Last Tuesday was my first day back at work after almost five weeks off following baby girl’s birth. Almost is the operative word there, since a few things came up in the middle of those weeks that required me to do some work.
That wasn’t what I had in mind, but it’s an indication of how flexible my work is–I can work from home and at off hours–which is a good thing now that I’m going back to a full time work schedule.
However, after that work interlude, I took the following two weeks off of everything, including blogging, except play time, baby bouncing, school dropoffs and pickups, Mama support, and napping…oh, and Facebook, of course. That’s a lot of ground to cover in a blow-by-blow account, but don’t worry–I can’t remember most of what happened during those weeks anyway.
So here’s the vaguest impression of how brilliant life has been with baby girl–as if you’d draped a cloth over the last few weeks and their radiance had burned an image onto it. A time capsule Shroud of Turin, if you will.
However, this shroud went through the washing machine with a load of blue jeans that all happened to have pockets full of pennies, so all that’s left of it are some scattered tatters that you’ll have to piece together yourself.
The wedding in Illinois was beautiful. 3B was a rock star ring bearer, in large part thanks to his comrade-in-arms, DJ, the son of the best man. Also thanks to his willingness to follow the flower girls anywhere. Our little boy crushes hard and fast.
While his baby sister was enjoying her first trip to the salon on the day of the wedding, 3B and I hiked through the woods to a playground where he promptly dumped the flower girls for Megan–a girl who ran up and introduced herself: I’m Megan. I’m 8. I’m so small because I was a preemie.
Well, hello, Megan.
Sorry to report, Megan, that as soon as 3B saw the flower girls that night, you were moved to the bottom of his dance card. However, your status seems to have leveled out–he does still speak to you now that we’re back home.
Yes, our son speaks to people who aren’t there. And stuffed animals that aren’t there. And stuffed animals that are. And strollers. And trees. And buses. Even the stones themselves sing out to him. Yes, we’ve got an animist on our hands. It’s all fine by us, except he expects everything to talk back to him, so we have to come up with a unique voice for each item.
In addition to frequently getting dissed for my Eeyore voice (“Mommy Eeyore has a better Eeyore voice, Daddy.”) I’m often corrected–“No, the chair has a high voice…No, Daddy, the tree has a low voice.”
Look, kiddo, even Frank Oz had only basically two or three voices.
As for getting to the wedding and back, both kids were perfect on the flights, even when one plane was damaged, forcing us to gather our effects, disembark, walk down 10 gates and board a different plane. While his baby sister slept and occasionally ate during the flights, 3B read–mostly the emergency information card. If you ever need to get off a plane in a hurry, you want to be with 3B. He’s got that thing memorized.
“What emergency is this?”
“Do planes ever land on rocks?”
“Look, a slide!”
In the car was a different story. Baby girl often likes riding in the car as much as her big brother did (read: not at all) at this age and expresses herself as clearly as he did (read: screams bloody murder). 3B doesn’t think this turnabout is fair play, and I suppose it’s bad parenting to say, “See what it’s like, mister?”
I’m sure he doesn’t remember that drive to Boston while he was teething during which he screamed nonstop for about six and a half weeks at volumes and in pitches that caused dogs up and down the eastern seaboard to howl in protest.
Other wedding notes:
- Filling two plates at a buffet while holding a baby in one arm is totally possible, especially if one plate is filled with nothing but mac and cheese.
- If you’re a waitress at the buffet and offer to hold my baby while I fill my plates, please take no offense…you look nice, and I’m sure you are a grandmother, as you say, but this is my baby.
- If there is no band and you have none of your instruments, you can still have a band and play instruments, so long as you brought along your imagination.
- Any walk through the woods requires a gun (read: stick) to shoot at trees, otherwise, why walk?
- When you are staying in a cabin with a gas fireplace, it should always be on, even if it converts the room to a dry sauna in seven seconds.
- If you are away from home, you are away from PBS and your DVR, which means that if you are to watch age appropriate TV and you are three years old, you will discover Tom and Jerry, which appears to be the zenith of modern comedy and Scooby Doo, which you enjoy, but aren’t quite old enough to get.
- What is it about dressing kids up in adult clothing that makes them so cute? I don’t know, but it’s almost the cutest thing ever. Almost? Well, then, what is the cutest thing ever? Until we can video 3B or his sister again, it’s this.
Now that we’re back home and back into our groove: eat, poop, sleep.
For those of us who are more than four weeks old, there are usually some other activities, but recently, we’ve been reminded how having a newborn really focuses your priorities. Notice, for example, some of the items that list is missing:
- leave the house
It’s not that baby girl is overly fussy–Mama and I are having a running debate over whether 3B was this fussy at this age, but neither of us can remember, thanks to the post-birth amnesia that allows parents to keep having kids. Baby girl does appear, however, to be more refluxy than 3B, which means that we have to keep her upright most of the time.
Is it so wrong that we put her in coveralls, run a bungee cord through her shoulder straps and hang her from the planter hook in the ceiling? She’s upright, plus she gets good sunlight there and we water her regularly.
But seriously, we are very happy to have learned about the magic soothing abilities of bouncing with her on the yoga ball because doing that while shushing in her ear is one of the only things that consistently soothes her. No matter that I’m well on my way to rupturing all the disks in my lumbar region–who else gets to play hoppity horse all day?
The bouncing is fun–more fun than the crying, at least–and it keeps us awake, but it also means that there’s no way to multitask and read or surf the innernetz. To keep myself awake, I’ve taken to watching TV. I’ve gone through almost everything on our DVR, so if you want to know what’s on any channel at 2 a.m., I’m your man.
If, however, you want to know who wins the Stanford-UCLA game, I can’t help you, since I’m still making my way through it. This is because although I’m on the ball often, I’m not always on for long periods of time thanks to hunger, poop and crankiness.
Baby girl also gets hungry, poops and gets cranky, so between the two of us, it’s hard to get on a roll and complete a show.
Regardless of whether she’s more fussy than her brother at this age, baby girl is a newborn, which means that she’s demanding and consuming in ways that only newborns can be–just as her brother was. She, however, enjoys an unfair advantage over 3B: parents who know that this too shall pass and who are therefore more chilled out about everything, like the fact that our daughter doesn’t know how to poop without waking everyone in the room.
At least she’s mastered farting in her sleep even if it means she dutch ovens herself in her swaddler.
We do have some questions about the body stiffening, back arching and twisting of the head off to one side, but I think we’ve decided that’s a reaction to the reflux, not signs of developmental delays or seizures. (Nevertheless, I did knock on wood while typing that…can’t be too safe.) It is really spectacular. I think you could hold her by her ankles and she would stick straight out like a dowsing rod.
Not that I would ever try that.
In fact, thanks to her need to keep her head in line with her spine and twisted to the side, even when she’s hanging over our shoulders, she’s been able to hold her head up pretty well for several days now, if not a week. It looks awkward, but it does give us the chance to gaze into her beautiful blue eyes, which we’re suspecting will stay blue, unlike her brother’s, which, like leaves on a tree in autumn, slowly passed through many shades and settled into a beautiful brown.
We’re seeing her peepers more often now that she’s staying awake longer and figuring out how to poop without so many grunts, screams and tears. Although her body is almost always shrouded in pajamas, cute little Mary Jane socks, a receiving blanket, swaddler, or some combination of those, those shrouds can’t obscure her brilliance and beauty.
However, if we’re lucky, those shrouds will be strong enough to secure us a full night’s sleep someday, and perhaps a quieter car ride.