My dearest Aviya
I’ve been staring at this page for days now, as I’ve been thinking about what to say, how to open my first letter to you as you, rather than as someone I was waiting to meet. I’ve been wondering how to begin to tell you about you, your entry to the world, your first few weeks in it, and what it’s done to me and to my life.
Your birth was powerful. It was fast and intense and in part difficult and in part relieving. Relieving because it was justifiably difficult. You were pretty big with a large head and you came out of me in one contraction, but it took a lot to get you to that final contraction. My recovery from your birth was slow. My stomach muscles, arms muscles and jaw were sore for days. I bled for over three weeks. Your birth was like the crashing waves of a violent ocean in an angry thunderstorm, in all it’s rage and beauty. And then the calm after… you are the calm after the storm. You’ve blessed us with your peaceful nature, you’ve given us sleep, beautiful sleep, like we haven’t had in two years. You sleep all night, and you’re content and at ease in my arms, against my body, and near my heart.
You slept so much during your first week with us that I had to wake you to feed you in the mornings. You slept so much that you lost 11% of your body weight, but as I had trusted you to come when you were ready, I have trusted you to eat when you’re hungry, and that trust has been rewarded. When you’re asleep, you sleep, but when you’re awake you feed. Your latch is beautiful, but lazy and sometimes you just smack your lips waiting for the nipple to bring forth your lunch, which thankfully they do in bounty. You’ve never had to struggle for your milk. Nursing Ameli through pregnancy means that you’ve always had plenty on tap.
You haven’t had any cradle cap, nor have you had milk spots. I think it’s colostrum related – I didn’t have much colostrum, because I had milk – but I have no evidence of that. I was just amazed by it. The hair on the top of Ameli’s head fell out because of the cradle cap, and where it regrew it’s quite straight while the rest is curly. I’m so curious to see whether yours will be curly or straight. Your hair was black when you were born, but it has already lightened.
A month in, and you’ve grown so much already, I’ve started setting aside those items of clothing you’re not fitting into anymore. I find it heart breaking.
I also took down the Moses basket you’ve barely used, and replaced it with the travel cot Aunty Deshaine gave us. You’ll be in the basinet now, during the day, rather than just on the sofa next to me, and you’ll be in it in the early evenings too, until I go to bed, then you’ll be in with me again, curled up on your belly which – like your sister- is the only way you’ll go to sleep unless you’re lying in the crook of my arm. I love that about my babies: You are belly sleepers, like I was before I had babies in my tummy and then in my bed. You’ve both also held your necks up from a really early age, looking like meerkats peering out at the world. You’ve been holding your neck up for decent stretches of time since about two weeks. It’s incredibly sweet to watch you watching the world.
Your sister adores you. I have cried happy tears over the love she offers you. Her first words to you were asking if you could walk. Later she wanted to know if she could play with you. She’s always trying to kiss you and cuddle you, and if you cry she sidles in next to you, pats you on the back or legs and says things like ‘It’s okay my little sister, Mama’s coming’. It melts my heart. It breaks it a little bit, but for the beauty of the love that I hope will grow continuously between you. I hope that she will be a better big sister than I was at times, and that you’ll be as loving as she is in return.
You shared your first bath with her. It was precious, watching the two of you together. You’re lovely in the bath, actually. She sits in the rounded bit by my feet, and you lie on my belly, soaking in the water. I love bathing with my girls.
I love being able to say ‘my girls’.
I am so incredibly and richly blessed. I can’t imagine a different version of my life, but the one that has you two in it. I am so grateful that you chose us, little girl and I look forward to walking this journey with you.
Thank you for teaching me, too, from the moment and manner of your birth, and every day, that you are a unique individual. All I ask of you is that you will lead me, every day, to parenting you the way that suits you best. That you will guide me to learning and growing with you, that I can be the best Mama you could have, and help you to become everything you are capable and desirous of being.
I love you sweetheart.
Grow with me.