A year ago this week, on the first day of school after winter break, Laura waited until the girls had left the house for the bus, and then said ‘I have something I want to talk to you about’.
This type of statement is rarely followed by a small ‘be sure to pick up some orange juice at the store’ comment. And this was no exception.
Before I could sit down, I had heard the only two words that mattered — ‘I’ and ‘pregnant’. ‘Wow’, was about all I could say.
Later that morning, I attended a nice funeral for a family friend. Fresh from Laura’s revelation, I kept flashing back and forth between this man’s full life and the prospect of a baby in our house, with excitement and other questions — what about the dog? where’s the baby going to sleep? will this kid really start kindergarten when Catherine is starting college? how long can I keep this secret? is that gum I’m sitting on?
And thus began this journey which finds a baby boy often lying in the same spot where I was standing when I received the news of his impending arrival.
Timothy is now four months old, and his colon and ear tube surgery is scheduled for February 7th. We’re looking forward to getting that one behind us. It’s really important to try to keep him healthy so that he doesn’t get more fluid built up in his ears, but that’s not easy, as we, like everyone, have found ourselves with fighting colds and other symptoms.
In fact, I got a small shock when I was at the nearby Minute Clinic getting a strep test and mentioned that we have a 4 month old at home, to which the nurse responded with one word — ‘Grandfather?’ (I think this is the male equivalent of someone asking a woman when her baby’s due when she’s really just caring a little extra weight.)
Timothy is now able to see further distances, which is fun. When you’re fifteen feet away or so, he can see you and then you see his little dark eyes tracking you as you move.
He’s also reacting more to different voices, sometimes turning his head when someone speaks, though it’s still unclear how well he can really hear in his left ear.
The little general’s belly button is (now) a cute one. When he came out of the oven, they left a little extra cord on his belly button. We figured it’d fall off quickly, but it hung in there for three months and looked like a small olive on his belly.
Meanwhile, our girls regularly registered their disapproval.
But then one day, that tiny piece of skin fell away and left him with an adorable little shape that looks like a cross between a cinnamon roll and an ampersand (@). Very cute.
Timothy is working on a new game with Joan, our occupational therapist, to help him lengthen his sounds, so he’s not limited to short grunts (though grunting works fine for the rest of our family). It’s the old game of patting the baby’s mouth with your hand, and the baby making an adorable ‘ba-ba-ba’ puttering sound, like he’s about to sing ‘Ba Ba Black Sheep’.
It was so cool to watch him go from not understanding what she wanted him to do, to figuring out how to summon his voice on command and then eventually to him getting crabby when she stopped because he wanted to continue the game. He was truly learning something, doing it and then communicating to her what he wanted, which was amazing to witness.
Incredible how much and how fast these babies can learn –and here I was pleased with myself for finally learning how to set the alarm on my iPhone.
Learning and grateful,