Category Archives: Dear Lorelei

On Your Second Birthday

Dear Lorelei,

I didn’t – couldn’t – write this letter to you on your actual birthday. It was not a good day for me and it was not what I wanted your second birthday to be. Although I know that you don’t understand the concept of birthdays yet – to you, it was just another day – the last thing I wanted was to find myself slumped against the wall crying my eyes out. (The circumstances of your mother’s moment of weakness is not something I will document here, it is not something I want to remember or talk about ever again.)

But, oh, my darling daughter. You didn’t want to see me unhappy either. As big tears fell, you came up to me and stroked my hair. You said, “Mommy, happy.” You hugged me, throwing yourself against me in the spazzy way of yours, and bent your head towards me so I could kiss your forehead. It made my heart break even more to see how much my sadness can affect you. I guess you are growing into a sensitive soul just like your Mommy.

There have been so many changes this last year and one of my favorite ones is how much more affectionate you are. Everyone – and everything – needs an ug (you are so adorable in your inability to pronounce the letter ‘h’). Mommy needs hugs and kisses. Daddy needs hugs and kisses. You make kissing noises at animals. You hug your stuffed animals and Sesame Street figurines. You make me kiss your toys. I can spend ten minutes telling you to give me hugs and kisses and you will run back and forth across the living room and throw yourself into my lap.

Although, you’ve always been a snuggler, over the last month you have wanted more and more to be with Mommy – Daddy, too. I wonder sometimes if maybe you don’t understand, at least on some level, the you are about to have a baby sister and that things will change. Where I used to be able to just put you in your crib for a nap and you could put yourself to sleep, these days I have to hold you snuggled against me in the rocking chair and sing to you or you won’t sleep. It doesn’t matter how tired you are. I wonder if maybe I should try to break you of this habit but I would rather hold onto my snuggly little baby girl awhile longer. On more than one occasion, I have found myself either in bed or on the couch with you curled against me, your face smushed into the pillow next to mine and the sound of your little baby snores in my ear. I’m not getting any nap, but I get to breathe in the scent of your sweaty toddler head and watch the gentle rise and fall of your chest.

Another one of my favorite things about two year old Lorelei is how much you talk. You always made a lot of noise and baby babbles, but these days I actually understand much of what you say. You know all kinds of animals and the noises they make. You know about cars and trains and planes and buses and boats. You can count (and even read numbers)! I still sometimes have to guess about what you are trying to say, but with each passing day it becomes easier to understand you. My favorite mangled Lorelei words are a-fly (butterfly), lay-bug (ladybug) and unkey (monkey)

Lest you think you are an angel (even though you are perfect), there are moments of frustration. We’re still working on please and thank you and asking for things instead of indiscriminate screaming. Your favorite word is no. I can ask you almost any question and the answer is NO! I’ve head to develop elaborate strategies for leaving the house to avoid any possible tantrums while I run errands. This accounts for the lack of outings we’ve had recently (sorry). Food is a constant struggle for us but we’re getting better – much better than it was even a few months ago.

Some things you love: The movie Cars, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on the television, fruit and yogurt and spinach (HA! tricked you into eating a vegetable!) smoothies, pancakes of any variety, Hedwig the owl, tractors, frilly skirts, making me dance in circles with you.

Some things you hate: Meat of almost any kind (unless it’s fresh roasted chicken or completely smothered in BBQ sauce), getting your nails trimmed, anything being put in your hair, when Daddy has to leave for work (me too), anytime I play music but don’t dance with you.

You are my strange and wonderful little girl.

I will always, always love you (even when I am endlessly frustrated by you),

Your Mommy

12 Months

Dear Lorelei,

Congratulations!  You’ve made it through an orbit around the sun!

Twelve months ago, you were barely blinking your eyes open.  You had two states: eating and sleeping.  Oh, and wanting to do one of those two things.  The first couple days in the hospital were so hard that, on days when I feel like I’ve reached the end of my rope, I remind myself that it’s been much worse.

There are some days I wish I could go back in time and enjoy the first few months a bit more instead of being so stressed out; but you are turning into a pretty awesome little girl.  Energetic.  Wiggly.  You love to dance and clap.  You like to bang things against the wall (or coffee table or bathroom floor).  You like to wander around the apartment carrying various items – usually “rescued” from my bag – and chatter at me.  You pull your books off the shelf and flip through the pages.  You talk to the pictures.  I wish I could know what goes on in your head.

I can’t wait to see what the next twelve months will bring!

Love,

Your Mother

Eleven Months, One Day

Dear Lorelei,

Normally, I would use this space to list all of your accomplishments over the last month and lament the swift passage of time.  But I have to start off with a small, teensy tiny, itsy-bitsy compaint.  Right now, at this moment, I am completely exhausted.  Why? you ask.  I will tell you.  The last several nights have been possibly the worst since you were a newborn.  I feel like I have tried everything – I’m probably beating a dead horse saying this again – but I don’t know what to do about your sleep habits.  It starts out very well: you have a good bedtime routine (bath, moisturizer/massage, book, nursing) and then will (usually) fall right asleep.  That’s been great and please don’t think this is me asking you to change that behavior; however, generally between 3 to 4 hours after you go to sleep you wake up SCREAMING.  Not just crying.  Not just cute little talkative noises.  This is wake the dead screaming and it hurts.

I love you, baby girl.  I would do anything to make you feel better but it has become increasingly difficult to figure out what it is you really need at night.  You aren’t wet (not wet enough to warrant changing a nighttime super-absorbent twelve-hour diaper 2-3 times a night).  You aren’t really hungry.  Sure, you’ll nurse but it seems like you aren’t eating much of anything, just comforting yourself with the familiarity of mommy and I don’t want this to become a habit.  Rubbing your back and giving you back your pacifier while leaving you in your crib doesn’t seem to work.  Letting you cry and try to comfort yourself doesn’t work just makes you more upset and harder to quiet down later.  It is very frustrating.  And what makes it harder and more stressful for me is that we have neighbors and I’m so self-conscious about what they must think when they hear you screaming like that.  Do they think we’re neglecting you?  I hate looking them in the eye when we pass each other on the stairs because I feel so embarrassed.

I know it could be worse, but I’m tired of giving in and just nursing you so you’ll go to sleep.  Doing so is not going to help either of us in the long run.  Your father tries to put you back to sleep without my help but he can’t seem to manage it.  He tries, he does.  I get frustrated with him sometimes because it doesn’t feel like he’s trying that hard but I think we both know that, in the middle of the night, it’s really your mother that you want.  I will one day wish that I was the only one who could make you feel better or that you even wanted me to make you feel better; so I’m trying not to complain about it too much.  I’m holding out hope that this is just a small phase – a tiny little bit of sleep regression – that will pass as soon as that other top front tooth comes in.

Yes.  You are working on your fourth tooth.  And, frankly, it needs to come in soon because you look like a gap-toothed yokel.  I kind of miss your toothless grin, but I’m getting to love your ridiculous looking toothy smile.

And with that, we will transition out of your mother’s (seemingly) endless whining.

You and I have begun our first tentative steps into the world of playdates and classes.  Because you seem to love story time so much, your father decided we should sign you up for a “crawler’s class” at the local parks and recreation.  It sounds like a really silly idea I’m sure.  Why does a baby who can’t even walk yet need to go to a gym class?  Well, because you get to be around other babies who give mommy the plague and make new friends.  Playmates who are not your mother.  As much as you love me, I’m sure you get tired of it just being the two of us all the time.

I get treated to the pure joy of watching you chase a ball around an entire basketball court.  You giggle madly and crawl with great determination towards this rubber ball that seems always just out of reach.  I swear that I don’t help it get away from you, it must be a combination of you pushing it slightly whenever you touch it and the smooth floor of the gym.  Despite the fact that you never catch it, it makes you so happy just to chase it.

You are the only one in the class not walking.  I should say “yet” (we’ll get to that in a minute).  But that doesn’t seem to bother you.  You are perfectly content to play with your ball and attempt to steal other babies binkies and knock over the other mothers’ water bottles.  Your mother is also getting over her handicap, her anxiety at meeting new people.  It is a slow process but each day I try to talk a little more to the other mommies.  Fortunately, it seems that they are all equally new and nervous about the whole parenthood thing as well.  They seem much more open to beginning friendships than the mothers at storytime and so far we have walked out to the car with Maggie* and her mother Bree.*  She’s the closest in age to you, having just turned one, and her mother seems to be of the “it’s okay to wear yoga pants out in public but that doesn’t mean I always look sloppy” crowd (my kind of people).  I’m feeling hopeful.

Last night, you had your first sort of “play date.”  Some friends of your mommy and daddy had a son in March and, since your parents needed a date night to celebrate their anniversary, they offered to babysit you for the evening.  There was some hair pulling (apparently) and since he is not yet mobil like you there probably was not much playing together, but you were well behaved.  Your daddy spent much of our date worried that he was going to get a panicked phone call – much to my annoyance – but we never did.  This is good.

Now, we have reached the most exciting part of this entire letter.  You have taken steps!  Multiple ones!  In a row!  On purpose!  In the general direction that you wanted to go!  So far, this has happened three times.  Once earlier this week and twice today.  It is scary to think that soon you won’t just be walking but you’ll be running.

One more month left in your first year.  When did that happen?

Love Always,

Your (Occasionally Whiny and Exhausted) Mother

One Year Ago

Now my little girl is almost one year old!

*Names changed

Ten Months

Dear Lorelei,

This morning, at precisely 2:24 am, you entered another month of life and I was there with you.  That’s right.  No matter what we do, you still wake up (at least) once in the middle of the night to eat.  You are getting better though, don’t think that you aren’t.  Bed time is not (as frequently) a struggle and more often than not you can put yourself back to sleep if you do wake up more than once in the middle of the night.  This is a vast improvement from the ways things were just a few weeks ago.

You and mommy went on your first road trip alone together this month.  You have always done well on long trips – remember that nine plus hour drive to Toledo? – but I admit that I was nervous to be doing it alone.  Previously, I would ride in the back with you to keep you entertained while your father drove and I was worried that I would spend four hours listening to you scream.  You, as usual, proved to be better than I could have hoped for.  On the drive there, you slept almost the entire time and, although you were a little bit more “chatty,” you did very well on the trip back.  You slept okay in a strange hotel room.  You met other kids and played with them without incident:

Mommy’s friend AndreAnna took that picture and – I think it’s safe to say – her kids liked you a lot.

Speaking of playing with other children, the two of us have been going to story time at the bookstore regularly.  I will admit that I have the selfish reason of it is an excuse for me to purchase coffee drinks which are bad for me, but I also know that you really love story time.  You clap along to the songs.  You are enthralled by the books.  At least, the first book.  Once your focus is used up for the day, you will find something to play with while the other kids are still listening to the book.  You drum on the metal shelves or try to crawl up the steps to the little stage.  Sometimes, you find another baby and the two of you hang out banging away on the shelves together or clapping your hands like lunatics.

I am really lucky to have you.  You are so full of joy and curiosity and energy.  Sometimes it is exhausting to keep up with you, but most of the time I just marvel at how amazing it is that I managed (along with your father) to make a baby that is as perfect as you are.

Love always,

Your Mother

The two of us at the zoo.  You were afraid of the gorilla statue

You and your daddy.

Nine Months

Dear Lorelei,

My tornado.  My hurricane.  My bundle of insane energy.  You leave destruction in your wake.  Papers are strewn upon the floor, books become an obstacle course.  Your new favorite activity?  Taking the kitties water dish and dumping it out across the carpet.

Just last week you finally (FINALLY!) got your first teeth.  After ages of acting like you were teething – drooling and chewing on everything and screaming if I dared to touch your gums – two little nubs have poked through.

From a baby girl who could barely manage a real crawl a month ago, you are standing and trying to walk already.  Every opportunity you get, you pull yourself up and walk your little feet.  You inch along the edge of the coffee table.  I’m so proud of you.  It seems like its been years since you were just a tiny bundle who would lay very still in my arms with only your arms and legs waving.  Nine months have brought so many changes already.  I will always want time to slow down, but I’m in awe of all the things you’ve accomplished already.

Love you always,

Your Mother

Eight Months

Dear Lorelei,

This month you sat up all on your own.  And I don’t just mean sitting there without help after I’ve put you down, I mean one minute you’re crawling along on your belly and then all of a sudden you decide, I want to be sitting and BOOM there you are.

As if everything weren’t already a toy, I am constantly finding you with something in your hand that you probably shouldn’t have.  This month it was the drip pans from the Foreman grill which you enjoy banging against the microwave cart.  You chew on the corners of books so I’ve had to move everything off the bottom shelf of the coffee table so you can’t get to it.  I took a book back to the library and I was worried that they wouldn’t take it back because you had ripped up the top corner of the first few pages.

I know that it’s because you’re curious and I’m glad that you’re curious, but some days I wish you would just play with the toys I bought specifically for you.  You like your stacking rings and your baby laptop, but if there is a cat toy or a piece of paper or an electrical cord within your view, those toys are forgotten for the much more interesting (and dangerous) things around the apartment.

(Just as I was writing this, you got in my purse and pulled my keys out and then proceeded to bang them against the front door)

No matter how much you can frustrate me sometimes, always remember:

I love you bunches,

Your Mother

Goofy grin

Baby feet

Seven Months

Dear Lorelei,

Another month already?  I know I say it every month, but I can’t believe how quickly time flies.  Already you are on the other side of half a year, by the rules of rounding I could say you were one.  ONE!  Obviously, I wouldn’t.  Rules of rounding or not, you are still that tiny newborn to me.

This month has shown a major improvement in your scooting skills.  Everyday, you test your boundaries more and more.  If you are on the floor in your room, you head for the hall.  In our room, it’s the bathroom.  You go for power cables (a constant source of annoyance) and garbage cans.  You pull books off the coffee table.  Some of your favorite things to play with are probably not baby safe: my cell phone, the remote control, cardboard inserts, an unopened box of razors (thank goodness it wasn’t open!) and, of course, any cat toy within your field of vision.

Favorite toy ever though: a spoon.  Any kind you can get your hand on.  Plastic, metal, baby sized or adult.

Other major milestones this month: you went to the pool twice and you met the Budweiser clydesdales at Grant’s Farm.  You can sit up entirely on your own.  At least for a few minutes before you decide to lean over tho the side and fall over.

Somedays you frustrate me beyond belief, but I still love you more than anything (sorry, Brian).

All my love always,

Your Mother

One Half

Dear Lorelei,

Half a year has gone by.  You are still my tiny baby, but you’re changing so fast.

You giggle and chatter all day long.  But on the rare occasion when you cry, it’s a scream.

My little scooter.  Not crawling yet, but you are definitely making forward progress.  Doing your little push-ups and scootin’ along.  You are always so intent on finding furniture to chew on

Last week we moved.  You’ll probably never remember your first home, but we did this for you.  We want you to grow up somewhere wonderful.  We want to be able to give you everything and this is the best way we can see to achieve that.

I love you so very much,

Your Mother

Five Months

Dear Lorelei,

This month has been hard and I want you to know that it’s not your fault.

I know that you see Mommy cry sometimes.  I know you know that means that I’m sad.  But it’s not because of you.  You are what gets me through the day sometimes.  When you smile at me, I can’t help but smile back.  I feel like my heart is going to explode from how much I love you.  You are so perfect in every single way; from your old man sounding laugh to your shriek of delight to the way you sometimes just look at me and grab hold of my shirt.  The perfect little sweet pea.

In the past month, you have learned to roll over.  Back to tummy, tummy to back, it doesn’t matter to you.  You are an expert roller.  Sometimes I will find you at a completely different angle on the floor because of all your rolling efforts.  Of course, this means that changing you is becoming an epic battle of can I get the diaper back on before you roll over.

You have discovered your feet.  I don’t know why it took you so long, your feet have been fascinating me since day one.  Ten tiny little toes and a ticklish little sole.  Now you are constantly trying to stick them in your mouth or if, GOD FORBID, we put socks on them you must pull them off.  Don’t even get me started on the footed pants.

You have learned to shriek.  Not the horrible screaming that indicates something is wrong and OH MY GOD YOU MUST FIX IT NOW! but the adorable shriek of happiness.  Walking around in Target, you’ll just start shrieking at me.  Not for any reason that I can determine other than you have caught sight of me and want to say hello.  Your cute little noises draw the attention of staff and shoppers alike and I get to enjoy a few moments of gushing over how adorable and well-behaved you are.

So many little things have happened this month.  You are eating solids – well, rice cereal mixed with lots of breast milk – really well and have recently started eating twice a day.  Some days you hardly make any mess.  You have figured out that in order to crawl you need to push up on your arms.  Still can’t crawl, but at least the concepts are becoming clearer.  You’ve been to the botanical gardens again and the zoo.  And you made it through all of Easter service without having a meltdown.  See:

Lorelei and Auntie Cecily

Time is still flying past.  It makes me sad to see you growing up, but I’m still astounded by what I wonderful little girl you are.

Love You Always,

Your Mother

Five months and six hours old

Four Months

Dear Lorelei,

Another month has gone by too quickly. And I know what you’re going to say: of course it went by too fast, it was February and there are only twenty-eight days (twenty-nine if it’s a Leap Year) in February. Well, Miss Smartypants, you are correct but that doesn’t change the fact that it feels like time is speeding by at a record pace.

You’ve started this month out with a bang. Or should I say a scream. As in, you spent all of this afternoon and evening screaming because you got your shots today. Can we talk about how upsetting that is for poor mommy?

You’ve gotten so big, although you are still so small. Eleven whole pounds and one ounce, not quite double what you weighed when you were born. You can sit up now, albeit with someone or something propping you up, but you don’t lean over to the side as much anymore. You can push yourself up when you’re on your tummy and scoot yourself just a fraction of an inch in the direction you want to go. You’ve gotten so strong that you can pull your elephant toy to make it play without any help. Sometimes, I’ll be sitting here typing away and I’ll be surprised by the sudden music. This morning you detached your zebra (still your favorite toy) from not only the gym but also its ring.

Littlest girl, time may be going by so quickly, but there are days when it feels like you’ve always been here. The perfect completion of our little family. Just do me a favor and don’t grow up too fast, I still like snuggling in bed with you.

Love always,
Your Mother