Friday, January 3, 2014

Letters to Serene: 3 months

serene joy at 3 months
My dear Serene Joy,

At three months, you're in the 10th-25th percentile, weighing 11 lbs 12 oz at 23 inches long. My sweetheart, this month has been one of wonder and joy for us. Your happiness is infectious, and you smile so often and so hard that it permeates your entire face and body.  It’s as if your mouth is not sufficient enough to express your joy that you need to kick your legs and turn your head from side to side as you grin. Your daddy calls those your Stevie Wonder smiles. Your gummy grins are often accompanied by cooing in response to your daddy and me when we talk to you. It is so incredibly darling that it makes me want to cry. Receiving your unabashed smiles never fails to melt our hearts and cause us to reciprocate, no matter how sour of a mood we may be succumbing to at the moment.

You do not reserve smiles for just your mama and papa, though. You are so friendly already. Though you snoozed through your daddy’s entire sermon the morning you attended your first worship service at church, you were so willing to be held by others during potluck lunch afterward. Your admirers on Sundays have been finding you easy to entertain  – you react to them with your signature grins and conversational cooing, even if you’ve just met their acquaintance. You’ve been around people aplenty this month since it was your first Christmas and New Year’s. We attended or hosted holiday parties, and you were unfazed by the crowds. In fact, the more people who pay attention to you, the happier you are, and the more frequent your smiles. I think you’re exhibiting early signs of an extrovert (like your mama!).

In addition to fine-tuning your facial and vocal expressions, you’ve also been noticing your hands. Though you discovered at four weeks that you can sort of suck on your fists, that feat didn’t resurface intermittently until you were nine weeks. By the time you were eleven weeks, it became habitual for you to open your fists to unintentionally clasp things around you (e.g. your other hand, your blanket, your mama’s torso), and attempt to jam your entire fist into your mouth. Drooling commenced, too. Drooly smiles, drooly fists, and drooly-anything-you-managed-to-suck.

Your sucking reflex is so strong, which has helped us establish a nursing rhythm (other than the growth spurt you had when you were about eleven weeks). You usually start to do a whimpering pant to indicate your hunger when you see me. Once I pick you up and position you on the Boppy pillow to get ready to feed you, you kick your little legs ferociously and twist your head towards me in anticipation of your meal. You are so squirmy in that way until you latch on. Once you latch on like the expert you are now, your legs and arms go limp in contentment. And sometimes, you smile as you eat; it is rather endearing. But other times, you’ll start crying at the end of a nursing session because you’re full and don’t want milk anymore, but still want to suck. I didn’t realize this until you were six weeks old, and once we did, we started giving you the pacifier to satisfy your urge to suck. I am thankful for the pacifier at these times, and when it helps you fall asleep on your own.  It is funny because your daddy claims that you have pacifier idolatry. I do admit I’m fearful that you prefer it a tad too much.

You also prefer observing the world around you now, more than ever. You don’t like being cradled in our arms like a newborn anymore. You started letting us know at eleven weeks that you prefer to be held upright so that you can hold your neck up (pretty steadily!) and swivel it from side to side to gaze at your surroundings. Your newfound ability to focus your gaze has fostered your curiosity and allowed you to take in many a wondrous sight this month. You are mesmerized by our Christmas tree with all its twinkling lights. You like staring at the sunlight streaming in from our window shades as your daddy or I hold you against our chest in the morning. Your eyes take in the sea of bright colors and varied handwriting as you do mini push-ups during tummy time on your quilt. Most of all, you delight in looking at your mama and papa. Though you like people, you absolutely prefer your parents. In fact, you wail whenever you comprehend that we’re not in your presence, for you’re most content when you can see us.

I think that’s why you enjoy bathtime so much; you capture both your daddy’s and my undivided attention as we bathe you and sing to you. We think it is so cute that you’re so calm during bathtime, with your hands clenched into fists like you’re holding a backpack, and your legs sporadically kicking in mid-air as you’re being cleaned.  By the way, you are thoroughly fascinated by your reflection in the mirror during bathtime. You’re pretty much staring at yourself the whole time, since your bathtub currently fits into the bathroom sink. I shall be sad the day you outgrow your little white tub, and have to transition to a stand-alone tub in the bathtub.

I’ll also be sad when you outgrow your bassinet. You’ve slept in it by our bedside since the day we brought you home from the hospital, and we love having you an arm’s reach away – nursing you in the middle of the night is just easier that way. However, I knew that as you approached three months of age, we’d have to start transitioning you to sleep in your nursery. We started the process at twelve weeks of age by having you nap during the day and sleep for a couple of stretches at night in your crib. Up until we started putting you in your crib at night, your bedtime routine had been unfolding as follows: you’d get fed around 9pm, then bathed, lotioned, changed, dressed in your pajamas, and cuddled until we put you down to sleep. Your daddy also started reading to you on the day you turned twelve weeks from The Jesus Storybook Bible before we put you down to sleep, which you are loving. Then you’d play with us until you have a late-night feeding before you drift off to sleep in your bassinet, usually between 11pm-12am. You’d sleep for a five hour stretch, wake up between 4am-5am to get changed and to eat, and then knock out again for about three hours until you wake up between 7am-8am for another quick feeding before you snooze for another two hours or so before you’re ready to start your day. But yesterday, you slept two four hour stretches in your crib in the nursery beginning at 11:30pm. Progress!

Other developments this month: You detest having your tongue cleaned. Whenever I clean your little tongue of milk residue, you scream like a banshee. The first time I did it, you cried real tears for the first time. You also don’t like hearing sneezes. You cry with passion whenever one of us sneezes. It’s kind of cute but sad that a sneeze frightens you so much. Thankfully, it does not take more than a hug and snuggle to soothe you back to contentment.

All in all, you are such a delightful and winsome baby. Some of my most cherished moments in the day are at night and in the wee hours of the morning when, after you nurse, I’d hold you against my chest in an upright froggy-legged position to burp you. You’d snuggle against me, fast asleep in the most content way. I take those few minutes to gaze at your little features, and squeeze you tight. Then I always whisper to your daddy as I kiss your little face, “She’s just so sweet.”

You are so sweet, my baby baby. So sweet that I’m thoroughly convinced from these past three months that motherhood is the best job in the world. I’ve been so sad to the point of tears in the weeks leading up to yesterday: the day I returned to work from maternity leave. You were in your daddy’s sole care, and you both, as he said, had a D-Day. You refused to drink from the bottle, and screamed all day. Though you took the bottle just fine for the first few weeks of life during the times your grandmama baby-sat you while your daddy and I snuck away for errands or a quick date, I suppose you’ve realized that the bottle just isn’t the real thing. Apparently, you wailed so ferociously that you and your daddy both tired yourselves out and knocked out for a nap. It was heartbreaking, and you nursed for what seemed like the whole night when I got home to make up for the day. We are praying so hard that you (and we all) adjust well to my absence in the days to come. As much as I yearn to stay at home to care for you, we just can’t manage that at this point in time. I am just selfishly hoping you save your next milestones for when I am home in the evenings from work. Rest assured, despite my imminent daytime absences, I love you fiercely, so much more than I ever could have imagined!

Love you so,

P.S. Serene Joy at 0, 1, and 2 months.


  1. I love your monthly letters and updates :) super cute and its great for memory keeping.

  2. Such an alert and beautiful little lady! I just looked at all the nursery photos. What a colorful and unique space you have created! I love all the vintage and antique touches. Well done!


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