The new lives it feels we’ve always had

Although many things have happened since July, it’s all overshadowed by one thing. Fiona’s arrival has changed everything. Within a few hours of her birth, we already couldn’t remember what it was like before we had her. She was not a stranger—she was familiar, someone we had known for a long time. She seemed to think the same thing about us (most of the time, anyway—during diaper changes, she wasn’t so sure).

One of our reasons for starting this magazine is to record Fiona’s life so that we will remember and she will be able to learn what she was like when she was very young. She has grown and changed so quickly that some things, like the way her chin wobbled when she cried for the first three days, were never captured on film, but we will always remember anyway. Most of her little quirks and eccentricities lasted longer than three days, but she has already aged out of them nonetheless. She always wanted to suck on something, and the nurses in the hospital taught Dustin to use his little finger for “suck training.” So Fiona got in the habit of sucking on Dustin’s little finger every night as she got ready for bed (because those diaper changes were just so traumatic). She didn’t like pacifiers, at least until we found the right one—it is now one of her best friends, and she doesn’t spend much time sucking on our fingers anymore.

Fiona's sleeping positions

During Fiona’s first few weeks, when she still slept in her crib, we were amazed at how much she moved around. She could roll onto her side with ease, and she had several different sleeping positions: left side, right side, field goal, disco, and Riverdance. Once she started sleeping in her car seat, she stopped rolling around so much and had to relearn that skill after a few months.

Mealtimes brought out some interesting responses from Fiona. She learned pretty quickly what a bottle was, and she would pant and shake her head as it approached her wide-open mouth. Because of her voracious appetite combined with acid reflux, we had to take her bottle away every few minutes to try to slow her down. She was not pleased with that. Nor was she enthused about being burped. Once the acid reflux started to go away, we let her eat as she wanted, and she developed some new eating habits. For a few weeks in the fall, she would raise one hand as she ate from her bottle, almost as if she had something to add to the conversation (she never did say much, though, since she was so busy eating).

We have learned a lot about babies in the last few months. Who knew that babies get acid reflux (or that it causes them to throw up entire meals every couple days)? Who knew that some babies just won’t sleep anywhere except their car seat? Some things, like how much we enjoy watching her play, are less unexpected. And a few things are welcome revelations, such as the knowledge that it’s not that hard to go out and do fun things with a baby.

Many of the things we’ve documented in our first issue have been big events—Fiona’s birth, our trips, and so on. But some of the things we have enjoyed the most haven’t been photographed or recorded in any other way. Sitting together in the evening and playing games, sleeping in the living room next to the Christmas tree when it was too cold in our bedroom, and putting Fiona between Mama and Daddy in bed on Saturday mornings have been some of the happiest experiences we’ve had. We have learned about the peace and safety that can be found at home with family.


This article appeared on page 20 of Issue 1 | January 2011.

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