Ah, my sweet girl. You are such a handful these days, I don’t often have time to stop and write.
You are almost 28 weeks old. The butterflied time of true viability. You are deliciously chubby and weighed 20 lbs (9 kg) at your six-month appointment last week. You’re also 27 ⅓ inches long (tall?), which means you’re in mid-90s percentiles for height and weight. Actually, you’re so large you’ve not only outgrown your carseat but I’ve been referred to a physical therapist. Your six-feet-tall mama is a little dismayed, but mostly pleased by how large you are.
Your eyes are almost certainly going to stay blue. A double recessive gene! Only 1-2% of the population has red hair, and only 1% of the redhaired population has blue eyes, so, in a way, you and I both have special, rare genes. This brings me some comfort. I hug this thought when people stop me and ask, as someone does every time we are out and about, if you get your colouring from my side of the family. Does red hair run in your family? Oh, you’re British? Irish? Ah yes, that’s obviously where she gets it from!
Obviously… I have learned to grin and say, No, she doesn’t get it from me — it was a total surprise!
There’s a fuzzy bald spot at the back of your head where your hair has worn away from sleeping, but the rest of your head is covered in a soft gingery down. The hair you were born with sprouts from your crown and grows forward in a quiff. It’s springs up into tight curls when it’s wet and, just like my hair, the dirtier it is the straighter it gets. My mum, the artist, swoons and gushes about your pre-Raphaelite locks.
You still don’t look anything like me, but I catch glimpses of myself in you already! It’s so strange to see flashes of myself as a baby in you. You’ve begun to wrinkle your nose when you grin. Damn, if that isn’t the cutest little expression on a pint-sized face. Sometimes you have a very serious, wide-eyed expression on your face, and I wonder if you’ve learned that from me as well. My dad, Grandpa B, remarks that you look quite Victorian when you’re not smiling.
You have super sensitive skin. People on the street knowingly murmur about this — redheads have sensitive skin and are fiery, they say. I think I agree. You are a sunny little thing, but you can be aloof with strangers — you show them your serious Victorian face — and, oh boy, you can get mightily cranky when you don’t get your way! This is mainly putting you in your crib to sleep — a whole other blog post — but we’re seeing it daily as you go through this latest developmental leap.
You reach for things, try to feed yourself, furiously kick your right leg when you think things aren’t going the way they’re supposed to, and pull my hair in excitement. You love moving and Daddy is convinced you’ll be crawling soon. Oh, and you have started screeching, leading me to affectionately nickname you our Terrordactyl. Just in time for our flight to San Francisco on Friday, too! You have suddenly noticed the dog and he makes you laugh! (He has noticed you too, and doesn’t understand why you won’t throw the ball when he drops it at your feet!)
I started you on solids a couple of weeks ago. You’ve been fascinated by food (even the dog drinking water) for a while now. I had always hoped to breastfeed you until you were six months old… and here we are already. There are moments when you’re still sucking, pulling, gulping at my bosom and I long for you to be done — but I love nursing. It’s the one thing my body is really good at, so even though sometimes I don’t want to be touched after a particularly long cluster-feeding session, I wouldn’t give it up for the world. And yet, I’ll have to. At some point you and I will make the decision, wordlessly, to wean you off the breast completely. Starting you on solids — sweet potato at first, followed by pear, carrots, rice cereal, apple sauce — is, for me right now, slightly more bitter than sweet. It’s the beginning of the end of our breastfeeding relationship, and once that’s gone, that’s gone for good. I suppose we’ll bond over cooking and eating a more varied and delicious diet.
Here you are, my sweet girl. You make my heart go Zing!