Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day

Dear Ellie,

Today is Father's Day.  My first Father's Day, to be exact.  It never really registered that I would be a father on Father's Day.  I mean, I knew I'd be a father and I knew there would be plenty of Father's Days in the future, but both of them together?  I've never been a big fan of holidays that were invented for the sake of stimulating the economy, but I did get some measure of satisfaction from it.

I spent the night before flipping through all 1,000 photos and videos that I took of you in the NICU, something I'd never actually done before.  It was a very strange feeling, having your entire stay in the NICU compressed into a single hour.  There are so many ways in which you are different, but also the same.  In the beginning, you were almost a pound and your eyes were fused shut.  But now?  Just over 9 pounds and when you are awake, your eyes flit about wildly and curiously at the world around you.

You seem to be hitting little developmental milestones at a steady clip, and with a comfortable lead over other babies of your equivalent adjusted age.  At 3 weeks adjusted, you are pushing yourself up on your hands to get a better look at your surroundings (you can thank the baby push ups for that!)  You are also so incredibly alert, turning your head to voices and looking people in the eyes as they talk to you.  You've even been socially smiling while awake, something that a newborn should begin doing between 6-8 weeks.  Now, I know I'm probably sounding pretty competitive.  I mean, bragging about how soon you're smiling?  Well... why not?  Some might think it competitive, but I call it fatherly pride.  But just be aware little one, if you don't continue to smile at a considerably above average rate, I'll be pinching your adorable little feet until you're all smiles all the time!  No baby of mine will get a "C" in the subjects of joy and jubilation.  Not if I have a say in it.

There is one thing you seem to be lagging behind in, though: vocalization.  At 3 weeks, you should begin to make cutesy "cooing" sounds and "oooing" sounds and "aaaaahing" sounds.  Sadly, you haven't progressed beyond the vocabulary of a Tasmanian Devil.  When people hear you make a sound in the doctor's office, they say, "Wow, she sounds angry!"  Nope, not angry.  Just... weird.  I find I'm making excuses for your unwillingness to apply yourself sufficiently to the cause of babbling.  "Well, maybe when she goes 'Brrrrrararaarlllllaaarrr' she actually is meaning to say 'goo goo'!" I think to myself, wishfully.  And then I begin to wonder whether you'll ever actually talk properly.  I wonder whether you'll be that goofy kid in school with the weird voice or lisp that everyone makes fun of, and then I convince myself that that's a good thing because years of unjust middle school torment will encourage you to be a shut-in-computer-nerd like Bill Gates.  And I'm fine with that.  The world needs more computer nerds.

On a different front, there have been some positive developments with your Ellie Belly.  The reflux that was making you wail during and after feeds was getting especially bad and none of the medication was working so we started adding rice cereal to your milk to weight it down.  It worked quite well when it came to the reflux, so much so that it actually made me a bit, uhm, overconfident when it came to feeding you.  "I bet there aren't many other 3 weekers capable of eating 8 ounces in a single feed!" I thought.  I continued to be overconfident right up until the moment you specified the amount to which you were being overfed by measuredly spewing that quantity out of your mouth...  Meh, a 6 ounce feed still ain't half bad.  It wasn't a big deal anyway because I'd handed you off to your Grandma Kottiath just moments before the vomiting began and I was a good 3 yards from the line of fire.

The only downside to the rice cereal is that it has now made you stupendously constipated.  On the upside, it has made diaper changes more exciting.  Rather than the usual, dull medium sized stools inhabiting each diaper, the process has become a little bit like playing hot potato.  You never know when the bomb is going to go off, and each time you toss it, it becomes more and more dangerous and more and more likely that it'll detonate.  And yes, your constipation has become yet another source of pride.  I've stood there quite often, after peering into your freshly soiled diaper, and thought proudly, "I bet there ain't many 3 weekers that can take a crap that big!"


  1. Happy Father's Day! All 3 of the Fisher Triplets have bad reflux. Do you see the pedi GI? For us, Prevacid, Zantac and rice cereal have helped a lot. For the constipation you can do prune juice or a prescription syrup called lactulose. Also, a glycerin suppository works wonders! Oh and a 6 oz feed is awesome!

  2. Yeah, we saw the pedi GI but we weren't terribly impressed by him. He didn't even recommend rice cereal, which was what seemed to really help with us. I'll have to try out the prune juice idea. It sounds like you have a pretty good sample size on your end to experiment with :-)

    1. Did you see the youngish guy near the hospital? I'm pretty sure there aren't many. Rice cereal is a huge help for us - in fact, we just found out from an upper GI and a swallow study that my Charlotte had been aspirating her feeds and bumped her up to 1.5 tsp per oz. Her bottle is like a milkshake! 1 oz prune juice to 1 oz water works good for one of mine. The other needs the Lactulose and the third is on Nutramigen formula which is like a laxative! Reflux really stinks. I assume you are feeding her sitting completely up and keep her like that for 30 minutes after feeding? Also....Gerber soothe probiotic drops have helped with the gas for us. Any thoughts if she has a dairy intolerance?

    2. Yeah, I've heard of some babies that need as much as a table spoon per ounce! Not sure how you even get that into your kid, but if it helps, it helps :-) We were wondering whether she had a dairy intolerance, but my wife already was already opting out of dairy consumption, so we're thinking this isn't a contributing factor.