I’m as guilty as the next mom of concocting elaborate stories about my baby– what she likes, why she likes it, how she is, who she is– but every time I stumble upon a narrative that feels like it might suit Cora, she does a 180 and surprises me. I love that about her.
A few weeks ago, smack in the middle of an especially trying couple of weeks, we somehow decided that Cora was “so over being a baby.” As Cora grunted and twisted and pushed away from the things that once comforted her, the narrative did seem to explain a few things. She just wanted to grow up and do the things that grown ups (or at the very least, kids) do. She was tired of being stuck inside this baby body, unable to move or communicate the way she wanted to. She was ready for the next thing.
But when the storm passed, a new Cora emerged– a smiley, giggly jokester with wide blue eyes that seemed to be saying, “hi, I love you more than my gurgles and coos can possibly express and I’m genuinely happy to be here.”
It was a good reminder– a little slap on the wrist– that, wow, there’s a lot more I don’t know about this person than I do.
But there are some things I do know, and while they may not be quintessentially Cora forever, they are definitely quintessentially Cora right now. These are those things:
She’s basically push button… assuming you get the timing right. Cora really only cries if she’s tired and you screwed up by not putting her down soon enough. If you get her to bed before napocalypse strikes, she’ll happily coo and talk to herself for a few minutes before falling asleep on her own. If you wait too long, it’s twenty minutes of rocking and pacing and bouncing while she cries her little heart out or, if you really dropped the ball, nursing while doing all three.
Speaking of sleep, the kid LOVES that shit. Just last month I was convinced she’d be my Solly baby for at least a couple more months, wrapped against my body for all her best naps. Instead she’s been having a love affair with her crib and strongly prefers to nap there, undisturbed, for up to three hours at a stretch. Unfortunately, a full night of sleep remains elusive since those glorious two weeks she slept through the night two months ago, but more nighttime sleep is coming soon; I can feel it.
She is positively joyful. Cora flashes smiles so pure and joyful I forget the rest of the world for a moment. My favorite smiles are the ones she gives me just before she nurses, when she’s too distracted by her own happiness to focus on the task at hand just yet. She catches my eye, flashes me a huge gummy smile, and gabs excitedly for a bit. It feels like she’s choosing to enjoy the moment for a quick sec before we get down to business. What a wise little soul.
She’s got fire in her. When she hates something, she’ll let you know. Cora’s disapproval starts with a twist and a grunt but escalates quickly to a single ear-piercing shriek if you don’t fix the problem stat. While I probably would never describe Cora as “chill,” I do have to give it to her– she’s an excellent communicator. Random things that pissed her off this month:
- When I tried to put her in a new carrier with an infant insert thing.
- When my milk was a bit too plentiful and sprayed her in the face.
- When tummy time lasted too long.
- When she scooched herself completely sideways in the crib and lodged herself between the bars.
- When she was tired and I tried to do anything other than put her down so she could sleep already damnit.
Her hair is absolutely untamable. I’ve tried it all. Brushing it with water. Coconut oil. Aloe vera. More frequent baths. Less frequent baths. Nothing can tame these electrified locks. She’s also getting that characteristic four-month-old bald spot on the back of her head, and the hair at the nape of her neck tangles into dreadlocks with baffling ease. So instead of taming, we embrace Captain Crazy Hair for who she is– or otherwise stick a bonnet or a bow on her and call it a day.
She giggles! We had a giggle drought after her first little laugh last month, but Cora gave us the gift of consistent giggles this Christmas– the best gift a baby could give, really. Bare belly kisses are the most delicious way to extract Cora’s throaty chuckles, but sometimes you can get ’em with as little as a glance and a smile.