So we’ve emerged from under the pile of tissues, empty Sudafed blister packs and honey-laced herbal tea to find that it’s February and you’re two months old. January was not fun. Don’t worry, we don’t blame you. We pretty much blame day care for any sickness or bad habits.
For the moment, we are all rather healthy or more healthy than we’ve been since Christmas and I’ll admit it’s nice to hold you and not be reminded of a wheezing Studebaker engine or have you cower in fear when we lay you on your back because you are afraid we’re once again going to try to suck your brain out with that dreaded blue bulb.
The only downside to all this apple-cheeked vibrancy is that I now feel compelled to get up and check on your breathing six times a night because I can no longer hear your rattling chest through the walls. I was told the second child was supposed to cure that irrational ‘is my child still breathing’ fear? Guess you’re stuck with my constant fear and paranoia. I expect it will last awhile. Probably your whole life. Sorry.
Speaking of the middle of the night, while it’s a small sample, the last two weeks have shown signs of promise for your sleeping. Once we push through your fussy hours (7-9 at night), you are usually sleeping pretty solidly from 10 pm on, for four or five hour stretches.
We will get the official word on Friday when you go for your check-up (and dreaded first shots, again sorry), but from my viewpoint (that would be the diaper and spit-up view) you are doing quite well. You’re eating well and taking bottles without a fuss. You tolerate your sister’s hugs (which need to be supervised because they border on MMA choke holds) and your furry brother’s very wet and very insistent kisses.
Sadly, just when you’re starting to smile, gurgle and recognize that you have arms and legs, the 24/7 Allison Show will be put on hiatus as we need to go back to work to afford those day care bills. Yes, we recognize the vicious circle of irony.
Things we learned this month:
- You have a specific poop face and it strikes fear in our hearts
- You spit up much more than your sister and your favorite target is Momma
- Still losing your hair
- No definitive word on the eye color other than they are much darker than Cecilia’s. In some lights, they look the deep, chocolate brown of your handsome father and in others, they look like the crazy hazel of a barnyard cat.
Here are some updated photos when one of us was healthy enough to lift the camera.
I have a confession. You’re going to find out sooner or later so you might as well hear it from me. Your father is a bit of a geek. There I said it. Some would say more than just a bit. I’ve been known to indulge in comic books now and again. Sometimes even on the train which embarasses your Mother. Personally I prefer the more gentrified term, graphic novels, but she doesn’t see the difference. Anyway, all this month someting had been bugging me. As I watched you go from a lump of cuteness last month to a slightly more animated, but still relatively stationary, lump of cuteness this month, I kept feeling this nagging sense of deja vu. A prodding fingertip of familiarity. What was it? Where had I come across this before?
It didn’t hit me until that Wednesday night in mid-June when we were sitting on the couch together at one a.m. (your choice, not mine) and we flipped past Superman on TNT. Not the earlier, more superiour Richard Donner version, but the more recent souless Bryan Singer one. That was it. That was what was bugging me. I was witnessing an origin story. That stock staple of comic, er, graphic novels everywhere. You were Peter Parker just after the spider bite. Bruce Banner after the gamma bomb. Kal-El landing in that Kansas field, though until your hair fills in you resemble Lex Luthor more than Clark Kent.
This second month we’ve witnessed you becoming more aware of your emerging powers. You’ve started honing your extra sensory perception of exactly when your parents put their heads down on the pillow. It’s really an uncanny ability. When you’re sure that we are drifting off to asleep, you unleash a sound wave with such power and displacement that we’re afraid the paint will start peeling from the walls. We try to hold out, but we’re defenseless. Once we hear the rivets start popping out of the furniture, we’ll tentatively edge into your room and witness your little fists of fury pounding grapefruit size dents into the mattress. Your little legs will be pumping like a miniature wild mustang. It’s an awesome sight to behold when you flip all your switches to 11 and become one vibrating mass of infant energy. The Cecilia Files. Greatest comic book ever.
They’ll get around to it eventually. They always do. After nibbling little bites out of Cece’s chubby cheeks. Or declaiming they just cannot belive how adorable she is. Or marveling at the fact that Chelle carried such a big baby on a such a small frame. Maybe even after giving Lola some much needed attention. They will turn to me and ask, “So, how’s Fatherhood.”
That’s Fatherhood with a capital F, mind you. For awhile I felt guilty for not having a big important answer that started with it’s own capital letter. Anything that came to mind felt a bit slap dash. “Well jeez, she’s still breathing, has all her fingers and toes and I haven’t dropped her on the soft spot, so generally I think I’m getting a passing grade.” Or, “It’s alright. I’ve slotted it in between weeding the garden and working on my blog.” I wondered if I should be feeling more. Did I sleep through the big Fatherhood epiphany? Was there a class at the hospital I missed? Was I like the Tin Man, lacking a heart?
I didn’t think so. I hoped not. It had to be something else. I thought back on the last eight weeks since we came home from the hospital. I counted a few changes:
- Who are those wackos on the highway going 75? I really can drive 55. The right lane in the right speed.
- Falling asleep on a Friday night at 10:30 and marveling at how you used to be leaving the house at this time for the bars. Then rolling over with no regrets.
- Buying new ankle braces because God help me if I turn an ankle and disrupt the delicate household ecosystem.
- Taking 662 pictures in six weeks and being terrified it’s not nearly enough to capture all the moments you want to remember.
- Laying awake and worrying she might date a Yankee fan.
- Yearning for things to speed up and slow down at the same time. Wanting to teach and talk and laugh with her, but not wanting her to get bigger than your arms can hold.
- Volunteering to give her a bath when game 7 of the playoffs is on.
- Buying favorite books even though she won’t be able to read or understand it for a decade.
- Waking up terrified and being unable to sleep till you get up and check even though you know it’s silly.
See, if being pregnant for a woman is like Grimace — big, purple and obvious than becoming a Father is more like the Hamburglar — sneaky, masked and devious. It doesn’t drop a piano on you. There is rarely a big Aha! moment. It creeps up on tip-toes and rearranges your life with subtle nudges and shifts till one day you look around and you’re already there.
I wasn’t some outcast or unfeeling robot or empty tin can. I was just your average Dad because Fatherhood (can’t forget that capital) is being so in love with your child that you will always struggle to put it into words.
Two months. Eight weeks. 56 days in this world. The clock keeps ticking and every day I discover something new with you. This second month of life you have started to come out of your newborn shell and are becoming more interactive with us and the world around you. Your little (or big for you) head moves from side to side looking at anything new that pops into your line of sight. You kick your feet and wave your arms with such intensity you would think you were trying to tell us that the pot of gold was actually in our house all along. Your oh so chubby cheeks are all encompassing and easily your most dominating feature.
You seem to be in a “schedule” during the night hours, waking up at 4am and then again at 7am on a consistent basis. You had your Baptism this month and slept through the whole thing. You even slept through the after party, which is extremely uncharacteristic of a Donohue, because we all know that Donohues love a good party!
At times this month you have become quite the fuss pot. A little tempest in a teapot. You sometimes fight sleep as if you know we turn the kareoke machine on just when you finally shut you eyes. You are so desperate not to miss your parents Islands in the Stream duet that you become so overtired that you cry at everything. I mean everything. The softness of Lola’s fur. Rainbows. A gentle breeze. Anything will set you off. Your Father and I still can’t believe that as little as you are, you can wail louder than a double bill of Def Leppard and Bon Jovi. And just so you understand. That’s eighties era decibels. Not when they all went Bed of Roses in the nineties. Even Lola who has had 15 puppies and routinely listens to your Father’s outburts over the Red Sox sometimes goes has to go upstairs to escape the maelstrom. Of course…
The most rewarding parts of this month have been the big, megawatt, politician smiles you’ve unleashed and stream of baby gibberish that you give your Father and I. They started off tiny and tentative, but now when I have you on the changing table or am holding you after a feeding you will break out in a silly, maybe sly, grin or a full out smile. Your little voice has started saying oohh, ahh, goo, and sometimes a combination of them all. You seem to be proud of yourself when you get a sound out and smile or shriek in approval. Or something. We’ll have to wait a few more months for the translation.
Two months in and I feel like we are getting glimpses of your personality and each day you amaze me with something new. Going into motherhood, I felt very prepared in how to care for a child but one thing I wasn’t prepared for was how prideful I would feel of you. It’s a feeling unlike any I have felt before and I know that this is only the beginning and I can’t wait to see what’s coming next.
One reason I like living in New England is the seasons. It’s something most people say up here. Four seasons of differing weather. A way to mark time. A neat justification for all those people living in the constant blue skies of SoCal or Miami. Sure, up here there are a few weeks of blistering heat and humidity and a few storms of blanketing snow, but things move mainly in moderation. There are few true extremes. Few natural disasters to sweat. Certainly no tornadoes. On my list of things to fear, right after smiling clowns and ice cream truck music after dark, are tornadoes. I don’t know how people deal with the randomness of a storm popping up out of nowhere and shredding the shingles from your home.
At least I didn’t understand until recently. Sadly, it appears we’ve left the bucolic pastures of newbornness behind. The near constant sleep and mute feedings are a distant sign post in the past. We’re now entrenched in prime crankiness season and it can be staggering in its swiftness and volume. Just like a tornado. One minute I’m holding a model baby cut out for a catalog, the next minute, nee second, I’m running for the storm cellar with a screaming banshee in pursuit.
With little warning other than a quivering lip and a quick power frown, you are suddenly knee deep in a quickly rising tide. We often feel like those poor, drenched weather people sent on location trying to report in the midst of a wall of water. Except the water is an ear shattering scream. THE BOOKS helpfully point out we that might be through the worst of it now, as it peaks at six weeks, but it’s short shrift to us when trying to calm this whirling force of nature with few tools other than ear plugs, nonsense words and cheap plastic toys.
Through it all we hunker down, hold on and hold out for those blue skies to appear again. Or at least till the next nap.