Dearest Xiao Ping Guo (“Little Apple” in Mandarin):
This is your Mommy. I am proclaiming my love for you to the whole world, so that you will believe me in 15 years or so, when you are in your turbulent teens, that I really do love you and am not just saying it. You’ll be able to find this on the Internet, immortalized for eternity.
I love you with a passion bordering on madness. I have loved you from the moment you were born. I only *thought* I couldn’t love anyone more than I love your Daddy…but I was wrong. I tell Daddy that I love you both equally, but really, I love you more. I think he probably loves you more than he loves Mommy, too, although he would never admit it.
The nurses would not honor my request to do the APGAR scoring with you on my chest, so while the doctor was still delivering your placenta and stitching me up, I was seized by a momentary insanity and actually attempted to get up off the table to come over and see you. The OB who delivered you shouted at me, “ARE YOU CRAZY?! Stop moving! You are torn open and bleeding and I need to sew you up!”
When you came into the world, you gave just one quick, loud wail and then stopped. The nurse tried and tried to get you to cry again by flicking your feet several times, but you just wouldn’t do it. You just kept on staring, wide-eyed, at everyone and everything. Finally, she just didn’t have the heart to try anymore.
In any case, it took 15 long minutes before they would let me hold you. I’ll never forget how warm and solid you were when they placed you in my arms, how alert you were, and how much you looked like me. I said your name and you turned to look at me, just like all the textbooks said you would. That completely melted my heart.
I’ll also never forget our second night in the hospital, when we still couldn’t get breastfeeding working, you kept crying and sounded “hungry” to me. So I gave you some formula, but I held the bottle at such a high angle that you had to go, “glub glub glub glub” and guzzle everything down. The combination of your little face looking up at me, your cute little lips pursed around the bottle nipple, and all those post-natal hormones that were swimming around in me just sent me into tears. I kept saying, “You’re so cute, you’re so cute, you’re so cute!” And crying. For no apparent reason.
I won’t say that the early weeks were a picnic. I took you to see 5 lactation consultants in the first 8 days of your life, and on your 9th day, I drove you to Oakland to get your posterior tongue tie released. You cried all night and loosened the wound, and the sight of the blood that welled up in your mouth had me in hysterics (just ask your Daddy). Then your family converged on us for your Christening when you were just 13 days old – you slept through the whole thing, by the way. And because you couldn’t breastfeed, I pumped so much that I pumped myself silly – literally! I had benign positional paroxysmal vertigo and had to deal with the sensation of being dizzy, nauseous, and constantly on a ship’s deck for many weeks.
But you were so so so worth it (and still are). I love everything about you, from your downy forehead to your chubby feet. I love that your hair used to stick straight up into the air, the embodiment of the Chinese phrase, “Nu fa chong guan.” (Which means, that you’re so angry, your hair bristles up into spikes and knocks off your hat). I love your fearlessness – you never cry, not even when you banged your head against mine as I lifted you, or when I accidentally dropped the cell phone on your head while you were nursing (should I be saying this? I could be getting myself into trouble here as a bad Mom). I love your hearty little laugh – it’s so jovial and joyful, it’s infectious! I love the way you stare at me earnestly when I try to tell you something important, like you’re really trying to understand me. I love the way you kick and giggle when I come into the room, like I’m your favorite person in the world. I love that you like to sleep with your head under my armpit, and that when you want to breastfeed, you just thump me with your meaty little hand to tell me so. Yes, it’s exhausting to breastfeed 2-3 times a night, but I figure, you’re not going to want to sleep next to me when you’re 18….so I’d better take advantage of it now. I love your gummy little grin, how you are intuitive enough to pick up on my moods, and your constant, noisy baby-babble, a cacophony of “Da-da-da”s, “Ba-ba-ba”s, and “Ta-ta-tas.” I can’t WAIT to hear, “Ma-ma-ma!”
I love the way you look just like me when I was a baby. In case that is ever in dispute, here is a picture of your infant Mommy, so you can see for yourself why Daddy calls you, “Mare Junior.”
Anyway, I can’t wait to see what you’ll be like next month, next year, and when you grow up. Thanks so much for picking me to be your Mommy in this lifetime. I am going to do my utmost to fulfill your faith in me!
Love and hugs,