Oh my little Raphi, is it really possible that you're already more than three-and-a-half months old? As I was laying in bed with Daddy the other night, you tucked snugly in your cradle next to us, I remembered that it was at this time last year we learned we were going to have a baby. I carried you close within my body, carrying the joy of anticipation and trying to throw off the fear that would rob my of that joy. Those days seem so long ago now that you are here, strong and healthy and full of such life. If we reckoned years the way they do in some places, you'd be one!
You are such a joy to me. Through you God has brought healing, not only to my body, but to our hearts. The days (and nights) with you are so sweet. Already you've changed so much in a few short months. I really tried to hold on to the moments when you were so tiny, when nothing pleased you more than to be held close against me, your fuzzy head tucked under my chin. I'm thankful I took the time to savor those times, to let you fall asleep on me, to feel the rhythm of your rapid breathing, to inhale the sweet scent of your hair and feel the impossible softness of your skin. The newborn days fade so quickly and are gone; you have changed so much in these few short months.
Gone is the newborn cry, the insistent "laaa, laaa" that I remember so well from the moment you were born. That cry was quickly replaced with what I called your "squeaky toy" cry; on the intake you made a sound that was just like a squeaky toy! You don't even do that anymore; in fact, you don't cry much at all. You are such a content and happy baby. You bless us all with your sweetness and grace us with your smiles.
Your first "real" smiles were when you were only about a month old. They were tentative and we really had to work to coax one out of you. But work we did, for there's not much sweeter than first baby smiles. Now, two months into your smiling career, they come easily. Sometimes I glance at you and you are already smiling, not just with your mouth, but your whole body. Little legs are pumping, little fists waving. And then you laugh. Your first happy little sounds pile one on top of another and turn into waves of the most delightful laughter.
What else do I love about you? So many things, but here are a few:
- I love the way one of your ear lobes sticks out. It's floppy and soft and oh-so-cute. I think you have a little elf blood in you, Baby.
- I love your hands and feet, tiny and perfect. You have dimples in your little fists, and right now you're quite fixated with your hands. You desperately try to get them, often both of them, into your mouth and it's amazing how much you can fit in there!
- I love the sounds you make when you're nursing. Happy, contented sounds they are. And I love how you stop nursing to look up at my face and the intensity with which you gaze at me.
- I love that you've discovered your thumb, and how you suck it while fanning the rest of your hand over your face. Neither of your siblings were thumb suckers, but you sure are.
- I love that you sleep through the night, a good eight or nine hour stretch. And when you do wake up, hungry, you rarely cry. I'm awakened by your stirring, by the sound of a little mouth greedily sucking a little thumb, but really looking for something more substantial. I roll over and lift you into bed with me. You snuggle in close and drink deeply and then we both fall asleep again. I love snugly mornings with you.
- I love that when I put you down with some toys hanging over you, you still prefer to look up into your mama's face. You understand that people are more important than things. Nothing makes you happier than when someone looks into your face and smiles; never lose that, and you'll live a very happy life.
What can I say my little Raphael? You are a blessing, a gift from above, and I am so, so thankful for you. I'm excited to watch you grow, to see who you are. But no hurry, okay? Let's continue to savor these baby days, to hold onto the moments that slip away so quickly. I love you my Little Cub.
Your Mama Bear