Chasing the Elusive Smile

It's been another month, and baby G has passed the 2 months-old point. Happy 2 month birthday, little man! Oddly enough, 8 weeks for him was the last week of January. Can your science explain that??

From his 2 month doctor's appointment, he's now 11.5 pounds and 22 inches tall. Apparently that's the 50th percentile. When I heard that, I cheered, "horray, he's average!" His head circumference is in the 25th percentile, so basically he's a normal looking kid with a tiny head. Cool, son, cool.

While we're on the topic, this doctor's appointment introduced the first of many painful experiences: shots. He had to get 3, plus an oral vaccine. The oral one went down fine. Maybe they flavored it or something, but he just sat there and slurped it down with great interest ("oh, that's a weird flavor. never had that before").

The shots were an entirely different story. My wife asked, "do they ever just kind of, uh, not notice? Like dogs?" The nurse basically laughed in our face: nope, they always notice. To her credit, she popped those three shots in real quick. Pop pop pop, and it was done. But oh man, by the time the second needle was in, he noticed. Oh boy, did he notice.

Now, I've seen him cry plenty before, usually when he's fussy or hungry or overly tired or who-knows-what, but this crying was on a whole new level. He scrunched up his face so tight and turned so red, and the tears were immediately flowing. I saw real pain on his face, poor fella. Then again, he's probably barely experienced any pain at all in his life so far, so this sensation must have been at least half surprise rather than pain. They poked him in the thighs, and a little drop of blood even came out, but the nurse put bandaids on it real quick.

I don't want to sound like I didn't care and it was no big deal. It was sad to see him look really upset, but at the same time I knew it wouldn't last. Sure enough, two minutes of comforting later, he was back to normal. Now, I'm including a picture of him right after those shots, because it's a memory from his life. Be warned: he's crying in it, so if you don't want to see it, don't click the button.

They warned us that his legs might be sore for the next day or he might get a fever, but I don't really think either of those things happened. His next day or so was pretty normal. Lucky him and lucky us.

Enough talk about sad things like getting stabbed. Maybe the biggest development for him is that he now sleeps through the night! That started happening around week 7. We used to have a 2:30 AM feeding, but have since eliminated it. Now we do three quick feedings before his 10:30 PM bed time, and he sleeps straight till 6:30 AM. This feels like a big deal. Is it a big deal? It improves our quality of life significantly, let me tell you.

He doesn't always sleep 100% through, though. Around 5 AM sometimes he starts getting fussy, but usually can self-soothe himself in 5 minutes or so. Occasionally we need to go in there and comfort him and put him back to sleep, but this doesn't happen that much. I fully expect eventually he'll have total restful nights of sleep most of the time. Our little boy is maturing, bit by bit!

Those night-time feedings, though... man, he's sleepy. I guess it's good that he now differentiates better between night and day, but it means getting any food into him at night is that much harder. And if we don't get him to eat enough, he'll wake up hungry.

I did discover a technique in the last few days, though. If I set him on the floor in just his onesie, he starts to squirm and get annoyed, probably because he's a little cold. Then, instead of picking him up and holding him in my lap like usual, I just prop him up into a sitting position right there on the floor. For some reason, he's much more receptive and awake like that. Maybe being held is too warm and comforting to him, and even the soft carpet is sufficiently hard and uncomfortable.

Whatever the case, I'll exploit the heck out of this technique. I know I'm just a newbie, but parenting seems to be a lot of trickery and finding things that somehow work and using them to your advantage.

The last thing he's started doing, and maybe the most exciting, is smiling. I was alerted that it might start around week 6, and I think my wife caught on video the first one ever. Even though I wasn't able to be there in person for it (I've long since given up hope of such things, since I have to work during the week), I could relive the moment over and over.

That first smile was right after bath time (which he always loves!) when he was drying off in the towel. Since then, I've managed to get my own special smiles out of him, and it melts my heart every single time.

Nowadays, lots of things get him happy and smiling, all his favorite things, it seems. When I wake him up first thing in the morning, he is usually calm and aware, and smiles at me, like he's happy to see me at the start of his day. He of course loves his baths, including drying afterwards and being rubbed down with lotion (who wouldn't!? it's like a day at the spa with a massage!).

He really likes getting his diaper changed now, oddly enough. Well, I think he actually loves not having a diaper on, so I usually take my time and leave it off for a couple minutes and play with him. How do I play with him? I grab his legs! He likes having his legs squeezed and likes it when I grab them and make them "run" and "jump". Usually I can just crank smiles out of him that way. He likes the leg stuff even when he's fully clothed, too. I also grab his hands and stretch his arms over his head. Sometimes I'll go "yahoo!" while doing that, and he gets excited along with me and smiles.

The absolute best thing, though, is having a conversation with him. A lot of people have started remarking that he seems like he's trying to talk. I was a bit dubious at first--I thought he was just making random noises for no reason--but now I'm convinced. This morning we chatted for a few minutes, and he loved it! He made a kind of "hoooo" sound, so I mimicked it. He paused for a second, then made a kind of "uguu" sounding thing, and I echoed it back. He smiled at that! We went back and forth a few more times, and I could really tell that he was pleased to have that sort of interaction with someone.

I had always thought "baby speak" by parents was a silly thing, and wanted to talk to him like a normal person. Well, I do spend most of my time just talking to him regularly (this morning I described how I was cutting vegetables for our sandwiches, for example), but now I see the purpose and value of that silly-sounding babyspeak: he could tell that I heard him and understood him, and he liked that a lot. That seems like a very human thing, and at such an early age.

Basically, what I'm trying to say is it's really hard to get things done around the house because we're now starting to be able to play with him, and he's extra cute about it. That's about all I have for now, so I'll hopefully be back in a few weeks.


Rachel said...

Extra cute!

Sister said...

everything about your baby and this blog post is extra cute! I love that you're having baby conversations with him!

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