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9th October
written by Michelle

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Dear Mija,

I realize these letters may be as much about you, as they are about me. It’s my own little way to pause and reflect not just on how you’ve grown or changed, but what I’m learning about motherhood.

What I’ve learned this month is that I can’t wait to do things until everything feels “done” or “put away” and “finished.” Because I have a feeling that from now…oh, until you’re about 18, there will be things undone. I kept saying I’ll write this letter once the kitchen gets finished, oh, and the boxes get unpacked, and I have my own nicely organized little work space.

Buuuttttt, none of that has happened yet.

So here I sit at our dining room table, scattered with the plastic cups we’ve been using until the kitchen is done, my make-up bag from our recent trip to the states and a spray bottle filled with water and tea tree oil because I’ve been fighting mold like crazy.

3 months

The big thing that happened this month is we moved! Granted it was only 2 blocks away from our rental house to our newly remodeled place, but it might as well have been across town. Your abuela came for the day and held you in the cargador while your Daddy and I moved boxes and bags and carried furniture to the new place. We painted your room a light shade of teal. The name of the paint was “minty jade” which seems appropriate for Guatemala. I can’t wait to decorate it. We’re hoping to get you a crib one of these days and help teach you how to take nice long naps in there : )

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Mija, 3 months is good age. You’re smiling and so much more responsive, but not yet mobile or teething. You seem so much more comfortable in the outside world and you’re just pretty happy as long someone is interacting with you. Whenever I get close to your face and smile you give me the cutest little grin and stare right back at me with your big brown eyes. And then you start coo’ing and blabbing as if we were having a real conversation. It’s one of my favorite things, even though I can’t quite understand you yet.

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This month you also discovered mirrors. And you love looking at yourself. Well, I think you just love looking at faces. I’m not sure if you’ve figured out that thee adorable face in the mirror is yours. In fact your Daddy and I have learned that you seem happiest when there is someone talking to you and lots of faces to look at. We sometimes try to leave you on the bed or sitting in your swing by yourself… and you play with your hands for all of 5 seconds before getting fussing.

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But when we’re out and about with lots of people and noise you just seem to do better. In fact last month we celebrated your first Dia de Indpendancia. But in Guatemala everyone calls it “el quince.” Your Daddy carried you all morning as we made our way through crowds of people in el parque and listened to loud bands march down the streets. And the whole day you didn’t fuss once! I think Mommy was more tired than you were.

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Your Daddy and I have realized that there are things about holidays, especially cultural holidays, like Independence Day that we will never quite understand or totally get. He might celebrate 4th of July with us, but it just doesn’t mean as much. He doesn’t have memories of summer BBQs and watermelon, and waving American flags and hearing the Star Spangled Banner sung as fireworks shoot in to the night sky. And it’s the same for me in Guatemala. I’ll go and appreciate the bands and excitement of Independence Day. But I don’t totally understand the antorchas and the acto civicos. It just doesn’t mean the same to me. But Mija, we hope that somehow you’ll develop an appreciation and identity with both. That you’ll have memories and roots in both cultures and both countries.

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Sometimes I just want to keep you little. I love your soft fingers and toes and the sweet rolls on your thighs. I love how your chin rests so comfortably on your chest, making your neck almost disappear. I love watching you stretch and wake up each morning….and then, I give you to Daddy. Yep, you and Daddy have so much fun in the mornings. Usually he makes coffee and sings to you and then against my wishes he holds you on the couch and watches the news and sportscenter. And you know what, you love it. I’ve never seen a 3 month old so fascinated by the TV. I mean all of those colors and lights… (sigh) I worry about your little eyes and looking at screens, but you know what I think I just have to let it go.

I don’t know if we can take any credit, but we are quite thankful that you really are a good sleeper at night. Daddy’s guess is because you don’t sleep well during the day, then you’re so tired at night you just crash. Maybe? I’ve decided that I just don’t know that much about babies and sleep. I’ve been reading about the difference between daytime sleeping and nighttime sleeping. But I still haven’t figured out how to get you to nap beyond the 45-minute sleep cycle.


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….you are being carried!

You my dear, could be the poster child for baby wearing. And because you’re close to 14 lbs now, this month we switched from your beloved little sling, to the ergo. (you can thank your Uncle Andrew for this great gift) You nap in there, I walk around Antigua with you in there, I go to the grocery store and the market with you in there, I bring you to the office in there and most days I’ve decided it doesn’t matter what shirt I wear because all people will see is the ergo : ) Good thing I like green!

This month:

-you started rolling over all the time from you’re tummy to your back.

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-you had your first (of many) plane flights to California

-you officially became a US citizen

-and you felt carpet for the first time!

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-you started putting anything and everything in reach into your mouth.

- you are fascinated by your hands and ceiling fans

-and you’ve been drooling like crazy.

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Elena, thank you for being do patient with me as I keep learning  how to be your mom. It’s been a hard month for me as I try to figure out how to be your mom and keep working and spend time with Daddy and somehow still try to make dinner and send emails and do laundry. Sometimes when you look at me with those beautiful eyes, I imagine you saying, “Mom, it’s not that complicated. Just love me.

My sweet girl, I do. I love you mucho, mucho, mucho!

With all my love,






  1. 10/10/2013

    What a fantastic record of Elena’s life! Keep it going!

  2. 17/10/2013

    I wish we were closer! I’ll say it again and again. We’d go out on long Ergo walks together and watch the babes play with their hands and discuss their terribly short sleep cycles. They have so much in common right now, and so do we!

    Just this week I’ve seen a very small improvement in Owen’s sleep cycles. He’s starting to occasionally put himself back to sleep, and he’s falling asleep on his own much easier. Granted, his sleep is still bad during the day but it’s no longer terrible. Light at the end of the tunnel? I SURE HOPE SO!!

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