Thursday, November 29, 2007

Staying alive. . .

See that? That thing my son is apparently dancing in? No, that's not a dress. . . and it's not a nightgown either. It's a sleep sac and it's very butch. Stop laughing, really it's all boy. Look it has a baseball pattern and everything.

Shut up! It's really easy to put on him and it makes changing him easy too. And if it makes my very macho, very masculine son look like a mormon woman then so be it. The sac is possibly the single most useful piece of baby gear we've used so far.

Don't cross him and his dress, he will mess you up.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Did I say last night?. . .

I hope the above picture was worth the wait. We decided we really should take our Elf in Training to see Santa before his first Christmas. . . even if he slept through it.

Monday, November 26, 2007

It's been one month. . .

People always say "they grow up so fast." Today marks one month since our little guy emerged from his mother to become part of our family. He's gained over 2 lbs already and is getting bigger everyday. At this rate, by Christmas he'll be 2-months-old and almost double his birth weight.

We'll be taking and posting first-month pictures tonight.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Our son doesn't love us. . .

It's true. It's sad, but it's true.

You expect your baby to love you, but bonding is definitely a one-way street. A newborn can't love you, in fact a newborn doesn't know you exist. . . hell, he barely knows he exists. He's not capable of love. I can be the best daddy in the world. My wife can be the best mommy in the world. We can love him and shower him with affection. We can meet his every need perfectly, and still he doesn't love us. It's just a fact of life.

The good news is he doesn't hate us either. No matter how much he cries, he doesn't hate us.

It's like his little baby smiles. They're nice and all, but right now they aren't real. He's not capable of smiling on purpose yet. His brain isn't capable of it. Maybe it's gas, maybe just twitching, but it's not a happy smile.

Someday soon he'll start to realize that we exist, and he'll see we meet his needs and he'll start to trust us. . . not love us yet, but he'll trust us and prefer us to other people. Then his smiles will become real and we'll be the ones giving them to him. Right now most of his actions are just his brain telling him what to do. No emotions, no desires, nothing but auto-pilot.

For now we'll just have to have enough love for the both of us.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Freeze frame. . .

Babies can be hard to photograph. They wiggle. Which is a shame, because people want baby photos. . . lots of baby photos.

I am not a photographer. I take decent photos, I have a good eye for composition, and I am better than decent with image retouching and color adjusting (I have to be for my day job). To that end, I'm working on taking better than average baby photos of my new son. And I have some tips. . .
  1. Have a photo shoot. Is your baby happiest after feeding? Maybe after a bath? When you take your baby to a portrait studio you're setting aside time to take pictures. . . why not do the same at home? That cute moment will be gone by the time you find your camera. Instead make time for taking pictures.

  2. There's a reason the saying is "LIGHTS, camera, action." Even though digital cameras can register low light, most of them are designed to work like a regular point-and-shoot camera. They all have multiple flash option, but let's face it flash photography can really suck and babies hate flashes. How do you fix it? When you set-up your photo shoot, go though the house and grab every light you can find. Bright light will dilated your baby's pupils making eye color more distinct, plus if you photograph naked (your baby not you) the light will keep baby warm. Try to get the room bright enough that you don't need a flash. . . this will also eliminate red-eyes.

  3. Location, location, location. A photographer friend of mine once gave me some good advice on getting good photographs of babies. Once you pick a corner of your home to take the pictures, find a solid color sheet. . . white or black would be best, but any color color will work. Drape the sheet so it becomes the background and foreground, put a boppy pillow under the sheet. OR photograph with a friend and drape the sheet over yourself or your friend. Then you can hold the baby in your lap without your lap being in the picture. You can also drape the sheet over a chair. The point is to completely fill the picture frame with a background that isn't cluttered.

  4. Take tons of pictures. we all know you can shoot a lot and delete the pictures you don't want after. So go crazy. If your camera can, set it to shoot multiple pictures with one push of the button. Babies move, your camera can deal with that.

  5. Edit. I use iphoto to adjust colors and enhance my photos (unless I need to do more then I use PhotoShop). There are a lot of free photo editing programs available on the internet and every camera comes with some type of editing software. Use one. Play around, try out the settings. Don't be afraid to experiment. Remember to save a copy of the original first and you can always go back.

And that's just the beginning, I'll be working on adding props and other backgrounds soon. Portrait studios are great for milestones, but for the in between times take it upon yourself to take your own great photos.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Freakin' sweet!

This hat was custom made by Jeanie and Little Lids. I wanted a hat that wasn't so girly. I thought the hot rod flame hat would be cool, and she delivered. AND she did it fast, less than a week. I was so excited to see it I took his picture before he woke up. This hat kicks so much ass.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

You get used to the smell. . .

You hear a lot about bonding with babies. Most of the time bonding discussions involve breast feeding. Moms and babies bond while sitting for hours connected in a way a father can't. Dads often have to wait until the kid is much older to really find a way for the two to bond.

I have found my way to bond with my son. . . it involves shit.

I made a deal with my wife—she feeds the kid (breast milk, either straight or expressed) and I'll do the majority of the changing. She didn't change a single diaper until after the kid was a week old, and if I'm home I do all the changing. When he was first born my son hated having diaper changed. He'd scream until it was over and kick and wave his arms—which did nothing but frustrate me and cover him in pee, poo, or both.

Not anymore. Now changing time is a nice quiet time for baby and daddy to hang out. He's calm, no more screaming, flailing limbs are kept to a minimum. . . it's our time. He still kicks and screams for mom, but not for me. It may sound gross, but I love it. I have gotten over the bodily fluid part of the process and moved on to the fact that we're close and we are spending time together alone.

Sure he'll pee on me sometimes, and sometimes he poops mid change. I just say, in my possibly delusional frame of mind, that it's his way of showing he loves me.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Do Babies Dream of Diapered Sheep?

"Get as much sleep as you can now..."

I can't tell you how many people said those words to us over the past few months. "You'll see," they said. And yes, we were aware that it'd be a while before we got a good night's sleep again. Had I known the last full night's sleep I got was going to be my last full night's sleep I'd have enjoyed it more.

For now we wake up, feed him, burp him, change him, and put back in bed with his pacifier. . . all seems well, he's sucking well, his eyes are closed, and then we climb in bed and hear a "thunk" as his pacifier pops out of his mouth. Most of the time the "thunk" is followed by grunting (normally trying to break free of his swaddling, which he can't do while sucking, no walking and chewing gum for this kid). I swear he knows the sound of my climbing back into bed and it's his cuee to spit the thing out. So after a half hour of playing that game, he goes back to sleep. I look at the clock and reset the alarm for 4 hours after his last feeding started (we've been told not to let him go past 4 hours per feeding for now). . . I have less than 3 hours to sleep before he wakes up again ready to start the process over again. Of course that's if he were to make it 4 hours, which doesn't normally happen.

So how does one survive on chunks of 2 hours of sleeping? My lovely wife does OK because she normally can sleep straight through the feeding that I do on my own, she's a sound sleeper. She also gets to a tired point where she will fall asleep no matter what is going on, she's out. Unfortunately I am a light sleeper who can't sleep unless it's dark and mostly soundless. Even when she's taking over for a full feeding I'm awake anyway.

And what about our baby boy? His body is designed for these short moments of sleep between feedings. The only problem I've noticed are what I call "dream crying." You know how sometimes when you're dreaming you'll call things out. . . talking in your sleep. Only when you do it, it doesn't always sound like you because it's your body doing it involuntarily. I swear the little guy is doing that. Sometimes when he's falling asleep he'll start to cry, but his cry doesn't sound real, it's not his cry. I think what's happening is he's dreaming of something that makes him cry and he's basically talking in his sleep.

Either that or he's possessed.

I'm sticking with talking in his sleep.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Dear Nursing Nazis,

The point of breast feeding is right there in the name. . . feeding. Thought bonding and what not are great perks, the goal of the whole exercise is to feed the child.

If one can't do this from the breast one needs to find another way (supplementing with whatever you need to so the baby will grow). You see, without food a baby can't live. Sure they can bond with mommy while they starve, but ultimately they need to eat.

So frustrated moms note, you're not a bad mom if you can't breast feed your baby, but you might be if you don't feed them at all.

So to sum up, breast feeding fanatics. . . stop.

P.S. Sorry I didn't update before, but our Jaundice problem is gone. Our little Oompa Loompa is back to an acceptable color, and is eating well on pumped breast milk (we're working on getting him back on the breast, but for now he's eating and gaining weight).

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

So cute. . .

Sorry the picture is grainy, I took it with the isight on the laptop. I just had to try and capture this sweet moment. Last night our baby slept really well. I'm attributing it to my kick-ass swaddle job last night (so kick-ass I may video tape it and post it on YouTube like this woman).

Until last night, I though he didn't like being swaddled. He'd break out every time. Now I realize he may not enjoy it for trying to stay awake, but if you get him in a tight swaddle he'll fight a little and then doze off on his own.

So this picture came because when she got up for her turn at feeding, my wife swaddled him the old way and he broke out and was fussing this morning. So since he spent the whole night in his bassinet I thought he should come hang out with us while we wake up watching TV. . . OK while I wake up watching TV. Mommy and Baby want to keep sleeping.

I'm OK with that. They're great to watch. My little sweeties.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

We're not making honey. . .

Having a baby keeps you busy. Now when I say that I don't mean constant "on" kind of busy I just mean busy. You get up after a long night of waking up every few hours and the next thing you know it 5 p.m. and you wonder what happened to the day. You think back and it's been a string on feed the baby, change the baby, feed yourself, feed the baby again. . . you try and throw in a shower if you can, maybe clean something a little, maybe a nap, often times visitors or people calling to ask how it's going. All welcome things. All just time consuming.

We haven't done anything all day, but somehow we're tired and we've been busy.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

We got our baby back, baby back, baby back. . .

A nurse came by today and took a blood sample from our little guy. It went to the lab, the nurse called the doctor and checked with her on what to do. His bilirubin is down from 15.7 to 10.2. The doctor said to take him out of the bed for today and tonight and tomorrow he'll be tested again to see if he's keeping the level down without the light. For today we can hold our baby again. We haven't put him down for more than a few minutes since he got out. The nurse also weighed him and thinks he gained 3oz. . . while I doubt that, I think he is gaining weight on the new feeding system.

Friday, November 2, 2007

So this is being a parent. . .

I look at my son in the Bilibed as tears fill my eyes. The eerie blue light seems to swallow him up, my lip starts to tremble uncontrollably—I now know where he gets that. He looks around, unaffected by his situation. He's so little, so new—only a week old and already so strong. He doesn't know anythings wrong. He's just looking at the pretty light.

And I worried about not being able to love a boy. I've been peed on 3 times today. He doesn't have the ability to love yet. . . I know that. Cognitive thought like that doesn't come in for months. He wouldn't know if I got hurt, can't feel empathy for me, wouldn't care if I were sick. Love is a one way street with a baby this small. . . but I love him anyway. One week and I'm hooked.

Jaundice isn't life threatening, it's normally completely harmless, but still to see him laying on that machine. . . a week from now it won't hurt, a week from now he'll be back in his old bed, a week from now he won't be sick. . . but he is now. And life threatening or not he's not right and I can't do anything about it.

His mom will be back in the room soon, time to stop. Back to laughing and playing, we'll both be tough for her.

We have Jaundice. . .

For anyone who doesn't know Jaundice is a yellowish discoloration of the skin (and sometimes eyes). It's an increased levels of bilirubin. It probably harmless, lots of babies get it, but it could cause brain damage or hearing loss.

For us it means we have to sit by and watch our little man glow blue in a Bilibed (see above). A nurse will be coming to the house tomorrow to test his bilirubin. We also need to monitor his fluid intake more. So we're now only pumping and feeding him from a bottle.

So yeah it's not life threatening, but it's still a little scary to see my little guy on a piece of medical equipment. It looks like a computer scanner and when you put the blanket on top it's like a little tent. Once inside you can put his hands through little sleeves. . . he didn't like that so he pulled his hands in and pulled on his umbilical cord. So then his little hand is covered in blood and his cord is a bit looser than it was before.

Poor little guy.