Back to work jitters

Baby Shaw's Lessons Learning

By Laura:

Bittersweet last Thursday Newbies gathering. Half of us are going back to work next week; in fact, two of the four working moms had to miss because they were ALREADY back. Small comfort to hear from the rest of us any sympathies, I imagined. Sucks for you? Glad it’s not me? Awkward. Discussion ensued, after working moms had to leave to meet prior commitments, among non-returners, about existential crisis of What-do-I-do-next. Hm. What a luxury!

Having a Baby. Lessons Learned the First 9 Months.

Baby Shaw's Lessons Learning
Day #1: Caleb, Laura and Baby Shaw

Shaw on his first day

We found so much good information on the Web as we researched having a baby, and once we had successfully had baby that I wanted to add our experience to the mix.  Shaw was born at our home on April 29th, 2012. We live in Southern Vermont. We are both teachers. Laura is on leave from teaching elementary school and I teach educational technology at Marlboro College.

Lesson Learned.

Listen. We do best when we pay attention to what baby Shaw is trying to tell us with his limited vocabulary. Crying can mean I’m tired, I need new diaper, I’m frustrated,  I need some alone time (near you), I’m hungry. Hold me. Try them all! He’s constantly communicating, but in a new language.  He gets loud before he gets tired. He coos when he’s curious. He squeaks when he’s excited. His legs stiffen right before a poo. Waking up is a sign that he’s going to pee within 10 minutes. Half cries mean pick me up, I want to check in, and then maybe go play more, etc.

Pick him up. It may seem strange, but I sometimes forget to pick Shaw up when I should. Simply holding him for a few minutes usually fixes most anything. Shaw clearly understands he’s vulnerable sitting on the floor among giants, or penned in a crib. His instincts are to latch and ride, especially if he’s feeling off. He likes to feel body heat, breath, heartbeats. Sitting next to him, cuddling for a few minutes next to him to get him ready for bed, etc. Also, sometimes I’m lazy and I think that lying next to him, or sitting with him snuggling, is the same as tightly holding him, or using a carrier on my chest. It isn’t the same.

Follow our instincts, especially the quiet nagging ones that come first. Just try it. Then try something else, even if it didn’t work yesterday. Shaw is a learning machine at his core. We get a new baby every few days and it has taught us that we can’t figure it out and coast along. Figuring things out is the constant.

Take him with us. From day one, the more we strap baby Shaw to our bodies and then go about our business as much as possible, the calmer he is. We take him on errands, to parties (safe ones and early), on walks, to work in the garden, walks to town, visits to my work where he has tummy time on the floor, etc. As long as he can feel our body heat, or see us and knows we’re here, he seems good. He likes meeting people and seeing new things. Our lives don’t have to to stop, only change, and he’s along for the ride.

1st Week, 1 or less activities a day. The first week or so we stayed at home and didn’t do much. We felt very primal. I found I wanted to go out, walk around the house (protector instinct?) or stock up on food and things (provider instinct?) and Laura found she wanted to stay in, eat a lot, nurse, be quiet and intensely bond and learn about the baby (mothering, protector, provider instinct?). One activity, or visit, from friends or family each day was enough, even for just 30 minutes.  Basically I cooked healthy food and puttered around the house, Laura recovered and we both lounged with the baby. When we did more, we felt wasted.

Go Outside. Walking outside calmed Shaw almost every time, or placing him by window so he could see the skyline hit the treeline. In the younger months, he loved the black and white contrast. At 9 months, he still likes the far away sights, colors, and fresh air.

2 weeks old

Shaw at about 2 weeks old.

Bedtime. About 4.5 months in we got a routine down. When he seemed tired, usually around 7:30, Laura nurses, changes diaper, and quietly passes off to Caleb who takes him to his sheep skin lined co-sleeper in a dimly lit room. Quiet play, staying very close ensues. Singing, talking, quietly with some baby massage or holding a hand on his chest so he can feel it. A few cries, maybe squirming, and then he’s asleep – usually. BUT, then he changed a little every week! We ended up modifying the routine to: change diaper, put on PJs, which he usually hates, and then nursing, passing off to me, and I put him down. Basically though, if we were paying attention starting around 7pm, we could get him down quietly. Or if we put him on our bodies with a carrier, he’ll also fall asleep out at a restaurant even, but it’s a dicey gamble because you’ve got to get home, and put him down again. At 8 months we started nursing about 6 times a night, which drove Laura crazy. We then tried waking him up when we go to bed and nursing him, (aka “tanking him up”) and that helped him sleep longer.

Nursing. In the beginning lots of consistent pain Laura was having turned out to not be normal, despite what other women said. He was thriving and in the 95% of weight gain, but it was taking 45 minutes of very painful nursing every hour or so. Laura kept researching and seeing lactation consultants and doctors until she found he had tongue-tie! We got it operated on (very quick procedure), and she still could tell he wasn’t latching well. She found a specialist and drove two hours to see him. He cut more and found some upper lip tie too. He used a laser. Shaw’s nursing went to only occasional pain and 5 minutes every few hours! We often didn’t feed him when get got fussy right away because we thought, “you could not possibly be hungry now, you just ate. You must need to burp or have a poopy diaper.” He could be hungry. He was. He was telling us the only way he could. Feed him in any position that will work. Babies seem to want to nurse when sometimes other things are up, like poopy diapers, stomach issues, etc.  Might be stomach bug if he’s cranky. Pump the big breasts down if he’s freaking out. Let him be at the breast, if he’s not agitated, even if he’s not latched.

Fighting. We’ve had some very stressful fights over how to care for Shaw. Usually this revolves around what seems to be a common core. Laura is much, much more affected by Shaw’s crying than I am. And on a visceral level. If Shaw is crying a lot and I’m with him, she comes in angry and looking to take care of the baby directly, not help me take care of the baby. My nerves are frayed, so I need help, but don’t get it.  Figuring out how to cope with this recurring scenario has been very challenging for us. It’s very hard for Laura to handle her strong emotions diplomatically. It’s very hard for me to feel like a failure and not get help. But the reality is that I’m a better helper to Laura when he’s crying a lot. And it’s better for her to have the baby right away when he’s getting hysterical. The trick for us is to try and keep adjusting and communicating. For example, Shaw often cries right before sleep. I am usually on “wind down and sleep duty,” to give Laura some time to herself and me to have some time with Shaw. When he starts to cry, I instinctual lay next to him and cuddle him, but he keeps crying sometimes. Laura can hear it anywhere in the house. She valiantly tries to let me handle it, but isn’t happy at all about how I’m handling it. I think I can get though it and he’ll be asleep soon, and I’m right there with him, so the crying is okay. She comes up finally, takes the baby into the chest carrier, he calms down and goes to sleep. I sulk away, rejected, failed, and not helped to do better. Then we then fight, both feeling different parts of angry, betrayed, misunderstood, marginalized, incapably of getting it right, etc. But recently we thought, “this isn’t quality time.” So, why don’t I just get off my lazy but and put Shaw in the carrier right away when he starts to get cranky. And, if he cries more, get Laura immediately. I was able to hold him tight, standing up and rock him to sleep tonight on my own. It sounds simple, but in the fog of war…

Things the Baby Books Didn’t Hammer Home

Baby Shaw, about 7 weeks old, reminding us to listen him with a stern look.

We read a lot of books. Laura read even more. But the didn’t cover everything. Here’s our list of “I wish they told us that!” things:

You get a different baby every few weeks. It’s a big set of phases, not one “baby.” Books go through this, but they don’t quite drive home that this means you can’t every say for long “we figured it out!” It’s more figuring out how to constantly modify and change. We guess that the next phases of Toddler, Kid, Teen, Adult will also be full of phases. Figuring things out is the only constant.

Major phases we noticed:

  1. Larval: First three months. A little cooing larvae pod. Can’t move at all. Not much awareness. Looks about slowly for milk and mama. Personality emerging in glimpses.
  2. Animatronic Teddy Bear: Moves, grabs, rolls around, responds, smiles, looks around faster, starts to show a personality more.
  3. Puppy: Follows you. Begins to plot menacing the house. Goes with anybody who will pick him up.
  4. Cat: Might follow you, or might crawl right past you on the way to menace the potted plants in the other room. Personality comes out more. More suspicious of strangers for the first few minutes. Watches, plots more menacing, sometimes wants to play alone.

Pushing is so very different from labor and active labor. Just when you think the moaning and screaming is at the peak, it changes to pushing, which is much more intense,  involuntary and chaotic. The books and classes don’t quiet hammer that home.

Home births result in way more laundry, sacrificed linens, and cooking work, possibly equivalent to the  price difference of having a baby in a hospital where they do all the laundry and cook!

Little pieces of cloth. Wonder why you get so many cloth presents? breast pads, receiving blankets, wash cloths, swaddles, wipes…because you’re going to need every one! Especially simple little cloth burp cloths.

Don’t nurse panicked, hungry, or angry. Really, just calm down yourself, then nurse, or he’ll also panic. Caleb often walked the house with Shaw until he was distracted while Laura got ready to nurse. This worked to help Laura relax before nursing. A few days in, Engorgement happens. It caused panic in Laura, trying to nurse too aggressively as if he was crying because he was starving, she was failing, and if he didn’t nurse, her breasts would get infected. This set Caleb into annoying calm mode. Fights ensued. In reality, he was eating OK as he was learning, her breastmilk could be expressed to keep them healthy, and there was nothing really to panic about. In the end, both realized that this early nursing, which is a tough time of learning to nurse, should be done after mother is calmed, awake, together and baby is awake and not in hysterics. Caleb should focus on this, not on giving advice until both parents are breathing and ready to tackle the nursing problem.

A milk engorged breast, or two, makes all the ridiculously large boobs in the media suddenly make sense. In the yore of our lives, when the milk came in, we faced, literally, these monsters as babies. We were very impressionable and new to the world. They were massive cartoon breasts. We remember as kids, and the media creators know this.

Model behavior you want. We sat with Shaw in a high chair at dinner, even before he was eating. He was very interested in our eating and could last about 20 minutes before getting restless. It was the only time we sat him in a high chair during the day. When he started eating, he was used to the ritual.

Devices. He loves computers, screens, phones. He learned which side of the iPad to touch, and how to drag at 9 months. It’s spooky how much he lives to touch keyboards and screens. Sometimes think this is because he watches how much we use them and like them. But also, they are just so bright and shiny and interactive (He also loves to turn the pages of kid picture books since he was about 8months). Sadly, this means I feel obligated not to use computers, phones, etc. too much in his presence, as he clearly gives me the “interact with me please, I’m right here. Go away from me you’re going to flaunt that iPhone in front of me and not let me use it too!”

Stuff We Love The Most

Books

For us:

For him:

  • Star Trek Book of Opposites
  • Bright Baby Trucks
  • Baby Touch and Feel Animals

Diapers and Wipes

  • Pampers bionic new born diapers saved us in the first few weeks, amazing absorbency.
  • More small pieces of cotton wipes in every corner of the house than you can possibly imagine. Spit up, etc.
  • Eco wipes on changing table. But also small cotton wipes with water worked well.
  • Chinese Alva snap diapers are amazing washable, adjustable, diapers. Not organic or cotton, but so well designed and about $5 with cover and insert if your order directly from China on Ebay or alvababy.com. Look for “AIO all in one Reusable Washable Alva cloth diapers.” This link might work.
  • Cloth prefolds held up by elastic band for around the house during day.
  • Biodegradable natural paper disposables for night time (less leaking). Same cost as regular diapers, better for his skin we think. Napy or 7th Generation.

Bedroom

  • Sheepskin! The single best, and only, purchase over $100 we made. We spent $120.00 on a full size sheep skin from a local farm. We’d heard they neutralize urine, and we knew they were warm and soft. 6 months later, after many pee leaks, and zero washings, it doesn’t smell! Cotton would have smelled in two days. Lanolin in sheep hair is a pee neutralizer.
  • Co-sleeper, which I made on the side of the bed.
  • Co-sleeper crib. A crib with one side taken off, attached to bed at same height.
  • Flexible LED reading lights for night time walking around. Can hold in teeth and pick him up.

Misc

  • Born Free bottles and valve nipple system
  • Diaper rash stuff
  • Baby Bannana teething toothbrush. Natural silicon, great design
  • Calendula brand cream for diaper rash
  • Camomile teething tablets
  • Baby Tylenol for bad teething nights occasionally.
  • Thermos for warm milk. I could give mama a break for an entire night and have warm milk right by the bed. Warming up milk in the middle of the night with a screaming baby is rough on the nerves.

Carriers and Strollers

  • Used Super Pram! Italian monster. Takes a 8″ curb with ease. We mostly used it in the house though, as a crib that can roll from room to room to be near us or a window view. It’s at table height, and flat. Invaluable!
  • Used Maclaren brand umbrella-style stroller after 6 months.
  • Ergo. Used consistently, daily, for walking, and simply strapping him on to have him fall asleep, or be able to do things. Tried the others, Didn’t like wraps.
  • Used Jogging Stroller. $45, goes over field, stream and beach sand. Sun shade.
  • Used Car Seat Stroller. For facing toward you and using a car seat when they are young. Normal plastic small wheeled stroller that fits the car seat. Works well, but tricky tacky plastic and bad on rough surfaces.

Toys He Uses The Most

  • Narwhal the stuffed old sweeter whale
  • Sophie the French giraffee (natural rubber).
  • Paper or cardboard: A piece of printer paper, with the corners crinkled up. Loud, cheap, malleable. Boxes. Envelopes, etc.
  • A block of natural cedar wood. We used the top of a fence post, about 4″ long. He’ll chew it for hours.
  • Metal kitchen colander
  • Baby Banana teething tooth brush
  • Baby books at floor level that he can take off the shelf and play with like blocks.

Clothes

In another life I made a million selling baby clothes! We bought almost exclusively used. But if we had to pick only a few clothes, we’d pick:

Summer: Diapers, t-shirt, hat and other sun protection and a light sleep sack. The rest is superfluous.

All other times: Wool! Wool is the best fabric for us because he’s like a sailor, often wet, but needing to stay warm. And it the Lanolin in wool helps neutralize pee smell from little constant leaks he has.

  • Wool short legged pants “longies” with chest high top. Keeps his core warm, but feet and hands free.
  • Thin wool long sleeved shirt. Mobile, warm, tough.
  • Leg warmers look funny, but make diaper changing a breeze because there’s no pants to take off.
  • Sleep sacks

Bedtime routine, take one.

Baby Shaw's Lessons Learning

(By Laura)
The neighbor’s dog won’t stop barking but he has only startled once. He is sucking his thumb as he goes down.

K and J were over with little J, counting down days till work begins full-time again. Sweet days, never to be returned to. Vacations, sick days, personal days will provide, numbered by work; but tandem life, day after day, not again. How are you coping, I ask. What’s going on in your heart? I’m trying not to think about it, she says, and I’m trying to be present. Not to space out when I’m tired. Not to go do things when she’s down to sleep or playing alone happily. She picks Shaw up when I am busy doing things and he is fussing, his father doing things too. We’ll get to him in a minute, we are both thinking. He’s all right and it won’t hurt him to wait just a minute. She picks him up, speaks kindly to him, plays with him, attends to him. He is happy. I feel guilty. I often look for an out, for someone to hold him so I can…go do things. Immaterial, trivial things, mostly. Or menial things that I just want to cross off my list. I will miss him after a while, I know. It is good to have a break. But I sense that she yearns to fill her life as it is for the next few days with as much blissful baby, guileless and true, as she can, and she’ll take it where she can find it. In that moment I long for her longing. I say aloud that I love watching him in another person’s arms because I can see all of him, see who he is in the world, not on my hip only. My hip where he is heavy and my arms ache and I eagerly anticipate the days when he’ll hold more of his weight, cling to me with his own hands and knees. But wait, my next thought chimes in. By then he’ll be older; this dependence, this sweet wholeness of devotion, will be over. I tear up. No! Hold onto this fleeting present! I switch hips and flex the muscles in the other arm, fueled as if by adrenaline; they should but drop from overuse.

The same loop plays as he settles himself to sleep. TS Eliot, was it? said, and I paraphrase, ’twas never a child so sweet but that Mother was glad to see him asleep. The moment he stills I tear up again. No more games till the morn, this day’s chance is gone. I wistfully remember how he nearly sits on his own now. Why do these joys exit my mind so swiftly when I am tired, how could I tire so, waiting to eat my own meal, that I wish he’d play on his own for now? Can I not learn to attend longer, will my stamina not build up? I chide myself for every smile or gaze missed. For the hours in the car when he is ready to play and i have adult things to drag him along to. Missed opportunities. Love them, drink them, yearn for them, and it’s hard work nearly every moment. The adult brain longs for stimulation but the babe is irresistible. Or, maybe I haven’t failed. This is it, this is the stuff of life: do your best to drink your fill. Know you can’t drink it all. Love what you drank. Desire to drink more. Recount to others how it tasted. Remember the sweetness and smile.

Arms up

Baby Shaw's Lessons Learning

(By Laura)

Pushing up on his arms enthusiastically now. With the right toy before him, the minutes pass untallied.

Week fourteen brought us the rattle and the musical mobile, courtesy of grandma Betty. The rattle is a ridiculously big hit. I think it will be one of those toys that causes him to grow a lot, physically and cognitively. He adored the music, too. I must sing to him more. He seems to appreciate music at close range. I don’t perceive that he notices it playing from the radio. But singing, and music boxes overhead: rapture.
,
Now on the cusp of sixteen weeks we have been introduced to the pleasures of lip-buzzing. “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” on the lips is a wonder of the world, apparently.

Watching him in the arms of other women is a joy of mine. To see who he is, in the world. I am touched by how intently he gazes my way…occasionally, haha. I hope he will forever be so comfortable in his own skin when he is among others.

Things to remember and not underestimate: the power of going outdoors, in arms, to gaze at the surroundings. Singing to him. Play every day, making eye contact. See him.

I wonder if I am letting him go too much out of fear of exhaustion. That I will miss SEEING for having my mind on the next escape. Maybe it is a good argument for structured time away, so my attention with him can be wholly attuned. But then again, he is not the sun. To be nurtured is vital; to be orbited is not.

Baby Strollers We Love: Old Italian Pram and Old Jogging Tricycle.

Baby Shaw's Lessons Learning, Product Reviews
The Italian Super Pram/Rolling Crib/Carraige/Laundry holder.

The Italian Super Pram/Rolling Crib/Carriage/Laundry holder.

We LOVE this old pram. It’s a Peg-Perego Pram from Italy in the 1970s we think. Got it for $80 at an antique store after talking them down for a few weeks.  Amazing suspension! Can handle 8″ drops, and rocks him to sleep while in the house.

Italian super Perego pram/crib/dresser

Italian super Perego pram/crib/dresser

Very high off the ground so we use it as a rolling crib, or a traveling crib/stroller. He can be in the kitchen with us while we cook dinner, but way off the floor and safe, then back in the living room. The back third of the bed props up or lays flat. Doubles as a laundry storage underneath and sometimes inside.

Italian super Perego pram/crib/dresser at table

Italian super Perego pram/crib/dresser at tabl

We can then move it into the dining room so he can see us during meals. And then move it to widows with good views. The wicker part comes off, and it also actually folds up a bit too, but only a bit. We have to put it mostly on the roof of our car.

Our used Baby Jogger II-16 in our garden

Our used Baby Jogger II-16 in our garden

The older aluminum/canvas tricycle, a Baby Jogger II-16, was $45 used. Made for older kids, but we put in blankets to keep him from slouching too much. Big wheels, far apart, front tire has rear forks for front stress strength, very stable. Has done a cow field and the beach without bogging down. Holds up to 75lbs. Folds flat, but not for one handed carrying.

Both have large diameter tires, so big holes, sand, mud are not an issue because of the diameter of the wheels (like Land Rovers, Hummers, pro mountain bikes).

We also have an old Greco small-wheeled regular plastic carriage that will take our car seat. That is it’s main selling point, and that it points the baby towards us so we can all see each other. It’s functional on most side-walk like surfaces, but pretty plasticy.

I have a friend who works at Bumble Ride and recently confessed to being a “Stroller nerd.” Didn’t know there was such a thing, but I believe him, he was always passionate about his work. Maybe if one of these fails, we’ll get a modern one, but I definitely like tricycles over the four wheeled ones if the wheels are small.

Breastfeeding Roller Coaster

Baby Shaw's Lessons Learning

(By Laura)

  • 4/29 Colostrum honeymoon. Begin side-lying at night and reclined cradle hold during the day.
  • 5/3 Milk-coming-in engorgement, expressing, heat/cold?, calls to midwives, failure to latch making nighttimes horrible. Planted his precious tree after a desperation nurse standing in the backyard. Strained smiles in the photo?
  • 5/4 Libby visits before her gig, Caleb out, challenging evening ending in epiphany about going with the newborn’s flow.
  • 5/6 Lucinda visits, things have calmed after I pumped several times to ease engorgement.
  • ?week of 5/20…I begin sitting up to nurse round the clock to combat choking and sputtering…notice “white knuckling” the upper lip…At some point I must notice creased nipples…
  • 5/24 First Thursday Newbies gathering. Mama Jane recommends laid-back nursing to combat choking and sputtering. It’s awkward to do.
  • 5/26 weekend. Catskills. Throat clearing at night freaks me out. Anji confirms that it’s a good reflex that means he’s keeping milk out of his trachea!! We argue over how to prop him up to sleep.
  • 5/29 Abby and I go to MamaBaby group to check in with Lucinda. Sore nipples, theory of waiting for milk production to die down.
  • 5/31 Thursday Newbies at our house, all report TOO MUCH MILK!
  • 6/4 Comment on 45-minutes at the breast to midwives Rebecca and Megan.
  • 6/6 Really sore nipples. Talk with Dawn Kersula at BMH New Moms group. She suggests laid-back nursing to ease the fight against forceful let-down.
  • 6/8 REALLY sore nipples. Vasospasm. Air them out in the car on the way to the beach. Anat, breastfeeding advisor extraordinaire, points out shallow suck and questionable latch.
  • 6/12 Dawn (lactation consultant) appointment!
  • 6/17 dilemma over whom to consult first: Wilson or Kotlow
  • 6/18 Wilson. Snip snip. Gurgling, saliva, sleep, crank. Questioning the speediness, lack of follow-up, professional judgement.
  • 6/21 and thenceforth, Aimee. We learn the sideways football hold, learn about pulling in the shoulders, recommit to reclining, resume side-lying, much to my nighttime relief. Agree to remove him from the nipple if I feel flattening.
  • 7/9 Kotlow. At last, soreness, compression and flattening are abating! Stretching traumatizes us all, but so far (7/15) no red line (sign of reattachment).

Tongue-tied

Baby Shaw's Lessons Learning

(By Laura)
Verbal, yes. And also tongue-tied. Date of discovery: 6/13. Relief, momentum, novel concerns, fresh heartbreak layered over reflections on past weeks. Appointments to make. Time to bide. Word to spread, proselytize, even. All will be well, yet “What if” lurks on many levels. Darling boy suspects nothing, continues doing his best, the wee earnest creature, so guileless I want to cry.

Village

Baby Shaw's Lessons Learning

(By Laura)

Having a lot of thoughts lately about how challenging it is for us new parents to be living in our houses isolated from one another. Extrapolate that thought to include our family structure and community structure in general…We have been so grateful for our friends who contributed to our meal train and groups of people who have chosen to gather around this baby intention. I was sad to hear a friend from New York say that such community doesn’t really exist in her sphere in NYC. One of the benefits of living in a smaller town is that community can grow with ease. The people in your birth class will likely be the people doing yoga alongside you and the people who live within a short distance from you. You will run into them and their children in common spaces and on the street. You will follow their growth without even trying. You will share memories you didn’t have to plan to create. Your lives will intertwine by virtue of you living them. With luck, in 20 years, you’ll look up and see a friend who’ll say they knew you when.

Gems from the first five weeks

Baby Shaw's Lessons Learning

(By Laura)

Squeaker, Little Bean, Little One, Baby Shaw, Little Duck (testament to great latch!)
big hands
fighting in the middle of the night over breastfeeding positioning
throat gurgling – milk near trachea
awaiting Poopocalypse 2012
Play dates with friends and their babies and big kids – one-year-olds!
plugged tear ducts end of week 2. last for 3 days. cured with breast milk and massaging ducts.
notice occasional green poo during ?second week. too much foremilk, not enough hindmilk? Gas due to immature digestion? Food sensitivity? We experiment with diet (milk, almonds, peanut butter not a problem). at least a green poo per day in second half of May. 
I totally understand why some teenage girls want a baby. I had this epiphany while walking around the house babbling into Shaw’s ear, trying to expose him to a wide variety of language:) I realized that I had a totally neutral, captive audience. He would listen to everything I said and it would all have an impact on him. He wouldn’t judge me; if anything, he would unconditionally LOVE me. He would even NEED me, no matter how dumb the stuff was that I was saying. Powerful stuff.  
Colors pop, searching for words for the little one’s new little ears to hear for the first time. Slick rock shines brighter, green leaves rustle more subtly. As he awakens to the world, the whole world bears noticing and describing. 
It’s all so fleeting I can scarcely remember what was from the first FIVE and what was from the most recent one. I don’t remember the first night. I remember watching Mad Men the second night in bed, with the computer, tension between adults resulting in one thing we could both take refuge in: TV. Holding the little one in my lap, minutes would go by where I would scarcely even think about him! Weird. Swept into Mad Men world, I could really escape. 
I can remember midwife visits, punctuating the time: 24 hours, 72 hours, 7 days, 14 days (became 18 days), one month. Anji measuring his head (14 cm and change the day after), noting the jaundice. Anji checking my stitches, reminding me to lay low, weighing him (8 lbs 3 oz), heel prick newborn screening for multiple diseases. Lucinda, likely sent because of milk-coming-in woes. She lent us her homemade mai-tai carrier, which I liked because of its streamlined nature but I felt Shaw was a little squashed by. Back up to 8 lbs 8 oz. Two weeker by Anji, 11 lbs 6 oz. One month by Anji, 12 lbs? 6/4 Dr. Goldberg, 12 lbs 8 oz with cloth diaper!