The baby keeps growing, and tugging at my heartstrings

Pandra is now over two months old, and has become a lot more aware of herself and the world over the past week. You can see it when you look at her — she looks around and actually sees things, and you can attract her attention easily. She shows us when she doesn’t want to look at something or deal with something by turning her head away. Lyra hasn’t really learned how to respect that, though, and tries to forcer her to look back at her from three inches away. I’d be trying to look away too, if I were her. Lyra can be a bit imposing and boundary-crossing at times.

It’s taken me a while to fully connect with Pandra. I’ve felt the unconditional ‘this is my baby and I adore her because she’s my baby’, but I didn’t notice until the past few days that I didn’t feel fully connected to her. I don’t know if it’s something I can put into words. I felt connected because she’s my baby, but I didn’t feel connected to her as a person.

Oh, hello thereI didn’t realize this until the past week, however, when I started to have flashes of that connection — on the change table when she really looked at me, rather than looked in my direction, or nursing when she paused and stared up at me for a few seconds before unleashing a huge grin (without letting her latch go, as she takes her latch very seriously most of the time). Without those moments, and a few others like them in the past week, I might not have realized the disconnect. But they happened, and I did.

Little hands have a strong grip

Pandra has discovered her hands, and takes great pleasure in nomming on her fists. She babbles and yammers whenever she’s awake, and we have little conversations with her that bring on more of the huge grins none of us can get enough of. This morning I set her down on a blanket on the floor with Lyra lying next to her talking to her, while I did some dishes. Lyra got up to go play with some toys in her room, leaving Pandra alone on the floor, still making all sorts of chatter noises. Suddenly she started screaming as though she was in pain. I knew Lyra was in her bedroom, so I didn’t know what could possibly be wrong. I walked over to look at her, and there she lay, one hand up over her had, with her little fist buried in her full head of baby-soft hair, pulling as hard as she could. I looked at her for a moment, then laughed hysterically while I picked her up to disentangle her from her own strength. Poor girl…  she’s good at grabbing things, but hasn’t really figured out the letting go part, or the fact that she can actually hurt herself. I felt a little bad laughing at her. But only a little — it was pretty funny.

Having only Lyra as a solid frame of reference, it’s pretty much impossible not to compare what Pandra is like with Lyra at the same age. She’s a very different baby than Lyra was. For one thing, I can put her down to sleep in the other room — sometimes even when she’s still awake, but sleepy. We can barely do that with Lyra now; she hates sleep that much. I’m grateful that Pandra’s a better sleeper. She also talks a lot more. She’s growing much faster, and has already reached a higher weight at 2.5 months old than Lyra was at 6 months old. She’s already 1/3 of Lyra’s current weight! But Pandra was a bigger baby when she was born, and she wasn’t 3 weeks early, and she had absolutely no trouble learning how to nurse and latching on properly, where Lyra was too sleepy to bother trying. I remember we had to use ice cubes on Lyra’s bare skin just to keep her awake and nursing for the first month.

I wonder sometimes, like I did when Lyra was tiny, who this little person is going to be. What will she like, and what will she think is funny? Which parts of Adam’s personality will she reflect, and which ones of mine? How will things be similar to our experience with Lyra? What will be dramatically different? This is really a whole other baby, again, that we will take care of and spend the next couple of decades doing our best to turn into a basically good person; or so we hope. Who is that hiding behind that incredible, addictive little grin?