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Hey mama

I know, I’ve been horrible about updating.  So much has happened over the last several months.  Bear is crawling as of a few weeks ago, we finalized his adoption in November (on National Adoption Day no less; or the day before actually), he’s eating solids, and so on.  I promise to properly document all that at some point.

But I think a first word is cause to awaken this slumbering blog.  He just said “mama”, and even repeated it when asked what he said.

Too cool.

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Tale of the tape: 4 months

Technically Bear is closer to 4 1/2 months, but he had his 4-month well visit today anyway.

  • 17 lbs., 12 oz. (98th percentile)
  • 26 inches (93rd percentile)
  • 16 1/4″ coconut (average)

More importantly, S tells me he only cried for about a minute after his latest round of shots!

Also, we had another post-placement visit yesterday, and as usual it was smooth.  It was nice to hear from our case worker that C reports still being very happy with her choice of us to be Bear’s parents. It’s nice to hear that she feels that way, especially when it’s not being said directly to us.

Up next, I need to get in touch with a lawyer to prepare for finalization, which is just around the corner!

Oh yeah, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t document the biggest development of late – Bear started turning over onto his stomach this week!   He’s changing and growing so fast it blows my mind sometimes.

Things to remember

Because my memory stinks, and I can only photograph so much…

  • It didn’t take Bear long to start grabbing onto my hand while feeding him, and I thought that was pretty cool.  But within the last week or so he upped the ante but reaching out for my face.  He brings his right hand up onto my chest and wiggles his fingers, and when I put my chin on his hand he starts grabbing my beard.
  • He doesn’t do it as much these days, but when Bear sneezes he usually ends with one sort of half-sneeze.  It’s like he goes one too far and just ends up making what sounds more like an exasperated sigh.  It’s so friggin’ cute I want to throw myself down a flight of stairs when I hear it.  I would love to get a video of it, but unless I’m prepared to stand by him all day with a camera and blow pepper at him, it’s probably not going to happen.
  • Although he can’t roll over on demand, Bear still loves to scoot around his crib apparently.  I go in to get him for a feeding and he’s usually 45 or 90 degrees from where I left him.

We’ve been back from vacation for about a week, and I’m happy to report that Bear did great.  I don’t think he cared one way or another about the beach (although he did seem to like lying on the sand), but otherwise seemed to be enjoying himself.  We were a little concerned ahead of time about how well he would take to sleeping in his Pack and Play, but he slept like a champ.  Vacation aside, it really has been a great mental relief for us to be getting some solid sack time.  We put Bear down for the night around 8, and he might get up for one feeding for the next twelve hours.  I know I’m jinxing things by even mentioning it,  but we’re just enjoying it while it lasts.

I was concerned (paranoid, really) about how he would fare in the warmer sleeping weather.  We keep his room at home around 73 degrees, but without air conditioning in CC the temps got close to 80.  In retrospect I know it wasn’t a big deal, but I’m so hyped up about his nighttime breathing that I felt compelled to check on him multiple times.  But he never once felt really warm, nor did he ever get sweaty.  We left a fan running in the room (but not pointed at him) to keep the air circulating, just to be on the safe side.

At some point I’m going to have to stop worrying so much, but I have difficulty with letting go of situations that aren’t really in my control.  Right now there aren’t too many of those, other than sleep time.  God help me when he starts moving around and doing things out of my sight.

Things really are changing so fast with Bear, it’s hard to keep up.  One recent, noticeable change has been his eyes.  They started off (naturally) baby blue, but have taken on a nice green tint lately.  Actually, it seems that the inside is green and there’s a ring of blue on the outside.  It’s pretty neat.

The 4-month well visit is next week but we’ve been doing unofficial weigh-ins, and he could very well top 18 pounds by then.  Fortunately he can support himself much better so he doesn’t feel so heavy unless he’s totally sacked out.  I expect a very good report, as it’s pretty evident to me that Bear is thriving and just generally kicking butt.  I’m already starting to feel that mixture of pride and sadness every time he hits a new milestone or something changes.  I love that he’s growing and still seems happy, but I can already feel things moving quickly.  When you see parents of older children and they tell you to cherish this time with your kids, listen to them.

Time sure do fly

It’s not as if a ton of stuff hasn’t happened since my last post.  Bear has grown in so many ways, and so has our love for him.  But I guess my plans for documenting have at least temporarily fallen by the wayside as I focus on actually parenting my son.  I don’t know how bloggers with babies do it, but it seems like every time I start a post I just freeze up after a paragraph or so.

But now, as Bear approaches four months old, seems as good a time as any to try and improve.  For today was a pretty big day in the little experiment we call ‘open adoption’.  The three of us had dinner with C and C’s mom!  We met them at a Friendly’s in a local mall, a location that was nice and neutral.  We chose not to involve anyone from the adoption agency, as there didn’t seem to be a need.  Relations have been pretty easy and cordial to this point, so why introduce needless formality?

Overall I think it went very well.  There was the usual sharing of pictures and updates, but mostly we just chatted about Bear and about what we’ve been up to over the past few months.  I get the sense that C is doing as well as can be expected.  She was genuinely happy to see Bear and was very consistent in referring to I and the missus as ‘daddy’ and ‘mommy’.  It didn’t go unnoticed and it didn’t go unappreciated.

I only got a little nervous as we headed for the restaurant, but that went away pretty quickly.  The conversation flowed pretty nicely, and we made sure to give C and her mom as much time holding Bear as they wanted.  She gave us a few photo books, which of course we will return full of pictures.  We gave her another book today and made sure to include pictures of Bear with us and other members of our family.  We weren’t sure if that would be OK, but our case worker assured us that C would want to see Bear being held and loved by other people as well so we went for it.

As usual, Bear was great in public.  He really is such a calm and happy baby that we think people might doubt us when we tell them that he does in fact wail at home (typically before he goes to sleep).  But that’s OK, it sure beats the alternative.  He only fussed when he got hungry, and then again as it started getting past his usual bedtime.  That’s pretty much how he rolls at this point, which makes us pretty darn happy as his parents.

Only on the way home did I remember that we had planned to ask C how she wanted us to refer to her when talking to Bear.  It’s not important right this minute, but I’ll have to remember to ask next time we see her.  We’re fine with referring to her as Bear’s birthmom to others, but it seems so clinical when dealing with our son.

We parted after meal that lasted well over 2 hours, and I think everyone enjoyed themselves.  We’re already planning to see each other in September, when our agency is supposed to hold their first family picnic.  But even if they don’t, we feel fine about getting together ourselves.  It’s still way too early to predict how this open adoption will take shape, but at least early on I feel good about it.  In fact I feel even more secure about it as I become more secure in my parenting skills and in my bond with Bear.  Whereas I used to worry about Bear having this deep, unspoken preference for C, I didn’t even think about it tonight.  I just think that if we can keep on this track and he can have C in his life to at least some extent as he grows up, that will be the best possible outcome.

Next week we head out of town for 10 days or so, up to Cape Cod.  Bear will get to meet his mom’s aunt and cousin, which should be neat.  And he’ll have his first trip to the beach, which should only result in about 8,000 pictures or so.  Hey, I’m not that wrapped up in parenting that I can’t stop and document some stuff.

Ouch

Yesterday was Bear’s 2-month well visit and checkup.  The first part went really well – he checked in at 23 1/4″ long (81st percentile) and weighed 13 lbs. 12 oz. (97th percentile).  More importantly, the doctor commented that he seems to be growing nicely and looks good.  And he’s damn cute.

Then came the dreaded shots.  The 2-month immunization set consists of DTaP, Hib, IPV, PCV, and Rotavirus.  The first one (I think Rotavirus) was administered with a dropper, so no big deal there.  But the rest were shots, and I was little prepared for how hard it would be to see my son in obvious distress.  His face went from pink to bright red in about 2 seconds and he obviously didn’t enjoy the experience.  I had no interest in seeing he needles go in and I was surprised by how poorly I took the whole thing.  Luckily mom was there to comfort him.

He seemed to be OK during the rest of the afternoon and early evening.  We took him to the mall (first time as a trio) and did a little shopping and eating.  On the way home we stopped into Walgreen’s to pick up some generic acetaminophen.  That turned into an ordeal thanks to the recent Tylenol recall brouhaha.  Not surprisingly, people wigged out and now you stand a better chance of seeing a Beatles reunion than waltzing into your local pharmacy for some infant pain relief drops.  I went to about half a dozen stores before finding the lone box in a local CVS.

It’s a good thing I did, as later last night Bear definitely seemed to be in poor spirits from the shots.  There was no fever, thankfully, but the injection sites were a little warm to the touch.  He was not shy about letting us know what he thought about this, and it was rough.  But not long after one dose he seemed to calm down.

So I plan on making sure we have plenty of drops in stock at all times, but especially before his next round of vaccinations.

It’s coming up on eight weeks since Bear’s birth, and now seems as good a time as any to jot down some of my thoughts before they vanish in a cloud of sleep deprivation.

  • I’m just now getting a sense of what people mean when they say that these days will go by all too fast.  On a practical level I’m not a huge fan of multiple feedings throughout the night, I suspect a small part of me will miss the bonding that is surely taking place from all the constant care and attention Bear gets.
  • Speaking of which, I’ve been pondering the sense of “otherness” I’ve often felt.  While the reality of being a dad has sunk in, there’s still a little bit of “otherness”.  What I mean, for instance, is that when I put Bear down on the couch I’m sometimes thinking that he’s on my couch.  It’s not our couch yet.  Not sure if that makes sense.  But I know that his nursery, as it slowly comes together, does feel more like his space in our house.  I’m sure things will spread from there.
  • The changes in Bear (physical and otherwise) seem to be coming on faster and faster.  About the middle of last week the social smiles made their first real appearance.  If the smiling face of your baby son doesn’t give you fuel to push through sleep deprivation, I don’t know what to tell you.
  • As I sat with Bear last night in his room and looked out the window, I flashed forward to an image of camping out in the back yard with him.  It was pretty cool.
  • Slowly but surely the feelings of inadequacy and frustration are fading away, and I’m learning to just enjoy Bear more.  That’s not to say there won’t be many more of those “moments”, but I think I will be able to take them more in stride.
  • One black cloud hanging on the periphery is the background of Bear’s adoption.  I won’t go into detail here, but I’ll just say that as with many adoptions some things had to go really wrong in order for him to enter our lives.  I am not looking forward to the pain these facts might cause him, and I just hope that the foundation of love and trust we’re working hard to build will at least help him deal with it in a positive way.
  • It seems cruel to me that for as many pictures and videos I can take of Bear, the truly precious memories will probably be lost since they’re the ones you’re not prepared for.
  • I just can’t believe it’s been almost two months.  In some ways it feels like much longer, and in others much less.