I love my five-month-old daughter Jordan greatly. But that's not to say that she can't be very, very trying at times.
Like last night. Or should I say yesterday morning?
I put her down at around 11 p.m., then headed downstairs to finish up a level in Futurama, a PS2 game I'm in the process of reviewing. At around midnight I came back upstairs, creeping quietly, so I don't think it was me that woke Jordan up. But you never know.
What I do know is that at 12 a.m. she was up, and not just up, she was bouncing off the freaking ceiling. She was very happy about being awake, and an enthusiastic five-month-old is a hard thing to take at midnight. You can't just let her play in her crib until she falls asleep -- she's still too little for that, and she wants to be ... occupied. And last night, that meant making googly eyes at Daddy while he was trying to rock her back to sleep, and then happily kicking her mom awake when Dad gave up and brought her to bed, hoping that would calm her down.
There have been a lot of changes since the baby came, but one of the biggest is that we rarely, if ever, go to Blockbuster any more. Instead, we rent movies from Netflix. For about $20 a month, we can rent three DVDs at a time from the company. We have a standing queue, and as we watch and return a disc, the next DVD in the queue is sent out to us.
I initially signed up for it because I wanted to watch some episodes of Stargate SG-1 in anticipation of reviewing an RPG based on the series. Much to my surprise, Sue loves Stargate, and we've been working our way through the entire series (we're halfway through Season 3 now).
Keyboards are Fun: Jordan loves pounding on computer keyboards, and has already managed to send a few e-mails (with a tiny bit of help from Mom). Seeing that she enjoys hitting the keys, we wisely decided to get her some new toys -- now she's got a little laptop of her own, as well as a musical keyboard.
The Cat Gets Pissy: Our oldest cat, Cougar, isn't taking well to the baby ... or rather the amount of attention we give to the baby, instead of him. And he's taken to showing his displeasure by peeing wherever he likes in the house (including, this morning, on my computer bag ... thankfully my computer wasn't in it at the time).
Smiles are Addicting: I can't get enough of Jordan's smile, whether it's the wide, gum-filled happy grin or her crooked little "ain't I cute?" smirk. Even when this smile is the result of her having just peed all over her clothes, the changing table, and her daddy, I can't help but smile back.
Grabbing Things is Fun: Within the last two weeks, Jordan's suddenly realize that she can grab things and bring them closer to her, with the eventual goal of putting them in her mouth. Her playset -- which includes a play blanket with two curved bars crossing it, from which hang various stuffed animals on clips -- has suddenly become a heck of a lot more fun. She does get frustrated when she grabs something and can't quite get it to her mouth, at which point she starts grunting and letting out exasperated little grasps. But when she does snag something properly and starts chewing on it, she's estatic.
Ok, so Jordan's almost three months old and this column is about three weeks late, but one of the lesson's learned this month is how ever little free time you think you'll have, divide it by at least half and you'll have a number that's still wrong, but closer to the post-baby-reality.
You Say It's My Party?: We had two weddings this month -- one at the beginning of May in Boston, in which my sister got married and one Memorial Day weekend, when Sue's brother tied the knot. Jordan did great at both of them -- we joked that it was so nice for Kristen to throw Jordan such a lavish birthday party. I think we held her for all of three hours during those two weekends, as she was continuously passed from relative to friend and back again. Amazingly, she took it all in stride, hardly ever crying or getting cranky (which is more than I can say for some of the adults?)
First off, everyone's ok -- StarGirl's fine, Sue's fine and I'm fine. Or at least, we're mostly fine.
I got a call at 3:30 Monday from Sue, who was in hysterics and was on her way to St. Luke's in Bethlehem. Seems that StarGirl had turned absolutely white -- no color in her lips or her extremities, and scared the crap out of Sue. She called our pediatrician, who told her to take her to the hospital immediately.
When I got there an hour and a half later, Sue and StarGirl had been admitted, and they were running different tests on the baby. Mostly they were trying to pin down her heart rate, which seemed high. Well, one EKG later, and they knew that it *was* high. Way too high. Her normal heart rate should be around 140-160, something like that. Hers was twice that -- it was running around 250 to 280, with spikes to an absolutely horrifying 300.
The cardiac pediatrician was concerned -- heck everyone was concerned -- and they spent an hour or two trying to get an IV started so they could give her medication to bring the heart rate down. When they couldn't get it started -- and when other techniques failed to keep the heart rate down -- they Medevac'd her to Lehigh Valley Hospital, which has a pediatric intensive care unit. That's right. A freaking helicopter.
Jordan turned one month old yesterday, which is a fact I find absolutely astounding. It really doesn't seem like it's been a month already, and at the same time, it seems like Jordan's always been here. Regardless of perspective though, a month has passed and we've learned a lot over the last few weeks.
Baby's Grow Fast: Jordan's growing fast--she's already outgrown one of her outfits, which makes complete sense, yet was very surprising at the time.
Getting to Know You: She's also starting to exhibit a slightly increased awareness of her surroundings, and she's developing preferences. For example, she's much rather fall asleep in bed with us than in her own crib. That's problematic for us because Sue and I don't sleep well when she's in the bed--we're always waking up paranoid that we're going to roll over her.
Before Jordan was born someone--I don't remember who-- asked me if I was going to teach the baby how to play Dungeons & Dragons if it was a girl. The question took me aback somewhat--not because I'd ever considered teaching D&D to a girl, but because I'd never not considered teaching it to a girl.
Jordan’s a little over two weeks old now, and a lot of folks have been asking how we’re doing. The short answer is “good but tired”. Jordan wakes up every few hours, sometimes gretzing, sometimes crying, rarely screaming. Then it’s time to change the diaper, feed her, or just do laps around the downstairs trying to calm her down and get her back to sleep.
Sue’s undoubtedly got it harder than I do right now, since she’s nursing. While we’re bottle feeding for two feedings a day – a task that usually falls to me --,that’s only a slight percentage of Jordan’s overall feedings … and it’s a hell of a easier than nursing. That’s especially true in the wee hours of the morning, when Sue’s exhausted and the baby’s frustrated/hungry.
Jordan's been here for a week. Actually, 8 days. And over that time, while gently rocking her to sleep while doing my Nth circuit of the downstairs, while changing her diapers, while just looking with wonder into her open, attentive and intelligent eyes, I've had a few moments to speculate on babies, fatherhood, and my newborn daughter.
Walking, Rocking, and Singing Beats All: When Jordan's upset, there's one thing that will almost always calm her down: taking a stroll around the house, singing calming songs and slowly rocking her.