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Diary of a New Mother

Day 29

Mom tells me that I have the world's easiest baby, and it's true. He hardly ever cries, but instead just goes, "ih, ih, ih," when he's fussy.

Mom and I took Cole to the pediatrician today in a moment of mutual panic. His poops had seemed awfully watery, and we were worried that he had diarrhea. I brought a soiled diaper along, which the doctor dutifully looked at and declared perfectly normal. He also pointed out, a little sarcastically, that even if Cole did have diarrhea, it wasn't hurting him any, since he weighs 12 pounds 9 ounces!

One thing my son does well is eat. Greg and I call him the Milk Shark because the minute he senses that a breast is near, he opens his mouth and starts shaking his head back and forth, like he's going to tear the nipple off as soon as he gets it in his mouth.

By the time we got home, we were both too tired to make dinner -- not that I've made dinner once since my mother's been here -- so we ordered takeout instead. The food was exceptional, and so was the bill -- 70 bucks. I hid the receipt from Greg so he could enjoy his meal.

Day 38

Today was Mom's last day here, and I'm getting teary thinking about her leaving. On top of the fact that the beds have been made, the clothes have been washed, and the dishes have been put away every day since she's been here, we've shared the most intimate, happy times that I can remember.

Cole smiled at me today. Expressions have been passing across his face for a week now. First he frowns, then he wrinkles his nose, then he smiles, then he frowns again. Most of the time, I don't think they're hooked up to any real emotions; it's as though his face is just practicing the moves. Until now, that is: He actually looked at me when he smiled. Suddenly he seems like a real person who will one day grow up into a human being, not just a lovable lump of protoplasm.

Smile at me, baby, and I'll walk on hot coals for you, no matter how many times you wake me up in the middle of the night.

Shannon Brownlee is a senior writer for U.S. News & World Report.

Adapted from an article published in Parenting magazine