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February 28, 2007

In the First Month

It’s incredible to think that there was ever a time that Felix would just lie still. He gave the impression—probably our projection—of being a deep thinker. Now he moves all the time. Does that mean he’s not thinking any more?

Posted by talia at 10:28 PM

February 26, 2007

Movie: Hiccups

Here you have Felix doing all of his tricks in one 19 second movie. He's been practicing quite a lot.

Hiccups in a small baby are amazing. They shake its entire body, but pass largely unnoticed by their victim. Felix can spend the better part of a day having hiccups. For a while, we could cure them with breastfeeding, but later on that stopped working as reliably. We’ve heard a theory that they help keep his airways clear. Presumably they have a purpose; certainly they take a lot of energy and time.

Posted by talia at 4:29 PM

February 24, 2007

Meeting Relatives

This is Talia’s parents’ first grandchild and they are a bit gaga about him. This is not surprising. What is surprising is that it is my parents’ 12th grandchild and they are pretty interested in him, too, and this despite having had 7 children of their own on top of it. One would think that at some point you would just be fed up with this life stage, but apparently not.

Actually, I fancy I can see how one never gets sick of it. I never had any interest in babies, and now that I’ve had one I find them fascinating. I don’t mind when they cry in public, I look at them and think about them when I encounter them, and instead of seeing if I can scare them I usually smile at them. I write this six months down the road, and am feeling a bit nostalgic for the early days, as crazy as they were. All of this blogging makes me perhaps a bit maudlin.

Posted by talia at 7:16 PM

February 22, 2007

A Period of Adjustment

The first week or so is simply crazy, but especially the process the Dutch call “stewing.” The milk comes in, a process the violence of which took both of us by surprise, but the baby doesn’t have much of an idea what to do with it, and the initial pressure is more than his little mouth is able to deal with. We spent a lot of time mushing his face into the boob. There are lots of parts of the process that an “intelligent” design would improve upon, and this is definitely one of them.

It’s also crazy how small he was. Now, six months on, I occasionally see a very young baby out and about and think again of what it is like to have this little thing in your hands. He never struck me as very fragile—I’d been worried about that, that it would be like handling glass all the time—but he was very very small. No hat fit him, his socks were absurdly tiny, he made small sounds and small gestures. Adorable, of course. And now somehow impossible to imagine.

Posted by talia at 7:14 PM

Movie: Dear Felix

Felix as you've never seen him before.

He’s all wrapped up in his diaper in this one. He liked being bundled at the beginning—most babies do—but soon thereafter opted for freedom. You’ll note here at the end how he doesn’t react even though we’re shoving the camera right in his face. I don’t think he could see very well at this point.

Posted by talia at 4:27 PM

Movie: Calm Baby

Nothing but the occasional blink.

Felix is not what you would call a calm baby. Some babies spend a lot of time lying on their backs, “lumps” as one of my siblings calls them. Felix was always happier on his tummy, head up, looking around, then moving to get it. In these very early days, though, even a relatively active baby is going to spend a certain amount of time sitting still. Now, the amount of still time is almost zero.

Posted by talia at 4:24 PM

February 21, 2007

Movie: Dance, Baby, Dance

We love making him dance. Actually, I should say I love making him dance and Talia loves watching me make him dance. It’s just such a funny contrast to the movements he actually makes, and the fact that for the most part he doesn’t seem to particularly react to being moved so wildly about we also find hilarious.

Posted by talia at 10:25 PM

February 19, 2007

Movie: First Movements

Talia’s favorite part of this movie is how Felix flips off the viewer (or rather the photographer, me) right at the end. That is not my favorite part. My favorite part is how now, looking at him, I can somehow see those motions in the much more competent arm movements and finger gestures he makes. He seemed so formless when he was born, but later on I see that a lot of the personality, and likewise a lot of the physical character, was there already at the beginning.

Note the way he reacts to sound. I don’t think we ever got a film of him doing it, but he used to give a big “praise Jesus” gesture when startled. We tried not to startle him, even though we loved to see him throw his arms wide open like that.

One last point: you hear the sound of the lens trying to focus. This is because I had the camera set wrong and so it kept trying to refocus. Why did I make this mistake? Because I had never tried to make a movie of something so small before and thus had never been so close to my subject. He was really small at the beginning. Now, six months on, he is built like a tank.

Posted by talia at 10:19 PM

A Child is Born

Either you have been there or you have not. Certainly the movies I saw 15 years or so ago when I was receiving emergency medical training did not do a lot to prepare me for the real thing. Nor the reading we did, nor the advice we received. Not that it wasn’t all very helpful, it was (and some of it was very interesting; for example, I never realized that the baby plays a very active roll in the birth, it’s not simply being passively squeezed out), but nothing can really prepare you.

It didn’t take too long, the entire process, and it wasn’t too short either. Of course I wasn’t the one suffering through it so it’s not for me to say, but I was glad it didn’t go too quickly, that there was time to see it progressing, to try to cope with what was happening. I am even more glad that it wasn’t overshadowed by a reasonable expectation that either wife or baby or both would not make it as was the case in earlier times and still is in many places even today. All things considered we had it, and have it, very easy.

Posted by talia at 7:13 PM

February 15, 2007

Movie: The Fetal Escape

The late stage fetal movements which absurdly distend the mother’s belly are simply freaky. At the time we always thought of them as his attempt at exercise, but now I suspect that some of it at least was him settling in for a sleep. Certainly now he does a lot of sort of humping around the crib before he settles to sleep. Was he perhaps just finding the most comfortable position in the womb? Whatever he was doing, it was good exercise: he was born able to hold up his own head and generally in pretty robust shape.

Posted by talia at 10:10 PM