Monday, April 23, 2007

Innocence Lost

As a new parent, you worry constantly about the safety and well-being of your newest family member. The local and national news can be terrifying. If it’s not someone snatching a child in broad daylight, it’s some lunatic run amok on a college campus.

You try to keep them as safe as possible for as long as possible.

But, it’s a dangerous world and apparently that danger is as close as the pediatrician’s office.

Today was The Squeaker’s two month check up and the good news is she got a clean bill of health. She’s nine and a half pounds, 22” long, and her head is 15” around. The Squeaker is in the lower half of the percentile group, but she is a girl and she does come from short stock.

Now the bad news.

She got her first series of shots.

Four in total, two in each leg. And she screamed. She screamed like they were tearing the flesh from her bones. Once she got home, she cried and sobbed and moaned like a child possessed. And my heart still aches (and I wasn't even there!).

When I got home five hours later, she was still crying off and on. P.Pie has been dosing her with baby Tylenol in regular, prescribed intervals. But she’s still angry and uncomfortable. And hurt.

I’m afraid that this trip to the doctor’s may have sullied her perfect disposition. I fear this round of shots (as well as future rounds) will permanently jade her. Turn her from sweet perfection to bitter disillusionment. Kinda like her old man.

Of course, I prefer the term curmudgeon, thank you very much. And I was never even close to sweet perfection.

Two Months!

The Squeaker with Cousin O-Pickle
We passed the two month marker last Friday and what a great two months it’s been. She’s hardly the same baby we brought home.

The Squeaker’s first days at home were spent eating, sleeping and filling her diapers. She was little more than a lump of under developed skin (albeit a CUTE lump).

After 30 days, her personality began to develop – she began showing an affinity for being held (by anyone, not just her parents) and recognition of familiar things and people around her. And her temperament displayed itself as an easy one (i.e., not too much crying – only when hungry or in need of a diaper change).

Her head – which at times seemed too big for her little body – also seemed to be connected to her body with a loose spring; it would loll to the left or the right, then fall forward or back. It was in need of constant support.

Her limbs were spastic projectiles, darting out with complete randomness like they had minds of their own. And the digits at the end of the convulsive arms pawed and scratched at her face, sometimes leaving red streaks on forehead, nose, and cheeks.

Now at the 60 day mark, The Squeaker displays frequent smiles, reaches out for things near her and chatters with her squeaks and grunts in what seems like a meaningful way. Her eyes light up to match her smiles as she learns the fun of tummy raspberries with a clean diaper and the joy of new batteries in the vibrating bouncing chair.

The once spring loaded, bobbling head now moves with purpose, holding itself in positions for moments at a time.

And the newest feat – just learned this weekend – is the half turn from the prone position. The Squeaker, lying on her back, can grunt and work and force herself to turn halfway over, stopping on her side.

I can’t quite figure out why she doesn’t go all the way over; maybe she likes view from on side, or maybe she’s afraid of the fall.

Or maybe that’s just a skill for another day.