Joys of Mommyhood: part 1 of what is sure to be many

There was a dose of disappointment in my birth story, mostly concerning the doctors present.  So in order to balance that out, I wanted to share some of the joys of life with Ella.

Physical Contact
When she was finally in my arms, nothing and no one could take her away.  In the hospital, she slept almost exclusively on my chest l or at my side after nursing.  (Needless to say, this meant that I didn't sleep.)  Though bleary-eyed, I was determined that this little baby would have as much contact with her mama as she needed after being shockingly separated after 9 months and 3 days of complete intimacy. Understandably, our constant contact led to infrequent brushing of my teeth and little showering during those first days and weeks. At home, she slept in her bedside crib the first night, and then hardly a night after.  The first weeks she slept on my chest, then she gradually was satisfied with just being by my side.  During the day, she slept almost exclusively in the wrap or on my chest.  She now seems more secure and even if she does fall asleep on my chest, she seems to find it uncomfortable and gets so squirmy that she ends up sleeping by my side (as she is now).

The comment people most often make about Ella is how vlasatá she is.  Now, vlasatý means literally "hairy," but that doesn't really catch the meaning of the Czech word. As opposed to chlupatý, which refers to body hair,  vlasatý refers to vlasy or hairs that are on your head.  However, Czechs don't always know that "hairy" in English makes us think of body hair, so I also get comments from Czechs in English like "she's so hairy!"  Yes, our little munchkin is "hairy."  She was born with a head full of dark dark hair.  Twice people have mistaken her for a dog while I wore her in the wrap.

 At our first pediatric visit, the pediatrician said that this hair will fall out and be replaced by new hair.  My husband has since been faithfully checking and observing her hair, seeking reassurance that this indeed is not happening.  And it isn't.  Day by day, our little girl continues to look like Elvis or a hipster with a faux hawk (sans beard, thankfully). One of my students asked, "If she's a girl, why does she have boy hair?"  Just today a stranger (who looked remarkably like Hulk Hogan) saw her, and said, "Isn't she a little punker!" before proceeding to quack at her till she smiled.

We've also delighted in her squishiness.  She was born 4.2 kg (9.2 lbs).  My husband regularly reminded me during my pregnancy that he was born at more than 4 kg, a fact I liked to acknowledge and brush aside in hopes of a smaller baby and an easier birth.  Thankfully, the doctors didn't expect her to be over 4 kilos and neither did I, so I gave birth in blissful ignorance.  She left the hospital at an even 4 kilos, and when we visited the pediatrician the next day, she'd gained back 160 grams.  She continues to grow well and nurse well, and by our home measurements she is now 66 cm (26 in) and 6.5 kg (14 lbs) at 2 months and 2 weeks old (according to the WHO infant growth charts, she's in the 99th percentile for height and 90th for weight).  When placed next to other babies, the same age or older, she looks colossal.  We're quite proud of her.

Her first "social smile" was at 5 weeks, though now what seems to start as an adoring smile at her mother, sometimes is quickly followed by a puddle of milk or a baby-sized explosion in her nappy.  Still, we love her smile whatever the cause.  Sometimes her sleep is difficult.  After sleeping poorly during the day one day, leading to lots and lots of cries and wails and frustrated screams, I feared another such day.  Then, as she looked at me, again prematurely awoken, she gave me such a smile that I knew my worries were completely out of place.  Two of the sweetest times for smiles are after a long sleep and during nursing.  She'll wakes after a long night's rest and recognize me next to her and give me a beaming smile.  Other times, while she's nursing, she'll suddenly release, continue to gaze at me and will smile as milk dribbles down her cheek.

On one of my mother-in-law's visits, she was singing to Ella, and she asked me if I sang to Ella.  At that point I wasn't singing much and I decided to start. So, one day trying to get Ella to sleep in the wrap, I pulled up the lyrics to "All I Want is You" from the Juno soundtrack and paced through our three rooms singing (but with considerably less twang than when I sing along to the track).  Then I determined to learn the words of "Desert Lullaby" by Chris Stuart as well as refresh the lyrics to "Hush Little Baby."  I now sing to Ella regularly, and when I tire of the aforementioned, I begin singing songs that I grew up with in church like "Great is Thy Faithfulness" or songs from my college experience of church like "Cannot Tell it All" or "When I Think About the Lord."

People often ask what I call Ella.  In Czech, it's easy to add cute-ifying endings to words (ie the diminutive form) and many names have numerous formations or nicknames to make it sound more endearing.  For example, my husband Karel could be called Kaja, Kajanek, etc.  Usually people call Ella "Ellinka,"  but I don't.  Because I'm too busy calling her honey, sweetie, milk face, sugar, sugar plum, honey bear, cuddle bug, pumpkin, sweetheart, darling, sweetie pie, and plenty of other insulin-inducing endearments.

Yes, I can say we're quite happy with our little munchkin.


Popular Posts