Wednesday, May 21, 2008

"The Diaper Club"

Yeah, you knew this was coming: the entries (I suspect many) where I talk about my new nephew and “my” new mom, my sister … They both crack me up, and make me happy, and sad, and worry-ful and all in all excited every second of every day!

By the way, this is what my sister calls her house now: “The Diaper Club”. So, when she emails us now, she says “ So, here is the latest from The Diaper Club, here in Canada”. So, I allowed her to name this bloggy “series” – since it’s all about her, or because of her and her husband that it came to life …

Every day, I am waiting, with bated breath, for the next piece of news about the baby and about the mom… I never do anything, it seems, anymore, without them in mind. I am 5 months away from them coming to visit me and I am already getting the house ready for Patrick!

Bored in the NICU. "I wanna go home already!"

So, after the three weeks in NICU, Patrick came home – still very much advanced for his preemie self. He eats on his own, and other than a funky haircut where they chopped off his locks to stick IV’s in his head, he is beautiful and healthy looking! (He’ll tell me one day that “beautiful” is for girls, but till then: he is beautiful!!).

First car ride: "I am smiling, 'cause I get to go home! Hooray!!"

Every day, I cannot wait to find out what new things they both learn: her about babies and being a mom, and him about everything. I used to love teaching because I enjoyed opening up kids’ eyes to new and exciting things. Now, I can do it vicariously through the two of them.

EVERYTHING he does amazes my sister, or worries her …

He doesn’t cry much, but just like the rest of our families, he talks a LOT! In his own baby babble, which is more like random and squirmy noises, but he is vocal. I was fortunate enough to hear him yesterday, over the phone. Those noises made him sound so real. My sister added, bitterly: “Oh, trust me, sister, he’s real, all right!!” (we’re all bitter in my family, that’s part of our charm).

Of course, his simple and cute (to me) baby talking worries my sister. Just like his face turning too pink one day, or his "white saliva” ("milk" would be my guess, but hey, I am no mom), or his chewing on his fists worry her too, since he must be hungry … She asked puzzled yesterday: “Why does he do THAT? That noise - like a frog. Why does he sound like that? What if he’s sick?” I tried to explain to her, he’s probably bored and wants to chat, and that’s his way of saying “Hey, I am here, pay attention to me. I am awake! Keep me company!”. Or maybe he has an air bubble and he’s just telling her that. Or maybe he needs more noise and less light around him – who knows?!? Let him talk!

She then worries he eats too little, and he’s not taking in what the book says he should at this time in his life. I told her he’s probably still adjusting to being home – a new environment and new noises or lack of for him. Let him eat as much as he can handle for right now, new place and bad mood and all.

Then, there is the bath. Is she OK to do it by herself? Is she going to hurt him? Or do it thoroughly?!? I admit: the bath would scare me too! Too bad they don’t have “grooming for babies” at Babies-R-US like they have for puppies at PetsMart. Now, that would make someone some money!

Oh, the joys of first time parenthood! You can imagine: when you’re not sure whether you’re helping – or hurting more. And all you have to go by are some wooden language books and your still forming instincts. It cannot be easy, I am sure …

I can see how she’s torn between worry and utter love all mixed up with amazement …

Sometimes I worry that she’s going to take him back to the hospital just like you return the TV set: “I am sorry, ma’am, this one is making funny noises, like a frog, can you give me a quieter baby, please?!”. I kid, of course, because I love!

I love her so much, and I hope that my being away, and being somewhat detached from the whole hysteria of the moment she's in can bring her some calm, and someone “neutral” to turn to … I hope so. I know, she will be OK. She is a strong woman, and a bright one, too. She has a great husband, who’s there 110% of the time. She has all of us who support her, and try to be there for her, with either a piece of advice, or a sympathetic ear, when she frets he doesn’t get enough milk, or enough formula.

And I hope she will be able to look ahead, and realize that he won’t be a baby for long, and oh, 10 years from now, when he’ll want a cell and an Ipod and a trip to Paris for the summer, she’ll want to be back to where she is today, where all he is is cute and with fewer needs: like to be clean and fed.

Just like other millions of babies, he’ll be raised in love, and worry, and wonder of “what’s tomorrow going to bring”.

And every day surely is interestingly new when you have a baby. For them and for us, too!

Finally, home. "Where are the ends of this BIG crib??" - too tiny for the crib, but so comfy!

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