Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Month 4

Dear Sophie,
Today you are four months old. This month has gone by in the blink of an eye. I packed away all of your 0-3 month clothes, and pulled out all of the bigger clothes. It's getting cold outside, so you are wearing sweaters and sweatshirts and sweatpants in the mornings and evenings. You look kind of funny all bundled up and squished into the baby carrier, but I get a lot of giggles at your expense.

You are very nosy, and need to know what is going on all the time. Whenever we go out, you watch other people, especially kids, to see what everyone is doing. Sometime it is hard to get you to eat because you are craning your neck to see something. You like to watch people, and you like to look at things that are red. Before, you would grab toys and things that were given to you, or put in front of you, but now you grab anything that is in grabbing distance. This includes hair, glasses, and of course, toys. You prefer the hard teething toys to soft stuffed animals, and everything goes in your mouth. You bat at your toys in the exersaucer and on your carseat to make them spin, and your coordination is getting better every day.

You found your thumb, and realized that while your fist may not fit in your mouth, by golly, that thumb is the perfect size! I think that you are a lefty, like me, because you reach with your left hand.

All of my bragging and boasting about your sleeping habits has come back to bite me in my sleep-deprived a... ear. This month we decided to put you in a Halo blanket instead of your Swaddle-me, and you decided that everyone needs to be awake at 12am. And at 4am.

You are still not sleeping in your crib, but we put you in there sometimes to play with your toys. And you use the slats of the crib to turn in circles, and you roll over (for real this time!) You like to roll over when nobody is watching, but we come back in the room and you are on your tummy when we left you on your back. Your father even set up a hidden video camera so that we could see you, but you must have known he was up to something because you wouldn't do it. We do, however, have about 30 minutes of exciting tape of you laying in your crib eating your bib.

Your Grandma came all the way from Illinois to spend last weekend with you. You were really good, smiling all the time and not spitting up on her once. You already know who buys the presents.

Your dad and I opened up a college account for you this month, and you're well on your way to that PhD from Yale. Or you know, wherever you decide to go. I think that part of being a parent is the desire for your children to do better, to have better than you, and to make all of their dreams come true and have them want for nothing. I know, now, that life consists of a general happiness or contentment, with bright and shining moments of pure, unadulterated joy. It is those moments of joy that make life worth living. You and your father and a lot of other people have brought so much joy into my life, and I can only hope that I do the same for you. That is, until you're a teenager, and it's all downhill from there, because you may not leave the house wearing that and get off the phone now, and then it's my job to make your life as horrible and embarrassing as I can. But for now, you are just my little baby, and you're always going to be my beautiful little baby, my precious little baby that I love so very much.



14 pounds, 14 ounces, 24 1/4 inches

Friday, September 19, 2008

One day you just wake up

And you realize your baby's eyes aren't blue anymore.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Dear Sophie,
I know that you aren't another month old today. This one's a bonus. I felt I had to say something about Today. Today is September 11, 2008, and it is indeed a Today with a capital T. Today is the seventh anniversary of 9/11, the day that is forever a wound that will not heal.
On this day, seven years ago, a group of terrorists, a militant sect of a group of people called the Taliban, hijacked four airplanes. Two of those planes crashed into the beautiful twin towers in New York City, brutally murdering 2,684 people, not including the 147 people on board the airplanes, not including the hijackers. One plane was heroically taken back by the passengers, who crashed in the middle of a field in Pennsylvania, sacrificing their own lives to save countless others. One plane hit much closer to home.
My baby, we live in the DC metropolitan area. Seven years ago, your father and I lived in Arlington, a stone's throw from the Pentagon, where 125 people inside the Pentagon and 59 passengers of American flight 77 died.
Some say that every generation has a collective moment that everyone remembers exactly what they were doing, exactly where they were. Ask your grandparents what they were doing when they found out that John F. Kennedy had been assassinated, the day Martin Luther King, Jr. died, or when John Lennon was shot. For your father and I, we will always remember, with tears in our eyes, that we were out walking Janka, that we were home, and we were safe. That I had just graduated, and was still working in a restaurant and had the dinner shift that started at 3:45, and that your father had a job right across the 14th Street Bridge that he hated and had stayed home that day. That we could see the sickening smoke pouring out of the gaping hole in the side of the Pentagon for days. The smell of charred death. The frantic phone calls to friends from college that lived or worked in Manhattan to make sure everyone was okay, the frantic phone calls we received from my parents and other family and friends to make sure we were okay.
I sat in front of the TV in that little one-bedroom apartment on the first floor of the Windsor for hours during the following days. DC was all but shut down. National guardsmen stood with tanks and uzis on streetcorners. Life was surreal.
There was a woman, her husband worked in the Pentagon. He didn't work in the part that had been hit, but he never came home that day. They showed her on the news, sitting in the parking lot, waiting for him. People brought her things. A chair, food, water. She stayed, vigilant. Her husband was coming out. And I watched her, prayed for her, hoped for her. She stayed in that parking lot, not even going home at night to sleep. And one morning, two weeks after, I watched as she stood from that chair someone had brought her, weeping, as she turned to leave. And I wept with her. He never came out.
In the days and months after the attacks, we came together, despite all of our many differences. We nursed each other. We flew flags, we lit candles and we mourned together, as a nation. And we stood strong, triumphant, because We Are Americans. A year and some months after 9/11, your father and I stood at Ground Zero, in Manhattan, in the freezing cold, and hugged each other and cried.
When you are older, I pray that your life will never be touched by tragedy. That all of the hate and the war and the religious zealots in the world will be over. But, my baby, we brought you into the world during a time where all of these things exist.
Because if we stop living our lives, if we pause and let a little shimmer of fear enter our souls, we have let them win.
And we can never, never ever, never let them win.

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