Friday, 28 December 2012

Parenthood: These things happened...

...About six weeks ago (in no particular order):

Oliver had his first electrocardiogram. He has a small and benign heart murmur, which nobody is worried about and everyone expects will close up. We go back for a follow-up in February. Plus we got to tour Rexdale while we looked for the wrong address. I know so much more of the GTA since I've been a dad!

He got his first shots. We delayed them a month until he was a bit more settled and bigger, and Danijela had more time to come to terms with jabbing the boy. Wow, that first needle; his eyes just grew and grew, almost comically large. And after the second one, Danijela silenced his cry quickly by feeding him. Then he was fine, thank god. He wasn't quite himself for the rest of the day, but he handled it very well. I don't look forward to the ones later when he won't be soothed so easily. There seem always to be kids at the doctor's office getting shots and screaming their heads off.

A couple of days later, he seemed to get congested and he was having trouble sleeping at night. Maybe this was due to the shots; maybe not. We thought he might have a cold, but he didn't show any symptoms beside stuffiness. Danijela picked up the Hydrasense nasal aspirator, which several people recommended, and we went to work. If you don't know what that means, it involves spraying salt water into the nose and then using a filtered tube to suck out any mucous. The things we do. But it works wonders! After the first try, he was much clearer, and we could see the result in the aspirator's reservoir. Very gross and very effective. We've used it on Oliver regularly since, every two or three days. Oliver's a pretty good sneezer, but the snot that comes out with the aspirator needs more force than he can muster yet.

One fine day, almost directly after placing Oliver on his tummy on the floor, he rolled onto his back. I was amazed! Then he repeated it, and he did it numerous times over the following week or so. We were expecting he would follow up that performance with a front-to-back roll, but it never materialized, although he seemed to come close a few times. He's stopped trying any rolls for the moment, but we're happy that he's comfortable on his stomach. In fact, the other day, he made some definite forward lurches (it's too soon to call it crawling). I'm both worried and excited about that development!

While Danijela was out one afternoon in mid-November, I had the then-rare pleasure of feeding Oliver by bottle. At the time, I was doing this infrequently, maybe every couple of weeks. He usually took it well, with little fussing. This time though, he spent some time gnawing on the nipple, not quite sucking, but not crying. Then he put his hands on the bottle and started guiding it in and out of his mouth, with only little support from me. Since he'd previously shown no such coordination, I was very impressed. He was not even grabbing things at that time, but I started giving him toys right away after that—and he started taking them. This was a huge step. It didn't take long at all for him to get his toys. One of them at least has lots of loops and is very easy to grab and hold on to (although not so easy to get in his mouth).

Previously, he could amuse himself for some time just lying on his back. When Oliver was quite little—maybe six weeks or so—we borrowed a nice wooden hanging toy that he could look at and swat while lying down, and it certainly amused him. Eventually, he started wanting to put things in his mouth, but lacked the coordination to do so. Whenever we would put something near his face, he would move in that direction and flail his arms. Now, he grabs whatever is within his reach, and usually tries to stuff it into his mouth. He's getting particularly good at sucking his fingers. He still doesn't have the coordination to consistently get things in his mouth every time, but I'm sure, like with the bottle, one day soon he'll just grab his soother and get it.

Then there is laughing (now a little giggling), teething (well, it's a long process, right?), and did I mention that Oliver has left our room for his very own crib and nursery (I know I did)? Plus a whole new routine, and more recently, more sounds, more grabbing, more awful sleep, but fewer night-time diaper changes!

Despite the fatigue and frustration, it's all very exciting, and I wish I could record it all! But that is looking increasingly unlikely. And alas, I return to work next week—it's been almost twenty weeks already! So, on to the next stage, and maybe—I hope—I'll be able to keep updating. But that's it for 2012. Happy new year all!

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The New Dilettantes by Adam Gorley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Canada License.