is just lovely that you have captured your feelings which have taken only 4 months to build so that one day Simone will be able to look back on them and know that she has always been loved!

    Oh damn being nine months pregnant – the hormones ensure tears every 5 minutes….but this post actually made me smile because it is honest and simple and pure.

    I am glad that you have your bundle of joy, and her oxygen tank at home at last!

  16. Veronica says:

    That was gorgeous.

    And honestly, I would have killed for a swing with my daughter, instead I swore I would cope without one. And I did. And I went a little insane from constantly having a baby attached to my front.

    After reading this, next baby I am definitely getting a swing.

  17. Lila says:

    Oh, that was a four-hanky post, at least. You have me sniffling around here happily, dreamily.

    She is so CUTE. And yes, time flies by. I’m glad you enjoy it so much. I’m sure your daughter does, too.

  18. Sheri says:

    Swings are magical aren’t they??? I don’t even want to know if I could have survived without one.

    Simone is a beauty. I’m so glad you are enjoying time with her.

  19. TRacy says:

    Good move getting the swing. I was sure our son would head off to college with his under his arm as sometimes it was the only way he would sleep!!! But he is eight now and only requires an occasional snuggle with Mom to get to sleep. I cherish that snuggle time now and at times when I am busy and don’t seem to have the time, I tell myself soon he will be heading out the door to college. I know I will miss that snuggle time. Enjoy the swing Simone your mom made a good move on that one! She will have no regrets as she showers or just has a twinkle in her eye watching you go back and forth peacefully as she gets your laundry done or makes some lunch for herself!! Enjoy sweet girl!!!

  20. Vixen says:

    Ah yes, the magic of a swing. It is wondrous to behold. There is such beauty, magic, wonder and love in your writing it touches me deeply. I am so glad Simone and mommy and daddy are doing so well.

  21. jv says:

    You write beautifully. Made me tear up. That feeling of overwhelming luck when plucking baby from the crib…I know it, it’s still there, it’s probably not going anywhere. It was special to read about it in your words.

  22. Jill says:

    The swing is brilliant. Anything that keeps them amused (i.e., not crying) and lets you drink a cold beverage or wax your legs in peace is a wonderful thing.
    Simone is adorable. She looks a little like Winston Churchill (in a good way.) When she gets a little bigger, try Gymboree classes or Kindermusik with her. My children adored them both.

  23. TheHMC says:

    Ugh. You just HAD to make me confront my mushy side, didn’t you!

    Wonderful, wonderful :D. I think that Simone is lucky to have you, and I thank you, from the bottom my deeply sarcastic heart, for sharing both of your stories with us. It’s truly thrilling to see how far that little girl has come.
    And yes, it FLIES… the time that is. And the poo. Beware of that one.
    (My oldest will be 10 this year and I could swear to you that he was just born a few weeks ago.)

  24. Marcie says:

    What a cutie! She sure does look like she’s got something up her sleeve, always a cute little grin that says, “Let’s see, what can I get them to do for me now. I love my feet rubbed, being held constantly, and fussed over. That’s covered. Hmmmm, maybe some more designer baby clothes…….”

  25. Miss Grace says:

    I too rejected a swing as a bulky extravagance. Then entered my baby, an unreasonable little thing whose preference was to cry for 6 hours a day. For 5 months. The swing was one of the things that protected my sanity during that impossibly insane time of my life.

  26. Laura says:

    Sweet photo – she looks like she’s boogying along.

    Nobels for the inventor of the baby swing. I wouldn’t have peed or brushed my hair in six months without one. He’s mostly outgrown it now, but it is still sitting by the bed – for emergencies.

    Re. your Twitter on sleep debt: recently my kid slept a significant stretch for the first time, and the next day I felt like roadkill. Your body, when you finally give it enough sleep, unlocks the magic vault in which sleep debt is contained to allow you to function, and it all comes spilling out. It’s not until you’ve had several nights of decent sleep that you’ll start to feel better. And that time? Coming soon.

  27. Deborah says:

    Beautiful letter, Alexa. I’m tearing up, and I’m so glad you have these moments with Simone to cherish.

    At some point, will you please tell us all where you get the cute outfits? Somewhere we can go, too? They can’t all be from Switzerland.

  28. Leslie says:

    I must say, Simone is rockin’ the cute factor – always has actually. She has some seriously yummy, chubby, delicious looking cheeks!!! I am giving them cyber kisses right now…..okay – done. Now I need to wipe the slobber off of my screen!

  29. Beret says:

    I’ve never been moved to tears by a blog post, and I read a lot of blogs. Something in this caught me off guard, “But now it’s official, the sand is pouring through the hourglass, and even your swing reminds me as it sways back and forth: tick, tock, tick, tock.”

    I vividly remember the summer days of my daughter’s first months of life as I’d sit her in the swing, watching her drift off to sleep. Even then I knew how fast the time was flying. And it did fly. She turned 7 on Monday, and it’s hard to believe.

    Enjoy your little swinger while she’s little. She is just beautiful.

  30. Love it. I totally agree–too few hours, too few minutes, babyness slipping away too fast, looong nights. I always tell myself I’m going to CONCENTRATE and cherish every baby moment, and I do try, but then my babies suddenly become big boys anyway and I DON’T KNOW WHY!

  31. Marti from Michigan says:

    OMGsh a swing – a godsend for sure! Simone is absolutely stunningly beautiful. You will continue to enjoy each and every second you spend with this extremely special child. Even when she’s 16 and you’re shopping for very strange young lady’s clothing at some bizarre teenage girl’s mall – you’ll have fun and enjoy the closeness! Congratulations Scott, Alexa and Simone. I’m sure you had a wonderful first Mother’s Day, hope the first Father’s Day goes well too. :o)

  32. Dani says:

    Swings are amazing absolutely essential pieces of equipment.
    The sands of time; they do run fast. Remember that on bad days, that good ones are always around the corner and try to treasure the quiet moments.
    I can’t believe that my son is two and a half when only yesterday he was my little preemie guy. Sweet and soft and cuddly. The good news is though, that every day gets better and (at least so far) each age is better than the last.
    Kudos on the beautiful post. Simone is a lucky girl. :)

  33. Meg says:

    I am a new reader to your blog, and am really enjoying it. I couldn’t agree more about the swing. I was a premature baby myself, many years ago, and my mother assures me that the swing was the only way she and my father got any sleep those first few months when I got out of the hospital!
    Beautiful letter to your daughter. Simone is a very lucky girl.

  34. Natalie says:

    Just catching up on news of you and Simone and this made me well up. You have so succinctly captured what it feels like. Thank you!

Leave a Reply