Dear Evelyn Claire,
It is true that time seems to march forward faster with each child. You seem to reach milestones earlier and outgrow clothing sooner. While I am left trying to hold onto these moments longer. You are our third, and I have learned that there is no such thing as “spoiling” you or creating “bad habits.” I cuddle you as often as I can and don’t mind if you end up beside me in bed before the sun rises.
I love your swirl of silky brown hair, the way you smack your lips together when you’re hungry and suck in your lower lip when you sleep, and how you fit perfectly in my lap while I sit cross-legged on the floor surrounded by puzzle pieces and matchbox cars. I love your squeaks, sighs, sneezes, stretches, smiles, and snorts.
You furrow your eyebrows just like Sam, and you like to feel your hands at your face just like Nora. You have a strong neck, and your favorite position is over my left shoulder. You are constantly kicking your right leg and have broken out of the swaddle more times than I can count.
I don’t mind the constant diaper changes or the endless pile of dirty burp cloths. And I actually look forward to feeling the weight of you in my arms in the middle of the night. I am not the same mother I was to Sam, or even to Nora. I am not nervous to lift a tiny wet body from the bath tub or nurse you in public. I have accepted that you are my priority and am more confident in my decisions. I’m more experienced, more relaxed, and more present.
You arrived on the first Monday of summer vacation, and so I have had no choice but to bring you to the playground and the community pool and the library for story time. Fortunately, you are content to be toted along on our adventures. You mostly snooze in the stroller or in the Ergo or in my lap. Most people can’t believe that I’m taking such a tiny little one to the coffee shop or the creamery, especially when I have a 2 1/2-year-old on one hand and an almost-5-year-old on the other. They say, “You certainly have your hands full.” And I want to say, “You should see my heart.
So far, you are a stellar sleeper. You take a lot of short naps during the day — in the car or in the stroller, in your bouncy seat while the big kids run laps around you, or in my arms if I can manage to sneak away for a few minutes of quiet snuggle time.
On your first night home, I put you into the crib at bedtime. It’s in our room, but it was a bit too big and a bit too far away for you liking. As soon as I moved you into the cozy bassinet (the same one that both Sam and Nora slept in for their first few weeks of life), you began to sleep for 4-5 hour stretches.
You are a healthy eater and impressed the doctor with your weight gain at your 2-week (8lbs 1oz) and 1-month (9lbs 9oz) appointments. I am feeding you on demand, which turns out to be 8-9 times per day. You have already outgrown the newborn sleepers that I bought for you right after you were born, though your 3-month clothing is still too big.
When possible, I try to escape to the bedroom to nurse you without a kid talking in my ear or trying to climb into my lap. And on the weekends, I love to snuggle with you in bed long after Sam’s door opens and Nora begins to beg for breakfast.
During week 3, you developed little red dots all over your forehead and cheeks. The doctor wasn’t concerned, and it didn’t seem to bother you, but I still felt so bad. I started to rub a bit of expressed breast milk all over your face in the morning and at night. It seemed like a strange thing to do, but it also seemed like the most natural “remedy” that I came across during my research. You also had a clogged tear duct, and I had to wipe discharge from your right eye at least 6 times per day. Yes, little lady, you were a bit high maintenance during weeks 3 and 4. Fortunately, both things cleared up almost as quickly as they appeared.
You are absolutely adored by your big brother and big sister. They smother you with love and hugs and kisses. I say “get out of her face” and “give her some space” at least a dozen times every day. But I believe that you have already learned that there is no such thing as “personal space” in this house. And I honestly don’t think that you mind. You seem to be most content when you’re in the middle of the chaos.
Nora calls you “Baby Ebie” and “cutie pie.” She is the first to report to me if you’re crying and stuffs the binkie into your mouth if I don’t respond fast enough. She likes to tickle your toes and rub your head, though I have to constantly remind her to be gentle. When I talk to you, she says “Baby Ebie can’t talk yet, Mommy.” Yet she reads books to you and sings “Rock-a-Bye, Baby.” She tries to sit on my lap while I’m nursing you and tries to climb onto the dresser when I’m changing you. Basically, she wants to be beside you at all times.
Sam calls you “Ev” and gives you about a million kisses every day. On your first day home, he said, “I’m Bubba. You can call me Sam, or Bubba.” He is always holding your hands and wrapping your fingers around his thumbs (just like he did with Nora when she was a baby). He wants to help to change your diapers and give you baths, and he is your biggest cheerleader during tummy time. He involves you in all of his pretend play, like “Don’t worry, Evie, I’ll protect you from Darth Vader” and “You are true love’s first kiss.”
Big brother and big sister have lots of questions like: “Why do you have to feed her on both sides? Does it taste different?” and “Daddy, did you watch Mommy push out the baby?”
Evie, you are so loved by so many. During your first week, you were able to meet Nini and Poppy and Auntie Laura, Oma and Opa and Uncle BJ. During our trip to Dover at two weeks, you met your Great Grandma and Great Grandpa Rishel, and your Great Grammy. As well as several great aunts and great uncles.
Evie, you are the piece to our puzzle that we didn’t even realize was missing. You complete our family and bring each of us so much joy. I already can’t imagine our life without you in it. We love you, little lady!