So I have obviously been absent from the online world. It all just got a little too "noisy" for me, and I have seriously reflected on how exactly I want to contribute. I've also just simply been soaking up every second with my little love. My oh-so-sweet Selah girl.
The stage I'm in right now is, "Wow, wow, wow." I'm just so overwhelmingly amazed, more and more each day, at the way God created my daughter. I remember at the beginning of her life I would constantly say, "You are just so neat!" Then once she hit that two month "wide awake" stage, I remember feeling like it was Christmas every day. Each day I felt blessed with a new and amazing discovery about her. She would surprise me with something else that would just melt my heart. It's just so beautifully overwhelming, this first time parenting. It's so awesome that each day is somewhat of a surprise, because everyday is filled with firsts for her and us. Sweet Selah can bring me to tears in 2 seconds flat, simply because I am so, so thankful to get to be her mom. The ultimate dream come true to be entrusted with this life. I do focus intentionally each day to do whatever I can to squeeze as much joy out of each moment that I can, not ever wanting to take this blessing for granted. Having only one car, we tend to be at home perhaps more than we might be, but I honestly treasure these sweet, simple days soaking up a new little life. And I'm enjoying learning the homemaker role as well. (Though figuring out laundry, dinner, cleaning and organization does NOT come naturally to me...nor is it necessarily my favorite. ;) Often I joke with Kevin that Matilda or Gertrude or Hilda (my imaginary cleaning ladies) didn't show up today, and they'll have to be fired. Then I suggest that I receive their pay. Ha.
Play dates are definitely oh-so refreshing I have to say, as I've realized the undeniable necessity to connect and share with other moms of young ones. I really want to work harder at making these more regular, as I haven't exactly excelled in the friendship area since I had Selah. It's been an interesting transition for me to rediscover myself and my personality in the role of mom, while mustering up the energy and effort to reach out to and connect with others. My most difficult month was definitely between weeks 8 and 12. My days definitely ran together a bit then. Some painful, physical stuff came around as a result from my long labor. (Thankfully gone now). I also had to transition to a new kind of tired, as my little love wasn't so much sleeping like a newborn in the daytime anymore, and was still getting up at least a couple times a night. This is also when she became much more interested in the world around her and wanted to be a part of everything. (This hasn't changed:) At this time I also started becoming really convicted by the "comparision" trap in the parenting world. Certainly a dangerous temptation that is definitely not from God.
As I mentioned, at 2 months Selah seemed to wake up and take notice. She gained some strength, batting at her toys on her favorite playmat, pushing down and with her legs and "standing" on our laps, and smiling a lot. She still pretty much slept whenever we drove in the car, and continued to eat at least every 3 hours. She also grew to love, love the swing. At the end of 2 months she started getting on an eat for 20-30 min., (down from about an hour!), play for 45 min. to an hour, then sleep for 45 min. to a little over an hour, with a longer two hour nap in the afternoon. I thought we had it down great. She also slept for over 8 hours the night before Thanksgiving! Well, the second I started saying that's what our days were like, Selah apparently decided to switch things up shortly after turning 3 months. At this stage I felt like she left the bitty newborn days behind. I remember in the days and weeks leading up to that 3 month mark I would snuggle my tiny baby close and try to memorize every second of that special newborn, sleepy sweet time. I knew we were on the edge of some getting older transitions. What's awesome is how much I constantly try to hold so tightly to the current moments...only to be amazed at how much I love the ones that come next just as much!
When she turned 3 months, shortly before Christmas, she became as fun as ever. Joyful and playful, spunky and still snuggly. She really started grabbing and holding onto things, and handling a little more time on her tummy. She also started staying awake on trips, and didn't care much for being in her carseat when we were out and about. But she started loving being held facing outward and seeing everything. She also continued to love doing daily "chores" with me, reading books, and "dancing" to music. She became a lot more patient and flexible, and it's been so neat to see her "mature" into a trusting little one content to go with the flow. A super cute new development was her ability to be "distracted" while eating, whenever daddy would come home and start talking. She started taking breaks and looking up, then laughing. I remember it being so hilarious when she started doing this. So funny. At the end of 3 months she also celebrated her first Christmas, which was so surreal and sweet. Of course she slept through the gift opening during both our families' celebrations. :)
Then came 4 months - goodbye newborn baby girl, hello big girl Selah! Our little lady's big personality started coming out more than ever. She became much more comfortable with others, even more expressive day to day, and stronger than ever. Also much less interested in daytime sleep! Though we are definitelly instilling quiet crib time early around here! She starting kicking more than ever, especially in the bath, which she loves. She also started wanting to touch and interact with whatever book or toy we were reading or playing with. We entered into the age of reaching out and grabbing for everything, then wanting to put it in her mouth. She also started loving the exersaucer and all things that crinkle. She is up for going anywhere at anytime, it seems, and is really flexible about sleeping and eating in different places - which I'm thankful for. She is fascinated by other children, and definitely gets a kick out of and adores her daddy. I feel like this month flew by faster than any other. So crazy. It seems like the bigger she gets, the faster she grows up! Selah also got her first cold, and when we went to the doctor she weighed 14 lbs 8 oz and was 25 and 1\2 inches - in the 95th percentile! Wow - she does not get her height from her 5 ft 3 mother, that's for sure. At 4 months she also started enjoying being rocked and sang to before bedtime, which I love. When she was itty bitty she preferred quiet walking/pacing and being bounced or patted. We went to hear my brother preach at the end of January and she was crying her eyes out from weariness as we got in the car that night to head back home...but calmed down and went to sleep when I sang to her...love, love, love. Also one of my most favorite things ever. I sing the same songs to her that my mom used to sing to me, and that I used to sing the little ones I nannied for several years. That's another interesting thing...When Selah turned 3 and 1/2 to 4 months, I realized that age to be more familiar to me, that's when I started babysitting a few of the little ones I did in the past. I am loving that now it's my very own daughter...and that I finally had the privilege of enjoying and experiencing those precious first few new baby months myself.
Now we're about 2 weeks into having a 5 month old...wow. It is just so hard to believe. Our lives have been powerfully changed in a beautiful way since our sweet girl's life began. We are just so amazed at how she's growing up...and it's absolutely CRAZY that we can see 6 months. How time flies - for real. I seriously don't think it will get any less amazing either...how could it ever get normal or old to see a sweet life God uniquely created grow, learn, and discover. Simply fascinating. And I know what we're on the edge of...a whole new stage and age for sure. She is a strong and determined girl...she will work hard to get what she is after, not giving up easily. She also will reach up and grab my face, loving to hold tight. I'm convinced that her first word will be "gentle." Ha. She is "talking" and babbling and making her requests known a lot. And she just loves being talked to. She remains a great eater, enjoys walks in what I call her "big girl stroller," as we graduated from the bassinet. She is a tall girl so far, and is wearing 6 month clothing...which she'll be grown out of by 6 months!
I still check to make sure she's breathing and okay throughout the night, at the same time praying for her protection and thanking God over and over for the undeserved blessings that she and Kevin are to me. Kevin and I have grown in such interesting ways since becomiing parents, and have just been humbled over and over. We are as hungry as ever to honor him and give him all the glory for our lives, being submitted to how he calls us to live them, and committed to not wasting the days he so graciously allows us to live. We are rough around the edges, and certainly works in progress...but so thankful to continually be changed and taught.
A couple nights ago, well more like 4am, I fed Selah, then just held her as she laid her head on my shoulder/chest and curled up to go back to sleep. I was taken right back to the day she was born, as I layed in that hospital room with this brand new beautiful tiny baby curled up on my chest in the same position, and I couldn't stop staring at her. That was the most overwhelming emotion I have ever felt...and it was revisted just the other night. I couldn't stop staring at her face, just like when she was born, and I literally just kept thinking, "Wow, wow, wow." I continue to be in awe and overcome by a love so powerful that it's difficult to put into words.
Yesterday I was telling Kevin about this and comparing it to what we must be like to God. As very own creativity and creation - each so unique and different and special, I have a feeling that we cannot even grasp the intensity of emotion he has for each and every one of us. And just like I love to watch my Selah girl sleep, and I delight in the sweet stillness of her rest, I think God must especially delight in seeing his children, his creation, when our hearts are at rest and we are at peace...fully trusting in our Maker. I love when Selah falls asleep in my arms...and am challenged to rest more often in the Lord's. Yesterday she rested her head on Kevin's shoulder on her own for the first time when he picked her up. I think he was almost brought to tears. He just loves having his little girl relax and rest into his arms, fully trusting in him as her daddy. What a special moment.
I am certain there will be many more tear-inducing moments, yet am fully enjoying soaking up all the moments of today. I have learned that slowly but surely a post pregnant stomach shrinks, the irregular sleep becomes normal and somewhat strangely comforting, and even in my most exhausted moments, when I'm aching for my sweet girl to take a good nap, once she falls asleep I look so forward to when she wakes up. It's crazy and I love it. I hope to get it together and get to sharing more in the days ahead. I feel like God is teaching me something new every day.
We are delighted to be parents, and drawn closer to our heavenly Father by getting to experience the love for a child. Amazing. It felt like I had to wait so long to experience this, but I would have waited a lifetime for this kind of joy. I'm just so thankful that wasn't the case.