To swaddle her tightly to get her to sleep longer.
To change her diaper before feeding at night so she can fall asleep after, but change it a feeding during the day to keep her awake.
How she likes to be held upright instead of on her back.
That singing country western music calms the worst crying.
Which cries will subside on their own and which require my attention.
To distinguish the squeals and grunts that means she’s about to fall asleep from the ones that mean she’s about to cry.
To recognize the unfocused eyes before a spit up and the look of concentration that signals a diaper change in my near future.
To hold her to my chest as I bend to lower her into her crib so she doesn’t feel like she’s falling and wake up. Saying to myself, Don’t worry, little Avery, I won’t let you fall, I’ll never let you fall.
Even though I know someday she will fall.
She will scrape her knees and make mistakes and have her heart broken. Someday someone will make fun of her, someday she won’t have the right clothes or the perfect body. Someday she won’t land the job or win the race or get the guy (or girl).
Someday she won’t feel good enough.
I lie on the sofa in the nursery, my head straight across from hers in the crib, watching her chest rise and fall as she sleeps, and wish with all my might it wasn’t so.