A Painted House

Posts Tagged ‘Dear Ivy

Dear Ivy,

You’re two months old, Praise God, thank you Jesus, and let the peasants rejoice.  I love two months.  Two months and I are besties.  I swear I could hear butterflies singing the day you rounded that corner, baby girl.   Because at two months we’ve made it past your first few weeks of sleepless nights and fussy unpredictability and have entered Baby Nirvana.  Two months is a glorious, magical place to be in babyhood because you start sleeping a little more at night, interacting during the day, and most importantly, smiling.  Is there anything in God’s created universe cuter than a tiny baby sporting a wide, toothless grin?  I submit that no, there is not.  Not even puppies hugging kittens.

Ivy, your smile is magical.  It lights up entire rooms, charms strangers, and turns your Daddy into a mushy pile  of goo.   Ivy, you smile with your whole body.  Like a puppy whose tail is wagging him more than the other way around, when someone turns their full attention on you, your entire little self responds back with joy.  You grin so big that your face scrunches, your legs curl up, your arms flail, and you turn into a barely contained sack of happy.  And you’re generous with it, displaying your squinty-eyed, apple-cheeked, delighted face to anyone who takes the time to meet your big blue eyes.  You are the smiliest baby thus far in this family and I think it’s because you know you have a secret weapon.  It doesn’t matter how demanding your brothers are being, how loudly they’re asking for chocolate milk or fruit snacks, when you turn your smile in my direction, you know that I’m all yours.  

You know what doesn’t make you smile, Ivy?  Shots.  Shots do not make you smile.  You had your two month well child appointment and sailed right through your milestones, height and weight checks, and exam.  So it’s logical that when you were rewarded for such a stellar checkup by being poked in each leg, that you weren’t pleased.  And you weren’t sad and in need of Mama’s comforting, Ivy you were MAD.  You weren’t just screaming, you were screaming AT ME.  Eyes wide open, angry face, HOW DARE YOU mad.  And no matter how much I expounded on the health benefits and reasons why we choose to vaccinate you at a young age, you were having none of it.  A good ten minutes later you finally took a breath, just as I was wrapping up my Power Point presentation.  Thankfully it seems you only hold a grudge until it’s time for your next meal, but I’ll still be awfully wary at that first round of shots after your teeth come in…..just in case you decide that next meal is the perfect time to exact revenge with the sharpest tools at your disposal.

You know, Ivy, I wasn’t really sure what to expect at the idea of having a baby daughter. And I’ll tell you a secret because I know you won’t tell anyone – despite a strong desire for a daughter, I was actually pretty nervous when the ultrasound tech assured me (twice) that you were on the way. I know that babies are babies taking care of them uses a pretty universal standard regardless of gender, but I wondered about my ability to raise a little girl into a woman, to shape the character of a daughter, to relate to you.  Almost all of those questions remain to be answered, but I can assure you that our first two months have whisked away all those initial nerves.  There is something truly special about snuggling a baby girl, something even softer than you can imagine that comes with those pink sleepers.  I can’t explain HOW it’s different, but it is.  The air around you is every bit as precious as it was around your newborn brothers, just a teensy bit sweeter. You and me, Ivy, we’ve got a thing going on.

Love, Mama


Dear Ivy,

You are one month old!  I’ll  start this letter writing relationship off with some honesty and just say that you are already half way through your next month and I’m just now writing this, your very first monthly letter.  So prompt and on time and punctual, I am.  I have been meaning start your series of letters off right on schedule, I really have, there’s just not been the time. Or the available brain cells. At all.  You’re the third blessing born into our family in five years, which means this Mommy is generally halfway doing six things at once and at any time only two-thirds of the people in this house are wearing pants.  So let’s just accept it now, that there’s a pretty good chance each of your monthly letters will skate in well past its deadline.  Your twenty-fourth and final monthly letter should arrive sometime around your seventh birthday.  But I’ll be darned if you don’t get every one of them eventually, even if It means I have to up our pantsless quotient to half of the family to get it done.  No third child neglect for you, my girl!  (As a side note, I just went back and perused through the letter I wrote to Edison when he was a month old and I also referenced a lack of pants.  I think we can conclude that for reasons unknown, adding new members to our family has a direct correlation with running around in our skivvies.  It’s practically scientifically proven.)

Really, Ivy, it’s amazing that I’m forming sentences at all.  Your arrival itself was smooth, seamless even, (we’ll talk about that more in a minute) but the weeks that followed were something else entirely.  You are just now learning to go more than 60-90 minutes between your meals which means as your Personal Chef, for the first few weeks of your life we saw each other almost every hour of the day, around the clock, and everything around me had fuzzy edges and swayed a bit.  It seems that for me, perhaps there is a price to pay for going into labor spontaneously (even if it was 8 days overdue…..humph), and thus avoiding induction, and that price is living as a narcoleptic for several weeks.  Oh yes, that’s right!  You came all on your own!  I woke up at 3:30 in the morning in real labor, two days before you were scheduled for eviction, and seven short and painful hours later, I was snuggling you.  Well done!  But as I mentioned, your, spontaneous, succinct and straightforward arrival seemed to come with the high price of serving as your All You Can Eat Buffet all day long, every day for the first several weeks of your life.  Add in the special treat that is the newborn inability to burp or poop after each meal without tremendous effort and parental assistance , and you have the recipe for Hey Look, It’s 4 a.m. And We’re Still Awake!  And thus, I could and  fall asleep anywhere, at any time, whether I happened to be eating a sandwich at the moment or not.  This does not amuse your Dad at all.

Ivy, lest this letter sound too whiney and leave you wondering about our feelings for you, let me assure you that you.are.adored.  You are LOVED, girl.   I can’t possibly consume enough of your cheeks or hold you close enough through those nighttime feedings, your brothers are fascinated by your tiny fingers and toes, and your Dad……oh, your Daddy is smitten with you, dumpling. He looks at your sleeping face and I can just see that for the second time in his life, he’s fallen completely in love with a girl.  Your delicate features and sweet pink sleepers and fluffy, sticky-uppy hair have mesmerized us all the last four weeks.  I can’t wait to see how as you grow, your soft little self tempers your brothers, captivates your Dad, and hopefully draws near to me, your Mama, as a friend and ally .   This house has an overwhelming amount of boyness, Ivy.   Your brothers’ influence courses through the toy rooms, dominates the DVR, and dictates the imaginative, roudy play around here.  Oh, what a sweet day it will be my daughter, when you and I can share the private playtime moments I see happen between your Daddy and his sons.  Heaven help me if you too grow up to love Hotwheels and Tinker Toys.  Should that be the case, I will accept as repayment for the Not Sleeping that has been this month, a convincing and commanding performance in the role of Eager Tea Party Participant.

Love, Mama

My daughter,

Today is your due date!  And continuing the tradition started with your two older brothers, this is the first of many letters you will receive from me during your childhood years.  Over the next 24 months and then yearly, I’ll highlight your best qualities and shamelessly record your more embarrassing toddler moments so that someday when you’re twelve and I need a bigger weapon with which to club you into decent behavior, I’ll have an arsenal from which to draw.  I’d bank on being able to remember those moments without a written record, but as you’re the third child added to this family and likely not the last, it’s safe to say that in twelve years I’ll only have three functioning brain cells left.  So while these letters may seem like they are written for YOU, my children, we all know they are better described as Parental Insurance.

Hey missy, you know why I can write to you on your due date?  Because you’re not here yet.  If you were here I could laud you for your timely arrival, your beauty, and your exceedingly good nature……but I can’t.  Because you’re following faithfully in Casper Baby tradition and completely disregarding the nature of being “due”.  By the way, aren’t we all collectively glad that it’s not a Best By date?  It would be really unfortunate to wait all those extra days to snuggle your wee one just to have them smell like spoiled milk.  Regardless, it seems my campaign to persuade you that the first steps of mother-daughter bonding start with showing up on time for one’s own birth have failed.  We’re off to a rocky start, my girl.

So you don’t know this yet, but you have two older brothers.  Your Dad and I have born two beloved sons and are working on raising them to be the type of men who love and follow God and who will someday be capable of leading families to do the same.  They are delightful.  But you, dear girl, are a new experience for us.  The raising of a daughter in this house dominated by boys is a whole new challenge, one I’m not afraid to admit I find a little intimidating.  Because so much of shaping you into being the kind of young woman that follows and pleases our God and has an accurate view of herself and her identity as a daughter of the King, falls on my shoulders.  I’m your  built-in frame of reference for what it means to be a woman, a wife, a mother.  I’m eternally grateful that I have such examples as your Grandmothers to follow, women who have taught me to give and to serve and how to build a family of my own.  I can only hope that as I ask God to guide me and lead me to be your example, He will answer and someday you and I will be so much more than mother and daughter.  We’ll be like Grandma and myself…..made-for-each-other friends.

Baby girl, you have no idea how much you are already loved.  Several years ago, before your Dad and I were in a position to begin our family, my heart was ready for a baby even as our checkbook required that we wait.  And one night I had a dream, one of those that feels so real that you wake up wondering if it was a dream at all?  I dreamt that I was holding my own newborn baby; I could feel the warmth and the weight of the little body snuggled into me.  And that baby was most definitely a girl.  I could smell her soft hair and see those rosebud lips long after I woke.  And when your Dad and I were expecting our first child that dream came back to my mind again and again.  So when we found out that our baby would be your brother, James, I admit I had a hard time reconciling to two mental images.  It was only a dream but it felt so very real.  And then your brother Edison came along and having a baby boy didn’t feel so foreign because after all, we had a frame of reference for how wonderful it is to snuggle a new baby boy.  But now I wonder if just maybe that dream wasn’t as insignificant as I came to believe.  Maybe, my daughter, that was God planting the idea of you in my mind and my heart, to grow.  Maybe it was a promise from our timeless God that someday, years down the road, there would be a YOU in my future.  I can’t wait to meet you and finally have a small snippet of that dream realized.


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