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Theron at Seven Weeks

Theron is now seven weeks old. That means that we have managed to Not Kill The Baby for seven weeks of uninterrupted time. Go us!

Developmentally, he no longer looks like a newborn. He looks like a baby. His cheeks are chubbier, his skin is smoother, and he’s cream-colored (as opposed to looking jaundice-yellow or sunburned-red). He spends more time awake, and he’s more alert during those times. He’s also grown… visibly. Current weight is about twelve pounds, and our home measuring process marks him as about twenty-one inches long. (This is up from seven pounds, six ounces and nineteen and one-half inches when he was born.)

Still Life with Baby
Theron is… strong. He can already hold his head up without help; he looks around when we carry him; and if you keep him balanced, he can hold his body weight up with his legs. Also, when he’s hungry, if you set him in your lap he will try to climb you. He’s very persistent about it.

Theron is still eating as much as he can, as frequently as he can. (I guess he really wants to grow…) Unfortunately, his digestive system is still small and a little immature, so he gets gas… and when he does, he has trouble getting rid of it. This leads to small-baby fits, where he squirms and makes noise and absolutely does not want to lay on his back, and never mind the fact that it’s four-thirty in the morning and we’d gladly perform a human sacrifice to any number of dark, pagan gods if he would just allow us to sleep.

Books, doctors, and well-meaning friends and relatives have all told us that this sort of thing is usually related to the mother’s diet. Unfortunately, we have yet to isolate any particular food that might be causing it. Our interim solution has been to let the baby sleep on top of The Beautiful Woman, which allows him to be on his tummy… but that requires her to remain in the Appallingly-Ugly-But-Comfortable pink chair in the living room. It also causes people to start warning us about how dangerous it is to sleep with the baby, so if you were thinking about doing that… please don’t. We know, and we promise to quit just as soon as it becomes possible to get him to sleep in any other position.

Some progress there, by the way. Theron has rediscovered the pacifier, and it seems to help. So there may be hope after all…

Baby attends his first wedding
We went down to Houston TX this weekend to attend a wedding. This was actually a pair of milestones: Theron’s first formal ceremony, and Theron’s first road trip. He was, by any reasonable standard of baby behavior, absolutely angelic. Specifically, he didn’t drive us crazy in the car, interrupt the ceremony, or urinate on anybody at the reception. He was, in fact, perfectly charming, and allowed himself to be handled and carried by half-dozen different people. I believe he may have acquired four or five new honorary grandparents while he was there.

Local travel with a baby isn’t that hard. He usually sleeps, and so we just bundle him in his child seat and go. For a longer trip, though, he needs to be fed and changed at regular intervals, and it simply isn’t safe (or legal) to do that while the car is moving. But, as long as you’re prepared (which means you have a changing pad, plenty of diapers, food, and enough extra time to make regular stops), it isn’t much trouble.

After the wedding, my wife’s sister and her husband announced that they were pregnant. It was an interesting (lack of) segue… They started by asking what we might do for SiL’s birthday next spring. While the rest of us were considering schedules and making suggestions (involving decorating with black crepe paper, tombstones, and vultures) they added another idea: we could meet the newest addition to the family. We were, for various reasons, quite surprised, but also happy for them.

So, Theron’s due to have a cousin in about seven months.

Having a baby is hard on your schedule
For all of you who are thinking about having babies, let me offer this visualization exercise:

Picture yourself doing one of your hobbies. It could be anything; Kung Fu and Writing are two of mine. Of the two I spend notably more time writing… so we’ll start with that. Picture yourself doing something you enjoy, something you do regularly, something that’s a big part of your weekly schedule. Got it? Is it clear in your mind’s eye?

Good. Now picture not having any time to do that. Writing? No time. Drawing? No time. Kung Fu? No time. Going for a walk in the evening? No time. Taking a hot bath? No time. Bicycling? No time. Running? No time. Working out at the gym? No time. Playstation? No time. X-box? No time. Reading? No time. Schoolwork? No time. Cleaning up the house? Manageable, but only barely.

See, the thing with babies is that they’re demanding. They require constant attention, and they won’t be satisfied with just sitting around while you get something – please, G-d, anything – done. (There is an extremely miniscule chance that your baby will be one of those who can be bundled into some sort of sling or pack, and who will remain calm and happy while you work on a project. If so, please be aware that I hate you.)

Ideally, of course, you have a partner: a fellow parent to help you take care of the non-baby responsibilities, a guardian who will take away your squirming organic anchor and allow you a few blissful moments of freedom, someone who will push you gently out the door when you veer too close to the edge of homicidal, axe-wielding insanity. Having a partner helps. Better still, cultivate and maintain a full support network: my wife and I finally – finally – managed to hold an actual, adult, not-baby-related conversation last weekend, because we managed to talk Theron’s grandmother into taking him off our hands for a few hours. It was magnificent.