Letters to Holly

Friday, July 2

Hard To Swallow

Literally overnight, his schedule changed. He's now much hungrier and sleeping less. Taking in thicker milk in such larger quantities would suggest he'd take longer to sleep it off. Nope. Also his diaper action has shifted dramatically. Your Sister wonders if a medicine recommended to her is also hitting him. That might explain his digestion problems and greater unhappiness. He might actually be a crankypants.

We called the same state trooper who set up our car-seat boots to come back for a second look. We didn't like how The Deputy's head lolled forward so much. The officer apologized for setting it wrong, but he was working without a baby to check the setting. He had it fixed in no time. The Deputy now lies flatter in the seat.

Your Sis is beat. She doesn't want to use the bottled milk because she fears she won't make enough to replace it. That means she's doing all the feeding and getting the least sleep of all three of us. I do what I can to help. I rub shoulders. I make meals. I may have trained the boy to take a pacifier to tide him over until he's genuinely hungry.

The families want to come by Saturday, and we still don't think we can host a 10-person party. Not tomorrow. We're reduced to simple words between each other. We can't be witty. And we can't chase nieces. We'll try to make a cake for everyone, but I'd like to send them all out for a meal.

We just got a call from a teacher who's going to bring a meal tonight. That will be our first charity dinner. She'll also be the first co-worker to see the boy.

Picture of the Day
This is my stop.

Wednesday, June 30

A Little Later

His schedule holds: He sleeps, he eats, he hates having his diaper changed. He's prone to hiccups. He wakes up about three times a night.

I might be able to bottle feed him tonight. If so, we can start trading off when he cries in the night. The lack of sleep has made her a bit fuzzy in the head, but it's sharpened me. I'm wired and more forthright. I don't mean I'm blunt or rude, but I've misplaced my habitual polite deferment and equivocation.

Your Sister's production has changed from a cheesy film to a thick white fluid closer in semblance to milk. He's exhibiting some of my family traits already. He sleeps with one arm thrown up next to his head, and he has my exact ears.

We saw the doctor today for what was a very quick checkup. He's two ounces lighter than his birth weight, which was considered good. There's no sign of jaundice or spine problems. It was at the doctor's office that his diaper product changed significantly; no longer did we see jet black with green flecks. This was yellow brown and thin. That suggests less meconium and more proper digestion.

There has been no request for my family medical history, and we'll eventually have to tell some doctor that his grandma has acute intermittent porferia (a word spellcheck doesn't like).

I was not aware that an umbilical stump resembled a crusty wick. I call it belly bacon. His circumcision looks OK. It gets plenty of oil and jelly.

We're hoping to get a second counseling on the carseat. It seems to force his head down and forward too much.

Retro Link of the Day
Phone messages read by five of the Empire actors as promotion for the movie's original release.

Monday, June 28

The First Days

I'm gonna try to remember the first two days without notes. The parents left together once dark clouds snuck in overhead, and the three of us just hung out.

Despite the advice of the murses, the Deputy does not cotton to a two-hour eating cycle with 15-minute meals. Instead, he prefers eating every four hours for about an hour each time. and then he sleeps like the fucking dead.

Sunday night was quite horrible for us. He stayed up for hours crying and eating. I could hear his stomach room roiling across the room, and suspect he is adjusting to milk meals and digesting that instead of amniotic fluid. That indigestion may have been what kept him up all night. Not long after, he was taken away for a PKU test and his circumcision. And then he slept hard. Then again, a long meal and heavy sleep. This is fine, as long as we can time it to feed him right before we go to bed. we can, for a short time anyway, get him sleeping for longer at night.

We left the hospital at about 3:15. I had to clean out about 80 Hotmail copies of Facebook comments and send pics to the family. Also, my office wanted pictures (to prove the birth, maybe?) we set up a bassinet in the TV room, and there he sits as I type. asleep and bundled.

Even as Your Sister was disintegrating into emotion after he was born, I wondered if I had lost my brains. That voice of panic -- an advocate for convenience and habit -- is drowned out by pride in Your Sister for delivering him so well and handling parenthood with genuine panache, I want to rise to her level. I want to do my wife and boy proud.

So far, I'm the diaper-person, and I don't mind. I have no aversion at all, despite my initial worries. I get my boy tied up and dry. That desire shouts louder than worry and laziness. But not louder than a hungry deputy.

Your Sister is walking gingerly, and over-the-counter drugs are helping her move. We're both thrilled to have the birthing center to ourselves for much of the stay, and we feel armed for battle after listening to the nurses' counsel. So we're home. We'll see how much we retain. of course, we were told we can call for advice, and we will if we need to. But I think most of what we do will be to follow his schedule while trying to nudge him to our convenience. Which I guess is parenting in one sentence.

I realized today I haven't slept in a bed since Thursday night. I look forward to tonight's sleep aware that it might not last long.