Two weeks

12 10 2012

As of last Wednesday (which was “yesterday” when I started writing this post and was now 3 days ago, because apparently even with extra pairs of hands around to help, one does not finish thing with babies around, only begin them…), that’s how long it had been since the morning I screamed Evanny into the world and the doctors and nurses, in a flurry of hands, gruffly rubbed her sticky little blue body into a tentative wail of its own against my exhausted chest. I spent only–“only”! about 8 hours in labor, but they were 8 hours of contractions every 2-4 minutes, some of them lasting the whole time and thus bringing the next immediately on their heels, and at one point they had to drug me woozy just to try to regulate them enough that they didn’t totally exhaust the baby, whose heart-rate was starting to wobble. That was our only chemical intervention, though, and I didn’t really notice it dimming the pain involved at all–I just spent an hour or two fuzzy-headed during the 1-2 minute-long gaps between contractions that the stabilizing brought about, and then ended up annoyed (okay, maybe irate, but I was so mad at so many things by that point that it was hard to distinguish) at having to push lying on my back, which is exactly what you’re not supposed to do, because they wouldn’t let me get up after the woozy-causing drugs. It worked, though; we got a baby, although incisions were involved that it’s taken all of the two weeks to heal enough that I can get in and out of bed without wincing–useful, since when one has a baby (and sitting up on one’s incision-site is really not a pleasant experience), one gets in and out of bed a lot.

Evanny at 2 days old, getting ready to leave the hospital and wearing her own (adorable hand-me-down from her cousin Sophie in England!) clothes for the first time–making her tiny feet stay in the footies instead of curling right out of them into her belly for long enough to get her into her carseat was a real challenge.

She has more than made up for her initial vocal hesitation in recent days; the pediatrician warned us that the Evening Scream was a pretty routine part of many babies’ lives (Caleb, Matt says, as an infant, would “just freak the hell out” every evening for an hour, starting around 7, no matter what was going on or how content he’d been before hand, and several of our other parent-friends have made similar observations about their own little people when they were wee), but Evanny, put out by the idea that she might ever qualify as “routine,” has been aiming for escalation: last night’s Scream was a full three hours long. The first half she spent stuffing her fists in her mouth, furiously insisting that she was starving despite having nursed–for most of an hour–less than an hour previously. The second half, after I relented and fed her again, was just screaming, as she had used up the only excuse she knows (her diaper was clean too, but she doesn’t have a specific communication-method worked out to complain about that yet).

I am not very happy about the Evening Scream–and especially LESS happy about Evening Scream Escalation, as Matt’s gone back to work for good now (we managed, by combining holidays, Mom’s visit, his school field trip, and him spending the day after her birth at work while I was sitting in a hospital bed anyway, to stretch his week of leave into covering almost the entire two) and the Scream is scheduled for the only part of the day we actually get to see the man. I’m all about babies getting their lung exercise and needing to yell and cry, but I’d be much happier with a morning or mid-day scream instead. I can’t, however, really appeal to the Universal Baby Board to complain about this or ask for a trade of features, because I wouldn’t want to trade a single other feature. Because aside from the Scream, Evanny is pretty much the perfect baby.

She eats, strongly and eagerly. She’s growing exactly as much as the pediatrician wants her to be–an ounce a day, precisely, 10 in the 10 days we’d been at home between hospital-release and her second appointment weigh-in. She tracks us with her eyes and gazes at us when we stand still. She communicates hunger effectively (although she sometimes fibs, asking for more milk when what she really wants is to fall asleep, because milk-drunk is her favorite way to fall asleep… so we’re now trying to teach her there are other methods). She sleeps in long doses, sometimes during the day and often at night for 4 or 5 hour stretches, which the pediatrician says I’m technically not supposed to let her do this young, but since she’s obviously got the eating thing down and is gaining the weight she’s supposed to be, there’s no reason not to. She likes to be danced and sung to, she falls asleep in the car, she only loudly protests about half of her diaper changes, she makes lots of cute little noises, and she is extremely pet-able–she has pet-able feet, pet-able little spider-fingers, and a very, very pet-able head.

Her daddy and I are learning what to do with her, and more slowly, learning what to do with one another in the process. I occasionally get a bit snappish (imagine, me?) at him, and he occasionally decides that if I complain about one thing once, that means secretly he’s been doing six hundred things wrong, so, you know, we have a few bugs to work out, but we’re working on it. I’m the worst at parenting during the Evening Scream, because I’m getting enough sustained sleep to make it to about 7 or 8pm before I’m just too tired to be nice any more, and that’s about when she gets immune to all acts of kindness anyway, and we need Daddy to separate us before I descend into mourning about how my only value is as a source of milk. So tonight–when he comes back from his first full day back with us here on our own for just long enough to grab some food and go back again for an all-evening program night–should be an interesting challenge. We already learned last night that doing the walking-away trick so that they’ll be glad to see you when you come back TOTALLY does not fool this baby. She screamed the whole time I was out of the room, and when I came back, she got louder. Representing the part of her that is all cat, Evanny’s nonverbal little curled vibrating tongue said “FUCK YOU FOR LEAVING ME AND WHY THE HELL DO YOU THINK I WANT TO SEE YOU NOW?!?”

But NOW, as she’s making waking-up noises in the bassinet across the room (and starting to rock it with the motion of her fist-chewing), she’ll be all kinds of glad to see me, and only mostly because I bring the boobies.

Now (later-now) we have had lunch (“we” being the baby–I’ll take my turn next!), done a little arts and crafts, and had a washcloth-sponge-bath (if you happened to be walking by the house, you’ll have noticed that this sounded identical to someone in here poking the baby with hot irons, but I assure you nothing of the sort went on). During this next phase of napping (the hot irons warm washcloth totally wore her out) we’ll be changing the futon-sheets, sweeping up cat-and-dog hair, and washing a massive pile of dishes because our Janet is coming to help me learn all of the things that babies need and do (like how to work all of these different types of mysterious snap-intensive cloth diapers!). (Or “was” coming, as she arrived mid-day Thursday, and I’ve been trying to find a chance to finish catching this up ever since. Yesterday she helped me with a first foray to the grocery store, at which I learned that the carseat doesn’t fit in the front of a cart the way it’s supposed to–or at least the way I think it’s supposed to, i.e. in a way where I can see the baby and that the baby will be hungry by the end of a grocery store trip, so unless you have an extra pair of hands around, you should avoid buying perishable foods because they’ll be sitting in the car for an hour or more until you can get back out to get them. How people with babies and small children buy and consume frozen goods and/or milk and yogurt is so far beyond me. Today we’re going to try a family trip to the zoo with Matt and Caleb, and I will probably be getting my first lessons in public nursing and diapering!).

Evanny still hates being naked (the first update about this went out on Facebook, in a little list of day-2 likes and dislikes), although she’ll tolerate either half of her body naked for a little while. It makes her nervous, though. Her fists ball up and her little arms shake and she just stares at me beseechingly, like “Please don’t let those strangers poke me!” I suspect she might have been a little scarred by the wealth of hospital examining (and two follow-up naked squeezing sessions at the pediatrician’s office). She also hates getting dressed (it’s way worse than getting undressed), regardless of the relative purpose of these tasks with regards to nakedness. And her most entertaining quirk of contrariness is that she doesn’t know how to fall asleep without her hands tied down (swaddling is marginally effective, but she’s an excellent Houdini when angry, so sometimes just holding them works better), and the more tired she gets, the more fiercely she fights to keep those hands free. So you have to grab them, and pin them hard against her chest, and she’ll wail in absolute outrage… and then close her eyes.

She likes Daddy’s voice, Mommy’s milk bar, Caleb’s chattering, and Gustav when he purrs up against her, although she’s less fond of his tendency to step on her because he has no idea which parts of the soft blanket-and-squish pile is alive. She’s completely indifferent to Maggie’s ear-shattering bark and the loud scrape of her frantic claws on the wood floor as she tears around the house chasing cats, but startles whenever Matt raises his voice to yell at the dog for chasing the cats or for barking. As for the family’s take on her, Picabo is wholly uninterested, granting her a sniff every few days just to see if she smells any different, Gustav loves her, and can be found curled up beside her, checking her out every time she comes home from an outing (however short), checking up on her after he wakes from his own naps, and helpfully trying out all of her baby apparatuses (seats, cribs, changing tables, toys, etc.) to make sure they’re safe. The other day, I caught him grooming her by gently licking her hair–in the right direction, even. Maggie is over having babies, but does growl at us when we put Evanny down upstairs and all come down–so far we have failed to explain the concept of the baby monitor to the dog. My mom loves her and wanted to take her home (she even allowed us to use the word “Grandmother,” although she won’t use it herself). My dad and my grandmother adore the idea of her, are all over Facebook liking all of her photographs, and are flying up next week to get their first fix in real life. My brother is enchanted by how she was born with one of her ears and crushed-and-crumpled just like he was. And Janet finds us all very, very amusing, especially when I complain about being nothing but a milk bar. “Babies like milk,” she says. “What’s the problem?” “I’m a human being, not just a walking pair of boobies!” “…Idonunnerstan.”

Evanny modeling the same outfit at 2 weeks bigger, awake, vocal, and already growing out of the bunny-suit–when she stretches her own legs out, she pulls the legs of the outfit tight, and when they come back in, they stay in!




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