Monday, February 17, 2014

Casper, Month 3

Dear Casper -- Happy 3 month birthday!

This month you have fallen in love with the world. You have met so many new animate and inanimate friends! We turned on the light-up mobile on your bassinet which you greeted with wide eyed amazement. Your shocked little eyes saying, “Guys! Why have you never showed me this before!?!?!” You also started showing interest in toys, particularly a stuffed bug with black and white patterns on his wings who we call,  “Butterfly Friend” and who is singlehandedly responsible for you learning to track objects. You are generous with your smiles and just starting to giggle. You love to kick on the changing table. You love to be naked. You love baby fireworks shows (despite my performance in the video below you have your dad to thank for inventing and documenting).

Baby Fireworks Show from Geoff G on Vimeo.

We call you Chunker, Lil’ Fatty, Boob Monster, Mama’s Baby. We still call you all of your 1 month and 2 month nicknames as well… we almost never call you Casper.

You and I took our first plane trip out to California to meet family, friends, temperatures above freezing and huge mountains (though not the mountain of your middle namesake -- soon!). I had been wound up about the prospect of flying alone with a 10 week old for weeks, but -- as so many other moms predicted -- it was pretty easy. I carried you in the Moby wrap and you slept for most of the flight. The only turbulence (literal and figurative) occurred while we were in the bathroom, you half naked on my lap with your butt covered in poo. You were a bit more of a handful on the flight home when you refused the wrap, insisting that I hold you while you clung very tenuously to sleep. I spent the flight listening to podcasts and staring down at your little face. Much of that time staring specifically at your inner ear which I noticed was caked with scaly earwax and your nose where a huge booger was dancing its way out onto your face. I wanted nothing more than to reach down and clean your ear and pick that booger but knew that doing so would wake you. This is what mama torture feels like.

Your grandparents were, of course, thrilled to see you again. Your Uncle Kurt turned out to be much more of a baby lover (and helper) than I knew. Your cousins, Dalanie (8) and Zayden (4.99), we so excited to hold you, coo at you, shake your butterfly toy at you and generally get up in your grill.

One of your first interactions was this conversation:

Zayden: Can he say your name?
Me: No, He can’t say any words yet.
Dalanie: But what about in his head? Does he think about words?
Me: Great question! No one knows exactly what babies think about because you can’t ask them but I think he probably thinks about pictures more than words.

Dalanie noted that you looked a bit like me because we had similar marks on our faces. She was referring to your baby acne and my acne scars. (Thankfully, she didn’t get around to comparing our chubby thighs). As if this wasn’t enough of an unintentional slap in the face she also chose to stay home and babysit you (with Grandma’s help) rather than go out and about with me. I sighed that I wasn’t her favorite any longer and she replied, “You’re still my favorite grown up.” I suppose if I have to lose favorite status to someone, I’m happy it’s you.

Zayden refused to help with your bath because, “it might be disgusting,” and he had a point -- you only get grosser by the month. While the subsequent bath was clean enough those that fear bodily fluids should steer clear of 3 month old babies (obviously). You have developed a soaking drool habit. Every couple of weeks a huge white whale of a booger peeks out of your nose, moving in and out of your nostril with your breaths. Early in the month you spit up ON MY FACE. Later you spit up on your own hand and stuck it in my mouth. We have to make a special point to regularly pry your various rolls apart and clean inside of them lest you start a baby cheese factory in your neck and thighs. And then there is the poop situation. Because I am a cliche mom who cannot stop discussing my baby’s bowel movements the entire following paragraph is about poop. Zayden and others who fear disgusting babies should skip ahead.

While on our trip you went on a sudden poop boycott. Up until that Wednesday every diaper was graced with the Casper special of “pee and a smear” with the occasional upset of a slightly larger poop. And then for 3 days just pees over and over again. I said many prayers that the coming poop (which I assumed would be massive) would not arrive mid flight home. Thankfully, my wishes were granted and I brought home to Brooklyn a baby who only dirtied his diapers with pee. After reuniting with dad and ordering some dinner I jumped in the shower. I can only act as secondhand reporter for what occurred while I was getting clean. According to your dad you were lying on his chest getting some cuddles when he heard a rumbling from below. When he glanced down at the back of your onesie he saw an orange spot begin to radiate up your back. Dad took you in for the change to discover poop all the way up to your neck and a lake of it filling your diaper. He was half done wiping you down when the doorbell rang -- dinner was here! So he slapped a new diaper on your still poop-flecked body and answered the door, grabbing our food from the delivery guy just as you unleashed a rain of spitup down his back. At this point he opened the bathroom door to tell me that I had picked a great time to shower. He was right. I had.

This month was wonderful, but there was one really awful part. Things are going to get scary and real in the next couple of paragraphs. I’m going to shed some tears writing them and not the normal schmoopy mommy kind either. I’ll just spoiler alert right here that everything turns out fine in the end but we had a bad day on the 21st of January.

It has been a very cold and snowy winter in NYC. There is this weather thing called The Polar Vortex that has turned the city into a walk in freezer. I’m no longer fazed by temperatures in the teens and consider the high 20s an excuse to get outside. But we’ve seen more teens than 20s and as a result mom and baby have seen very little of the outside world. We were headed into another string of sub-freezing days so your dad and I thought we’d take advantage of the balmy 20+ degree weather on January 21st and take a walk in the pretty falling snow.

It is only three blocks from our place to the new Whole Foods, where we’d planned on grocery shopping and lunch. (We dream big around here with our fancy plans to have lunch at a grocery store…). We put you in the wrap and I pushed your head down against my chest to keep you warm. You hate this. When in the wrap you want to stretch your head back away from me to take in the world from your favorite star gazing position. You greeted my forced cheek to chest cuddling with screams. You were so mad at your stupid mom’s attempts to keep you warm. The scream continued for the whole walk. But when we arrived at the store they suddenly stopped and were replaced with a strange whiney grunt. We pulled you out of the wrap and watched as your lips and face lost their color and began to turn blue. Casper, I was so scared. I held it together and asked another customer to call 911 and then I put you over my shoulder and hit your back until you let out one loud cry before returning to you whiny grunting. Your face was no longer blue but it wasn’t your normal rosey pink either. At least the awful noise let us know that you were breathing, even if you were listless and pale.

You continued to grunt and loll in and out of sleep for half an hour. You wouldn’t nurse. You wouldn’t suck on your pacifier. As I sat there staring at your yellow face, my hand glued to your chest to verify that your continued to breathe I thought, “If he dies, I’ll just die too.” I’m sure that isn’t really true but right then I felt it with all of my self.
Around 15 minutes after the 911 call the paramedics arrived, verified that you were breathing, and advised us to go to your pediatrician rather than the ER. After a hour of observation the doctor decided that in your temper tantrum you probably breathed in a bit of your own drool and aspirated. As long as you returned to your normal hungry, perky, rosy-cheeked self in a few hours there was almost for sure no harm done.

After a long nap, my baby was back. In fact, that night was the first time you showed interest in toys and started really tracking objects. You are just fine. I, however, might never again be the same carefree mommy. I lie in bed at night listening for your grunts in the crib across the room. When you’re sleeping in the carrier I stop every few blocks to hold my breath and feel for your chest rising against mine. If you nap for too long I sometimes poke at you, risking an angry wide awake baby, to verify that you’re still alive. 

We took you to the cardiologist 2 weeks after your breathing incident to confirm that there were no heart issues. By the time this appointment rolled around your dad and I were unconcerned. We're not as resilient as you but after 2 weeks of your coos, laughs and bright eyes and we were mostly back to being parents of a normal healthy baby boy. (It also helped that you were breathing every single time I checked). We got to see your perfect little heart beating away on the ultrasound and the doctor officially pronounced you healthy and unlikely to have any other incidents. He also looked at your fleshy rolls lying on his examination table naked and said with a smile, “He’s clearly a good eater.” You know your baby is chunking up when even the doctor feels compelled to comment. You are a great eater, and a lover of just hanging out on the boob. While you can go over 7 hours at night without eating (while asleep!) during the daylight hours you’d prefer to nosh every 90 minutes or so. You’re putting on ounces every day and even though people on the street still marvel at how little you are to your dad and I you are a giant. I imagine this is how it will always feel as we three go always forward never backwards, as you grow and grow, always bigger, never smaller. The constant shock of it will never wane.