-Kate Douglas Wiggins
This baby of ours. She's been in our home, our hearts, for four months now. We've surpassed the three month hurdle--this imaginary line I've drawn when raising a baby. Things seem to settle into place more naturally after this arbitrary time stamp. Things aren't as tenuous. So new. Routines are fluctuating less, more stable ones born from days of testing and tweaking. The new normal is feeling less new and just normal.
Her weight in my arms is a constant part of my days. Oftentimes I do things automatically--stirring a pot on the stove, buttoning pants, tossing damp clothes into the dryer, balancing the checkbook--all the while clutching my babe with one hand. When she's not there, in my arms, I feel unbalanced. I've gotten so used to her here with me, it seems impossible it's only been four months. What will another four months bring? A bigger baby with slightly different needs. Perhaps mobile, requiring me to take chase before she eats cat food or tumbles down stairs or invades brothers' play areas.
This four month old baby is still quite needy. I revel in her clinginess most days because I know, as I look at her brothers as proof, there's an end time to it. Eventually. But not now. For now she's all mine.
A few weeks ago Jillian was baptized. Our family and friends gathered to celebrate this special occasion. The boys were dressed in old Easter outfits, of which I had to use an elaborate ruse to trick Ashton into wearing. They weren't boring church clothes but a Bruce Wayne outfit instead. Hidden under his suit was a Batman shirt, which made him grin with secrecy. "Nobody knows I'm really Batman." And true to our agreement, after the last photo was snapped, off came the Bruce Wayne attire and out came Batman.
Jillian's godparents, our good friends, gifted her with the most thoughtful of presents. A personalized jewelry box containing the teeniest handmade bracelet. The thought and sentiment of this gift brought tears to my eyes. Jillian's chubby wrist donned the bracelet that spells her name and a silver cross charm through the ceremony. Her other set of godparents, my brother and sister-in-law, had active roles in the ceremony, with their daughters assisting the pastor.
With that big event marked off the calendar, we look forward to the coming months. Spring, summer, fall. Milestone after milestone. Just this week we traded the swing for the exersaucer. A few weeks before that she graduated to her crib. What's next? Crawling. Solid foods. Teeth. Our baby's world is expanding and I know from experience I can do nothing to slow it down. I suppose I should jump in and celebrate the growth and learning. But maybe I'll hold on to her smallness for as long as possible too. And when she's no longer so small, maybe I'll still pretend, for the few moments she'll let me anyway, before she's off doing big things. But not today. Today our baby is still small and needs me above all else. I'll definitely celebrate that.