Monday, August 07, 2017

dear mabel / 2 months.

Dear Mabel Xiaoxuan,

That's what I often call you, your first and middle names—something that most moms use when they're angry. I guess when you get older and I get angry with you, I'll have to think of something else. Or I can stick with Mabel Xiaoxuan but it will be more like MABEL XIAOXUAN!

But for now, it's just Mabel Xiaoxuan, real sweet-like because baby girl, you are so sweet. You'll get tired of hearing this, but your Baba and I love you so much and we tell you and each other that all the time.

Girl, you are growing! Oh, how you are growing. Look at those chins! You've gained almost 3lbs since your 1 month checkup! Yay!

After that checkup, you were finally big enough for the Ergo, and your baba loves carrying you around in it. We go for walks whenever the AQI is below 100 (sorry about the air, baby) and that's your usual mode of transportation. You hang on so tight in the beginning but after awhile you relax and fall asleep. It's the cutest thing.

Another thing you're finally big enough for are the velcro swaddles your grandma sent us. You sleep so much better in those little straight jackets! You hate when we put you in it—it takes both me and your baba to wrestle you in—but as soon as it's fastened, you calm right down. And you're sleeping in your crib now! You have been since you were about 5 or 6 weeks old—no more stroller sleeps for you!

I was getting worried (I'm always worried about something) that you weren't making enough eye contact (really, what do I know; your doctor told us last week that can take up to 3 months) or smiling yet. On July 17th I was googling "when do babies smile" for probably the 5th time and then I realized I was being ridiculous. I looked at you laying beside me on the couch and I said, "Mabel, I am done looking things up. You will smile at me when you're ready. You will do everything when you're ready. I'm sorry, babe." And I put my phone down.

Mabel, I am not kidding; 5 minutes later you were staring right at me! And then you smiled! I started to cry (happy tears!) and messaged your baba, "She smiled! Mabel smiled! A real smile! Not gas or sleeping or milk! A REAL SMILE!" You smiled at me again the next day when I said, "Wow! What a big burp!" (Your burps and farts and sneezes sound like an adult's, not even kidding. When your baba's holding you and I hear one of the above, I always ask him which of you it was because I'm never sure.) And then you smiled at me again a few days later when you pooped and I said, "You're a stinky girl!" (Am I embarrassing you again? Sorry.)

Your baba spent the next week doing everything he could think of to get you to smile for him—silly voices, singing, tickling, bouncing, asking you to smile for baba (and I know that this is so not the same, but I can't help but think, here it starts, a lifetime of men telling you to smile). And on our 2nd anniversary, right when your baba and I were in the middle of a fight and he was holding you, he said, "She just smiled. She was looking right at me! She just smiled at me!" And he almost cried, too. We love you so much.

So far I wouldn't say you're a daddy's girl, but you definitely love him. The other night after your bath, he walked into the room and you turned your head and stared right at him the whole time I was putting your diaper on.

And another change is that you don't fall right asleep after I feed you in the evening any more. That was our routine: bath, swaddle, eat, sleep. Now it's: bath, swaddle, eat, baba rocks you, sleep. Most of the time you fall asleep quickly, but not always. You still wake up 1-2 times every night to eat, but instead of staying up for an hour, you're usually only up for 15-30 minutes.

You love baths now. Your baba and I bath you together and you stare at us or look around, so content to be in the water. If you're fussing or crying, you calm down as soon as you hear water running or we put you in the bath. One trick we learned that I think has helped is that we put one wet washcloth over your body to keep you warm while I wash you with another one.

Other things of note:
+ You met your aunt and your cousin—Xiaoxuan, your namesake. They came to visit for a week and held you as much as possible. Xiaoxuan uses her baba's phone all the time to message us asking for photos and to find out what we're doing.
+ Your arm movements are much more controlled now. But you still scratch yourself once in awhile.
+ You got your first diaper rash, and that made us sad, but didn't seem to bother you.
+ When you were 6 weeks old, your baba fed you your first bottle. Now he feeds you at least one a week while I take a break—I take a long bath or go get my nails done. Mabel, it really does make me a better mom for you; when I get back, even though it's only been 3 hours, I swear I love you even more.
+ You've grown out of your newborn clothes and are wearing some of the smaller 0-3 months onesies we have. (And you'll be happy to hear, your baba and I are MUCH better at putting onesies on you! ;)

We love you, Mabel Xiaoxuan.


P.S. Dear Mabel / 1 month.

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