Friday, October 26, 2007

Reflection on the Last

In all the reading I did leading up to having a second baby, I came across someone who said that the first time you see your firstborn after your baby is delivered, you'll be amazed at how grown up and not-babyish he is.

It's so true. I don't think it hit me until the first time I changed Ben's diaper after Anna was born. I was already used to changing the delicate newborn diapers, gently squeezing warm water over her bottom to clean off the poop without having to use harsh soapy chemicals, slowly and quietly snapping her sleeper back together so as not to disrupt her. Then there's Ben. All arms and legs and long body. 25 pounds of flailing toddler to wrestle and wrangle and pin down. Poops the size of Anna's head. Diapers bigger than the huge sanitary napkins they gave me at the hospital. He's a giant.

Anna is still a petite little thing. Less than seven pounds. Every once in a while, though, I glance down at her and it seems like she's grown again. Her cheeks are puffier, her head a big larger, her arms a little chubbier. I vaguely remember Ben being this small. And now he's not. You know what that means... soon Anna will be a toddler and no longer this precious little bundle that fits perfectly between my breasts as she sleeps while Mama blogs.

She's our last baby. We're not going to have another pregnancy. Maybe we'll add more kids to the family some day, but I'd rather adopt a toddler or preschooler. Save the babies for those families who weren't blessed with pregnancies and newborns. So she's it. The last perfect little wrinkly pink squalling babe that I can call "mine."

In ways, I'm cherishing every moment with her more than I did with Ben. The first baby was exciting and wonderful, but it was also overwhelming and exhausting (not that this isn't), and I was getting used to being a mommy. I'd stare at Ben with awe and delight, but I didn't realize how fleeting those moments would be, how empty my arms would feel when he stopped being content to just curl up in my arms to watch the world.

With Anna, I know that this won't last. If I close my eyes for too long, she'll be a little girl instead of just a little baby. There's something magical about newborns. A tiny clump of potential. I don't know what her personality will be like. For now, she's a treasure for us to nurture and love, and I'll love watching her evolve into her own person, but I still wish I could capture this time in a capsule to hold onto.

She's a week and a half old now, and she's almost completely to breast. She'll even nurse while she's sleeping, which seems like a miracle to me. I love watching her suckle when her eyes are open though. So curious and enchanted with the world, she moves her eyes back and forth and around to see what she can see, every once in a while, stopping on my face for a bit, and I feel like I've been given the most amazing gift. Those eyes are still a dark blue, and I can't help but wonder what color they'll end up. Ben's eyes were a muddy blue until after he was one, when they changed slowly to a deep chocolate brown. Maybe Anna will get Chris's blue eyes.