Ellie addresses the Roman Senate in her toga.
Ellie snoozes with Mom
Dad drools on Ellie
Ellie mobies it up in front of the computer
It's been roughly three weeks since you've come home and taking care of a newborn entails all of the sleeplessness that we anticipated. We've deduced that some of the vitamins you are taking are making your BAD gas WORSE. Because you were so premature, your iron was depleted very quickly so we have to add it to your food. Consequently, 20 hours out of every day, you squirm and fuss and make an expression on your face that seems to say, "ZOMG, I have to poop SO bad."
There is ONE place that you will sleep somewhat soundly, though. Sadly, that place is neither a crib nor a Rock and Play nor a swing. It's directly on top of a living, breathing person. I'm told parents can typically set most babies down to sleep between feedings/changings, at which point they get a little shut eye as well. No such luxury, in your case. Every few seconds you'll grunt yourself awake unless the side of your head is burrowed into someone's chest. I suppose we could let you "grunt it out" but we're worried how your development might be influenced by lack of sleep. On the upside your mother and I are taking turns with you. Grandma also steps in at strategic times so that we can take a walk or take a shower. To further alleviate your sleep issues, we've also discovered the wonders of "wearing your baby." If we want to free up our hands and get stuff done around our house, we strap you into the Moby Swing. Other than feeling like I have a large tumor on my chest and looking completely ridiculous, I've rather enjoyed wearing you like an accessory. I think marsupials are on to something. I'm somewhat baffled that the rest of us mammals don't have pouches.
Since we've never had another baby, I'm not quite sure we realize the extent to which you are a wierdo. Still, I've seen a few newborns here and there in my time, and I seem to remember that none of them made horsie sounds or tazmanian devil sounds. When we change your diaper at night, your nursery sounds eerily like an equine slaughter house. I assume some of it has to do with when you were on the breathing tube (if you run your tongue along the roof of your mouth, you'll find part of that a rather large indentation still exists to this very day). The sounds you make change somewhat based on your wakefulness. For instance, when you are bright eyed and bouncing around on my lap, you sound like an obese man being ruthlessly tickled.
Speaking of wakefulness, you are quite attentive when awake. We've been tracking your milestones very closely and we never let any of your "active times" go to waste. We do quiet a bit of sensory stimulation. Curiously, your eyes at this point are only able to notice objects of pronounced contrast, so we printed out special cards. We even do special exercises with you like baby pull ups, baby push ups, and "the newborn mile" (that's the distance from the front to the end of the bed). All the while I shout fitness slogans into your face every time you cry: "No pain, no gain!" or "Don't be a brat! Burn that fat!" Your grandmother calls me a slaver driver. I call it physical therapy. Either way, for being an anatomically 1 week old baby, you seem to be hitting all of the 0-3 month milestones. Your eyes are tracking objects, you turn to sounds, and your muscles are very strong (and there are plenty more)!
We're relieved to see you developing normally so far, but the litany of doctors appointments every week are a reminder of the dangers that still lurk. So far we've taken multiple trips to the general practitioner, physical therapist, pulmonologist, cardiologist, optometrist... and we may be adding the neurologist and gastroenterologist to the list, soon. None of them have turned up anything serious, but then again, its very difficult to determine from a newborn's behavior whether they will have troubles later in life. Every time we see you acting... abnormally... we wonder what it is we might be REALLY seeing. If a loud noise doesn't startle you, is something wrong with your hearing? When you make bizarre movements that aren't typical newborn reflexes, are you having a seizure? When you cry and whine every time we give you a tiny nudge or move you, does that mean you have some sensory hypersensitivity? I imagine every parent worries about every little irregular thing about their baby, but in your case, we have much bigger reasons to worry.
Your mother and I are trying to tell each other not to dwell too much on these anxieties. We don't want to wake up one day when you're three years old and realize that the only experiences we have to tell you of those years are ones filled with worry.