Saturday, January 23, 2010

Ups and Downs and Ups

V-Train feels like we haven't been taking enough photos, and I suppose it's true.  I recently returned from a four-day trip to Florida, and MVP looked different when I returned.  He changes day by day now.  When you consider that, at a hair over 9 lbs he has increased his body weight by over 50% in the last five weeks, you start to get an appreciation for the scale of what's happening to him.  If that trend continues, by the time he is one year old he'll weigh 346 lbs.  It's true - I did the math.


The MVP has been giving his mom a hard time lately.  He recently started to act very colicky - staying awake fussing at night, crying unless someone was holding him, and spitting up hours after eating.  To make matters worse, V-Train was assaulted on the street in our neighborhood. While we were out taking the MVP for a walk, a crazy old vagrant lady came up and spit in V-Train's face for no apparent reason.  Luckily I had the baby and she didn't come near him.  We called the cops but ultimately decided not to push forward with charges.  V's a lot less comfortable going out for walks alone with the MVP now, though this was clearly a freak incident.  Between the colic and the crazy incident, she was pushed to the edge of her sanity.

The MVP knows that Mom needs a hug.

So anyway, last week we started treating the MVP for reflux - limiting quantity at each feedings, holding him more upright for longer after, and eliminating dairy from V-Train's diet.  Things have vastly improved since then, knock on wood, and he's back to sleeping most of the time.

There will be plenty of time to catch up with Moochie later - like after this nap.

Now that he's not constantly fussing, he's starting to do more baby stuff.  He does look at faces a little bit, but mostly he looks over my shoulder at patterns on the wall - he likes the contrast between light and dark.

Just don't question *my* authority, and we'll be fine.

After a bath, The MVP likes to dress up as a dog.  It's just this thing he does.

We've been fairly diligent at giving The MVP time on his belly.  This is very important because ever since they started putting babies to sleep on their backs to prevent SIDS, many babies are slow learning to crawl or skipping crawling entirely.  Because crawling requires a lot of right-brain, left-brain coordination, it's supposed to be one of the most important developmental steps.  Our therapist said that they've identified correlations between kids who skip crawling and learning disabilities that manifest years later.  And to make extra sure she got her point through to us, she said "Let me put it this way.  Do you want your kid to be the last one chosen for the soccer team?"  Anyway, he seems to enjoy his "tummy time" and is exercising a much greater level of head control than we'd expect, lifting it and looking around.

There's a whole new perspective from down here.

Here are some other bonus MVP pics because V-train can't narrow down her favorites list.  She thinks he's "just yummy" and she's fully aware that she could be wearing Mom-goggles.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

The Ninth Month

Today is the MVP's one month birthday.  They say these first weeks are supposed to fly by, but it's a little hard to believe that only a month ago we were in a hospital room, shocked and awed and feeling entirely unprepared for the unexpected arrival of our son.  Maybe it's that he and we have changed so much since then, or that, because of the short wake/sleep cycles, each day breaks up into sub-days.  It's like living on Jupiter.

Take a deep breath and make a wish...

At 7 lbs 10 oz, the MVP has gained a little over a pound since he was born, and two from his lowest.  He's only in the 10th percentile for one-month old babies, but since this was really his last month of gestation spent on the outside,  he's actually doing very well for his "adjusted" age.  As he's filled out, sometimes he just looks like an old man in miniature.  V-Train doesn't like it, though, when I call him "Benjamin Button".

He's also started spending a little more time in states other than sleep.  When he does sleep, he loves to be held - to the point where he won't wake up for hunger or anything.  In the bassinet, he can be a bit restless.  He shifts around a lot, rolling over and scaring us when we find his face mashed up against the side.  They say you can't spoil a newborn, but I must say that we are beginning to have our doubts.

A preferred sleep position has been found.  And the baby likes it, too.

The MVP passed his due date a few days ago.  Getting past that due date felt like a major milestone for us - like his real babyhood could finally begin.   His neighbor, "The Mooch", who was due just a couple days before him, finally joined him in the world on the palindromic 01-02-2010 and they met for the first time a couple days later.   My sister's son followed a few days after that, and so the triumvirate of Y chromosomes was complete.

Oh, the highjinks they'll get into.  Like Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn.

The MVP has also entertained a stream of visitors.  As luck would have it, he's been angelic each time, keeping his dark side hidden away and ensuring repeat-visits.  But he does have a dark side, oh yes.

Dark side schmark side.  Nobody likes getting older.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Seven Pounds

As you may have guessed by the abrupt drop-off in activity here at the exact moment the MVP was discharged from the ICU, our free time more or less vanished instantaneously.  The best way to describe it is that we are simultaneously much busier and much less stressed out.   So let me update some important stuff and then we can move on to the photos, which I suspect is the main reason people stop by this site.

- The MVP came home on Friday, Dec 25.  Later that evening, he met all four of his grandparents for the first time.  Viet Grandma made us all a celebratory dinner of  Pho Ga.  w00t!
- The MVP turned three weeks on Wednesday.  He celebrated by desecrating my hand in a most vile way.
- He's progressing more or less exactly as hoped.  At a doctor's visit this morning, he had just edged past the critical "Will Smith line" at seven pounds and half of one ounce.  Since he's now nursing almost exclusively (we give him one bottle a day to keep up his skillz), it's difficult to know how much food he's getting so this is a big relief.
- He takes about an hour to nurse, every time.  The doctor told us this is too slow - a sentiment that was completely devoid of useful information. So we should stop him before he's done?  "No, no.  It's just too slow."  Thanks, doc.
- Nursing is like several times harder than bottle feeding - I seriously had no idea before.  Not to mention that it takes that several-times-harder burden and shifts it all to one person.  V-Train is an absolute champ for sticking with it.
- As soon as the nursing ramped up, The MVP became a total beast on the bottle.  For him, nursing is like swinging two bats in the on-deck circle.
- He continues to do new things.  Sometimes he's alert for an hour or so after a feeding, though usually he goes right back to sleep.  He's even flipped over from his stomach to his back several times (always in the same direction on our bed, which makes me think our apartment may just be uneven).  I wouldn't expect this to be a consistent skill for him for a couple more months, but it underscores the importance of not leaving him alone for a couple minutes in an unusual location because we don't think he can do something that would get him into trouble.
- Our good friends and neighbors the Chiams, who were due two days before us, had their baby today.  It's a boy!  We don't have this confirmed, but we have reason to believe the baby may be named Oliver.   Oliver Chiam is a totally awesome name and would pretty much guarantee the kid a future job as a news correspondent.
- Our friends (including the aforementioned Chiams) and family continue to be totally awesome, filling our fridge with food, installing our blinds, running our errands, etc.  Uncle Abba J even made us a totally rad New Years prime rib dinner to go, which I strongly feel should become an annual tradition.

Ok, onto the photos.

Pre-discharge - good view of the dimple, which he gets from his mom.

Pre-discharge, the MVP got his first hat.  Between the hat and the salute, doesn't he kind of look like a swabbie?

On the day of discharge - wearing real actual clothes.

Ready to go home.  Every other photo of us has been in yellow hospital gowns, making it difficult to identify which photo was from which day and driving Joan Rivers insane.

Celebration dinner - Viet style!

First time meeting Viet Grandpa (Ong), who wore a festive Christmas tie for the occasion.

Saying hello to Viet Grandma (Ba)

Abue gets a turn.

And Grandad.  Look familiar?

First extended family portrait.  As Pastor Kranti would say, it's like a Benneton ad.

It's all too much for the MVP, who can be a bit of a diva.

Out for our first ever walk as a family.

All the fellas in the house throw your hands up.

One more benefit of coming home: tackling the babies is strictly forbidden in the ICU.

One more thing -  I'd like to say thank you to everyone for the kind thoughts, e-mails, comments,  etc.  V-Train and I would read them to each other in our quiet moments, and they really warmed the cockles of our hearts.  And even though "warmed the cockles of our hearts" is a term that sounds like it should be used exclusively in ironic situations, in this case we really sincerely mean it.  Thank you.