I met her in August. I knew her before, of course. I had seen blurred images of her face on a screen, too distorted to know if she would have my cheekbones. I had heard her heartbeat, felt it under my hand, and watched on a monitor as blood pumped through the tiny organ proving that her heart would be strong and whole.
She came into the world easily, swiftly, and quietly. A startled cry, a tiny fuss, and then a soft expression and closed eyes as she snuggled and nursed. Her hair was astonishingly dark and long. Her fingernails were long too; they started out soft as they curled over the tips of her fingers, but as they dried they hardened and inadvertently drew blood from her wrinkled skin.
She was peaceful in those early days, and sleepy. She would wake and blink and appear to make eye contact, but then just wanted to snuggle closer, to be held safe and warm to my breast, and fall into a milky sleep.
I loved her before I met her, but I was afraid of her too. I was afraid of how she would change my life, how she would change Wildling’s life. Wildling was always so needy, how could she share me with anyone? How would she feel when my attention was suddenly divided and shared with someone who needed me more? And I was afraid that the doctors would be wrong, that something would have been missed and she would have been born with holes in her heart, holes that might require surgery. We had gotten lucky with Wildling, whose heart repaired itself, but those early visits to the cardiologist had scarred me and left me fearful. Heart problems run in my family, I knew that there were risks, and I was afraid of them.
But there was no reason to fear my Mellow, my tiny perfect baby. Yes, she was needy and she took time away from Wildling, but in the nine months since she arrived in our lives, she and her sister have grown close.
Mellow is the calm one, as may be obvious by the nickname I chose for her. She is complacent. Do I need to put her down? Sure, she’ll let out a cry of protest, but immediately calm down. When she wakes from a nap, she doesn’t cry, she waits patiently, because she trusts that there will always be someone there to get her. Sometimes, she grows impatient and decides to come looking for us, crawling toward the end of the bed and making me think perhaps a crib would be a good idea.
She is interested in everything. Is there a speck of something on the ground? She’ll pick it up and see what it tastes like. Is there a book nearby? She’ll open it, explore the pages, and then put it in her mouth. One day, she’ll devour them with her eyes instead.
She is a smart baby, ever observant. She will watch her sister and then copy her, raising a leg or a hand in imitation. They’ll yell at each other in play, and Mellow will attempt to match her sister’s sounds, though she can’t quite get it yet. Mellow watches Wildling walk, and tries to do the same. She is already determinedly pulling herself up on things and trying to walk, most often toward her big sister. She will be an adventurer one day, I think, traveling the world and experiencing all of what life has to offer. She’s already willing to try any type of food. She mauled me one day, because I let her have some hot salsa, and then I put the dish out of her reach. She wanted it back so badly she screamed and clawed at me and dove over my leg to get it.
I don’t know who she’ll grow into, or how her personality will develop. I just know that she is my precious little girl, and I am so glad she came into my life.