A Year and a Half

My dear Alice,

This week was so very busy with Eddie and me starting school and getting Charlie ready to start next week. Cub scouts started up again for Eddie as did bowling for daddy. Things were so, so crazy. But I didn’t forget you. I didn’t forget your milestone this week.

Tuesday you turned 18 months.  A year and a half. More toddler than baby now.

You are the absolute sunshine of my soul, my love. Your personality is really starting to develop while you find your place in this crazy family of ours. You are SO expressive! Both your laugh and your cry are LOUD, but you can also do the cutest little soft whispery voice.

You are a lady of few words, but can say “Mama,” “Dada,” “please” (peez), “thank you” (thack uuuu), “shoes,” “juice” (which sounds exactly like”shoes” but we know what you want because you are standing next to the fridge when you say it), “no,” “yes,” “uh uh” (for no), and “bop” (for your pacifier).

You shrug your shoulders if we ask you a question, which is especially funny because you do it even when you know the answer. You put your hands out when you want something. For instance if you see I have my phone you will put your little hands together. Sometimes you will even add “pees” and tilt your head to the side because you know I am weak for your cuteness.

You love baths, but hate water in your eyes. You love the beach, but hate the sand. You love to be outside, but do not enjoy grass in your toes.

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You love to be busy and helpful. When daddy makes a meal, you want your apron on too! When we pick up toys, you are quick to help. When I wipe you up after a meal, you want to wipe too. You put your dirty clothes in your basket every night, throw things away that you find on the floor (usually crumbs and bits of things your brothers have left behind), and you bring people their shoes. You know where things go and do not like then to be out of order. Just like your Mama.

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When your brothers were little (and even now to some degree, especially Charlie), they shadowed daddy all the time. Wanting to help fix things and wear a hat. Charlie still helps daddy mow the lawn and put things together. But you are my little shadow. Watching how you comb your hair, or play with the old makeup brush I gave you, or even wear my slippers around the house is like holding up a mirror to myself.

When I scold your brothers, you stand next to me with your little hands clasped behind your back like you are my wing woman. When I am in the bathroom doing my hair and makeup, you stand on the other side of the gate demanding a comb and makeup brushes and jewelry too.

You carry your baby the way I carry you. You give her kisses and giggle the way I kiss you until you giggle.

You throw all your things in your little purse, put it over your arm, and wave bye bye the way I do each morning before heading to work.

And while you’ve been doing this awhile, it still surprises and delights me everyday. After momming two little boys, having a little girl who wants to do what I do is lovely every day. It’s also a giant responsibility. I think more of the words and tone I use. About the way I talk about myself. Of course I think of these things with the boys too, but raising a girl who already wants to be just like me…well, it makes me think of what I hope for you and how I can model that in my own life for you to see.

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You are cute. You are the littlest. You are the only girl. And let’s face it, you may be a bit spoiled. You are used to getting your way. So when the answer is “no”? It doesn’t go over well.

The lip comes out, the brows furrow, and sometimes there are even tears. You will cross your arms over your chest, and at times you will stop your little feet. Daddy and I don’t give in, but sometimes your brothers do. They love you and think you are just the best thing. Eddie even calls you “Sweetie” more than he calls you “Alice.”

Charlie almost exclusively calls you “Beans” or “Beansy”. Both both refer to you as “Beansy Girl” when they are calling for you. I guess your nickname of “Alice Beans” has stuck.

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You love girly things in a way that actually surprised me. We have lots of “boy-type toys” in this house. Eddie would play with whatever when he was little, loving both dolls and trucks, the play kitchen and blocks. Charlie is a poster child for the boy stereotype with his obsession over dinosaurs, blocks, and trucks. You are my little girl stereotype. You have access to any toy, and over and over you gravitate toward the pink things: dolls, strollers, purses, tea set.

But that doesn’t mean you leave your brothers and their toys alone. Oh no.

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You have mastered the art of “Little Sistering”. If Eddie has his DS out, you need to sit and watch…which means you will eventually put your feet on him, touch the screen, and annoy him until he puts it down and play with you or he gets mad and leaves you.

If Charlie is building something with mega blocks, you have the notion that it is your job…your duty, even…to knock those creations down. Because clearly Charlie can’t be having fun if you aren’t there to destroy what he as built so he can start all over again. I think you think you are doing him a service.

They love you so much, Alice. You will find that Eddie is your confidant. He will listen to you and be by your side always. He will try to cheer you up and be there when you need a hug.  Charlie will be your defending. Not that you won’t be able to fight your own battles, but Charlie will have your back. He will be prepared to jump in whenever you need him. You have the two best big brothers a girl could ask for. You will always be loved, heard, and protected when you need it.

My sweet Alice…having you as my daughter is one of the biggest honors I have ever been given. You are my joy. I just love watching you grow and learn and be your biggest cheerleader.

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So my beautiful blue-eyed girl, never stop staring down new things. Don’t let the world tell you that you can’t be serious and that you have to smile all the time. But don’t be afraid to laugh and cry and stay expressive because it’s what makes you so very lovely.

I love you more than words could ever express.

Momma

One Month Shy

My Dearest Alice,

Eleven months.

As I type this you are lying on the floor next to me eating your bottle. Ok, you are playing with it and waving at me and kicking your feet and making all sorts of chatting noises. It’s adorable. You are adorable.

baby alice

the tippy toes. always the tippy toes.

And you’re almost one. Just one month shy of being a whole year old.

I told Eddie that in only one month you would be one year old, and that I couldn’t decide if I was sad or excited. He said, “MOM! It’s EXCITING! Getting older and bigger is so fun! She will get to do new things and learn and grow…oh and eat CHEESE!”

I replied, “But we will be all done with little babies. No more babies in our family. That is a little sad, right?”

“Yeah,” he said thoughtfully, “it is a little sad. I love little babies. But Alice is so fun. And it’s just super exciting to grow up.”

Eddie knows what he’s talking about, Alice. (Remember that. Eddie is a good guy for talking to when you need to talk something out.) I miss your fuzzy baby head, it’s true. But my goodness! There has been nothing more wonderful than watching you learn and grow each day.

Baby Alice

Trying to squeeze past so you can touch the TV.

Let’s see…so you are standing next to ALL THE THINGS and you like to push that little activity table in the photo above. You get SO! EXCITED! about pushing it that you sit and just laugh and laugh once you get it across the room. You have started pulling to standing next to me and daddy and then letting go to balance on your own. The problem is, you fall when you start laughing at how AWESOME! YOU! ARE! I keep asking you if you think you are going to walk at your birthday party. Of course you just giggle. Stinker.

Your crawling has gotten so ridiculously fast that you are starting to scuff the knees of your leggings, jammies, and pants, and your little knees turn red if you’re just in a diaper or onsie.

You wave and scrunch your nose when you smile and clap hands and attempt to give high-fives. You love everyone and rarely fuss. You cuddle when you’re tired. You crawl around saying, “mum mum mum mum” or “da da da da” until you find one of us. And you laugh out loud when you see Eddie or Charlie.

Baby Alice

you play so differently than your brothers

I am one of the last people to ever support gender stereotypes–you probably know this–I mean, you play with cars and trucks more than anything else because that is what we have and who cares? But you play with toys so much differently than your brothers do.  You play…like a girl. I mean that in the most positive, factual way. Where the boys would sit and just smash toys together or throw all the things, it’s like you instinctively know the purpose of the fire truck is to roll on it’s wheels, so you push it back and forth in front of you. And that rattles are meant to be shook, so you shake it. The shape “cookies” go in the musical cookie jar, so you put them in, dump them out, put them in. No one showed you how; you just did it.

Baby Alice

This is trouble, right here.

Recently it’s become clear that you understand the word “no”. Most things we tell you “no” about you listen! It’s amazing. You used to want to pull all my books down. We have told you “no” and now you don’t. At first I was relieved. This was how Eddie was too. But then you discovered the TV. You are not allowed to touch the TV. When you try, we tell you “no”. You shake your head at us and continue to touch the TV until we redirect you. Seconds later, you’re back by the TV shaking your head “no” and smiling and touching that dang screen. The lower right corner is filled with tiny finger prints. As you can see, your need to get to the TV has even taught you to CLIMB. This is something Charlie did at your age too. So now I am worried.

Eddie was (and still is) a rule follower. If we said “no” that was it. Charlie was (and still is…sigh) a rule ignorer. If we say “no” he either does it anyway or throws a fit.  For awhile you were following Eddie’s path, but that TV has too much draw for you and just for that you are like Charlie. “No” is not an option when it comes to you and the TV.

Baby Alice

Such a dainty eater

You are still a very dainty eater. Not exactly picky, but definitely more choosy than your brothers ever where. You also don’t throw food everywhere like they did, although you have a tendency to blow raspberries when we feed you baby food when you determine that you have had enough. That’s gross, Alice. Your favorite foods are fruits (just like your brothers), but you will also eat sweet potatoes/yams, chicken, turkey, summer sausage, but not ham or beef. You also like a french fry here and there, but not tater tots or other potatoes. And you dig bread, but not corn muffins.

Baby Alice

Taking a ride

My favorite thing about you is how you make people smile. You have a smile that lights up your whole face and brings joy to everyone who sees you. Seeing that smile every morning sends me off into my day with light in my heart. Coming home to your face every day brings peace to my soul.

People want to be around you. They want to hold you and talk to you because you always smile. You always emit joy and laughter that is so pure, so innocent. You are a constant reminder of what true love and light looks like. While I know that you will not always be this happy, I hope that the delight you are able to bring to this world always radiates from you.

Baby Alice

Smiley Lady

I hope that you always smile at everyone because your smile is a true gift from God. Just this morning in church, I watched as people reach out to touch your little hand, your place their hand on your back or head. You smile and give their soul what it needed.

The past eleven months have been something very new to me. It has been a long time since I could find a bit of joy in every single day, but I believe that it’s been possible over the past year because of you.

While each of my children has brought a different gift to my life, you have been a joy-filled balm that I didn’t even know I needed. It is truly an honor to be your Mum Mum, a privilege to be the arms you turn to when you need solace and love.

Baby Alice

11 months old!

I love you, my beautiful daughter. Thank you for completing our family. Next month you will be one, but for now we will celebrate eleven months of wonder.

Love,
Mum Mum

perfect 10

My dearest Alice Katherine,

You turned ten months old this past week.  Double digits. Two hands. Ten.

If you're not moving, it's because you are sleeping.

If you’re not moving, it’s because you are sleeping.

Over Christmas break you decided to start checking milestones off your to do list. You were just starting to crawl and pull up to your knees last month. Now you are pulling to standing next to pretty much anything. You cruise along the furniture and the other night you crawled on top of your brothers’ humidifier to peek into Eddie’s bed at him!

To most people, you are just doing your baby thing not too differently from your brothers. Daddy and I see the little differences though. For one, you crawl with your feet up in the air. It’s so funny! Your brothers wore holes in socks and slippers because their feet dragged behind them when they crawled. You put your little feet up and crawl this way and that with your little booty wiggling behind you.

It is getting near to impossible to get a non-blurry photo of you...unless you are sleeping.

It is getting near to impossible to get a non-blurry photo of you…unless you are sleeping.

You play differently than your brothers too. Most times, you can sit in the same spot for quite a while playing with what is around you. You don’t need anyone to sit next to you constantly (like Eddie did) and you don’t pick things apart (like Charlie did). In fact, you seem to know what toys are for and play with them accordingly. For instance, you will spend thirty minutes putting the shapes in and out of the shape cookie jar thing we have. Your brothers just threw them.

using cups to put things in. over and over and over.

using cups to put things in. over and over and over.

You are finally starting to warm up to eating some food rather than just bottles. Baby food is still just sometimes, but you will eat graham crackers and townhouse crackers, the occasional pretzel stick, bananas, and apple pieces. You even had a french fry last night and was a fan. You also like chicken, but scrunch your nose at ham and broccoli. Tonight I’m going to see how you feel about meatloaf.

all the sass

all the sass

You are the happiest, smiley-est baby in the entire world. You wake up happy. You go to bed happy. You chuckle at your brothers and your daddy. The only time I hear whining is if you are tired and want to be cuddled or you are hungry. I say this every month, I know, but it amazes me how joyful you are. Always.

I have gone through some yucky days in the past month, my love. And one of the only things that keeps me going is your scrunchy smile. You’ve also started waving, clapping, and giving kisses. You love to cuddle, but you are a mover too. You are all the most wonderful things a baby can be all wrapped up into one sweet Alice.

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While you’ve always been “chatty”–making lots of sounds all the time–lately when you are sad or looking for cuddles you will repeat “mum mum mum mum” and when you are happy and looking for someone to see you doing a new “trick” like clapping or an old one like “so big”, you repeat “da da da da”. It’s beginning to seem like you are starting to differentiate between “mum mum” and “da da” as people too.

You are very into grabbing noses and looking at me until I say, “nose”. You got a few babies for Christmas and there is one in particular you like to hug and give kisses to.

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This first year is going so quickly. In just two short months we will be celebrating your very first birthday. I wish I knew why babies had to grow so fast–I already miss your fuzzy little newborn head. But you know what? Watching your scrunchy nosed smile and your discovering new things every day is such a joy.

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We love you so much, Miss Alice Beans–or “Beansy Girl” as your brothers call you. You bring smiles and love and happiness to our family every day.

Rock on, sweetie pie. Rock on.

Love,
Mum mum mum

Half Birthday

Dear Alice,

Somehow, you are six months old already. I know. It’s surprising!

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I just read over Eddie and Charlie’s 6 month posts, and I can’t believe how different this time around is. Both boys were sitting by 6 months. You are not. You haven’t figure out yet that you need to put a little lead in your butt or you’ll tip over. If I sit with my legs out, you will sit in between them, but if I let go, you will fall forward. Plus you move your legs too much to stay sitting. It’s like you’d rather be on a bicycle.

Both boys were also already eating cereal, applesauce, bananas, carrots and peas by this point. You’ve had four bites of applesauce, turned your nose up, scrunched up your face, gagged, and then barfed. Tonight I gave you some cereal which induced less gagging, but you still didn’t seem too pleased with me.

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You definitely use rolling and scooting to get you were you want to be and to get you the things you want to reach. Just like your brothers, you have learned you can now roll to your tummy at night and you prefer to sleep that way. Daddy and I joke that you “always go left,” because even when you are falling asleep on us, you try to roll left…even if there is no where to go that way!

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While you will still lay in the swing, we don’t need it anymore to help you fall asleep, so next week we will be passing it on to Uncle Mike and Aunt Ashley for baby Maddox (who is supposed to be here around Thanksgiving). It will be weird giving up a piece of baby equipment that we have had since before Eddie was born. We started giving all the boy clothes that Charlie no longer fits into to Harry and all the girl clothes you grow out of to Aunt MacKenzie for their baby girl due in November. And now we will start to shed the infant stuff too.

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A month ago I could tell that one tooth was on its way; now you have two! Both bottom teeth are cut through and darn it if it’s not adorable when you smile! Those teeth are an endless source of interest to you. I watch you run your tongue over them and make silly “goy goy goy” noises. You also love to suck on your fingers and thumb, which has made meal time more difficult. Yup, you like to try to suck on your thumb while eating a bottle. It’s frustrating to both of us.

You can also sort of hold your own bottle, but it’s more of a tug-of-war than a cooperative thing usually resulting in your getting angry because you have knocked the bottle out of my hands, and thus your mouth.

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Your favorite toy is your feet. When they come out of your jammies in the morning you grab them and put them straight in your mouth. And give us the BIGGEST smile. You also love your bunny and your blankies. You have a few small “lovie” sized blankies that you like to put right up to your face/nose in order to fall asleep. We never sent a blankie or lovie to daycare for the boys, but we sent a little blankie for you.  Maybe Renae is right; maybe you are a little spoiled.

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Daddy reminded me that you are now closer to turning one than you are to birth. I punched him, of course. But I know I can’t keep you little (even if I totally sort of want to. maybe). And I am mostly ok with that. I mean, it’s so exciting watching you grow and learn and change!  Your little personality is starting to emerge and it is so so sweet.

6months

Tomorrow I go back to work, and I am going to miss seeing your face all day long. I’m going to miss our impromptu naps on the couch or in the chair after one of your bottles. I’m going to miss lying on the floor by you and tickling you which you suck on your big toe.

But our evening cuddles will be so much sweeter. At least that is my hope.

I love you, Miss Alice Beans.

Forever and always,
Your Momma

sibs6mo

My Girl

Dear Alice,

It’s all going too fast. Thursday you were five months old and I missed it. I knew it was this week, but it sneaked up anyway. I noticed yesterday morning as I fed you. I turned on the Today show, settled into our spot on the couch, began feeding you your morning bottle, and there it was on the TV: Friday, August 7.

The day after your five month day.

Admittedly, Thursday was difficult. We had the funeral for Mary in the morning. They boys went to hang out with Grandpa, but you came with me and Daddy. It seemed right since she was so excited about you. You slept in my arms as Karsten delivered the message. He talked of her love of children–specifically the Children in Worship program. She knew every child by name. And she knew you too. She talked about you in her last days. Knowing she won’t be around to watch you learn about Jesus’ love for you hurts my heart.

5mo

You are growing and changing so much, Alice. I looked back on both Eddie’s and Charlie’s five month posts and I realize I felt the same with them. Five months is a game changer, apparently.

Gone is the new babyness. No more infant. Nope, you are a baby with a rapidly developing personality, tons of smiles, and a penchant for rolling over in your sleep and playing with your feet.

You are no longer happy just lying somewhere with toys. You roll immediately to your tummy to be able to see what everyone is doing. Then you yell. Being left out irritates you. You work those abs and try to sit up in your bounce seat and swing, yet unlike your brothers, you still like them. You actually play with the toys that are attached to them–something Eddie and Charlie had no interest in.

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You are still on bottles only–no solids. Both of your brothers were into cereal at this point because formula alone wasn’t satiating them anymore, but you are good. Although the way you watch us eat is hilarious. So intent on watching us put things in our mouth.

You are no stranger to putting stuff in your mouth though! Everything that is within your reach goes in there!  You have been teething and just this week I could feel the ridge of a tooth on your bottom gums. The days of gummy smiles in our house are almost gone. It’s bittersweet.

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Eddie was a pretty smiley baby, and Charlie was pretty serious. You are extremely social. You clearly recognize certain people and reward them with giant grins. Your Church Grandma Nancy is one of those people. She loves you so much and you are starting to show her that you love her too!

You have a tickle spot on your ribs. When we kiss you or nom on your ribs you giggle so hard your eyes tear up. You love to shout-talk at us too, which is also hilarious. I am starting to think that just like me and Eddie, you might not have an indoor voice. You cannot stand to be ignored, so you will growl/shout/cry until someone looks at you. Then you will smile. You’re kind of a stinker.

The only time you get truly angry and cry is when you are hungry. And as soon as you’ve eaten, you’re back to being your happy pants self.  Most of the time. Like I said, you are teething. You’ve been a bit clingy because of that, but by and large you are our easiest teether yet. Eddie was pretty good–he would get a little butt rash and be a little warm. Charlie was awful. Poor guy got a million teeth at once and his life was hell during that time. You felt a little warm to me a few times, but nothing I thought twice about. When you were being particularly clingy, I stuck my finger in your mouth and low and behold, a tooth was coming through. No big deal.

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This month you had your first beach day and went to your first funeral. You began to enjoy bathes and cry when Charlie cries. You are happy to sit in your bounce and watch me do something, but not happy to sit there and watch me write or read. Apparently that is boring.

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You love going places, but not being confined to your carseat/carrier. You would rather be held or put in the Moby/Ergo. You love to be outdoors because there is so much to see and take in.

I don’t remember much about Eddie’s first year. I don’t remember taking his picture for his 5 month post. I remember a lot about Charlie. We spent his first 6 months almost inseparable. That is how it is with you, Alice. We are almost never apart. I would say I was better at leaving Charlie with a sitter than I am with you. I just don’t mind you being along for whatever I am doing–most of the time.

When I need to be alone, it’s not because you’re driving me crazy, it’s that I have to get some things done–like writing or school planning. It’s never because I need to be away from you. I know that will change as you grow and change more. I know your toddler years will be more demanding. I know this because I am going through it with Charlie right now.

But I want you to know you make me very happy.

I have had some pretty dark days lately, and I never didn’t want to have you around. Feeding you or holding you or just talking to you somehow lifting the ugly thing on my soul, even if just for a little bit. You are starting to “hug” and “kiss” my shoulder and face. I love it. I find myself wondering if we will always be this close. If you will always be My Girl who loves me best and likes to “talk” to me when you are sleepy. Will we always prefer each other’s company?

I hope so, Alice. You are my smart, funny, pretty girl. And I love you so so much.

Love,

Mommy

I realize this could be the same baby, but I assure you, it's three different children.

I realize this could be the same baby, but I assure you, it’s three different children.

Four Months Young

Dear Miss Alice,

You are four months old!

Four Month Letter

Today (Monday) you had your four-month well child. You weighed in at 15.08 pounds and measured 25 inches long exactly–75th percentile for height and weight. Your head? Massive. Just like your brothers before you. 99th percentile for that.

You also rolled to your tummy right there on the exam table. Well, you sort of did. You can’t figure out how to get that arm out of the way, so you just laid there on it getting angry.  Then you did it again at home on your activity mat. Twice. And both times you seemed angry at me because you got yourself stuck where you didn’t want to be.

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You are just trucking along being awesome, my dear. You average around 30 ounces a day, give or take a bottle. You are sleeping like a bear through the night, sometimes going more than ten hours at a stretch. You reach and reach for lots of things, but mostly like to hold my hand.

Today Eddie fed you a whole bottle for his first time. He was very proud that you only got mad at his newb status once. He didn’t dare burp you though. I think he is a little afraid of your tendency for spitting up.

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You’re growing to be such a beautiful little lady right before our eyes. You have a cheerful, social demeanor, bu far the most social of all three of our babies. You really do not love your car seat because you can’t see what is going on. You much prefer to be sitting on our lap or being held so you can see out. Although you do love both the Moby wrap and the Ergo carrier.

We still swaddle you at night in your miracle wrap. You are always completely out of it by morning, but you seem to take comfort in being tightly wrapped at night, so we go with it. In fact, you startle yourself awake if we try to lay you down without wrapping you up. Yet in the morning you have both arms out and over your head. This morning you even somehow had a leg out.  You’re crafty.

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Your brothers are still swoony over you. Eddie is a little daddy to you and Charlie tries to make you laugh. They fight over who you’re looking at and who gets to sit next to you when you’re on the floor or on the couch. You give your brothers the big eyes too. You somehow already know they would do just about anything for you.

You are also the most chatty baby we have had. It’s like you stored up all the stories and as soon as you found that you had a voice, you started cooing and squawking and gurgling to anyone who will listen. And the smile you give is the absolute best. The drool is starting to get serious, so I checked for “full gums”, but nope. Looks like you will retain your gummy grin for a while longer. That is totally Ok with me.

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Something is different with you, Alice. Or maybe it’s with me. I’m not really sure. I just know that this third time around? Is different.

I’m not as lost or broken as I was with Eddie.

I’m not as “on alert” as I was with Charlie.

But other than that, I can’t put my finger on it.

People like to chalk it up to “well, all babies are different” and “she’s a girl! Of course it’s different!” And while those may be true, there is something else. Something I don’t have words for.

Maybe it’s because I feel complete now.

Maybe it’s because you’re the last.

Maybe this is what thankful, blessed, nostalgic, sad, and joyful all mixed together feel like. Maybe I am not having any postpartum depression or anxiety this time. Maybe that’s it.

I really don’t know.

I just know that I love being with you. I love being your mom. And I am never sad that you’re around.

It’s crazy here some days with three kids, but you somehow ground me in all that nuts-o-crazy.

I love you more than I can find words for,

Momma

SluiterSibs4mo

Sluiter siblings at four months

Two Months, Two Girls

Dear Alice,

You are two months old.

This week you had your well-child visit and weighed in at 11lbs, 9 ounces and 23 inches long!  That is a gain of both three pounds AND three inches in the last six weeks! That even impressed the doctor. Needless to say, you are well out of newborn clothes–they are all packed away.

Alice12

I can’t believe how much you have changed this month! You went from a completely floppy newborn to a baby who can hold her head pretty still, work her arms and legs, and coo and smile–especially at Charlie.

This month has been full of firsts again: first visit to my school, first grocery shopping excursion in the moby, and first fever.

The fever was this past weekend. You slept ’round the clock and just weren’t your usual perky self. But as of Tuesday, you seem to have kicked it. You’re back to being awake for a couple hours at a time and being content to hang out in the rock n play or bounce seat and just watch me or your brothers as we carry on our daily business.

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Hilariously, you’ve also found your tongue. You stick it out and make all kinds of funny faces. You also like to blow bubbles and I’m not entirely convinced that Charlie didn’t teach you that.

You are a fantastic eater and sleeper! Daddy and I are super pleased about this. Your eating schedule is almost regular enough to set your watch to: four ounces every three hours, except at night where you will go four, five, sometimes six  hours at a stretch (usually on daddy’s nights, ya stinker)!

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Everyone who meets you gasps and says, “Well it’s Eddie with a bow!” or “Eddie junior!” And you do look so, SO much like your biggest brother.  I need to write a separate post about your brothers and how they interact with you, because there is just so much to say, but I will say Eddie is is my helper with you. He can feed you and hold you and give you your pacifier. And he is so gentle with you.

Charlie, on the other hand, is rough and loud and you love it. Your first laugh was at Charlie sticking his face in yours and saying something ridiculous like “booty butts are stinky.”

In fact, while I was taking there pictures, he was off to the side doing this:

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Stick with those brothers of yours…they will be your everything.

Speaking of sticking close…you like “close”. Just like your brothers before you, swaddling is your best friend for sleep, and being “worn” in the moby is a surefire way to get you to chill out.

But different than the boys, you won’t tolerate being uncomfortable. While your brothers could sit in a wet diaper for days (I never let them, thank you), you don’t like to be less than dry. Charlie still poops in his diaper and then avoids me. I have no idea why…who wants to sit in poop?  You seem to agree with me.

If you’re cold, you’ll grumble.

I call you a diva, Daddy calls you his “dainty girl”.

Toe-may-to, Toe-mah-to.

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I am having so much fun with you, Alice. I have been thinking it over for days in preparation for this post, and I just can’t put into words how you are different than your brothers.  How you being a girl is different already at two months old.

I’m not sure if it’s the clothes or the bows or the shoes. I don’t think that is it. Or at least not all of it. There is something else. Something deeper and more ingrained than I could imagine.

Your dad and I aren’t gender stereotype pushers by any means (in fact, Eddie pointed out the other day that there are no dresses in the men’s section at Meijer which seemed dumb, because would a guy have to shop in the ladies department for dresses then if he wanted one? I love that kid, by the way). And I never believe people who said, “there’s just something different with boys and girls.” I mean, there is the physical difference, but there is something else too.

There is a connection that is different. I wonder if Daddy feels that way about you too. You and I are “The Girls” in conversation about our family.

I am not alone anymore. It’s not me and then my three dudes. It’s you and me–together–and then our three dudes. I have a teammate now.

And apparently I have a shopping buddy because Daddy is thinking of enforcing a ban on the two of us going to Target together ever again because we can’t seem to go together without coming home with something for you. Heh.

When I found out you were a girl and not another boy, I had admit I had a moment of silence for loss of the Lone Lady status in the house. I was a little afraid to share “my” boys with another girl.

But you’re alright, kid.

I think you and I will be a great team.  We already are.

Love,

Momma

Ps. This is how you compare to your brothers at the same age (2 months)…

SluiterSibs2months

Every Little Thing She Does is Magic

Dear Alice,

You are seventeen days old today, just over two weeks. Looking back that seems both fast and slow. I can’t believe two weeks has already gone by, yet it seems like you’ve just always been part of the family. Cliche, I know, but I really can’t help it.

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Even though I’ve had two babies before you, it’s somehow all new this time around. For one, you are tiny. Daddy calls you his “dainty girl.” Your birth weight was 8 lbs, 5 oz–our smallest baby. After your first pediatrician appointment at 5 days old, you were down to 7 lbs, 10oz.  We have never ever had such a small baby! In fact, you are still wearing newborn sized clothes, where your brothers grew out of that size within the first couple days of life. In fact, Eddie never fit in newborn! He went straight to 0-3 month clothes–which look like potato sacks on you!

I’m finding your temperament is somewhere between Eddie and Charlie’s. Eddie was colicky. You are SO not like that, but Charlie was the most laid back baby in the world. You’re not quite that easy. For instance, middle of the night feedings with Eddie meant spending the night on the couch with him, but with Charlie it meant 15 minutes out of bed, tops. You take your time eating, but you aren’t fussy about it. You like to take breaks, act like you’re sleeping, then get fired up to finish the bottle.

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You are also quite the cuddle bug. You remind me of Charlie in this way. You love to be tucked up under daddy or my chin in a little baby ball of snuggle.

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I’ll admit, during your entire pregnancy I held back in reservation about having a little girl. I told myself it didn’t matter if we bought “girly” things or not since as a baby, you didn’t care. We didn’t change the nursery theme (still jungle theme just like your brothers had) and I didn’t go on any buying sprees. People very generously passed on clothes and things that their little girls no longer fit into, but there wasn’t a connection to them like I made with little man clothes. And besides, babies are babies, right?

Well, yes. Logically and rationally this is true.

But once you got here, everything in my heart changed.  Or it rearranged…or it woke up. Something happened in there.

I really don’t think I fully believed you’d be a girl.

taken by our great friend, Trisha

taken by our great friend, Trisha

At your ultrasound when we found out, I laughed so hard that tears formed. I remember thanking God for such a fun surprise, but something in me didn’t completely accept it.  When they took you from my body and announced, “Yup, she’s a girl! She’s Alice!” Again I laughed. Right there on the operating table. You are REAL. A real girl. A daughter. My daughter. My Alice.

When I was pregnant with Charlie, I couldn’t imagine being able to love him as much as I loved Eddie. Yet my heart grew and surprised me with how I totally could love them with equal ferocity.  While pregnant with you, I couldn’t imagine how to love a daughter the way I love my sons. The feeling was valid because I don’t love you the way I love your brothers. I love you differently because you are my daughter and not my son.

I can’t put words to how it’s different; only my heart understands that concept.  I don’t love you more or less, just differently, but with the same passion and fire as I love your big brothers.

Everything that I have been afraid of in terms of having a daughter has faded to the back of my mind. In it’s place I see all the potential joy and good in having a daughter in my life. I have become acutely aware of my relationship with Grandma, and how I call her or email her at least once a week and how I want to share with her all the cute gifts you’ve gotten. How I was so happy to see her after each of the times I had a baby.

That will hopefully be us. We are starting that relationship right now with each snuggle and middle of the night feeding.

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You are magical, Alice.

From each snort and sigh, the way you “face pet” your soft bunny and the way your little legs go straight up when you eat, you make me so happy to be your mommy.

You make our family so happy.

Your brothers fuss over you and your daddy melts when you turn your face in towards his neck.

Our love for you goes on…

Love,
Momma

*************

Don’t forget Alice’s first giveaway ends tonight at midnight! Enter to win a Cloud B Glow Cuddles Bear!

Also don’t forget about the March Book Shower to celebrate March being reading month, Alice’s birth, Charlie’s 3rd birthday, and my upcoming 37th birthday on Friday!

twenty-eight weeks, eleven to go

Dear Alice,

If everything goes ok and you and I both stay nice and healthy, we have eleven more weeks of you on the inside. At this time (9:04am) in eleven weeks, you will probably be here. Your brothers may already have met you.

Baby girl clothes have been showing up from friends who have older girls. Really cute hand-me-downs, and even a few new things have arrived in the mail. As I hold them I have all these mixed feelings. I’ll be honest with you, Alice. I am scared to be a “Girl Mom”.  It might be silly, but I feel like I don’t know how. All these dresses and cutesy things…they are so foreign to me. Tiny mary jane-style shoes and flowery shirts are a far cry from little man khakis and cardigan sweaters. I’m used to converse and bow ties. I’m used to dressing up tiny little men. I’m used to boys.

You are a little scary to me.

Daddy keeps reminding me that you are not going to be born an 8-year old with an opinion. That you will be a small cuddly baby who will need me to feed you, and change you, and cuddle you. That I know how to do all of those things very, very well. He is right, and I am very VERY much looking forward to those first couple months when it’s just you and me and time to be together.

But as I rock Charlie before bed, I look around the nursery. I imagine your name on the wall instead of his, your clothes hanging in the closet instead of his sweaters, your shoes lined up instead of his, the trucks put downstairs to make way for whatever you love. And it’s weird.

When I was pregnant with Charlie, the only things I put away from the nursery were things that said “Eddie” on them. Now I am also gathering up “boy stuff” to put in the “boy room” downstairs. I want a clean slate for you. It’s very possible you will also be in love with trains and trucks, and that is great! We have lots! But maybe you will love baby dolls and My Little Ponies, and I want the room to be ready for that too.

So it’s strange.

I’ve had two babies before you, but it’s feels like I am starting over from scratch. I feel that sense of not knowing what to expect all over again. In fact, I have been so nervous about it, I have refused to let go of the boy clothes I have in storage that Charlie has grown out of simply because…well…what if you’re NOT a girl?

I mean, I SAW the ultrasound. I know there are no boy bits. I know that. But something in my head just can’t wrap itself around a GIRL.

I want you to be here. I want you to be real. I want a daughter.

But I am afraid.

I hope it’s Ok to admit that to you.

Eleven more weeks and you will be on the outside, but still in my arms.

I’m very excited, Alice. Despite the nerves.

I promise.

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