Henry had a checkup/horrible vaccine appointment last week. He is now basically a normal-sized 3-month-old, falling somewhere around the 35th percentile for weight and head bigness:
Weight: 12 pounds, 10 ounces (I had to take him in for his thousand-dollar shot today, and he’s 13 pounds 2 ounces.)
Length: 22.5 inches (although I think he’s 23 and the nurse wasn’t stretching him out adequately. CRAZY FIRST-TIME PARENT IS CRAZY.)
Head circumference: 40.3 centimeters
He’s a LOT OF BABY now. You totally get arm fatigue from carrying him around. Yesterday I walked three miles to the post office and back with him strapped to my front, and about halfway through the return trip I felt pretty much like I was at the gym.
When he’s on his tummy on the floor, if he gets sufficiently angry about being on his tummy on the floor, he will flip over onto his back. I’m not sure if this gets a checkmark on the developmental milestone chart or if it just goes under “Baby has functioning Outrage Gland.”
He’s very strong. (I mean, for someone who’s 13 pounds.) He likes to stand while you’re holding him under his arms. He also likes to fling himself backward or sideways when you’re holding him, or to launch himself off your lap by pushing with his legs.
He makes eye contact. He grins. He has practice conversations with you, where you say something, and he waits his turn and says “AY GUH!!!!”
He likes to lie on his back and kick his legs. He tends to look serious and industrious while doing this, like he’s powering some kind of device, or training for a triathlon.
He grips your hair really hard.
He has discovered objects. (As distinct from people, or “the vague haze of everything that isn’t a person”.) Little toys hang from the “roll bar” of his car seat, and he stares up at them in amazement. This morning he was trying to talk to the Eeyore. He was undaunted by its lack of response (which I feel gives you a little bit of insight into how the world seems to work, to babies.)
He likes to be sung to.
He is going bald on top. This makes him look EVEN MORE like Winston Churchill.
The Husband Vanishes
So – Seth is away doing Army things. He was initially in Hawaii (silent resentment goes here) but now he’s in Washington state. Which is at least rainy, if not covered in snow.
DRAWBACKS OF HUSBAND BEING AWAY FOR ARMY SKOOL:
*He doesn’t get to watch Henry become more and more excellent with each passing day.
*Nobody to get things down from high shelves.
*We have to have our debates about wacky autism theories over email.
BENEFITS OF HUSBAND BEING AWAY FOR ARMY SKOOL:
*More room in the bed.
*Nobody trying to show me particularly great episodes of TOP GEAR.
As Henry turns himself into a person with a personality and preferences and a charming toothless grin, I have finally figured out why we had a hard time adjusting to parenthood:
1) I suspect that adjusting to parenthood is ALWAYS hard, for almost everybody. I guess there are some super-sunny people who just roll right into it, but I don’t know them. There is basically no way you can be prepared for how rough adjusting to parenthood is. People tell you, but you are blithely confident that this will not apply to you because you are just that awesome.
2) The first month of your baby’s life, he’s like a plant. A pooping, crying plant. He doesn’t turn into a charming baby human until his system stops going “OMG HOLY SHIT!” and his brain comes on-line and starts looking around and doing science experiments like grinning at you to see what happens.
So even if your baby is full-term, you’re going to have that rough first month. But if your baby isn’t full-term, you probably have to wait until his due date and then add Plant Month on top of it.
Many times I turned to Seth and said “Why didn’t anyone at the hospital tell us how hard it would be until he hit due-date+1 month? And Seth would blink and say: “…they did. They all did.”
I am inclined to blame my not-remembering of this on the fact that I was sick or on drugs or recovering from those things, but honestly I think it’s down to THINKING I WAS JUST THAT AWESOME, again. I don’t know why it’s so hard to believe that parenting will be hard for you because it’s hard for everyone.
Actually- yes, I do. It’s a brilliant bit of Darwinism. Who would have babies if they believed what people were telling them?
(As an aside: I think that maybe sometimes the way we talk about our baby makes it sound like we’re UNNATURAL PARENTS who are UNAFFECTIONATE. But that’s just how we talk. I do really like him quite a bit, and he’s getting more splendid by the minute. For instance, he does this awesome thing when he’s starting to get upset about something where he kind of windmills his fat little forearms, like a bad actor miming a bare-knuckle fight. Also, he doesn’t really cry. This is basically pretty great. I mean, yes, he cries, but only because there’s something specific wrong (usually what is wrong is that he is NOT EATING RIGHT THIS MINUTE, or that you have TAKEN AWAY HIS PRECIOUS PANTS) and he stops immediately when you fix the problem.)
So – I just want to say, if you are a new parent and you are thinking “OH MY GOD WHAT HAVE I DONE”, you just have to hold on until your baby is about six weeks past his due date, and things get pretty cool!
(You will still long for more sleep and a sense of purpose in life and a shower, but you won’t be filled with despair.)
Help I’m trapped under this baby and I can’t get up
H. does not really like to be put down. He likes to be carried, he likes to sit on your lap and be sung to, he likes to nap on or next to you. Fulfill these needs, and you have yourself an extremely sunny baby. Try to put him down, and he’ll give you a five-minute grace period and then start to complain. So you mostly carry him around like a baby-shaped nuclear football.
The short days and freezing weather here, combined with HELP I’M TRAPPED UNDER A BABY, are turning me into JABBA THE HUTT.
I wake up in the morning and think “Yes! Today is the day I leave the house!” but then after an hour of being awake, Henry needs a nap. So then I… don’t leave the house. But the whole day I’ll think “This afternoon I am totally leaving the house!”
And then of course I do no such thing. It’s very weird.
(PS: don’t worry! I know that this will pass. Also I will never actually turn into Jabba the Hutt: I have legs. Whoo!)
As mentioned, he got his first vaccines last week (well, because New York wants babies to have a series of four shots for Hepatitis B, he had the first one in the hospital when he was tiny. But aside from that.)
It was totally weird.
I am kind of a hippie, but I’m a SCIENCE-MINDED hippie. And Seth is very sciencey. And we believe that vaccines are pretty great: there’s a very small risk of something crappy happening when you get vaccinated, but that risk is worth it because of the benefits to the baby, and the benefits to society at large.
So I’m just saying – I really think that vaccines are pretty cool, and I think that they save lives, and that they’re the reason that we don’t have polio outbreaks anymore. And I don’t think they cause asthma or autism or whatever.
And I still found it SUPER NERVEWRACKING. In part because the anti-vaccine people have penetrated all vaccine information on the internet. All of the pro-vaccine material (even by such dull people as the CDC) is written basically as an argument against crazy vaccines-cause-autism theories. It has the lame side effect of being very un-reassuring to people like me, who don’t believe vaccines cause autism to begin with. You know? You get very “WHY DO THEY KEEP TELLING ME THIS WON’T KILL MY BABY? I DIDN’T EVEN ASK!” and paranoid and embarrassing.
And it made me feel some empathy for anti-vaccine people. Because by the time I had to go to the pediatrician’s office with my little 12 pound, 10 ounce baby boy, and put him on the table, and undress him, and lean over his tiny body and hold his fat little hands in mine, and pretend not to be horrified when the nurse stabbed him in his tiny rubberbanded thighs three times in quick succession–
By that time, I will not lie, I practically wanted to refuse to ever get him a shot again. So part of me can see how parents end up in this camp of refusing vaccines. Part of me, in fact, suspects that the “They cause asthmautism!” thing is just cover for the fact that it’s horrible to have to take your baby to get shots and they don’t want to do it.
Henry spent the rest of the day asleep and whimpering and mildly feverish. It was very sad. But now he is all better again and partially protected against pertussis, and also contributing to herd immunity.