I need to talk to you about my little Mary Aplin. She has just taken my heart and made it her own! Before she was born, I really worried about how I was going to be able to love another child with the immensity that I love Pace. I even felt some resentment towards that little creature growing in my belly who was going to come and steal away all of Pace’s attention. Even when she was a few days old, I remember crying to my Dad about how hard it was to know that Pace and my precious little days were over. The new baby–crying, feeding, pooping–basically monopolizing my attention would ruin the sweet little routine I had so come to enjoy.
It must have been hormones, because that was just CRAZY talk. Yes, our days are different now, but just like adding Pace was a glorious adjustment, M’Apples addition has been the same way. She is just so lovable with her big toothless grin, that she is always ready to bestow on any who smile her way. Even when she is getting fussy and starting to cry, she will still smile. The wonder is still there too. I want to stare at her every free moment I have. Watching her get control of her hands enough to rub her little eyes or hold and examine a toy still mesmerizes me. She LOVES to roll. When I put her down on her play mat, I can pretty much count on her being stranded somewhere on the hardwood floor five minutes later, holding herself up on her elbows and grinning up at me like, “Look what I did!”
Her favorite place to be is suspended in air by my left arm wrapped around her middle, resting against my hip bone and looking out at the world. If she can have one of my knuckles to gnaw on, then that is bliss. Some day soon she’s going to gnaw my thumb off, and you’ll all know what happened. I feel pretty sure that she may walk before she sits up. Her legs and body are always locked stick straight. It’s truly hard to force her to bend. If her balance gets a little bit better, and the bottoms of her chubby feet get a little more flat, I’ll be able to prop her up standing in the corner and go on about my chores :).
I think Mary Aplin may also be my free spirit. When Pace was a baby, I never read a book, but she just sort of fell into a schedule. All I had to do was pay attention to the times she was falling asleep or getting hungry, and she just sort of let ME in on her plan for how her routine was going to go. Not so with this little girl! Just when I think I’m getting her figured out, she’ll throw a kink in things. So what if she woke up at exactly 5am 7 days in a row, she may decide to wake up at 6 for a couple of days just to change things up a bit. For those of you who don’t have kids, I know you’re thinking, “Big deal, she slept an extra hour!” But you can’t feed and put a child back down for a nap at their “routine” 7:15 if they’ve only been awake an hour. The rest of the “schedule” falls out of line in suit. I really am OK with it. Who needs a schedule anyway, right M’Apples!
So the picture above was taken after Mary Aplin’s 4 month check-up. I was calmly talking to Dr. Farr about how great things were going, when suddenly he said, “Well, its time to start offering her some rice cereal, and next month you can start trying baby food.” I felt my heart clench and tears welled up in my eyes as I replied, “I just don’t think I’m ready for that yet.” I know he thought I was nuts. He started to kind of laugh and said, “Why, does that mean she’s not a new baby anymore?” He nailed it! I didn’t even know myself why I was about to weep until he said it, but he was right. To me, she still feels like a newborn, a baby completely dependent on me and my milk supply to sustain life. I didn’t want her to have anything else but me. I actually asked him if I had to start giving her that junk. I thought he knew I was kidding, but maybe not since he went into a long lecture on his most recent readings on babies and food allergies.
Maybe its because of the whirlwind time with Mom that I feel like Mary Aplin’s new-born time passed in a moment. Maybe that’s just the nature of all babies…to grow too fast. All I know is that each night when I’m mixing up her rice cereal, I find myself wanting to freeze time and keep my toothless grinner right where she is.
These are pictures of Mary Aplin and Pace (respectively) at about the same age. I just wanted to show y’all how much they favor.