Isaac itches his face a lot. He itches right when he wakes up and when he’s tired. He wakes himself up every night by itching himself which makes him even more itchy and awake. We try to hold his arms down when we can. Even if we leave him alone for a minute of scratching he could have all these cuts on his head and chin from his fingernails, which makes Lauren sad and makes me frustrated at how helpless everything seems. He’s pretty uncomfortable most of the time, except when he’s well rested and well fed during the day time.
Over Christmas we did get some time to spend with extended family. It was nice to watch him watch his cousins and other relatives, and it was a new experience for him being around so many other people. He also doubled the number of toys he has so he has more things to put in his mouth. He doesn’t seem to be very possessive about his toys; he likes playing for a while but likes to just be picked up too. I do want him to like spending time with people more than his toys, but sometimes I just don’t have the energy and would almost rather him be content with his toys.
I was asked what are some things that make him smile. Our go-to’s are peekaboo and counting/singing to five on my fingers. Sometimes, making happy faces makes him smile too.
Sometimes Isaac plays this game with us. It’s called how many times can I wake Mommy and Daddy up during the night. Some nights he doesn’t do to well but more often then not he’s able to get consistent high scores. He’s very talented. I like to think I also play this game with him when I’m putting him to sleep called Whoever Goes to Sleep First Loses. Sometimes games go on for a while but I usually win this one.
For Halloween, Mommy made Isaac a ghost costume using her new sewing machine. I think she wants to make him a costume every year, the way Mommy’s Mommy made her a costume. The sewing machine was sort of a birthday gift. She bought it right around the time of her birthday and it was the easiest present I’ve ever given her. I didn’t even have to buy it! But I did end up painting her something. I wasn’t too happy with how it came out since it was of Isaac, Mommy and Me, all happy putting him down at night, which wasn’t realistic at all. The one painting I didn’t draw myself as a hedgehog and the least realistic of them all.
Over Thanksgiving break we saw this adorable outfit at Target and thought it would be great to take some of him in it for holiday photos. Since all of his clothes so far has been hand-me-downs or gifts, this was one of the first outfits we actually bought for Isaac. It was pretty cute on him but a little rougher than his normal clothes and he was squirming and itching himself when he first put it on. The suspenders must have felt weird too. When he looks at himself in the mirror, I don’t think he has any concept of how cute he is, and maybe that’s part of what makes him so super cute. But what’s strange is that I don’t have any concept of how cute I am, and I’m still not nearly as cute. Ah well. When we went outside for a walk one day, a neighbor jokingly commented on how we share similar hairstyles. Cuts deep, man.
Taking Christmas photos of Isaac was very involved. Moving the tree around the house for the best lighting before deciding on the family room, setting up the footstool and putting a red blanket over it to match the holiday theme, making sure he doesn’t topple over, moving the couch backwards so people don’t question why there’s a tree right in front of a couch, removing the distracting painting in the background, setting up the tripod outside to shoot through the open sliding door. Adjusting the aperture to be open enough for a decently fast shutter speed and that shiny bokeh, but closed enough to hopefully get all the faces in focus. It’s all very meticulously planned. I’m not sure how worth it the whole thing even was. In the end, the photos outside turned out better.
Overall, the last couple months have been tough. We still haven’t gotten a lot of sleep, Isaac still itches like crazy all over, and hasn’t really adjusted well to either formula or solids. Sometimes Mommy and Daddy look at Facebook and see the wonderful progress everyone else’s little ones are making and we have to remind ourselves not to look at Facebook again. Still, as mentally, physically, and maritally taxing the whole thing has been, we probably wouldn’t trade it for anything else.
I try to read to him every day when he gets up but I haven’t felt like it lately. So sometimes I sit him in his new chair facing the backyard and he just looks out the window like an old man. And I rest in the rocking chair behind him watching him like a real old man. I like pushing him around the house in his chair too. There’s something funny about him just sitting in his mini go-cart/chair and moving around the house expressionless.
Sometimes In the mornings I strap him to my chest and we take a walk around the neighborhood. He’s been going out more and we even took him to the park last weekend. He just stares at things and I just stare at him and we walk around the park until it’s time to go home.
Right before we left the hospital with Isaac for the first time, the doctor was telling us how things would be … decades from now. He started off talking about jaundice and some health precautions, then continued on about parenting in general and what to expect. He was saying how children would take on their parent’s principles and values up until they become teenagers and then they start forming their own principles and values which still stay somewhat malleable up until age 35 or so. The doctor asked us our ages and then told us Lauren’s values and principles are still in the process of changing while mine are pretty much set. I guess that means I’ll always like The Bachelor.
I was thinking of this when I turned 40, about the future, how much of Isaac’s life I might see, wondering if I’ll get to see him doing what I’m doing now, feeding a baby and holding him until he sleeps. It’s nice to see him wake up, see mommy and daddy’s faces and smile while cooing but I guess he’ll eventually outgrow all of this. I hope he still keeps his fascination with the world, even if it’s more than ceiling fans and changing lights.
There have always been some small issues that came up with Isaac. He would have a weak cry, have baby acne and cradle cap, have trouble turning his head one way, have an infection on his tongue. Most turned out to be nothing much. But they’ve all been a little stressful to us as parents. Sometimes Lauren and I would disagree on the best way to take care of him, even though there isn’t really a right way.
Isaac is almost two months old now! He’s been growing and sleeping and pooping and looking a lot at the overhead fans around our house. Maybe they’re the most interesting things to look at when we cradle him in our arms (I like to think our faces are a close second).
One thing I’m noticing about these baby photos and baby photos in general is they never seem to quite capture the hectic energy of trying to take care of a crying infant while struggling with breastfeeding and cooking and cleaning on little sleep. Or that feeling of desperation when you have him cradled in your hands and you have to scratch your nose or go to the bathroom and you wonder if it’s worth the risk of waking him up. Or that fatigue that sets in when you realize the only way to calm him is to do these mini squats with your legs bouncing him up and down and your legs feel like they just went up 10 flights of steps (even as the Aranda Center Squat champion of 2013). Mommy and I tried to do it on our own for the first month but we were running out of steam and now my mom is coming regularly on weekdays. It’s really nice for us both to be able to take a breather from things and not feel guilty that we’re burdening each other.
I have been able to run errands and escape the house here and there. I got a few teeth fillings the other day and all I could think about was holding Isaac and all his funny blank expressions.
After 18 hours of prelabor, 12 hours of labor, and 1 hour of pushing, baby Isaac was born!
Seeing the top of his head and his hair and the blood and my wife in exhaustion was all a little crazy. Lauren and I teared up a little as he lied on her chest … he just seemed so perfect.
I still remember those moments in the hospital where he would have his shirt or diaper changed and as his arms or legs were pulled every which way, he would scream these loud whimpers and his lips and arms would shake vigorously, as if the world was crashing down on him.
After a couple nights in the hospital we were discharged home. Here, we’ve both been in a daze and Lauren is still recovering from labor. We haven’t quite gotten into a routine for feeding and changing diapers although it’s getting better. The living room has become one big baby battle-station and a little chaotic. But when Lauren takes a break and is napping I sometimes hold Isaac for a good long while on the rocker in the quiet room and I just stare at him. He won’t be this young forever and he’ll grow fast, I’m told. I want to capture all these little times when he shifts in his sleep and yawns and stretches and peers around the room, all in this newborn slow-motion way, but there are just too many of these moments to capture them all.
Yesterday during bible study we went around and shared memories we had of the group as it was our last study in the hosts’ home. I’ve been going there for six years! This morning I was thinking of the times we hung out and did various group projects together and see people join and leave the group and go through different jobs and get married and raise kids. At one point I did wonder what it’d be like to spend the rest of our lives in small group together but I guess that doesn’t really happen. Way back, when I first started going, a few of us would often hang around after bible study really late, past midnight just to chat. We liked being there.
I finally got around to put numbers on the house a few weekends ago. They look good, I think.
I’ve been spending a lot of time getting the house ready for the baby. I thought it would be easy. I thought all you needed was a place for him to sleep, some clothes, maybe a few toys. But I guess having a new person live with you requires a whole wardrobe, a place to put the wardrobe, some things to make sure the wardrobe is secured to the wall. And possibly a more stable TV stand. And some straps for the TV stand. And trips to Home depot for different screws for the new straps. And as you’re leaving for Home Depot you realize you might need new house numbers because the neighbor comes over with a package which was misdelivered as his house number has a 7 which sorta looks like a 1, which would mean their house number looks like yours. And different sets of house numbers to try out from Home Depot. And numbers which look right but are supposed to be stuck on a board and not screwed in. And some time drilling holes in the numbers. And three different trips to hardware stores to get the smaller diameter #4 sheet metal screws for the holes you drilled that are at least 3/4″-1″ long. And a trip to Target to get black nail polish since they don’t have screws in a darker color. And another trip to a cosmetics store after realizing the black nail polish wasn’t black nail polish at all but only glossy top coat in a black, nail polish container. And drilling holes into the stucco and after putting in the numbers realizing they would be more secure with anchors but figuring you should probably call it a day.
After a few trips to Ikea for different storage options and trying to put everything in it’s new place I started realizing there are a lot of things we wanted to get done on the house. Fixing the noisy refrigerator, rearranging the pantry cabinets, putting in a missing shelf in the hallway closet, hanging pictures. We’ve also also been meaning to put a new layer of shingles on the roof and install new interior doors. So last weekend we went down to Torrance to look at some new doors. We also stopped by Wayfarer’s Chapel to take some photos too.
All in all preparing for a baby is a lot of work and I wish I started earlier. And I still haven’t had a chance to finish reading those books on baby sleep/feeding and child disciplining. Where did all that time go?
Last week I traveled by myself to Atlanta to attend the Society of Actuaries’ Fellowship Admissions Course. This was the last step on my way to be a credentialed actuary fellow!
One of my coworkers, Allen, was also there. I actually woke him up half an hour before one of the morning seminars. They have this strict rule that if you miss any more than 10 minutes of a seminar, you fail the course. The seminars covered ethics, communication, and professionalism and encouraged participation. There was also a short presentation that we had to give. I got the impression that everyone was a little on edge because of this until the final dinner when everyone was done and just had to sit back, wait for their name to be called, and not trip on their way to get their sheet of paper saying they had passed all of these exams.
On the certificate was this quote:
“The work of science is to substitute facts for appearances and demonstrations for impressions.”
which happens to be the Society’s motto. All that said, everyone was so super happy and relaxed after receiving their diploma that they gave a standing ovation to the last guy who was called up. It was a celebratory night filled with a fancy dinner, drinking, and some schmoozing in the lounge afterwards. There was even a DJ who played the cupid shuffle (a small handful of us danced a bit). Everyone was so happy after years of studying (nine for me) that the certificate might have well said this: