I’m sitting beside the wood stove wrapped up in a quilt with a mug of tea beside me. You are laying on my lap in a little nest of blankets. You stir – moving your hands about as if you are an orchestra conductor. The house is uncharacteristically quiet aside from the crackling of the logs on the fireplace. Your daddy is outside with Lilah and Amelia playing in the snow. I’ve probably got twenty minutes of quiet with just the two of us before one of your sisters loses a mitten or falls facedown off the toboggan. In these moments with just the two of us I try to soak you up as much as possible. I breathe deeply your newborn scent and count each tiny finger and toe. I’m filled with awe that for nine months it was you I carried inside of me. You. A tiny human being with miniature eyebrows and fingernails.
I know how quickly you will grow. How soon I will be brushing the tangles out of your hair and scrubbing grass stains out of the knees of your blue jeans. Before I know it, your hands will deftly grasp a pencil to proudly print your name – your fingernails clad in sparkly pink nail polish. But for right now, you wrap all of your fingers around one of mine. Each tiny fingernail a miracle grown inside my womb. You are still mine.
Lilah and Amelia are back inside. Snow pants, mittens, and toques are now drip-drying by the wood stove. At the request of your oldest sister, the “big” girls are now sipping hot chocolate from fancy tea cups. We spent most of the afternoon baking cupcakes while you stared up at me, snug in the baby carrier. Carrying you around against my chest is not so different than baking with the girls while I was pregnant. I almost forget you are here because you are such an easygoing child, but then you move against me and look at me with those big dark eyes and I am again awed by the miracle that is you.
6:32 am (two days later)
It’s pretty much impossible to find any time to blog with three children. At this rate, the post that was supposed to take me an hour is going to end up taking the better part of a week to finish. Your daddy has just left for work. Your sisters are still sleeping. You have been up since four-thirty and are just starting to doze off again. There isn’t really a point in trying to fall back asleep, because as soon as I do, Amelia will be in the room squeezing my cheeks between her chubby hands and asking for Cherrios. With milk. In a big bowl. With a tiny spoon. Preferably pink. She’ll look me in the eyes and breathe on me with her morning breath before she gives me a sloppy kiss on the lips.
Your eyelashes flutter against your cheeks as you sleep. Your parted lips form a little “O” and your chest rises and falls in rhythm with your breaths. I wonder if you are dreaming and what you dream about? I bring you close to my face and smell your sweet, milky breath. One day soon, you’ll be running into my bedroom with your sisters in the morning wearing your “footie” pyjamas. You’ll breathe on me with your morning breath, and I’ll remember this moment and linger over the memory of your newborn smell before I shoo you off to brush your teeth.
10:30 am (the following day)
We’re home from dropping Lilah off at school and Amelia at Grandma’s house. It’s a rare moment with just the two of us again. You are still so sleepy. I pull on my slippers and we snuggle up in our usual spot beside the fireplace. You are already one week old. I know this day with you is a gift. I know that when I close my eyes tonight, this day will be over and I will never be able to get it back. You have changed so much since your birth already.
You took us all by surprise the day you decided to make your entrance into this world. We were all set to have another cosy home birth, but you had different plans! You came so quickly that I barely had a chance to labour. Your daddy and I were on route to the hospital and in one contraction you were born in the front seat of our car. Surprisingly, there was no panic in that moment. I felt you coming, and prayed for your health and safety. Your daddy and I were both calm as my body did what it was meant to do. Afterward, we even joked that it was such a fun moment to share. We couldn’t believe that you were here without the hours of labour or anticipation.
Little Eloise Marie. You were so very tiny. Six pounds, six ounces. Smaller than both Lilah and Amelia at birth. We spent our first night gazing into your tiny face, wondering at the miracle of your birth, thankful and amazed that we had been blessed with another little girl.
3:20 pm (another week has passed)
Eloise, you bring this family so much joy. I could write for hours about how over-the-moon we are with you, but I’d never be able to finish this post. I’ve got dishes to wash, diapers to change and baskets of laundry filled with tiny clothes to fold. I could try to find some time, but I’ve got noses to wipe, dinner to make, and Valentines to craft with one eager five year old.
I will write about all of these early days with you, but not with pen on paper or here on this blog. For now, I will go about our ordinary days and inscribe these fleeting moments on my heart. I will tuck them away with the upmost care and remember this “little-while” when you are grown.
“Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return.”
– Mary Jean Irion