Dear Natalie: Week 15

Dear Natalie,

We’ve come a long way, baby. I look at you now and I’m practically speechless at how different things are from the day we brought you home from the birth center.

The biggest difference is that there is now a very clear line between what is normal for you and what is not. This is huge, and not something that I fully appreciated before you came along. When people ask how you’re sleeping, I can now give an answer that starts with, “Well, usually…” instead of shrugging my shoulders and saying, “Last night? I can tell you how that went. Anything further back and I really can’t remember, so let’s assume the answer is not well.”

Having a routine has improved our lives immensely. Not that we don’t ever deviate from it, because you’re a baby – that’s kind of what you do. But we have definitely arrived at a point in your life when I can predict with some sort of accuracy what our days will look like.

Of course, all of this is bracketed with phrases like “generally” and “for the most part” and “overall,” but this is what your life is like at just over three months old.

Your dad gets up around 6am, then you and I wake around 6:30. I feed you, change you into warm clothes, and throw on an oversized sweatshirt and fleece pants. We shuffle out the door to drop your dad off at the train station.

You can only stay awake for two hours at a time before you start getting cranky and overtired, and your clock is ticking when we get back to the house. I make myself breakfast and coffee (that’s one part of our routine that ALWAYS happens – a caffeinated mama is a much happier, higher-functioning mama) while you hang out in your bouncer and chew on your hands or Sophie the giraffe. If you’re not quite tired enough to take your first nap, we’ll read a book, do some tummy time, or do some quick chores.

When you start yawning and rubbing your fists in your eyes, I swaddle you and put you back to bed. You have done a fantastic job lately of sleeping for a solid hour and a half for your first nap, which gives me time to shower, throw in a load of diaper laundry, and, on days like today, write your letter. 

Your next period of awake time is when we run our errands. This is when we go to Savers to look for clothes for you, Joanns to rummage through the clearance bin looking for fabric remnants to use for your weekly photos, or any other place we need to go. By the time we get home it’s right around noon and time for your second nap.

Now it’s my turn to eat, so I make myself lunch, deal with the laundry, and maybe watch What Not to Wear. This nap is usually an hour or two, but sometimes only 45 minutes. If I hear you stirring around the 30-40 minute mark, I usually hold my breath and pray that you settle back down to sleep. Everyone is happier when you’re well-rested.

But when you do wake up, we usually go outside for a walk. Sometimes I put you in the Ergo, which you love. You gum the straps and stare wide-eyed at everything we pass. If we’re out long enough you usually succumb to the gentle movement and pass out against my chest, drooling and wheezing contentedly. If I don’t feel like carrying you we’ll go out with the stroller, which you love just as much.

I admit – once we’ve done that I have a hard time figuring out how to entertain you until it’s time for your next nap. You’re only patient enough to sit through so many books or so much tummy time until your head starts to droop and you wave your fists in frustration. During those times, you only want to be held. With you weighing in at 18 pounds, this is murder on my back for long periods of time. The Ergo comes to my rescue once again.

If we run out of things to do or the patience to do them, I like to turn on my iPod and dance around the kitchen with you. We listen to terribly awesome pop songs from the 90s and 00s, stuff like the Spice Girls and N*SYNC and other songs that make your dad’s eardrums bleed. Songs from Disney movies also feature prominently in our afternoon dance-offs – The Little Mermaid and The Lion King are definite favorites.

And then it’s naptime again. Depending on the timing of the rest of the day, this might interfere with picking your dad up at the train station, and the poor guy has to walk. If all has worked out well, however, we bring him home with about an hour left on your awake-time clock, so he can spend some time with you before you take your last nap of the evening.

We’re never sure if it’s actually a nap, though, or if you’re down for the night (that being a relative term; you’re currently sleeping about four hours at a time at night). Sometimes we have time to make and eat dinner before you wake up, and sometimes you start squawking after half an hour. You’re always, always asleep by 9pm, though, which gives your dad and I a little time to watch tv before we turn in for the night.

Is it glamorous? No. But this is what life looks like at the moment, and it’s really quite wonderful.

Love always,



  1. Dear Natalie: Week 28 | Happy Helmraths - February 13, 2014

    […] Now that you are a little over six months old, your days look quite a bit different than they did three months ago. […]

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