Thursday, September 01, 2005

all systems go

Cal had his one-month Pediatrician's appointment this morning. It's more of a one-and-a-half month appointment since he'll be six weeks old tomorrow, but I couldn't get any earlier appointment with our guy. I was almost inclined to skip this checkup altogether since he'll be back in two weeks for his two month shots, and even I, flunkey former Peds resident, can see that he's doing just fine--but I was curious to see how much he weighed. I think Joe tried to check a weight on him on our bathroom scale using the old weigh-yourself-then-weigh-yourself-holding-the-baby-and-subtract trick, but our bathroom scale is kind of broken so it reported that Cal weighed 20 pounds or something ridiculous like that.

(For the record, he now weighs 12 pounds 3 ounces at 6 weeks. Like a weed, boy!)

So Cal's healthy, happy, and much, much bigger than when he was born. He's also starting to get a little more interesting, with the starting glimmers of a personality already starting to peek through. His demeanor so far I can only describe as "pleasant." He's a very pleasant baby. He's happy when he's awake and he likes to be cuddled and talked to. He makes little talking noises in response to your conversation. He cranes his head around to look at things. When he gets hungry, he'll sometimes get mad and yell a little, but don't we all?

One thing is that in the past few weeks, despite the fact that he's doing bottle feeds during work hours, Cal has discovered the joys of comfort nursing. Basically, he likes using me as a human pacifier. I'm fine with this, and I like the fact that there's something that can so easily and so effectively calm him down like that (snaps fingers), but what it means in practical terms is that I basically have a baby attached to me for almost the entire evening, making it hard to go to the bathroom and eat dinner and such questionably sanitary things. Also, it's kind of an operator-dependent comfort mechanism--what's he going to do when he gets all hepped up for comfort sucking and I'm at work?

We tried the non-human pacifier route, but I don't think Cal quite gets it. At best, he'll give it a few half-hearted sucks on the "binky" (Why in the world do people call it that? Why not "passy"?) and then spit the thing right out. Despite the fact that I tried to introduce the pacifier in the first place, I'm actually OK with the fact that he rejected it, because why get him all dependent on something that I'm going to have to wrench away from him eventually anyway? Also, with the image seared into my horrified brain of some of my four and five-year-old clinic patients walking into clinic WITH PACIFIERS IN THEIR MOUTHS, actually CRYING when their parents took them out of their mouths for the checkup, I'm more than happy to forgoe the use of silicone pacification altogether.

So we've kind of been trying to teach him to suck his thumb. I know, I know, trading one evil for another, "He'll ruin his teeth," blah bling blah--but don't worry about that yet, he hasn't quite gotten to the point where he can actually get his thumb into his mouth. The problem with babies is that they can only operate their fingers en bloc. (Well, except for this one time.) Either he's fisted, with all of his fingers tucked away, or splayed, with all his clawing, pointy fingers out, ready to scratch a cornea or get lodged in a nostril. There is no "thumbs-up" in baby world. So the closest we've been able to get is to have him suck his fist. Or one of our thumbs. Or his wrist. He actually gave himself a pretty big hickey on his arm over the weekend from sucking at himself. It took me a while to figure out what exactly that mark was, it looked like those Indian burns that kids give each other by taking a wrist and wringing the skin in opposite directions, like a washcloth. But don't call Child Protection yet, folks, it's just a hickey.

Currently reading: The food issue of The New Yorker. I am so jealous of these food and travel writers that get to hop on over to Japan to try sample artisinal tofu or whatever the hot Japanese trend of the moment is.

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