I am trying to get in the habit of posting weekly with the progress of our precious young daughter Maeve, born July 30th 2013 – entering her 14th day as I write this. My wife Carrie and I each posted our accounts of her birth, here and here, respectively. I did an update at one week, here.
I am not going to guarantee any great parenting guru insights in these weekly posts. There are perhaps a few interesting thoughts, but it’s mostly a sort of electronic scrapbook that we can look through and share with others (especially our family and friends on the west coast.) I hope to keep posting a lot of photos of her – all the photos here are from this past week (click on images to enlarge.) Perhaps if Carrie and I post frequently enough, we’ll be able to see some of the arc of Maeve’s growth. Perhaps I will get too busy to keep posting as long or as frequently. I may to try to shift to a shorter format – getting short pieces out sooner. Maybe Carrie and I will write some stuff together. We’ll see.
Week two wasn’t radically different than week one. The new normal felt a tiny bit more routine… but Maeve is still doing lots and lots of sleeping and breastfeeding. In between these major pursuits, she takes time out to look around the room a lot. It seems like she’s just a bit more squirmy. During a lot of week one, she was sleepy and content in seemingly any position; now she wants to sit up when she’s laying down, or lie down when she’s sitting. She doesn’t like to be face down on my chest any more (awwww) because when I do this she goes into feeding mode: she smacks her lips, sometime bops around trying to find my non-existent milk-filled breast, then looks around for her mom. Week two she’s looking to her mom for comfort – maybe I just didn’t notice this in the whirlwind of week one.
On Monday, August 12th (this morning – one day shy of 2 weeks), we took Maeve in for her second visit to the pediatrician. We walked over to Tribeca Pediatrics, next to Hamilton Park. She’s gained weight nicely. At birth she was 8 pounds 4 ounces. Then she lost half a pound, as expected. Now, two weeks into this big old goofy world, she’s up to 9.0 pounds.
We brought our short list of things we were concerned, but not quite worried about – and asked the pediatrician about them. Nothing major, but just little things that parents spot and wonder about:
- Crossed eyes once in a while? Normal for a couple months.
- Lower lip quivers when she cries? Not a problem – her nervous system is still developing.
- Spit up curdled milk once? Normal for her to do this more often.
- Milk came out of her nose once? Normal.
- Skin on her feet peeling? No problem, yours would if you had just spent nine months in a pool.
- Baby’s nipples slightly hard, slightly swolen? Normal, for her and for boy babies, too.
- Little red spots on her lower belly, groin and legs? Normal, not even diaper rash. Let it air out a bit whenever possible.
- Sometimes just nurses and sleeps for half a day, never really alert? Normal. As long as she’s feeding and gaining weight, she’s plenty alert. She’ll be more alert soon.
One very reassuring new thing to come out of the visit with the pediatrician: Maeve passed her hearing test. We were a tiny bit concerned last week when she passed only her right ear, at last week’s visit. Carrie has great full hearing, but I am stone deaf in my left ear. It’s been known since I was in kindergarten. Specialists have looked into it, but weren’t really sure if it was congenital, from a virus, or a concussion I had at age 4, or from something else. It’s not something I’d wish on anyone, but, in the scheme of things, it’s a very manageable disability. So, for newborns, the medical staff performs a test where they stick a little probe in the ear and see if the sound resonates in the ear. Maeve is definitely sensitive to loud sounds, so the test today just confirms that she has hearing in both ears.
With grandparents gone, we’ve been enjoying visits from various friends, who have all been sweet and helpful.
My friend Jen.
Carrie’s friends Jen and Paul.
Carrie’s friend Megan flew out from the West Coast and stayed with us for a couple days.
and just this afternoon, Carrie’s friends Nancy and Yoli came by for a couple hours, on their way from a conference, heading to the airport.
>> SLEEP: Did I mention that Maeve sleeps a lot? This past week, like last week, she seems to spend a lot more time sleeping than anything else. Sometimes for more than half the day, she’s doing only two things: breastfeeding (during which time, she’s reclined, focused, not really perceptibly moving – at least for the father) and sleeping. It’s beautiful, sweet, precious, but it’s also slightly disconcerting sometimes. Usually we can see her belly moving up and down, but occasionally it seems like she isn’t doing anything. “Has she moved at all, Carrie?”
Sometimes Maeve sleeps/breastfeeds/sleeps/breastfeeds all afternoon and evening, then when it’s time for us to go to sleep, she looks at us, like “what are you doing lying down like that? I’m up!”
Also, on the sleeping theme, I’ve taken a few of the deepest naps in a long time – as long as I can remember. Maeve is on her own timetable, which varies a bit, but many nights she sleeps fairly well. Typically, We get to sleep for 3-4 hours (like 1am to 5am) which seems better than some newborn stories I’ve heard (things like nursing every 2 hours), but it still leaves us a bit sleep-deprived. When we got back from the pediatrician’s office this morning, Carrie, Maeve and I lay down and fell very soundly asleep.
>> GETTING OUT: Towards the end of the past week, Carrie and I have taken our first few ventures out of the house. We all had walked together a lot during the pregnancy (something I recommend highly), so we’ve taken some short walks together, putting baby Maeve in a Moby sling carrier. Maeve seems to love walking… she’s happy pressed against my body, then she falls asleep. This past weekend, each Carrie and I got to get out on our own. Last Saturday, I took my bicycle on the PATH train over to Manhattan for NYC’s ciclovia event, called Summer Streets. It’s similar to the CicLAvia event I helped get off the ground in Los Angeles. It was a blast. I plan to write about it at Bikas, my bike blog. I did feel guilty spending time away from my wife and daughter. Though I had a great time, I cut my adventure a bit short to get back home. If things work out well, I am hoping that we might all three go to Summer Streets next Saturday, probably bringing the stroller. On Sunday, Carrie went for an acupuncture appointment. Maeve did really well for a while, but then she had a healthy cry when she wanted to breastfeed with only daddy around. Mom got home, and all was right in Maeve’s world.
>> ELIMINATION: In last week’s blog entry, I mentioned that we’d failed at very early Elimination Communication – a sort of early potty-training method that I’ve been reading about (though I don’t get a lot of reading done these days.) Maeve is still mostly pooping and peeing in diapers, but I have had four successes!
At 10 days old, with me holding her, Maeve peed and pooped in the toilet for the first time! Wooooot! Woooooooot! And she’s done it two more times since the first… but, all in all, that’s still something less than 5% of the times that she’s eliminating. A proverbial drop in the bucket. She goes through plenty of diapers. (We’re using cloth diapers, getting them washed by a diaper service. We used disposables for the meconium, and carry a few when we go out.) And one time I thought she might pee, she didn’t do it over the toilet, then did it in my hand… oh well!
Basically, as I read in The Diaper Free Baby, when a baby is carried close to the body, she generally won’t eliminate. Then when she comes out of the carrier, she’s due to pee and/or poo. So when we take a walk with her in the Moby sling carrier, when we get home, I hold her over the toilet, make psssss and mmmmmh sounds and she eliminates into the toilet. It doesn’t work all the time yet. It seems to work best when it’s just me and her, with not a lot of people and bright lights. Seems like the key is to all this is to learn her habits – to have a general sense of when she’s ready to eliminate – then help her to do it over the toilet (or a bowl). To be continued.
>> SILLINESS: Though I know that she doesn’t really comprehend language yet, I do a lot of silly talking and singing with Maeve. I’ll hold dialogues with her… reciting my parts and making up her responses “Oh daddy!” I sing songs (like Beatles songs I grew up with, John Prine’s Big Old Goofy World, and others) and change the lyrics. (I can’t even remember examples – these are just very spontaneous and gone the next instant.) We read her One Fish Two Fish by Dr. Seuss, and some other books, adding silly commentary. It’s fun. Sometimes adults can get really quiet around pre-verbal kids… but I think it’s worthwhile to keep the conversation flowing, even when it’s just silly stuff.
and one last picture of Maeve Margaret and Carrie Elizabeth sleeping peacefully.