month 1

Dear Maddison, You are now one month old. You've gone from a "small" 8 and half pounds at birth to closing in on 11 pounds. Your double chin is filling in nicely and you have the makings of a third down there. On the days when it's nice and you have been in dresses, your roly-poly thighs get to make an appearance.

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You're very strong for someone of your size. You are starting to hold on to your mom's hair and dad's shirt collars quite firmly, enough that we have to make sure to pull your hand away before we move you. When you lay on your tummy, you can lift up your head enough to look all around. You don't like it when we put you like this and eventually, if left there, you will put your head back down and sigh, as if you are accepting your fate until someone comes along and moves you again.

You like to be moved, to be held, to be bounced, but you also will lay down and go to sleep all on your own if you are tired and calm. And, like your older sister, being carried up and down the stairs is about the most reliable way we've found to calm you down when you're crying.

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I'll try to refrain from making comparisons to your sister on every topic. We haven't prepared for you in nearly the same way. We didn't read all the books. We didn't take the prenatal classes or make sure that everything was purchase and prepared months ahead of time. I barely made it to the hospital in time for your arrival.

You might conclude that we didn't care enough to do all the preparation and you are getting a lesser childhood because of it, but that is not the case. In fact, you probably have calmer and much better prepared parents than your sister every dreamed of. We know that you will cry from time to time and spit up and that you will manage to leak through the occasional diaper onto your clothes.

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This doesn't phase us. In fact, when you got both poop and spit-up on your mom in the span a few hours one afternoon, we thought it was more entertaining than anything else. (She did go shower after that, so it wasn't appreciated. Maybe in the future you'll refrain from that sort of behavior.) It's a good thing you like baths, because you tend to get a little dirty from time to time. We're doing our best to keep up with that, but please stop trying to drink the dirty bath water.

I said that I will do my best to not compare you to Brooklynn, but I can't tell you about your life without mentioning her. She loves her baby sister so much. When I pick her up from school each day, one of her first questions is "Where's Maddi?" and then she demands to hold you. We help her put a pillow on her lap and lay you down.

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She tries to hug you and kiss you and hold your hands and feet and shove her fingers in your mouth because you "like that" all at once, and you squawk a little bit and look over at us as if to ask why we are letting this monster treat you like this.

All I can say is get used to it. From what your mother tells me, sisters have to deal with each other for the rest of their lives. As much as it seems like Brooklynn is trying to harm you, we're pretty sure that she really just doesn't know how to handle a little person that doesn't talk to her yet. She gives you a hug and kiss every night before she goes to bed and of all the people in the house, she's probably the most concerned one when you are crying.

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In short, Maddison, you are very loved in this house. Probably more than you care for. There are times when you get fussy and angry and it turns out that all you really want to be is to be wrapped up, put down, and left alone for a little while so you can sleep in peace.

Let's hope that sort of problem is the worst of your issues as you get older. Thanks for joining us. It's good to have you here.

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Love, Dad