I don't think I'm going to keep posting a new update every week, but for now I will; after all, we've got an endless supply of pictures, as well as various interesting (at least to us!) comments and thoughts.
Marcus eats like a Hobbit: between our breakfast and our bedtime, on one given day, he has breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses, lunch, second lunch, afternoon snack, light tea, high tea, supper, dinner, and second dinner. Then at night it's like he's on a cruise, eating all night too--midnight buffet, two a.m. pizza, and so on. We're working on sleeping for three- or four-hour stretches at night, but really, these don't much cut into his eating time.
Then--to continue on the subject of eating, but to change metaphors drastically--I've also observed that sometimes breastfeeding is like fishing: the fish may lose interest or get distracted, so you may have to wiggle the worm around to keep him interested.
Robert: He has your eyelashes.
Christina: He has your eyes.
Robert: He's early like you.
Christina: He's distractable like you.
Robert: He's got your good-sleeper-gene.
Christina: He's got my cousin Thomas's nose.
Robert: He's warm all the time like you.
Christina: He's got your chin.
Robert: He's got my big toes.
Christina: He's got your long fingers.
Robert: Hey, this is a fun game!
What is with these people who think that just because we live in the city we don't have a community or we don't know our neighbors? This week we had a number of experiences that proved those people wrong.
First of all, while walking down Mass Ave we saw the gruff man in the wheelchair who had prognosticated a boy a little more than a month ago.
Then, at the Whole Foods, we had Marcus in the stroller sleeping on one side of the aisle while we waited a few feet away at the meat counter. Jiang (the bagger of "You got baby?" fame) came by and made a beeline for the stroller. "Ooh, pretty baby! Very little! Little baby! Hi, baby!" she said. She turned around and saw me across the aisle. "Oh!" she said, her eyes opening wider, as she pointed at my stomach. "You baby? Oh!" Then she saw Robert standing next to me: "Look just like him!" she said, pointing from Marcus to Robert. "You daddy? Oh, pretty baby!" Next she saw my parents standing next to us (because we always travel as an entourage, even to the doctor's office, when once we had my parents, Robert, Marcus, me, the doctor, the medical student, and the lactation consultant all in a tiny exam room), and continued to point out resemblances: Marcus to me, me to my father, my father to Marcus, but back again to Marcus to Robert. "Who was that?" my mother asked after she left, and I explained.
Finally, on Thursday, two weeks to the day after our last meal at Gourmet Dumpling House, Robert and I went back with Marcus, my parents, and a bunch of Robert's co-workers. It seemed fitting, since I was there the day I went into labor, to come back soon with the baby. The owner knows Robert as "the tall one" and Leith as "the fat one," since they're in there all the time, and when the staff figured out, a couple months ago, that I was Robert's wife, there was much pointing, as though I were related to a celebrity. So today we trooped in, and they made room for the stroller in the back near the drink-and-seaweed refrigerator, and everyone came over to fuss over the baby. The owner said we were very brave for taking Marcus out of the house so soon--Chinese tradition is against it, of course, but I would go crazy never having left the house by this point--and also commented on Marcus's skin color: "Oh, very good--he will be very white, very good, very white! Because now he is very red, see his feet, very red, so he will be very white one day!" The tall waitress with glasses explained to the others (in Chinese) who this baby was. What follows is my paraphrased translation: "See, this tall guy, who comes in all the time with his friends? And this is his wife, see, she used to have a big pregnant belly? Now this is their baby, and doesn't it look just like him?" The other waitresses agreed that yes, the baby looks just like Robert. The owner offered us free drinks, and thanked my father (who treated everyone) for sharing his family with them and celebrating together.
Robert: Can I have some of your tea?
Christina (puzzled): No.
Robert (disappointed): . . .
The next day--
Robert: Can I have some of your tea?
Christina (annoyed): Uh, no.
Robert (dejected): . . .
The day after that--
Robert: Can I have some of your tea?
Christina (exasperated): Well, it's not going to kill you, if you really want some--
Robert (pleased, reaching for the cup): . . .
Christina (reading from the teabag label): --it "promotes healthy lactation," that's all.
Robert (shocked, dropping the cup): . . .
This second week of Marcus's life has brought lots of firsts (and seconds) for us all.
- First dirty feet for Marcus (we made blue and red footprints on cardstock to frame, but then we had a baby with blue and red feet flailing all over)
- First bath for Marcus (in the kitchen sink--and yes, it was harder to keep a good grip on a slippery, squirmy baby than Robert had anticipated)
- Second week of Robert's life that he's shaved everyday (the first week was the week before--he wants not to be scratchy for Marcus)
- First parental freak-out/overreaction on my part to something completely normal (in retrospect)
- Second parental freak-out/overreaction on my part to something else completely normal (again, in retrospect)
- First week back at work for Robert (on his first day, he was in the office by 8:20, thanks to our early-riser baby)
- Second car trip for Marcus
- First subway trip for Marcus
- First sit-down restaurant experience for Marcus (at breakfast with Great-Grandma Helena on the North Shore)
- First visit to Robert's office (wearing a "Charm Courtesy of Dad" tee shirt)
- Second sit-down restaurant experience for Marcus (at lunch at Gourmet Dumpling with the crowd from Robert's office, where he screamed for the first half of the meal)
- First time nursing in public for me (at lunch at Gourmet Dumpling with the crowd from Robert's office, to keep Marcus from screaming for the second half of the meal)
- First time Marcus surpassed his birthweight (at twelve days old he weighed 7 pounds, 6 ounces--two ounces up above birth!)
- First non-family recognition that Marcus is superior to the average baby (the ten ounces Marcus gained in a week are "impressive," according to his doctor, and when plotted on a graph reveal a steeper curve than the average breast-fed baby)
Our baby is half a Sand Person, apparently: easily startled, though he does not return in greater numbers. (For those without baby knowledge, read more about the Moro, or "startle" reflex here. For those without Star Wars knowledge, I do not deign to give you a link.)
The day Marcus was born I felt elated, truly not conscious of discomfort in my body. I was surprised when I was unsteady on my feet getting up from bed to walk to the bathroom. Clearly, Ina May's explanation of contractions as "rushes," such as those from psychotropic drugs (not that I've got a wide range of comparison myself on that front, but I'll take her word for it), truly accounted for a lot here. The next few days I felt tired, surprisingly so--both sleepy and weary at once--and generally sore and achey all over. By the end of a week, though, I felt well in mind and body: good energy level, no general soreness or tenderness, and back to a much-closer-to-normal body weight and shape. The only exception, after a week, was my tailbone, which must have been moved out of the way during the birth--the bones and joints there were still not back to normal, and sitting upright on hard things was uncomfortable. After two weeks, my tailbone is a lot better, though still not quite perfect. That's it, though--the hormones, the stretched-out ligaments, etc. all just worked the way they were supposed to, giving me faith in both God's fabulous design and my own body's strength and power.
"Motherhood is an experience of the body and of mind: women have come to feel 'in touch with' their bodies, maybe for the first time since childhood, in pregnancy. Motherhood is an experience of interpersonal connection. The isolated, atomistic individual is an absurdity when one is pregnant: one is two, two are one. Motherhood is an experience of connection beyond the human community: a cow with her calf, a cat with her kittens are part of the same world, sharing the same experience. And while motherhood can alienate women from men and place women more firmly under the domination of men, motherhood can also be a bridge, a connection with a man."
--Barbara Katz Rothman, Recreating Motherhood: Ideology and Technology in a Patriarchal Society (1989)
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Created: 9/5/08. Last Modified: 9/5/08.