Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
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Newsletter: Month Three

Dear Violet,

This week you turn three months old and boy what a difference a month makes. You're talking! Okay, well not talking exactly but close. Let's call it babbling. About anything and everything! Every morning you wake up about the same time Pop gets up to get ready for work. He gets ready to work, I mean. You get ready to slug down more formula. And seriously... I'm still getting up in the middle of the night to feed you once and sometimes twice and aren't you full yet?

Since he's already up Pop gives you your bottle at 6am. As I am up with you at two and sometimes three in the morning, I really appreciate this. Not that I don't love you, Peanut, but Mama needs some sleep! And sleeping off a bottle of wine in my limited three hour sleep periods is hard as hell! As soon as Daddy gives you your bottle and puts you in the swing you begin talking to anything and everything. The mobile that swings above you gets it for a good twenty minutes. Babbles and squawks and coos. Then the coffee table is the lucky recipient of your "talking". Then the ceiling and Max or Milo if they happen to be nearby. I couldn't sleep if I tried so I end up padding into the living room and bringing you back into bed with me. These are still my favorite moments with you. You cuddle in right next to me and when you realize I'm there you turn your little face until it's all mashed up against mine. Sometimes you twine your fingers through my hair. And yesterday you kept slapping at the giant zit I've recently grown on my chin. Awww, the tender moments.

In addition to talking you've started grinning. Every now and again, especially in the morning you grin at me like you've just smoked a bowl of pot and life is just the funniest damn thing you've ever experienced. Incidentally, drugs are bad bad bad never do drugs just say no. Yeah, that's right, just say no like the good Nancy Reagan once opined. When you grin I can't help but grin back. I've tried to capture this moment on pixels but every time I point the camera at you you look at me as if I've lost my mind. Instead of grinning you furrow your brow and stare at me until I put the camera down. Then, of course, you start grinning again. Cheeky monkey

I also had to return to work in the middle of this month of your life. I won't lie. It was nice to put on "outside clothes" and actually leave the house to see AND converse with grown-ups. But I miss my little girl like nobody's business. Heading into the news station that first day I started to cry and then had to drive the rest of the way with my mouth open (kind of like when you apply mascara but you'll learn that technique later) so the tears wouldn't spill. I wouldn't make a very good impression back at work with black mascara streaks running down my cheeks, would I?

It's not so bad because I know you are in good hands with Pop. He rushes home from work every day to take over. It's been a tough couple weeks for the two of you. Hit or miss really. Some days are brilliant and other days are, well, tough. Some days I get sweet text pics and others I receive texts like LET ME DIE or SET ME ON FIRE IN MY SLEEP. This after you've been crying for at least two and sometimes seven hours. Poor fella. He's so sensitive he can't stand it when you cry, would rather be dead than not be able to comfort you. Pop is certain your intestines must be malfunctioning and you have poop backed up to your eyeballs or that someone is sneaking into the house and pinching you when he's not looking. Or that you just hate him and think he needs to lose weight. He wants to assign blame to something. Needs a definite reason for the crying and wants so badly to be able to fix it. Sometimes babies just cry, I tell him. And then I read a story he wrote about how the two of you sit on the couch and watch bass fishing and I realized why you've been crying all this time.

In all seriousness, I hate reminding him that you don't cry like that around me, that you are likely just fine and still adjusting to a different caregiver. It would only make him feel worse and he loves you more than he loves fishing so that would likely break his heart.

Every now and again he'll call me at work. I can hear you screaming in the background, the kind of screaming you unleashed on me in those early days when I thought your vocal chords would explode from pressure. Those calls are so difficult to take. BRING HER TO ME, I frantically shout into my phone as coworkers pretend they can't hear the Mama Drama unfolding in my corner of the newsroom. I want to make it better for you right away. To stop the crying even if it means taking off my clothes and shaking my flabby ass in the light of a full moon, flinging a dead cat in clockwise circles before tossing it in a graveyward. But Daddy doesn't want me, only needs to vent. You two are building a bond and slowly but surely you're getting there. Your eyes follow his progress whenever he walks into the room and waves maniacally at you and just yesterday you watched him mow the lawn so intently you could have been solving world hunger and the problems between Israel and Palestine. And that goon insisted on waving crazily at you every time he finished a line on the lawn.

So many things are getting so much easier. Namely, we can go outside! The sun is starting to shine daily so those sweet, dimply knees and elbows of yours aren't covered up. This past Sunday we took a walk with the dogs and for the first time ever you faced forward in the bjorn, taking it all in.

This month also marked your first Easter which, as everyone knows, we celebrate to honor giant bunnies, hollow chocolates and old jelly beans and eggs. I swore I wouldn't dress you girly. I've purchased Chuck Taylors in every color in protest against lace and frills, my only nod to your gender being a pink pair. But we were given a bag of baby clothes that contained a pink ballerina tutu and I must have blacked out for a couple hours on Easter because when I came to you were dressed in the tutu and someone had taken no less than ten thousand photos of you.

You love your swing but you're still Mama's girl and love to be held. Your Dad and I have been Netflixing Dexter, a very excellent television series about a serial killer but he only kills bad people so it's totally baby appropriate viewing. We were watching Dexter and you fell asleep in my arms. I didn't want to put you down. I held you through two hour-long episodes, until I had a kink in my back and couldn't walk upright the rest of the day. I did it because I love you and would hold you forever. And also because I didn't want you to wake up and cry, forcing us to pause the episode. But really, I'll hold you forever or until my spine snaps. Because that's just what moms do.