she was born on ash wednesday -- i started pushing her out right after the bells started ringing to call people to mass that morning. i'll never forget the sounds of those huge bells chiming from the beautiful church next door, the same church that i visited every week to light candles at the mary altar, asking for a healthy baby and a successful home delivery. it's like they were finally announcing her arrival.
she was born with her eyes wide open, fully alert and aware and curious about her new surroundings. it took her a little while to start to cry, but even her crying was sweet... more of a whimper, a small gurgle, a quiet little statement that she was here and ready to meet us all. much like her father: taking it all in without needing to say much.
when i was pregnant with gracie, i would massage her through my belly every day after a shower. and during the massage i would sing to her "you are my sunshine." and on the morning she was born, it was a typically gray, wet, dutch morning. yet a few hours after she arrived, the sun came out, and it's been shining ever since -- five consecutive days of sunshine in one of the wettest and grayest countries in the world, and in the middle of winter! what a treat! the last two days, in fact, have been some of the warmest days we've had since last summer. she definitely brought the sunshine with her!
she is a very easy baby. (so far... i know she could get colicky or grumpy any day now, so i'm enjoying this time that we have. but all in all she seems very chill and easy, and i am grateful! i hope it stays this way!) she lets us know when she needs something, but never really screams her head off -- it's more of an "aheh aheh aheh (snort snort) aheh aheh (snort)." some babies will hold a grudge for the rest of the day if you wait too long to feed them, or if they get too cold during bathtime. and gracie will definitely let us know if she's upset with something, but as soon as it's fixed then she's over it and quiet again and moves on with the next thing. in fact, she's so quiet that we actually have to wake her up for nursing, because otherwise she'd just stay quiet and sleep all day long.
she nurses really well, but she has to be totally awake for it because otherwise she'll suck for just a few seconds and then fall back to sleep because she's so relaxed. and she sleeps great in her crib all by herself already. the past few days she has been able to sleep in her crib for about three hours at a time before waking up to ask politely to be fed or changed. i'm really glad that she is able to sleep so well on her own already, because both adam and i feel like we sleep better when she's not in the bed with us -- we're both so scared that our quilt or one of our pillows is going to fall on top of her face and suffocate her, so neither of us sleep very well when she's right next to us.
her movements and personality are much like what i imagined they would be like. when i was pregnant with her, i noticed that her motions were very fluid and deliberate and curious. she never really punched me in the bladder or kicked me in the ribs, she would never flail around and keep me awake at night with her moving about. she was always very gentle and fluid, like dancing underwater. and i've noticed that when she moves her arms and legs around, they are still in that same style: very soft, easy, ... fluid. that's the best word i can think of. and when i massage her little back and butt, her reaction is exactly the same as when i was pregnant with her: she would squirm her body into place a little bit so that i could reach just that one sweet spot that needed attention, and she would kick her legs just a little bit to rock her body with the massage too. and even on the outside, that's the same reaction that she has now. it's so cool!
she's very studious, attentive, forgiving, and patient. such an easy baby! we're just so blessed to have her here with us, and to be brought into the world in such a loving and gentle way. she is our amazing grace!