Family Visits

Yesterday was the family visit day.  All six of the nieces from Jacqueline’s side of the family made it through at different times of the day, and my (Ben Sr.’s) uncle Joe and aunt Petra dropped off my mom for the “changing of the guard,” as Brenda headed home for a much needed break from taking care of us.

Sleeping at night.

We have great news.  Little ben is beginning to sleep at night.  Jacqueline got about 6 hours combined last night.  The best part of the story was that he was completely un-fussy last night.  He didn’t even cry when we changed his diaper.  It was like some sort of parallel universe. 

Kangaroos, Dogs, and Answered Prayers.

We are so excited about all that has gone on the past few days.  Baby Ben slept 4 straight hours last night, thanks to the absolutely unquantifiable help of Brenda, Jacq’s mom.  We are doing great, though, relaxing when Ben relaxes, and bouncing him back to relaxation (both the old-fashioned way as well as with the HD-BS.)

Our dog Loretta (as in Loretta Lynn, but in no way insinuating that Loretta Lynn is in any way similar to our dog.  At least I hope Loretta Lynn doesn’t ever pee on my couch… but if she did I could probably get something for it on Ebay… I digress) has had a great time getting to know little Ben.  From time to time ‘Retta will come over and sniff little Ben, and decide to take a nap nearby.

The other animal in our life these days is the kangaroo.  Not literally, so much, as that would smell up the house and cost a lot of money that we don’t have.  We have figurative kangaroos all over the place, in the form of “kangaroo care.”  Kangaroo Care is laying skin to skin with the baby (don’t forget the diaper for him, or you end up with kangaroo droppings on you…).

Kangaroo care is the greatest thing since sliced bread, if you ask a certain segment of the population.  Portions of this segment of the population also contend for things like militant recycling, bio-diesel only, and making your own clothes out of hemp only, so we have to sort out carefully what we will and will not take away from this particular kangaroo.  But it is a great way to take a nap when holding a napping child.  And it supposedly has some great health benefits both for mom and baby.  So we are doing it as often as possible.

The 1 million dollar swing.

There are some ideas that are absolutely brilliant.  Sliced bread, automatic dishwashers, phones with mac software on them, and my new favorite, the baby swing.  I actually don’t call it a swing.  I call it the “heavenly daddy-back saver.”  (or HD-BS)  It is truly the most amazing machine I have ever encountered.  Here’s how a typical usage goes:

I hear Ben Jr starting to “pre-fuss” (a maneuver involving loud coos, a few grunts, and his face wrinkling up like it’s beginning to melt).  I grab up the baby bundle, and bounce across the room.  Baby Ben is not content with small bounces, either.  The big, 2 foot, exaggerated bounces are the only ones that will do.  I generally can get him to stop fussing (or prevent him from starting) in about three bounces.  But then I have to continue until he falls asleep. 

Enter the HD-BS

I place him in (which was rather nerve-wracking the first time… “where do you think this strap goes, and what’s that squeaking?”) and bundle the blanket all around him.  One twist of the knob starts him swinging.  He initially protests, and starts to melt his face again.  I stay within ear-shot and give him a standard “shh-shh-shh” The nurse at our childbirth class said that sound mimics mom’s heartbeat from the womb, explaining it’s cathartic effect.  The combo of the shh-shh and the HD-BS lulls him back into contentment. 

Then, my back muscles kick up their feet, break open an adult beverage, put some Jack Johnson on their iPods, and relax.

Thanks, Josh and Stacy, for the HD-BS.  Your reward will be in heaven, and worth at least a million bucks.

The Onesie Trials

As we packed up to leave the hospital, we had to put little Ben into his “going home outfit” (of which we brought 15, I think, in case he was either 4 pounds 2 ounces or 12 pounds 13 ounces… can’t ever be too prepared).  We decided to go with the definitely-too-large outfit seen above, and learned that it currently takes two parents and 3 minutes to figure out how to insert a child into a short-sleeved onesie. 

But he was stylin.  He rolled up next to a two-day-old chick in a leopard-print car seat and started flirtin’.  He was all “hey girl, I’m sportin’ a fresh pamper and you know you like this hat…”  She screamed.  We’ll have to work on his delivery.  When we got to the car I let him in on the secret that leopard print at two days screams “high maintenance” and that’s not how Meredith boys roll.

OK, so maybe the previous paragraph was a fabrication.  But I did see a pink car seat with leopard print trim in the hospital today.  Dang.

We are back at the house, and I just woke up from an hour long nap with a newborn on my chest.  It was the best nap of my life.  I give parenthood a 10 out of 10.