Dearest Beanie Bean,
You came into this world a fragile, squishy little beanbag in the deadest cold of winter, a ruthless end-of-January baby, effectively quarantined in our frigid little condo for your first endless weeks alive. During that time I was still recovering from the major abdominal surgery that brought you to us, and as such I was hopped up on goofballs for most of the time, and crying my eyes out with exhaustion and hormones and terror the rest of the time.
Your grandma and father had you when you napped and in the rare moments when you were awake and calm. I had you the rest of the time — when you were hungry. And oh my God, were you hungry. You were so, so, so hungry. What seemed like every four minutes, someone would bring you in to nurse, and for the first month of your life all I saw was the side of your little head. Every time we tried to latch you on, I’d coach you: go big-big, Lini! Big-big! Go big-big! Then when you finally latched, and it hurt so badly I saw stars despite the Percocet, I’d rock back and forth to keep from screaming and discouraging you, and I’d say: Good big-big!
It seems you took those many 4 a.m. directives literally, for now, as you turn four months old, you are big-big in every way.
Your girth continues to be spectacularly big-big. Your thighs are a force unto themselves, so large I can wrap both hands around them and they barely touch.
Your personality is big-big-BIG-big. You recognize words (“Lini want to sing ABC song?”) and some games (I close my eyes and pretend I’ve lost you). You make some gestures, like when you roll from your back to your side and stretch your arms out and gape your mouth wide in a — you guessed it — big-big show of wanting to nurse. You have started reaching your arms up to me when I am about to pick you up.
Your advances are big-big-big-big-BIG-big. You can sit!
All right, you can totter for about fifteen seconds before you topple over, but you still love it, love to look around, to reach out for things. You can babble, especially when you’re tired. About two weeks ago you discovered your Outside Voice, and you shrieked all day long, to the great delight of our neighbors, I imagine.
Your heart is big-big-BIG BIG BIG. You love getting kisses, and have even started giving a few of your own, although at this point it just involves you leaning toward us with your mouth wide open and slobbering on our cheeks.
Your smiles are big-big.
You love your songs, ABC, but also “Monster in the Mirror,” by Grover (come for “Wubba wubba wubba,” stay for Dwayne Wayne doing the Cabbage Patch).
And, certainly not least, your fusses and demands are perhaps big-big-biggest of all.
For awhile this month you decided you didn’t want to nurse to sleep anymore, and could only fall asleep when your dad walked you outside for half an hour (since he refuses the Ergo or the sling, he’s gotten considerably more jacked in the arms as a result). Then suddenly last night you decided walking with your dad could go fuck itself, and I could hear you wailing bloody murder down the block. Yesterday you also fell asleep in your sling four times, leading me (incorrectly) to believe that your sling was your new favorite “safe place” — today you told the sling to go fuck itself in no uncertain terms.
There are times when the only way I can get you to relax is if I carry you in the sling or Ergo and nurse you at the same time; these times all seem to coincide with me carrying an iced almond-milk decaf latte in the other hand and inadvertently flashing my titty to half the neighborhood. “You look like you have your hands full,” opined one of my neighbors most unhelpfully last week, as I struggled to turn you from outward facing (the big-big girl way) to inward facing because you’d briefly fallen asleep, and if you’re sleeping I can’t carry you outward-facing because your big-big fat noggin will loll forward and obstruct your breathing. But then as soon as I unclip you to turn you around, you awaken, and the fussing begins anew. Yes, neighbor, I have my hands full. I have them full as fuck.
This month I decided to hasten along the Incessant Breastfeeding Weight Loss Plan and rejoin WeightWatchers, but they give you fourteen extra points a day for nursing, so other than swapping out sugar-sweetened root beer for stevia and budgeting my cookie walks to one a day, I haven’t had to tamp down the gluttony, and I continue to, slowly but surely, return to my earlier stages of plumpness, as your rolls continue to grow rolls of their own.
This month hasn’t been easy, kid. Right now I’ve lost sight of that because you’re curled up next to me asleep, your big fat arm wrapped around mine even as I type. You’re too big-big to sleep on my chest now, and usually you don’t even want to. But it hasn’t been easy. You’ve decided that you need to wake up seven times a night instead of two or three, and that sometimes you don’t want to be nursed back to sleep, but rather walked. I’m sleep-deprived for the first time since you were a month old. There are some days when you’ve been fed, changed, walked, soothed, played with, held, slung and you’re still fucking fussing and I think: Jesus H Christ, this is like having to diffuse a bomb that re-wires itself in a different way every seven minutes.
But it’s OK. It really is. Because the big-biggest of them all is my love for you, which gets big-bigger every hour. And now you’re stirring and stink-facing and about to melt down, so I have to go. Again.
Mom (Rebecca. Schuman! Jeez.)