While pregnant, I would alternate between excitement and moments of sheet terror at the thought of growing our family. The dread surfaced when I imagined what our daily routine would look like. At the time, pregnant and exhausted, working full time with a husband who was gone 13+ hours every day, I didn't know how I would do it. One child was pushing me past my limits, how would I cope with two? Then came Asha, and you know what? She appears to be exactly the balancing force our family needed.
Each baby changes you, forces you to grow instantly in very specific, totally unplanned ways. Amaliya made me a tougher, calmer, less emotionally driven person. She grew me up. I'm still figuring out how to define the impact Asha has made on me, but for now I’ll say, she has woken me up to my own mortality. I feel as though I’ve been snatched out of orbit, snapped into my own body and mind for the first time… ever, really. I feel each moment in a way that I never did before, with the full knowledge that I’m experiencing time that I will never get back, and that every lapsed second leads me closer to the end. Of my life, of the lives of those I love. The human experience is all so finite, and it always has been of course, but I’m feeling it in a new and profound way since Asha came along.
That all sounds terribly morbid. There are times, certainly, where I am overwhelmed with sadness at the fragility of life. Mostly, I just feel gratitude, and a pure sort of joy that can only be experienced when you are fully at peace in the present moment. There’s something about Asha that puts me at ease – her sunny nature, her sweet and gentle demeanor, perhaps. I also think she was my personal tipping point. The last four years have been a struggle to maintain my identity outside of motherhood. To be the best mom I could be as well as the best ME I could be, and there was a constant push-pull for time and emotional space, all while simultaneously experiencing the most intense and all-consuming love possible. I sought it and fought it in equal measure, because I wasn’t ready to give myself over totally to the new identity that comes with motherhood. When Asha came, I surrendered, and with that surrender came the peace and balance and sense of purpose I needed.
But enough about me! This is about Asha, who is wonderful in the way that all babies are, and wonderful in all the ways that she is uniquely herself. In the last month she has learned to sit up by herself for short periods of time. She can scoot around on her belly, slowly, but her dexterity increases every day (babyproofing is on the horizon). She looks me in the eye, makes a squawking bird sound, waits, and gets SO excited when I make the same sound back at her. She cries if I move too far away from her and cries if she sees me and I’m not holding her. No matter how fussy or tired she is, she instantly quiets whenever she hears my singing or her daddy playing the guitar. She gets the biggest kick out of watching her sister perform for her, though is a little overwhelmed by some of the “violent” love her sibling doles out. She prefers to explore rather than observe, and she’s going to be hard to keep up with when she finally masters movement. Her two bottom teeth are in. She laughs easily, cries rarely, snuggles often, and lights up my days and nights with her delicious bubbly babyness.
Asha Likes: Her changing pad (so many smiles and giggles with every change), music (she's very responsive to it, in all forms), playing on the floor, her toys (especially soft books that crinkle), being outside, avocados, tickles, and “talking” to us.
Asha Dislikes: Her sister squishing her cheeks, me having a body separate from hers, not being held when she’s tired, being tired in general, and she’s rather apathetic about the baby carrier again.
Sleeping: Terrible. So terrible. She's up every 1.5-2 hours all night long, and starts her day between 4-5:30am on the regular. Sleep has been on a downhill slide for the last couple months, but the past two weeks have been especially rough. She seems to sleep best when she's at home all day and can take long, frequent naps. Fine, except, she goes to daycare - her morning nap is delayed because she's ready at 7, which is right as we're getting packed up to go, and her afternoon nap is around 4pm, which is right when I pick her up. By Thursday or Friday every week, I am so tired that I'm practically hallucinating. I know it won't last forever, and because of that knowledge I'm not too upset about the current state of things, but it's still hard. Trying to function at work, get some exercise (ha), take care of the family/house, and maintain stable moods and a positive outlook on 4-6 non-consecutive hours of sleep a night is tough. But we'll get through it.
Eating: We started solids, and she’s taken to food like she’s been eating it for months. So far she’s had avocado, green beans, butternut squash, pumpkin, and coconut milk. She still nurses multiple times per day (and night) and actually seems to nurse easier (screams/bites/grabs less) now, probably because she's not so hangry.
We love you, Asha, and we love how you've transformed our family in the last 6 months.You are the sugar to your sister's spice, and you make every day so much more meaningful for all of us.