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Astounding! How has so much time passed by so quickly?
Well, when you still count it as a divine blessing to get three and a half hours of continuous sleep each night, it seems reasonable that the days would blend together!
It truly is quite amazing though, as I look at photos of my son from just two months ago it is increasingly apparent that he looks completely different. The tiny chin is taking on stronger definition, the tightly compressed ears have finished uncurling, hair is starting to come in more fully, and his eyes are no longer solid grey. In addition to the change of looks, he is also growing quite fond of his own joyous voice. Giggles, laughter, and shouts, along with shrieks of both happiness and frustration, are just some of the wonderful expressions that our little boy has learned in the last month. Another noticeable change is his dexterity, not only is he able to switch toys from one hand to the other, but he is also becoming an expert at using both hands to shove any and every object into his mouth. Thank goodness for natural, baby safe soap!
Last week, my wife and I took our son to the pediatrician for his routine check up. The attending pediatrician for our first two visits, week one and month 2, was a very kind and gregarious man, and after both of these visits, my wife and I both felt that we had been affirmed for doing a good job! However, for our third visit, the attending pediatrician was a different doctor.
“Oh my goodness, your baby is too big. You must be feeding him way too much.”
If those were not the first words out of her mouth then I do not know what were. After listening to her lecture us for the first few minutes about our son being 19 lbs., I candidly remarked to her that the prior pediatrician we have seen has known about our son’s feeding schedule and serving size because we have called the office multiple times in order to find out if it was alright to feed him more when he has not been satisfied. Further, I confidently remarked that the nurse who had conducted the preliminary review of our son had stated that “he looked perfect, and that mommy and daddy must be doing an excellent job.” After cautiously rephrasing some of her language, it was settled that as long as we are not forcing him to eat, which of course we never do, that the serving size we are using is likely fine.
(In order to further reinforce our mutual esteem, once we returned home, I looked up the average heights and weights for babies at various ages. After just a few minutes I found that our son is nearly a perfect match to the size of an average 8 month baby boy. My wife was at first caught off guard when I told her this, but once I showed her that his height to weight ratio is healthy, albeit for an 8 month old, she too felt encouraged that we were not over feeding him. Plus, he is practically the same size that I was at his age!)
After the initial interaction, my wife and I were asked some basic questions, including “is your son being treated as number one,” to which we mutually affirmed that he is fully aware that he is the one in charge! Just this Sunday I was making breakfast, and I had our son in an infant seat behind me on the floor. Several times he shrieked loudly and began to whimper; however, when I would step away from frying the eggs to instead play with him, he would quickly recompose himself with cheerful giggles and laughs. I would definitely say that he is figuring out how to maintain and regain our attention!
After the remaining pleasantries of a 4 month check up, “how often is he peeing,” “how often is he pooping,” “what color is his poop,” and “are you keeping to a consistent bedtime,” the real reason for the visit could not be forgotten, vaccinations. As I mentioned, the doctor that attended to our son in the prior visits was very pleasant. In fact, he was so gentle with the first two vaccination shots at the two month check up that our son did not even cry. However, quite befitting of my first impression, this visit’s pediatrician could have seemingly cared less to help our son through this round of shots.
“Hold him tight because he is not going to like this.”
…and not even fifteen seconds later she had administered all four vaccines. Meanwhile, our son was caught in the midst of such a terrific scream that he stopped breathing, and we ourselves were at a loss for how sharply the process had been conducted. After rolling him onto his side and rubbing his back, my wife was able to comfort our son through the horror and fear, and he resumed breathing again. We have seen our son stop breathing mid scream several times before when the nurses were constantly slitting his tender little feet in the NICU in order to test his blood sugar level, but that was several months ago, and neither my wife nor I were ready to see him in such a state of discomfort. We were particularly not prepared for the pediatrician’s indifference to our son after how gentle the two month vaccines had been administered.
Rest assured, after several more minutes of crying, an appropriate dose of children’s Tylenol, and a diaper change, our son fell right to sleep and we were able to leave for home. However, after such an unpleasant experience, I already have a reminder in my phone to call the office in order to ensure that our next appointment is not with this latest pediatrician!
In other news, our son’s fourth month has ushered in an unexpected change in temperament, specifically surrounding nap time. Over the last three months, usually 40 minutes after each feeding, our son would start exhibiting queues of tiredness. These signs helped mama and daddy know when it was time to begin the napping routine. In stark contrast, for the last couple of days, instead of gingerly rubbing his eyes, tenderly plunging his face into our shoulders, or gently yawning, our son has developed a new way to communicate to us that he is tired and overstimulated. Abrupt screams and panicked pleas are now the sounding alarm. In one breathe he may be agooo’ing as he tries to fit his entire hand into his mouth, and in the next, he may suddenly realize that he should have been asleep fifteen minutes ago.
I fully blame ourselves for not recognizing his subtle behavior changes sooner, but this is our first time too. When he is playful and curious we are trying to encourage and play along with him, but as a result we have increasingly been losing track of nap time, and he has, at times, been a little too exhausted to go to sleep pleasantly. We are however trying more diligently to pay attention to his maturing queues, like staring off inattentively or loss of interest, in order to more quickly notice when we should start the nap time routine.
Speaking of curiosity, our son is fascinated by stained glass! We have a small window which just staring at is enough to get him excited and energized. I admit, it is a very pretty window, but it is surprising to see how it lights him up. After a few minutes of such excitement, we have learned that this is the prime moment for tummy time! We both believe that he will be rolling over onto his back any day now. After a few minutes of playing superman, we turn him over so that he does not become too frustrated, and once on his back, he is able to consistently pull his legs up to his chest and roll to his side. Now if only the elbow was slightly forward, he would be able to finish the turn!
As we enter the fall, my favorite time of year, I am looking forward to the leaves changing, the cool crisp morning air, and the pumpkin flavored coffee, but even more so, I continue to grow more interested in just watching my son become intrigued by so many little things that we take for granted. Like a beautiful piece of stained glass. What kind of face will he make when he smells the autumn air, how grand of a smile will he have when he first sees a bright orange pumpkin, and how cheerful will he be when he gets to hold a fallen red leaf in his hands.
As the winds of change come blowing this fall, I am incredibly grateful to get to witness this season seen through the eyes of a baby boy.
If you are looking for an easy and convenient way to help keep track of your child’s early memories, like holding his or her first pumpkin, I strongly recommend you check out Chatbooks. My wife and I subscribed to their service and now receive a little booklet of photos each month. In fact, we have been so pleased that we paid a few extra dollars in order to have booklets made for each month that our son has been alive!
Lastly, here is the infant carrier that we got so that I can carry our son through the corn maze and pumpkin patch this fall!