Tuesday, March 15, 2011

"Oh, she's going to be a delightful 2-year-old"

Our Eleanor has a temper.  Everyone told me girls were more dramatic than boys, but I kind of thought we had more than a week before we were forced to admit it.  Silly me.

She is the sweetest, most content baby most of the time.  When she is awake, as long as she's not hungry, she is happy to play the tongue-sticking-out game, the finger-grabbing game, etc.  She can hold her head up for a few seconds at a time and enjoys looking all around.  She likes dancing around the kitchen and prefers hip-hop to anything else I've tried, though she will tolerate country and rock.  She likes to be held all the time and is sleeping with me in the nursery for now because she doesn't like to be alone in the bassinet.  She'll wake up a few times to nurse at night but I fall back to sleep once she's latched on.  We generally get a 4- or 5-hour stretch of sleep (after a 3- or 4-hour stretch of nursing--she is a cluster nurser to the nth degree) and a couple of 2-3 hour stretches out of her.  Yesterday and today, Ellie and I got up with the rest of the family while Patrick was getting ready for school, then took a 3-hour nap after he left.  Given that she's a newborn, we're reasonably well-rested.  I don't expect it to last but each day she goes like this is certainly helpful!

But woe betide you if she's hungry.

Ellie doesn't cry.  Ever.  If she's not hungry, she's not crying--she's either sleeping or happy to be awake, looking around with her big blue eyes.  If she's hungry, she screams.  There is no warning beyond some squirming and turning red for a few seconds.  Then she yells with all her might until she has no choice but to take a breath.  She flails her fists (Patrick came down the other day and said "I got beat up by a baby girl!").  She arches her back.  She turns bright red.  She tries to nurse on your chin or arm, or any other body part she can get her mouth on.  She is the angriest, hungriest baby ever because the food is not there RIGHT THAT SECOND.  It doesn't matter if she's eaten 2 hours before or if I'm just switching her to the other side after finishing the first.

If the food doesn't come fast enough, in her opinion, she does what Jason calls "playing dead" (this only happens if someone else is holding her).  She stops crying and goes entirely limp.  She closes her eyes.  As soon as I take her, she immediately opens her eyes, yells at me, and starts trying to nurse through my shirt.

Today, I had the selfish notion that I should feed myself--after all, if the food source does not occasionally get nourished and watered, she has trouble producing food for Her Highness.  And shamefully, I wanted warm food--clearly, that was taking way too long.  Jason was holding Eleanor.  He tried rocking her.  She yelled.  He tried putting her in the bouncy chair.  She screamed.  He picked her back up and rocked her some more.  She yelled louder until her voice started going hoarse, then played dead.  (This all took a grand total of no more than 5 minutes.)  Mind you, I'd finished feeding her right before I handed her to Jason. 

When I sat down to nurse her 30 seconds later, she was all sweetness and light as soon as she latched on.  She spends 99% of her day like that.  It's only the other 1% of the day when she's hungry and not actively eating that she turns into this 9-lb raging red ball of baby.

It's impossible not to be head-over-heels in love with this little girl, even when she's not so happy.

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